Cosmetic products are manufactured from a selection of literally thousands of ingredients. With continued research and development coupled with advanced innovation, the cosmetic ingredient base will continue to expand. On average a single cosmetic product contains about twenty three (23) ingredients; this number is not cast in stone but is a statistical average. Each ingredient is expertly chosen to fulfil a function or several functions within the same product formulation. Often cosmetic ingredients are classified into groups because of their functions in formulations. Common ingredient categories include the following:
Surfactants: Surfactants are contained mostly in body cleaning products such as shampoos, liquid hand soaps, foam baths etc. Surfactants are responsible for the cleaning action of these products.
Emulsifiers: The bulk of cosmetic products currently on the South African market are emulsions. An emulsion is a mixture of two ordinarily immiscible substances for example oil and water. However with the right oil to water or water to oil ratios and the appropriate emulsifier, water and oil can be mixed. Common emulsions are body creams, body lotions, foundations etc.
Preservatives: This class of ingredients is pivotal in preserving the integrity of the product and ensuring that the product is free of microbes like bacteria and fungi. Bacteria thrive in environments that have water and nutrients which most cosmetic products are. Without any preservation, products become susceptible to microbial attack. The presence of microbes in cosmetic products is a consumer safety risk. It is therefore important that products are properly preserved.
Emollients & Humectants: These are essentially moisturisers which achieve the moisturisation effect on the skin via different mechanisms. Moisture retention is a key contributor to skin that looks firm and radiant.
Colourants: These are mostly used in colour cosmetics such as lip stick, eye shadows, foundations etc. Singularly or in combination, these give the chromatic effects of colour on skin.
Botanical Extracts: These are plant extracts that have been deemed to confer a cosmetic benefit to the skin. Benefits range from simple ones such as moisturisation to more advanced ones such as wrinkle size reduction and skin firming.
Fragrances: Fragrances help mask the smell of some of the cosmetic ingredients. Smell being a sensory attribute contributes to the overall sensorial feel when a consumer uses a product.
Last modified on Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:21
The above are some of the common cosmetic ingredient categories. Consumers are however advised that these categories are not the names that will appear on the ingredient listing of a cosmetic product, actual ingredient names will appear on the ingredient listing.