Functional Ingredients from A to Z

The ingredients listed here are mostly functional ingredients to help improve usability. You may find them in pharmacies, craft shops, and online.

Made from pure olive, coconut, and/or hemp oil, Castile soap is very gentle and makes a perfect base soap for face and body wash or shampoo.

A non-greasing thickener that may be derived from coconut and vegetable oils. It is commonly used as a consistency enhancer as well as a secondary emulsifier. It also has emollient, moisturizing, and foam-boosting properties. Many Cetyl alcohols are derived from palm oil, so be sure to check with the supplier.

It is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables but mostly citrus fruits. Like other naturally occurring acids, it acts as an adjustment ingredient that lowers pH. You can replace it with fruit pectin.

Emulsifier must be used for water and oil to be dispersed hence creating stable cream and lotion. There are some options for plant-based, biodegradable and safe emulsifiers through craft shops and online, or combining natural ingredients such as lecithin, honey xanthan gum, and beeswax can achieve satisfying emulsion.

A sugar alcohol in the form of a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid, it is widely used in the food industry as a sweetener. For cosmetics, it is used to lower the viscosity of the product, as a minor emulsifier, and to help retain moisture. It can also be used to extract herbal properties as a tincture in place of alcohol. Because of its non-fermentative properties, it is also an effective preservative. However, glycerine is often sourced from palm oil and is not environmentally sustainable. Be sure to choose glycerine which originates from other vegetable oils.

It is a by-product of glycerine and stearic acid, and comes in a white or cream-colored waxy solid. It is the most common emulsifier during the water and oil phase and acts as a stabilizer and thickener for oil in water formulas.

The most common fillers, the mica group of silicates of magnesium are found in rocks.

Silk cocoons are woven by silkworms and are rich in sericin protein. Sericin has a wide application in pharmaceutics and cosmetics owing to its antibacterial and water-absorption properties. It acts as a moisturizer by preventing water loss and repairing the skin. Creams containing sericin show minimized irritation and have cleansing properties.

It is obtained through saponification from fats and oils and is the most common saturated fatty acid found in nature. It has a waxy, solid state and often regarded as the primary emulsifier. Be sure to check with the supplier to ensure it is vegetable, and not animal, derived.

It is produced by the fermentation of glucose and is often used as a food additive and modifier. It is also the most common natural thickener in cosmetics, giving good spreadability.

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