Cosmetic Ingredients Glossary

Natural Ingredients

Soapnut (also known as Soapberry)

Also known as Soapberries, are berries harvested from  the Sapindus tree family, native to warm tropical climates. When converted to a pulp it becomes a surfactant and can used as soap. Soapnut has no known side effects when used topically, and causes no irritation to skin, hair or scalp. A study of soap berry in Ethopia found reports of soap berry (Phytolacca dodecandra) was used not only for soap but also medicine including skin itching (ringworm), gonorrhea, intestinal worms, anthrax, and rabies.

Decyl Glucoside

A natural non-ionic surfactant, it comes from renewable raw materials by combining plant based fatty alcohols (from coconut) and glucose (corn starch). While able to make a satisfactory foam similar to anionic surfactants, Decyl Glucoside is mild and gentle a detergent because it doesn’t dry skin.


Un-Natural Ingredients

Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB)

Is used as a surfactant in many personal care products including soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics. It is a mixture of organic compounds derived from coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. CAPB is used as a foam booster, surfactant, and emulsifying agent and thickener in cosmetics. CAPB has been found to cause allergic contact dermatitis (allergies), however most tests found allergic reaction occurred mostly when other compounds were present.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (also known as SLS or SLES)

And anionic detergent and surfactant. SLES is prepared by ethoxylation of dodecyl alcohol, the result is converted to half ester of sulfuric acid, which is neutralized by conversion to sodium salt. SLS, SLES, and ALS are all known to be irritants when tested on the eyes and skin of animals and humans. SLES also contains 300 ppm of 1,4 Dioxane, a byproduct classified by the US state of California to cause cancer, and by the US EPA as a probable carcinogen.