Wondering what some of the industry specific terms mean? Or what some of the acronyms
and abbreviations we use stand for? This glossary may help.
This page was last updated March 12, 2012 - content updated April 16, 2007
- - Abrasives are used to remove unwanted tissue or foreign
materials from various body surfaces. Oatmeal powder, calcium carbonate,
clays, rice powder, poppyseed, pumice, salt, sodium bicarbonate, talc, and
cornstarch are examples of abrasives or ingredients that can function as
- - Absorbents are ingredients with a large surface area that
can attract dissolved or finely dispersed substances from another medium.
- - The distinction between absorbents and adsorbents is
sometimes difficult, but an adsorbent is a material which attaches other
substances to it's surface. Oatmeal powder, clays, calamine, calcium
carbonate, lemon and orange peel powders, pyrophyllite, talc and
cornstarch are examples of absorbents and adsorbents.
- - An antioxidant is used to prevent or slow rancidity or
deterioration from reaction with oxygen. Ascorbic acid, BHT, green tea
extract, rosemary extract and tocopherol (vitamin E) are examples of
antioxidants, however only BHT, rosemary extract and tocopherol are used
to extent the shelf life of oils.
- - Butylated HydroxyToluene
- - Binders are ingredients added to powder mixtures to provide
adhesive qualities during and after compression to make tablets. Beeswax,
guar gum, IPM, xanthan gum, oils, butters, lipids, surfactants and other
waxes are used for this function.
- - British Pharmacopoeia
- BUFFERING AGENT
- - Buffers are chemicals with the property of
maintaining the pH of an aqueous medium in a narrow range even if small
amounts of acids or bases are added. PH adjusters and buffering agents are
used to alter and maintain a product's pH at the desired level. Examples
of buffering agents are calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate.
- BULKING AGENT
- - Chemically inert, solid ingredients used to increase
the volume, extend or dilute other solids. Oatmeal powder, clays, calcium
carbonate, magnesium carbonate, pumice, talc, cornstarch and zinc oxide
are all used as bulking agents.
- - Celsius. Temperature scale previously known as centigrade. The
melting point of ice is 0°C.
- - Chemical Abstracts Service
- - Code of Federal Regulations (US)
- CHELATING AGENT
- - Also called sequestrants, ingredients that have the
ability to complex with and inactivate metallic ions in order to prevent
their adverse effects on the appearance or stability of a cosmetic.
Chelation of iron or copper ions helps retard oxidative deterioration in
products. Citric acid and tetrasodium EDTA are chelants.
- - Cosmetic Ingredient Review
- COLOR ADDITIVE
- - Approved colorants that impart colour to the skin or
products. Botanicals that are not approved color additives that yield
colour in products (alkanet root, spinach powder etc.) can not be called
colorants or color additives. Examples of color additives are annatto,
chromium hydroxide green, chromium oxide greens, iron oxides,
ultramarines, FD&C, D&C, pyrophyllite, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
- - See above.
- - Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association
- - Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association
- - Cold Process Soap
- - Cold Pressed (Expressed)
- - Drug & Cosmetic
- - DiEthanolAmine
- - DiPropylene Glycol
- - Dip Tube. Refers to the dip tube in a mist sprayer or pump.
- - Double Wall. Containers like double wall jars have
inner and outer walls, rather than being one piece like single wall jars.
Often two different materials can be used. For example our white DW jars have a
PP inner wall for a better moisture barrier and use slightly more durable
PS for the outer wall.
- - EthyleneDiamine Tetraacetic Acid
- - An ingredient that helps to maintain the soft, smooth and
pliable appearance of the skin. Emollients function by their ability to
remain on the skin surface or in the stratum corneum to improve the skin's
appearance, reduce flaking and act as a lubricant. Vegetal oils and
butters are the best examples of emollients, however many other chemicals
and substances have emollient properties.
- - An ingredient used to bind oil soluble and water soluble
ingredients. Emulsifying agents work by reducing surface tension, forming
complex films on the surface of emulsified droplets and creating a
repulsive barrier on emulsified droplets to prevent their coalescence.
Beeswax (in combination with borax only
- - in W/O), cetyl alcohol,
emulsifying wax NF, glyceryl stearate SE, polysorbates, sodium salts
(soap), stearic acid, stearyl alcohol and xanthan gum are all emulsifying
- - A relatively stable mixture of oil and water made by mixing
oil soluble and water soluble ingredients together in the presence of an
emulsifying agent. Creams and lotions are emulsions. Generally emulsions
are O/W, oil in water, where oil is the internal and water is the external
phase, or water in oil, W/O. Most creams and lotions are oil in water
- EMULSION STABILIZER
- - Ingredients that assist in the formation and
stabilization of emulsions, not as a primary emulsifier but by electrical
repulsion, film formation on the droplet surface or from changes in
viscosity. Beeswax, clays, cetyl alcohol, guar gum, lanolin, xanthan gum
are all used for this function.
- - Essential Oil
- - Fahrenheit. Temperature scale where the freezing point of
water is 32°F.
- - A Foam liner in caps and lids.
- - Food Chemicals Codex
- - Food and Drug Administration
- - Food, Drug and Cosmetic
- - Food Grade
- FL OZ
- - Fluid Ounce. A measure of volume. There are 29.57 ml in a
US fluid ounce. There are 16 fl oz in a US pint, 8 fl oz in a cup. Not the same
as an avoirdupois ounce which is a measure of weight.
- - Clear glass containers are referred to as flint in colour
rather than clear. As we use the colours to refer to containers flint, amber and cobalt
are glass; clear, brown and blue would be plastic.
- - Fragrance Oil/Fragrance
- - A mixture expressed in percentages. Unlike a recipe for a
mixture where ingredient amounts are given in volume or weight
measurements, a formula in percentages can be made in any batch size by
multiplying each ingredient's percentage by the total batch weight.
- - Fine Rib. Refers to the ribbing on the side of caps and lids, where
there are raised "ribs" rather that being smooth.
- - Federal Trade Commision
- - Gram. A unit of mass. 1ml of water weighs 1g. There are 1000 g in
a kilogram (kg), 454 g in a pound, 28.35 g in an ounce.
- - Goats Milk
- - Goats Milk Soap
- - Glyceryl MonoStearate/Glyceryl Stearate
- GMS SE
- - Glyceryl MonoStearate Self Emulsifying/Glyceryl Stearate
- - Generally Recognized As Safe
- - High Density PolyEthylene plastic
- - Health Protection Branch
- - Used to retard moisture loss from a product, also for
moisturizing skin, increasing water content of the top layers of skin.
Aloe vera gel, glycerin, honey and propylene glycol are humectants.
- - Ingredient Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient
- INGREDIENT LIST
- - The composition of a finished product expressed in
INCI terms, listed in descending order by weight.
- - IsoPropyl Myristate
- - KiloGram. A unit of mass. There are 2.205 pounds in a kilogram.
Commonly referred to as a kilo.
- - Potassium Hydroxide/Caustic Potash/Potassium Lye
- - Litre. A unit of volume. Roughly just over a quart. There are 1000ml
in a litre, or 33.8 fluid ounces. An imperial gallon contains 4.54L, a US gallon
- - Low Density PolyEthylene plastic
- - MonoEthanolAmine
- - MilliLitre. A unit of volume. There are 1000 ml in a litre, 250 ml
in a cup, 29.6 ml in a US fluid ounce.
- - MilliMetre. A unit of length. There are 10mm in a centimetre, 1000mm
in a metre.
- - Melt and Pour (soap base)
- - Melt and Pour Soap
- - Sodium Hydroxide/Caustic Soda/Lye
- - A subjective term used to describe some version of "produced
by or existing in nature". The exact meaning depends on the definition of
it by the one using the term. Generally it refers to ingredients or
products that are not synthetic or man made. In the marketplace it is used
in so many different ways as to be completely meaningless. Some use it to
describe only materials of botanical origin, excluding animal and mineral,
others use it to describe botanical and animal origin materials, excluding
mineral and some definitions include all three. The strictest definition
may include only materials of botanical source that have not been altered
by man. The widest definition would include botanical, animal and mineral
source materials, including petroleum products from the biomass. It can
mean anything between those two definitions however.
- It can also be used to
distinguish between two types of the same material, the natural being unrefined.
- - A plastic colour, usually HDPE, that is translucent.
- - National Formulary
- - Natural
- OIL PHASE
- - Refers to the phase in a formula (emulsion) that contains
the oils, oil soluble ingredients and usually the emulsifier(s).
- OPACIFYING AGENT
- - Ingredients added to a formula to reduce it's clear
or transparent appearance. Some provide the pearly appearance desired in
shampoos etc. Clays, calamine, calcium carbonate, cetyl alcohol, magnesium
carbonate, pyrophyllite, talc and titanium dioxide are used as opacifying
- - Oriented PolyEthylene Terephthalate plastic
- - Over The Counter, drugs or cosmeceuticals.
- - Oil in Water (emulsion)
- - Ounce. A measure of weight. There are 28.35 g in an avoirdupois ounce
(or dry ounce). There are 16 oz in a pound. Not the same as a fluid ounce.
- - Para-AminoBenzoic Acid
- - Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid
- - PolyEthylene Glycol
- PER LB
- - Usually refers to per pound of oils in a soap formula. Often
the use rate of an additive or fragrance in soap will be expressed as an
amount based on the oil weight of the formula rather than the entire
formula. For example a fragrance may be used at a rate of 20ml per lb.,
meaning that in a 10lb. oil weight batch, 200ml of fragrance would be
- - PolyEthylene Terephthalate plastic, also referred to as
polyester. Commonly referred to as pet.
- - PolyEthylene Terephthalate plastic
- - PolyEthylene Terephthalate Glycolate plastic
- - Propylene Glycol
- - Phenolic plastic
- - Pack
- - PolyPropylene plastic
- - Ingredient which prevents or retards microbial growth
and protects the product from spoilage.
- - PolyStyrene plastic
- - Pressure Sensitive foam liners
in caps and lids that affix to the top of the container when the lid is applied.
The end user peels the liner off to access the product. Often printed with SFYP.
- - Product Safety Branch
- - PolyVinyl Chloride plastic
- - Quantity Sufficient
- - Round Base
- - A list of ingredients (usually expressed in volume or weight
measurements) giving proper directions for compounding, cooking etc.
- - Research Institute for Fragrance Materials
- - Round
- - Rosemary Oil Extract/ROsemary Extract/Rosemary Oleoresin Extract. A
deodorized rosemary oleoresin product used as a natural anti-oxidant to extend the
shelf life of ois.
- - Saponification value or number. Usually expressed as an average
number of the actual range. Each fat and oil has a SAP range which
expresses the amount of potassium hydroxide (KOH) required to saponify it.
These ranges or a number that is the average of the range are used to do
the calculations to figure out how much sodium hydroxide to use in a soap
formula. Please note that when you see a SAP number or value, it refers to
the KOH calculation. To formulate a soap please use our Soaper's
Spreadsheet on our downloads page
where the calculations have already been done for you.
- - Square Base
- - Steam Distilled
- - Sealed For Your Protection
- - Smooth
- - Solubilizing agents aid in the dissolution of an
ingredient in a medium in which it is not otherwise soluble. For example
emulsifying an oil soluble fragrance in water. In this example, the
product is considered emulsified if it doesn't separate, but is usually
opaque or cloudy, whereas it would be considered solubilized if the
emulsion was water clear because the droplets are smaller than the
wavelength of light. Polysorbates are solubilizers.
- - Non-specified species
- - Square
- - Straight Sided
- - Single Wall
- - Tamper Evident
- - TriEthanolAmine
- - An ingredient used to increase the hardness, solidity of a
product. Waxes, butters, hard butters, cetyl alcohol, stearic acid, gums
and other ingredients are used for this purpose.
- - United States Pharmacopoeia. Ingredients and raw materials with
the USP designation are pharmaceutical grade.
- - The state, quality, property or degree of being semifluid.
Often used to refer to the thickness, pourability or liquidity of a
- WATER PHASE
- - The phase in a formula (emulsion) that contains the
water and water soluble ingredients.
- - With
- - Water in Oil (emulsion)
- - White
- - Weight for weight or By Weight.