Beauty 101

Whether you’re new in the Beauty Industry or a seasoned professional, these are some terminologies that are commonly used…

Color Cosmetics / Skin Care / Personal Care Terminologies

Dyes – These are color compounds that are fully soluble in the medium they are used. They are typically transparent. For example, water-soluble dyes used in body wash.

Pigments – These are color compounds that are insoluble in the medium in which they are used. They are typically opaque. This refers to compounds used in color cosmetics like foundation, eye shadows or lipsticks

Lakes – A pigment made by dissolving a water soluble dye onto an insoluble, inorganic substance such as Aluminum Hydrate.

Toners – A pigment made by precipitating a water-soluble dye as a metal salt.

True Pigments – Water soluble color compound. Chemical structure makes it insoluble.

Extender – These are compounds that are used to dilute out a color and help improve coverage. Usually they are fillers made from talc, clay, silica or zinc oxide.

Bleed – This is a characteristic of a color additive which is slightly soluble in the vehicle used to deliver the color. If the bleed is too high, it can lead to staining of skin or nails.

Mass Tone – Refers to the ability of a color additive to improve the tone of a cosmetic product. Most relevant when making dark-colored lipstick.

Shade – this is the particular color that a color molecule can impart on a surface.

Strength – This refers to the intensity of the color additive.

Transparency – Property of color that allows light to be transmitted to the substrate (e.g. the skin). To get a good coverage, you do not want high transparency.

Top Tone / Stick Tone – This is the visual appearance of the surface of the product before application.

Under Tone – This is the visual appearance of the surface of the product viewed at an angle.

Payoff – This refers to the amount of color imparted by a cosmetics upon application.

Syneresis – Expulsion of a liquid from a gel otherwise referred to as “sweating”.

MOQ – Short for Minimum Order Quantity.

PAO – Short for Period After Opening.

BOM – Short for Bill of Materials

BOL – Short for Bill of Lading

Active Ingredient – The generic term when companies are communicating the ingredient(s) that provide a physiological change to the body or the skin.

Airless Pump – A term used to denote the type of dispenser a cosmetic product comes in. Airless pumps are just that, they do not let air into the product and therefore sensitive ingredients do not oxidize or degrade. They are also great in that they help keep bacteria out of the product.

Anti-inflammatory – Alleviates inflammation.

Antioxidant – A substance that prevents or slows oxidation.

Astringent – Used to close the pores of the skin thereby improving the tone and texture and making the skin firmer.

Botanical – An ingredient derived from a plant. This may not mean that the product is natural or organic.

Comedogenic – Block pores.

Emollient – A compound that increases the moisture content of the skin by forming a barrier to prevent water-loss from the skin.

Emulsifier – A product that binds oil and water together.

Exfoliant – An agent that help to remove dead cells from the outermost layer of the skin.

Humectant – Draws moisture from the air.

Hydrophilic – Water attracting.

Hydrophobic – Water repelling.

pH – Refers to the measurement of acid or alkali. The spectrum runs from 0 to 14 where 0 is a strong acid and, 7 is neutral and 14 is very basic (corrosive).

Polymer – Is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. A polymer can be both natural or synthetic.

Preservative – Substances that preserve the formula by preventing (for a reasonable period of time) the growth of micro-organisms, or occurrence of undesirable chemical reactions, such as oxidation, that spoil it.

Stimulant – An agent that increases the physiological function of the body or skin.

Surfactant – Compounds that lower the surface tension of a liquid, the interfacial tension between two liquids, or that between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents and dispersants.

Viscosity Adjuster – In order to make a product thinner or thicker, a viscosity adjuster will be used such as a thickening agent in gels and a fat or oil in lipstick and eyeliner.