A to Z of Must-Know Beauty Ingredients

Beauty Ingredients

There are so many buzzwords and impressive but confusing jargon currently floating around in the beauty industry, with many brand new beauty products claiming to work magic on all skin types due to specific ingredients. Many skincare products such as facial moisturisers, serums and face washes have unfamiliar ingredients that promise to soothe, nourish and hydrate.

But what do these elusive ingredients we’re encouraged to seek out actually do for our skin? To get the most out of your skincare, it’s good to know what the ingredients and properties they offer can deliver in order to fine tune your routine to get the best results.

We’ve created the Beauty Base popular skincare ingredients glossary which is a helpful, informative guide for skincare novices and experts alike to use when choosing their next skincare product.

So if you currently don’t know your seaweed from your arnica, you’ll soon be able to decide which is the best for your skin!

Activated Charcoal

When charcoal is used in skincare it typically works to draw out impurities from the skin. Its boosted version of activated charcoal simply means that the carbon material has been heated at a high temperature and then oxidised, which increases its surface area and makes it more porous.

Charcoal skincare is used in blackhead removal treatments, such as pore strips and face masks for its detoxifying effect, and is even used in some teeth whitening toothpastes!


No, this doesn’t mean that your beauty products will get you tipsy! Alcohol is a naturally occurring substance that’s often used as a preservative in natural or organic beauty products – just be aware that it could cause your skin to feel a little dry.


A filtered algae extract in skin care products can act as an emollient to soften the skin whilst providing nutrients with its varied mineral composition. Naturally occurring material from the marine world such as algae and seaweed are frequently used together in natural skincare products such as face masks and serums can replenish the skin with those all important minerals.

Aloe Vera

What is Aloe Vera good for? Aloe vera has long been the go-to ingredient to soothe inflamed sunburn and it’s easy to understand why. Gently cooling and soothing the skin, aloe vera gel is an easy to acquire plant extract that can calm angry skin effectively whilst promoting skin repair with its antibacterial and healing properties.

Sensitive skin reacts well to aloe vera skincare Aloe vera products from Himalaya Herbals include an aloe vera face wash and face wipes for sensitive skin.

Argan Oil

You may have heard about how to use argan oil in hair care with argan oil infused shampoos promising to hydrate dry ends and tame frizz. But argan oil skincare is also a hot ticket when it comes to the latest beauty trends as it softens skin beautifully. Use an argan oil moisturiser as your day or night cream for a nourishing addition to your skincare routine.


What is Arnica? Arnica is a wonderful, organic herb taken from a type of yellow daisy that has been used as a skincare remedy for centuries. Reducing puffiness and potential bruising, arnica balms and lotions soothe inflammation and speed up healing due to its ability to increase blood flow to the affected area.


A lot of beauty brands will choose to give water a fancier name, but if you see aqua on a label, it means just that! Water is usually accompanied by a preservative to keep its long shelf life and efficacy, so it’s renamed to aqua for clarity.


Derived from the honeycombs of worker bees, beeswax acts as a protectant and skin softener that has antibacterial properties, making it a versatile ingredient used in many skincare products on the market today. Beeswax locks in moisture and contains vitamin A, making it an ideal lip balm and skin salve option for those with dry skin.


An increasingly popular wellness product, CBD oil can offer benefits such as anti-inflammatory and calming properties when used as a beauty ingredient.


Highly moisturising and packed with vitamin E and other antioxidants, cocoa butter for your skincare regime not only smells delicious but is a highly effective dry skin remedy. The high vitamin E content of cocoa butter makes it an essential skincare ingredient for those looking to repair dry and damaged skin from conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.

Skincare brands such as Palmer’s utilise the benefits of cocoa butter in their ranges of cocoa butter body lotions, face moisturisers and body oils. Applying cocoa butter on scars and stretchmarks can soften the skin well enough to smooth skin tone and texture, reducing the appearance of them.

Coconut Oil

Similar to cocoa butter, coconut oil is the perfect moisturiser, softening the skin and contributing to skin repair. Pure coconut oil can be applied directly on to skin all over the body for instant nourishment and can even be ingested by replacing regular cooking oil with it!

Cucumber Extract

Cucumber not only tastes great, but it also has plenty to offer your skin too. Rich in vitamin C and amino acids, a product with cucumber extract has great skincare benefits such as soothing and hydrating the skin.


So, what is ginseng and what is it good for? Known to boost firming of the skin and reducing under-eye puffiness, ginseng is a fantastic skin energiser. The skin brightening phytonutrients in ginseng make it a popular addition to anti-ageing and anti-fatigue eye creams and day moisturisers. We stock a great range of face masks from Moments4Me that include hyaluronic acid as their main ingredient. Choose from rejuvenating face masks with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera or get a hit of moisture with the pure hyaluronic acid face mask.

Hyaluronic Acid

This much-hyped ingredient boosts moisture absorption rate and helps restore skin’s moisture barriers, making hyaluronic acid a popular serum for those looking to add a new step into their skincare regime.

Moisten the face first with a damp cloth then apply a hyaluronic acid based serum or moisturiser so that the acid can work to improve hydration. The best time to use hyaluronic acid is on a night time before serum and moisturiser.


If you aren’t too keen on adding kale to your smoothies, it may be time to introduce kale to your beauty regime. Containing essential vitamins, kale is tipped to speed up cell repair when used overnight for beautifully smooth skin in the morning.

Kukui Nut Oil

Looking for a new haircare ingredient? Argan oil is a thing of the past thanks to Kukui oil, which targets extremely damaged hair leaving it looking healthy and nourished. Kukui oil is now also being used in skincare products for a thoroughly moisturising skincare experience.

L-Ascorbic Acid

Otherwise known as Vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid is actually the most friendly form of Vitamin C, providing antioxidant benefits that boosts collagen production and can actually help to minimise the appearance of scars.


Ever had dry skin or cracked lips? Products containing lanolin work to repair skin cells and create a protective barrier for super dry skin, and the best part is that it’s 100% natural as well as being extra nourishing and hydrating.

Marula Oil

Packed full of nourishing vitamins from C to E, marula oil is produced from the fruit kernels of the East African Marula tree and is an extremely luxe ingredient in beauty products that can replenish your skin and repair damaged hair.


They’ve had a little bad press in recent years, but despite the PR spin, parabens are actually a super effective preservative that helps to prevent unwelcome bacteria and fungus from growing in your beauty products!


Once upon a time, the scent of patchouli was closely associated with the hippie movement. The flower power fragrance is making a comeback in mainstream beauty of late thanks to its earthy scent and reputation as being a popular treatment for dermatitis, acne and even dandruff.


Peptides can work in tandem with other ingredients, such as those with antioxidants and skin restoring elements, to address many skin concerns. Peptides are made up of proteins, and they can work to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve the firmness of the skin.


It’s not just fragrances that can be described as having a ‘perfume’ – in fact, a lot of skincare and beauty labels will feature the phrase perfume. This usually means that one or more of the ingredients used have a fragrance and could cause irritation to those with sensitive skin.


Another beauty buzzword has to be retinol which is mainly discussed in the conversation surrounding anti-ageing skincare products. Retinol is a vitamin A rich compound which encourages the production of new skin cells, resulting in retinol being a great ingredient in skincare tackling pigmentation, scarring and reducing fine lines on the face. So, how can you use retinol in your everyday skincare routine?

Retinol skincare products from brands such as L’Oreal are included in their anti-ageing ranges to focus on signs of ageing. Depending on the concentration of retinol, side effects may include short term skin sensitivity and excessively dry skin, so may not be suitable for those with sensitive/dry skin types.


A well-known spice with a delicious flavour, saffron also has plenty of skin benefits to offer. Popular in facemasks to moisturise and tone your skin, you can make your own face mask using saffron with a honey or milk base.

Salicylic Acid

It may sound intimidating, but what is salicylic acid? A key ingredient often used in acne or spot treatments, salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid which works as a skin exfoliator that can refine pores over time. In a high concentration, salicylic acid can dry out the skin, thus reducing the oil on the surface of the skin and reducing the occurrence of acne.


Rich in sea minerals and skin loving nutrients, seaweed extracts are part of the popular marine skincare trend that also features algae. Containing magnesium, iron and calcium, seaweed moisturisers and cleansers will significantly hydrate skin leaving it silky soft and comfortable.

Tea Tree

Tea tree oil is good for use as an antiseptic and antibacterial solution for spots and inflamed skin. How to use tea tree oil on your face is to look for spot treatments and face washes and lotions aimed at blemished and acne prone skin as tea tree oil is a key ingredient in these skincare products. The Ayumi range of Neem tea tree oil skincare products can provide treatment for this skin type whilst offering relief of inflammation.

Be sure to browse the complete range of Beauty Base skincare to discover the right skincare products for your skin needs. With our collections of face moisturisers, face washes and exfoliators, you can benefit from the expert ingredients mentioned in our beauty glossary straight away!

Which Beauty Ingredients To Choose For Your Skin

We primarily look at the label of our beauty products to see which ingredients may work best for our skin. Whether you have a specific problem you’d like to address with your chosen skincare or if you’re simply interested in the effects the ingredients may have on your skin, we can recommend different beauty ingredients for common skin conditions:

Skin Condition

Best Beauty Ingredients

Beauty Ingredients to Avoid

Sensitive Skin

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Perfume

Dry Skin

Lanolin, Wheatgrass, Kukui Nut Oil, Saffron, Argan Oil,
Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Hyaluronic Acid,

Dermatitis or Acne           

Patchouli, Cocoa, Salicylic Acid

Inflamed Skin

CBD Oil, Aloe Vera, Arnica, Cucumber Extract, Tea Tree                  

Scarred Skin

L-Ascorbic Acid, Cocoa, Retinol

Large Pores

Activated Charcoal

Dull Skin

Kale, Marula Oil, Algae, Ginseng, Seaweed

Ageing Skin

Peptides, Retinol

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