Glossary of Cosmetic and Chemical Terms
Organic compounds consisting of a hydrocarbon chain with a carboxyl group at one end. Normally a carboxylic acid with at least 4 carbon atoms is considered a fatty acid. Fatty acids can be natural or synthesised and are either saturated or unsaturated.
Alcohols primarily derived from natural fats and oils used in cosmetics products as emulsifiers, thickeners and emollients.
Added to a product to generate a continuous film when applied to a surface e.g. in face masks, nail varnish and hair styling products.
|Fixing Agent/ Fixative
A chemical compound that sets something. Used in hair styling products to maintain the hold and shape of the style.
Added to detergents to increase suds or lather.
Chemicals that produce suds or lather.
Atoms with unpaired electrons that attempt to stabilise themselves by ‘stealing’ electrons from the closest stable atoms. The newly formed unstable atoms become free radicals, initiating a chain reaction that becomes a major problem when they harm vital cellular components such as DNA and cellular membranes.
A substance used to destroy or inhibit the growth of fungi.