Skincare Dictionary 101

Skincare can be confusing, we all know that. But being well educated and informed on what skincare buzz words really mean can help you better understand your skin and discover what will work best for YOU. We have simplified the definitions of common skincare jargon to keep things open and transparent.


Active ingredients in skincare are the elements that make skincare work effectively. The activities directly link to the benefits the product claims on the labels, for example, repair, rejuvenate, heal, hydrate, protect and promote healthy cell growth, etc. Good skincare products usually contain one or many active ingredients, although their strengths level could vary massively depend on the formula. Cosmetics regulations globally require that all ingredients be listed clearly on packaging to help consumers make informed choices.


Preservatives are substances intended to help inhibit the development of microorganisms in the product to preserve and ensure the durability of the formula found in our skincare. It is crucial to ensure product safety throughout the product lifecycle. Cosmetics regulations globally have explicit restrictions on usage. Only substances that have proven long safety data are allowed to use at a safe level for humans.

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Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances (vitamins and minerals) that help protect the skin’s surface against oxidative damage caused by free radicals and environmental aggressors like UV rays, pollution, chemicals and cigarette smoke. Antioxidants can neutralize those free radicals to minimise the damage to your skin; they can also have other benefits like brightening skin, calming irritation and even smooth fine lines.

Free Radicals

Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage our skin cells. These molecules are missing an electron, so they end up looking to steal an electron from stable molecules in order to balance themselves out. They break down the collagen in our skin resulting in fine lines, wrinkles and sagging.

Double Cleansing

Double cleansing usually refers to using two different types of cleansers: first, an oil-based one followed by a water-based one to thoroughly cleanse your skin from environmental aggressors such as pollution, dust, and weather exposure. However, there is no clear evidence that “double cleansing” can only be achieved using two products.

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Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)

BHAs are a group of acids predominantly made up of salicylic acid in skincare and are oil-soluble that work deep into pores and target oil glands to decrease oil secretion. They break down the connection between skin cells to  dissolve skin debris that clogs pores. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it excellent for oily prone skin.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA)

AHAs are a group of acids naturally found in fruits, milk, or sugar cane. These water-soluble acids exfoliate the skin surface to varying degrees, so new, more even pigmented cells are replaced. They stimulate collagen production to decrease the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.


Short chains of amino acids that are the building blocks for proteins such as collagen and elastin and decrease fine lines and wrinkles for a firmer appearance.

If you want to discover more about the specific ingredients we use in our skincare, head over to our ingredient glossary for simplified definitions of the very best tried, tested and trusted ingredients.

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