What are the most common cosmetic ingredients?

Cosmetic tubes.

Most cosmetics use multiple ingredients to ensure preservation, freshness, color and moisture, as well as nutrients needed by the skin for healthy structure and texture. Synthetic cosmetic ingredients such as parabens and triclosan help preserve cosmetics such as makeup or facial cleansers where ingredients such as sulfates, acetone and collagen contribute to the effectiveness of the cosmetic product on the skin. Cosmetic ingredients often include vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help the skin with the nutrients it needs to fight free radicals and strengthen healthy collagen. Natural cosmetic ingredients include plant-based bases and derivatives such as olive oil in moisturizers in place of synthetic ingredients, as well as natural minerals in makeup bases.

A woman applying mascara, a kind of cosmetic.

Common synthetic preservatives found in many cosmetics are called parabens, which help keep makeup, facial soaps, and shampoo stable at room temperature for a long time. Cosmetic ingredients often list a paraben ingredient as a suffix, with the common prefixes moly-, ethyl-, and methyl-. Sodium laurel sulfate, which can also be used as a preservative, is often found in soaps and shampoos and gives the products their lathering qualities. Sulfates are also used for their ability to remove dirt and grease from the skin and hair.

Many types of cosmetics contain parabens.

Cosmetic ingredients that aid in the effectiveness of the product are usually synthetic unless otherwise specified on the label. Polyethylene glycol is a synthetic ingredient that helps to hydrate the skin and is a common ingredient in face and body lotions as well as liquid makeup foundations. It is not uncommon for cosmetic ingredients to include collagen, if the product is designed for anti-aging or to diminish skin wrinkles. While topical collagen application will not replace collagen lost due to age or environmental factors, it can help to hydrate the deep layer of the skin.

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Most cosmetics use artificial chemicals as stabilizers.

Many natural cosmetics contain plant bases or derivatives to avoid synthetic and controversial ingredients such as parabens and sodium sulfates. Natural vitamins and minerals are sometimes used as ingredients in makeup bases, cleansers, and body lotions to provide the skin with the proper nutrients for collagen rebuilding and repair. Antioxidants, such as those found in green tea or fruit, can also be added to cosmetics to help fight free radicals from the sun and the environment. Olive oil or cocoa butter are often used in cruelty-free moisturizers to fight dry skin and deliver essential fatty acids to the outer and inner layers of the skin.

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