You might see some long, convoluted scientific names in your favourite skincare products’ ingredients that sound like it could be bad for you – but don’t worry – many aren’t! Here are some common ingredients that sound anything but natural (but are completely safe and even beneficial for your skin).
1. 1, 2-HexanediolIt sounds like a country festival dance step, but this ingredient is actually a type of preservative that also doubles as a humectant. It’s non-toxic and particularly useful on dry skin. Some skincare – especially those with lots of plant-based or active ingredients – need effective preservatives to help keep your skincare fresher for longer. The last thing you want is mould growing on your moisturizer (which happened to a very famous ‘clean’ brand).
This is basically a thickening agent that can bind oil and water together, making your skincare easier to apply and can even enhance its absorption. It’s dubbed safe by the EWG, and won’t cause irritation. The only negative thing about it is that too much of this stuff in a formula can cause pilling. But that’s about it. The right amount actually enhances your skincare.
This synthetic ingredient is a non-toxic solvent that also enhances the penetration and effectiveness of certain ingredients (like BHA). It can even help products leave a dewy finish on the skin! People with oily skin might not like the ‘slip’ and slightly oily feel of this ingredient, while those with dry skin might find it to be a nourishing addition to a formula.
4. Butylene Glycol
This safe, organic alcohol functions as a solvent, humectant and emollient – making it great for dry skin. It can increase your skin’s water content and can even help to stabilize a product. Because of its solvent ability, it can break down hard-to-dissolve ingredients in a formula, making it easier for your skin to absorb (and thereby enhancing the product’s efficacy).