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Glamour Glossary: Understanding Common Skincare Terminology

We’ve all experienced it. Skin care terms can be incredibly daunting at times… So today I’ve come up with a list of common skin care terms and their definitions in order to clear up any confusion!

This list is composed of some terms that I find are often used on packaging without any actual explanations. I hope this clears things up for you guys, and if you want clarification on any terms not listed feel free to ask down below!

Amino Acids: Amino Acids are known as the “building blocks” of proteins. Therefore, our cells are often made up of Amino Acids and carry out many important bodily functions. It is vital that we get enough amino acids so that our cells can properly carry out their function.

Antioxidants: Antioxidants are substances that help protect your cells from free radicals, such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and radiation.

Collagen: Collagen is the main structural protein found in the tissue, and is a major component of the skin. 

Glycerine: Glycerine is a simple compound that is colorless, odorless, and widely used in cosmetics. This ingredient is meant to stimulate smoothness and lubrication. Many makeup primers include glycerine in order to get other makeup to “stick” to the skin.

Hypoallergenic: If something claims to be hypoallergenic, it means that it is highly unlikely to cause any kind of reaction. Hypoallergenic products are also known for being versatile, and can be used on any part of the body.

Microbeads: Microbeads are the little round beads often found in exfoliators. But what people don’t usually know is that many are made of plastic. Once washed off the skin and down the drain, these microbeads aren’t able to dissolve and instead are washed into the ocean where they have a severe impact on the environment. Steer clear of plastic microbeads and try to find products that use natural exfoliants instead!

Non-Comedogenic: Typically oil free cleansers that break down excess oils without stripping your skin of moisture. A “comedo” is a type of pimple that results from clogged pores- therefore if something is “non-comedogenic”, it means it is specially formulated to not clog pores.

Paraben: A paraben is a commonly used cosmetic preservative. These are known to have toxicity, and have the potential to cause allergic reactions and increased skin damage.

Peptides: A peptide is a chemical compound composed of amino acids. Peptides are used in skin care to increase the collagen being produced in the skin in order to ultimately minimize wrinkles and relax muscular activity.

Retinol: Retinol is simply a form of vitamin A. When absorbed into the skin, retinol is broken down and transformed into retinoic acid. It is this acid that controls skin cells and can control their behavior. This is commonly used as a treatment for acne and wrinkles.

Salicylic Acid: Salicylic Acid is an organic acid that, when used on the skin, sheds skin cells, opens pores and neutralizes bacteria. These affects on the skin allow for new cell growth, which is vital to clear skin.

Sulfate: A sulfate is a chemical compound found in many personal care/beauty products. Sulfates trigger a product to foam and break down oil and grease. This is why many people choose to find sulfate free shampoos/conditioners, as to avoid stripping your hair of all it’s natural oils.

Don’t forget to check back every Sunday and Wednesday for new posts 🙂

-Love, Lieve



  1. This is super informative. Thank you for posting! Working in the beauty industry I get asked these questions all the time. This is something everyone should read. Happy Easter 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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