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Our “scarier” sounding ingredients explained

Posted by Sharyl Carlson on

  Throughout my many years of work in the skin care and cosmetics industry, I have always been fascinated by the back of the box.  The ingredients, especially plant based actives are fascinating. What does it do? Why is it important to use that? Is all this stuff necessary?  I had endless questions.  I am sure you have many of your own.  (Feel free to ask!  If I don’t readily have the answer, I will be pleased to research it for you.)


When I started doing my own formulating I ran into so much information, much of it conflicting.  And the names…wow!  Here are some of the ingredient’s names you may not recognize.  Some of the worse sounding ones are the plant-based alternatives to what you are seeing every day in stores!  One thing we can be sure of is that this list will continue to grow as the line does.


CAPB (Cocamidopropyl betaine): is naturally derived, made from raw coconut oil combined with a colorless liquid called dimethylaminopropylamine to create a “surfactant.” In countless cleaning and personal care products, surfactants break the surface tension in water, attach to dirt, and rinse it away.  Years of research has concluded that CAPB is a safe ingredient in wash off products.

Propanediol 1,3: is a natural alternative to propylene glycol, derived from corn glucose, or corn sugar. GRAS certified ("Generally Recognized as Safe") by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and considered safe for use both as a cosmetic ingredient and for ingested food products. It's also been approved by EcoCert (an internationally recognized natural and organic seal)

SCI (Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate): Also known as Baby Foam is a top-quality specialty anionic surfactant made from all vegetable, renewable resources. It is derived from natural coconut oil, and imparts mildness and great foam,

SLSa (Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate):  is a sulfate free gentle powder surfactant, derived from sustainable sources. It conforms to Ecocert natural and organic cosmetic standard.

BTMS50 (Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol):  has a high percentage of conditioning agents, making it effective for use in a wide variety of skin and hair care products. In hair care, it is very popular in leave-on conditioners, as well as more traditional rinse off hair care products. BTMS is a sulfate-free quaternary ammonium salt derived from the natural plant oil Colza, commonly known as Rapeseed Oil. 

Cetyl Alcohol  is comprised of 95% fatty acids derived from vegetable oils, primarily coconut and palm oils. It is environmentally friendly, and a green product used as a thickener. Cetyl Alcohol adds good after feel in lotions and creams, and in hair conditioners offers good comb out ability. 

Sodium Lactate: is a biodegradable liquid natural humectant, moisturizer and pH regulator produced from the natural fermentation of corn and beets.

LuxGlide N350 (Dihepltl Succinate, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer): Is a 100% natural and sustainable emollient and alternative to dimethicone, for improving skin-feel in creams and lotions, as well as enhancing shine and texture in hair care such as conditioners, anti-frizz, and styling products. In natural formulations, it can be used to reduce the greasiness of natural oils.

NatraSil (Hydrogenated Ehylhexyl Olivate, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Unsaponifiables): NatraSil™ is a natural, plant-based alternative to synthetic cyclomethicone. NatraSil™ is made from olive oil esters and olive oil materials unsaponifiables. These oils as combined to deliver emollience and skin nourishing properties.  It has been shown to help with hair manageability and improve shine.



Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products. It is active against gram-negative bacteria but weak against mold and yeast and therefore should be used with other preservatives or preservative booster. We use Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate.

Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate: is a multi-purpose, clear, liquid chelating agent and preservative booster. Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate is made from plant material, readily biodegradable, with high solubility over a wide pH range. Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate serves the same function in formulations as EDTA, without the health and environmental concerns.

Optiphen (Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol): is a paraben and formaldehyde-free preservative system, which consists of Phenoxyethanol in an emollient base of Caprylyl Glycol. The combination of these ingredients provides optimized protection against microbial growth while imparting exceptional feel to the finished product.

Optiphen Plus (Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid): performs best in formulations below 6.0 pH but is also proven effective at pH levels above 6.0.

Liquid Germal Plus (Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate):  is used in our shampoo bars.  It can be used in surfactant-based systems such as shampoos and body/shower gels, conditioners and other high water content products. Ideal for water-in-oil and oil-in-water emulsions, creams and lotions, make-up and other highly




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