Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (2024)

Water (Aqua)

Also-called: Aqua | What-it-does: solvent

Good old water, aka H2O. The most common skincare ingredient of all. You can usually find it right in the very first spot of the ingredient list, meaning it’s the biggest thing out of all the stuff that makes up the product.

It’s mainly a solvent for ingredients that do not like to dissolve in oils but rather in water.

Once inside the skin, it hydrates, but not from the outside - putting pure water on the skin (hello long baths!) is drying.

One more thing: the water used in cosmetics is purified and deionized (it means that almost all of the mineral ions inside it is removed). Like this, the products can stay more stable over time.

Linseed Gel (Linum Usitatissimum)

This ingredient name is not according to the INCI-standard. :( What, why?!

Cetearyl Alcohol

What-it-does: emollient, viscosity controlling, emulsifying, emulsion stabilising, surfactant/cleansing | Irritancy: 1 | Comedogenicity: 2

An extremely common multitasker ingredient that gives your skin a nice soft feel (emollient) and gives body to creams and lotions. It also helps to stabilize oil-water mixes (emulsions), though it does not function as an emulsifier in itself. Its typical use level in most cream type formulas is 2-3%.

It’s a so-called fatty alcohol, a mix of cetyl and stearyl alcohol, other two emollient fatty alcohols. Though chemically speaking, it is alcohol (as in, it has an -OH group in its molecule), its properties are totally different from the properties of low molecular weight or drying alcohols such as denat. alcohol. Fatty alcohols have a long oil-soluble (and thus emollient) tailpart that makes them absolutelynon-drying and non-irritating and are totally ok for the skin.

Glycerine - superstar

Also-called: Glycerol;Glycerin | What-it-does: skin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/humectant | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0

  • A natural moisturizer that’s also in our skin
  • A super common, safe, effective and cheap molecule used for more than 50 years
  • Not only a simple moisturizer but knows much more: keeps the skin lipids between our skin cells in a healthy (liquid crystal) state, protects against irritation, helps to restore barrier
  • Effective from as low as 3% with even more benefits for dry skin at higher concentrations up to 20-40%
  • High-glycerin moisturizers are awesome for treating severely dry skin

Read all the geeky details about Glycerin here >>

Fragrance - icky

Also-called: Fragrance, Parfum;Parfum/Fragrance | What-it-does: perfuming

Exactly what it sounds: nice smelling stuff put into cosmetic products so that the end product also smells nice. Fragrance in the US and parfum in the EU is a generic term on the ingredient list that is made up of 30 to 50 chemicals on average (but it can have as much as 200 components!).

If you are someone who likes to know what you put on your face then fragrance is not your best friend - there's no way to know what’s really in it.

Also, if your skin is sensitive, fragrance is again not your best friend. It’s the number one cause of contact allergy to cosmetics. It’s definitely a smart thing to avoid with sensitive skin (and fragrance of any type - natural is just as allergic as synthetic, if not worse!).

Ethyl Macadamiate

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (1) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Propylene Glycol

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant, solvent | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0

  • It's a helper ingredient that improves the freeze-thaw stability of products
  • It's also a solvent, humectant and to some extent a penetration enhancer
  • It has a bad reputation among natural cosmetics advocates but cosmetic scientists and toxicology experts do not agree (read more in the geeky details section)

Read all the geeky details about Propylene Glycol here >>

PVP (Polyvinylpyrrolidone)

Also-called: Poly Vinyl Pyrollidone | What-it-does: viscosity controlling, emulsion stabilising | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0

These three letters stand for Poly Vinyl Pyrollidone, a big molecule created from repeated units of Vinyl Pyrrolidone, aka VP. Its main thing is being an importantfilm former. It was the first synthetic polymer introduced as a hair fixative in the 1950s instead of insect-derivedShellac.

So PVP likes to attach itself to surfaces such as the hair and the skin and forms a nice, thin, even film there. The film is useful for holding ahairstyleor extending the wear of color cosmetics and sunscreens. The disadvantage of PVP is that the film is a bit brittle and that PVP loves water (hygroscopic) that tends to destroy the film. This is the reason why hair styled with a PVP based product loses its style in high humidity. To fix this problem, there are now several versions of VP containing film formers that are less sensitive to humidity, for example, the molecule called VP/VA Copolymer.

Coconut

This ingredient name is not according to the INCI-standard. :( What, why?!

Vinegar

Also-called: Acetum

The thing that you put on your salad with some olive oil. But in a more scientific sensevinegar is usually a 5% solution ofacetic acid. It's used in cosmetic products to adjust pH. Largamounts of vinegar on the skin could be irritating and drying.

Molasses

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (2) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Behentrimonium Chloride

What-it-does: preservative

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (3) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Squalane - goodie

What-it-does: skin-identical ingredient, emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 1

It seems to us that squalane is in fashion and there is a reason for it. Chemically speaking, it is a saturated (no double bonds) hydrocarbon (a molecule consisting only of carbon and hydrogen), meaning that it's a nice and stable oily liquid with a long shelf life.

It occurs naturally in certain fish and plant oils (e.g. olive), and in the sebum (the oily stuff our skin produces) of the human skin. As f.c. puts it in his awesome blog post, squalane's main things are"emolliency, surface occlusion, and TEWL prevention all with extreme cosmetic elegance". In other words, it's a superb moisturizer that makes your skin nice and smooth, withoutbeing heavy or greasy.

Another advantage of squalane is that it is pretty much compatible with all skin types and skin conditions. It isexcellent for acne-prone skin and safe to use even if you have fungi-related skin issues, likeseborrhea or fungal acne.

The unsaturated (with double bonds) and hence less stable version ofSqualane is Squalene, youcan read about it here >>

Bergamot Oil (Citrus Aurantium Bergamia) - icky

Also-called: Bergamot Essential Oil;Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Peel Oil | What-it-does: perfuming

The essential oil coming from the peel of the bergamot orange. It's a common top note in perfumes and contains (among others) fragrant compounds limonene (37%),linalyl acetate (30%) and linalool (8.8%).

Fragrant compounds smell nice but are common allergens and can be a problem for sensitive skin types. The bigger problem with bergamot oil though, is that it also contains furanocoumarins (more specifically,bergapten and bergamottin) that have well-documented phototoxic effects. A phototoxic reaction is a not nice one causing red,edematous lesions on the affected area.We think it is a good idea to avoid bergamot oil but if you have a product that you love,make sure to use it at night only.

Nowadays, furanocoumarin-free versions of bergamot oil are also available and more and more common, and they usually go by the INCI name Bergamot Fruit Oil.

Litsea Cubeba Oil

What-it-does: perfuming

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (4) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Olibanum Oil (Boswellia Carterii)

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (5) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Cetrimonium Chloride

What-it-does: antimicrobial/antibacterial, emulsifying, preservative, surfactant/cleansing

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (6) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa) - goodie

Also-called: Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil | What-it-does: antioxidant, emollient

When it comes to cosmetic oils and hype, argan oil is for sure leading the way. Dubbed as the "liquid gold of Morocco", we have to admit we have some trouble determining why this oil enjoys such a special miracle status. Not that it's not good, it is good, even greatbut reading the research about argan and a bunch of other plant oils we just do not see the big, unique differentiating factor (though that might be our fault not reading enough, obvs.)

So, argan oil comes from the kernel of the argan fruit that comes from the argan tree that grows only in Morocco. The tree is slow growingand getting the oil is a hard job. The traditional process is that the ripe argan fruits fallfrom the tree, then goats eat them up and poop out the seeds. The seedsare collected and smashed with a stone to get the kernels inside. This part is the hard one as the seeds have extremely hard shells. Once the kernels are obtained, the oil is pressed out from them (the kernels contain about 50% oil).

As for skincare, argan oil is loaded with lots of skin goodies (but so are many other plant oils): it contains 80% nourishing and moisturizing unsaturatedfatty acids, mainly oleic (38-50%), linoleic (28-38%) and palmitic (10-18%). It also contains a relatively large amount of antioxidant vitamin E (600-900 mg/kg, about twice as much as olive), small amounts of antioxidant phenols (including caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and epicatechin), as well as some rare sterols with soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Thanks to all the above goodness in argan oil, it can greatly nourish and moisturize the skin and hair. It's also claimed to be able to neutralize collagen-damaging free radicals, help reduce scars, and revitalize and improve skin elasticity. You can even read that argan might help acne-prone skin, but being a high oleic oil, we would be careful with that.

All in all, argan oil is a real goodie but we do not fully understand the special miracle status it enjoys.

Fair Trade Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao) - goodie

Also-called: Cocoa Seed Butter;Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter | What-it-does: emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 4

Theobroma means "food of the gods" in Greek though probably "treat of the people" would be more spot on. The cacao fruits and especially the seeds in it need no introduction as everyone knows them as the magical raw material of the magical sweet treat,chocolate(the flavour is composed of more than 1200(!) substances, and the exact chemical nature of it is not really understood, so it's indeed magic. :)).

As for skincare, cocoa butter counts as a rich emollient that can moisturize and nourish even the driest skin (think chapped hands or lips). It's solid at room temperature and melts nicely when you smear it on. It's loaded with good-for-the-skin things: it contains fatty acids, mainly oleic (35%), stearic (34%), and palmitic (25%) and it also has antioxidant vitamin E and polyphenols.

An ex-vivo (made on human skin but not on real people) study examined the cocoa polyphenols and found that 0.5-0.75% of themimproved skin tone and elasticity and had a similarly positive impact on GAGs (important natural moisturizing factors in the skin) and collagen synthesis than a commercial high-end moisturizer (it was an Estee Lauder one).

All in all, cocoa butter is a goodie, especially for very dry skin.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera) - goodie

Also-called: Coconut Oil;Cocos Nucifera Oil | What-it-does: emollient, perfuming | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 4

There is definitely some craze going on for coconut oil both in the healthy eating space (often claimed to be the healthiest oil to cook with but this is a topic for another site) and in the skin and hair care space.

We will talkhere about the latter two and seewhy we might want to smear it all over ourselves. Chemically speaking, coconutoil has a unique fatty acid profile. Unlike many plant oils that mostly contain unsaturatedfatty acids (fatty acids with double bonds and kinky structure such as linoleic or oleic), coconut oil is mostly saturated (fatty acids with single bonds only) and its most important fatty acid is Lauric Acid(about 50%). Saturated fatty acids have alinear structure that can stack niceand tight and hence they are normally solid at room temperature. Coconut oil melts around 25°C so it is solid in the tub but melts on contact with the skin.

The saturated nature of coconut oil also means that it is a heavy-duty-oil ideal for dry skin types. A double-blind research confirmed that extra virgin coconut oilis as effective in treating xerosis (aka very dry skin) as mineral oil.Another study found that coconut oil is more effective than mineral oil in treatingmild to moderate atopic dermatitis (aka eczema) in children.

So when it comes to dry skin,coconut oil is a goodie, noquestionthere. The question is ifit is good or bad for acne-prone skin. Its main fatty acid, Lauric Acid has some research showing that it is a promising ingredient againstevil acne-causing bacteria, P. acnes but at the same time, both Lauric Acid and coconut oil have a very high comedogenic rating (4 out of 5). Though comedogenic ratings are not very reliable, anecdotal evidence (i.e. people commenting in forums) shows that people havemixed experiences. While some claim that it worked wonders on their acne others say that it gave them serious blackheads and zits. Try it at your own risk.

As for hair care, coconut oil has pretty solid research showing that it can penetrate into the hair very well (better than mineral oil and sunflower oil) and it can prevent hair protein loss as well as combing damage. If you have problems with damaged hair, split ends, coconut oil is worth trying as a pre- or/and post-wash treatment. Labmuffin has an awesome blogpost explaining in more detail why coconut oil is good for your hair.

A couple of other things worth mentioning: coconut oil might help with wound healing (promising animal study), it has some antifungal activity (against dermatophytes that cause the thing known as ringworm) and it also works as an insect repellent against blackflies.

Overall, coconut oil is definitely a goodie for the hair and dry skin. If that warrants for the magic oil status it enjoys, we don't know.

Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis) - goodie

Also-called: Jojoba Oil;Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil | What-it-does: emollient | Irritancy: 0 | Comedogenicity: 0-2

Jojoba is a drought resistant evergreen shrub native to South-western North America. It's known and grown for jojoba oil, the golden yellow liquid coming from the seeds (about 50% of the weight of the seeds will be oil).

At first glance, it seems like your average emollient plant oil: it looks like an oil and it's nourishing and moisturizing to the skin but if we dig a bit deeper, it turns out that jojoba oil is really special and unique: technically - or rather chemically - it's not an oil but awax ester (and calling it an oil is kind of sloppy).

So what the heck is a wax ester and why is that important anyway? Well, to understand what a wax ester is, you first have to know that oils are chemically triglycerides:one glycerin + three fatty acids attached to it. The fatty acids attached to the glycerin vary and thus we have many kinds of oils, but they are alltriglycerides. Mother Nature created triglycerides to be easily hydrolyzed (bebroken down to a glycerin + 3 fatty acid molecules) and oxidized (the fatty acid is broken down into small parts) - this happens basically when we eat fats or oils and our body generates energy from it.

Mother Nature also created wax esters but for a totally different purpose. Chemically, a wax ester is a fatty acid + a fatty alcohol, one long molecule. Wax esters are on the outer surface of several plant leaves to give them environmental protection. 25-30% of human sebum is also wax esters to give uspeople environmental protection.

So being a wax ester results in a couple of unique properties: First, jojoba oil is extremely stable. Like crazy stable. Even if you heat it to 370 C (698 F) for 96 hours, it does notbudge. (Many plant oils tend to go off pretty quickly). If you have some pure jojoba oil at home, you should be fine using it for years.

Second, jojoba oil is the most similar to human sebum (both being wax esters), and the two are completely miscible. Acne.org has this not fully proven theory that thanks to this, jojoba might be able to "trick" the skin into thinking it has already produced enough sebum, so it might have "skin balancing" properties for oily skin.

Third, jojoba oil moisturizes the skin through a unique dual action:on the one hand, it mixes with sebum and forms a thin, non-greasy, semi-occlusive layer; on the other hand, it absorbs into the skin through pores and hair follicles thendiffuses into the intercellular spaces of the outer layer of the skin to make it soft and supple.

On balance, the point is this: in contrast to real plant oils, wax esters were designed by Mother Nature to stay on the surface and forma protective, moisturizing barrier and jojoba oil being a wax ester is uniquely excellent at doing that.

Soya Lecithin - goodie

What-it-does: emollient, emulsifying

A very common ingredient that can be found inall cell membranes. In cosmetics it's quite the multi-tasker: it's an emollient and water-binding ingredient but it's also an emulsifier and can be used for stabilization purposes. It's also often used to create liposomes.

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein - goodie

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

A chemically chopped up version of wheat protein that consists mainly ofamino acids (the building blocks), peptides (a couple of amino acids together), and proteins (lots of amino acids together).

It has moisturizing and film-forming properties and might be able tocounteractthe irritating effects of cleansing agents in cleansers and shampoos. It can also conditionand repairdamaged hair leaving it soft, silky and smooth.

Lutein

Also-called: Xanthophylls

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (7) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Hydroxystearic/​Linolenic/​Oleic Polyglycerides

What-it-does: emollient, emulsion stabilising

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (8) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

Phenoxyethanol

What-it-does: preservative

It’s pretty much the current IT-preservative. It’s safe and gentle, but even more importantly, it’s not a feared-by-everyone-mostly-without-scientific-reason paraben.

It’s not something new: it was introduced around 1950 and today it can be used up to 1% worldwide. It can be found in nature - in green tea - but the version used in cosmetics is synthetic.

Other than having a good safety profile and being quite gentle to the skin it has some other advantages too. It can be used in many types of formulations as it has great thermal stability (can be heated up to 85°C) and works on a wide range of pH levels (ph 3-10).

It’s often used together with ethylhexylglycerin as it nicely improves the preservative activity of phenoxyethanol.

Benzyl Alcohol

What-it-does: preservative, perfuming, solvent, viscosity controlling

It's one of those things that help your cosmetics not to go wrong too soon, aka a preservative. It can be naturally found in fruits and teas but can also be made synthetically.

No matter the origin, in small amounts (up to 1%) it’s a nice, gentle preservative. Has to be combined with some other nice preservatives, like potassium sorbateto be broad spectrum enough.

In high amounts, it can be a skin irritant, but don’t worry, it’s never used in high amounts.

Amyl Cinnamal

What-it-does: perfuming

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (9) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

*Benzyl Cinnamate

What-it-does: perfuming

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (10) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

*Cinnamal

What-it-does: perfuming

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (11) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

*Cinnamyl Alcohol

What-it-does: perfuming

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (12) We don't have description for this ingredient yet.

*Citral - icky

What-it-does: perfuming

It’s a common fragrance ingredient that smells like lemon and has a bittersweet taste. It can be found in many plant oils, e.g. lemon, orange, lime or lemongrass.

It’s one of the “EU 26 fragrances” that has to be labelled separately (and cannot be simply included in the term “fragrance/perfume” on the label) because of allergen potential. Best to avoid if your skin is sensitive.

*Geraniol - icky

What-it-does: perfuming

Geraniol is a common fragrance ingredient. It smells like rose and can be found in rose oil or in small quantities in geranium, lemon and many other essential oils.

Just like other similar fragrance ingredients (like linalool and limonene) geraniol also oxidises on air exposure and becomes allergenic. Best to avoid if you have sensitive skin.

*Limonene - icky

What-it-does: perfuming, solvent, deodorant

A supercommon and cheap fragrance ingredient. It's in many plants, e.g. rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and it's the main component (about 50-90%) of the peel oil of citrus fruits.

It does smellnice but the problemis that it oxidizes on air exposure and the resulting stuff is not good for the skin. Oxidizedlimonene cancause allergic contact dermatitis and counts asa frequent skin sensitizer.

Limonene's nr1 function is definitely being a fragrance component, but there are several studies showing that it's also a penetration enhancer, mainly for oil-loving components.

All in all, limonene has some pros and cons, but - especially if your skin is sensitive -the cons probably outweigh the pros.

*Linalool - icky

What-it-does: perfuming, deodorant

Linalool is a super common fragrance ingredient. It’s kind of everywhere - both in plants and in cosmetic products. It’s part of 200 natural oils including lavender, ylang-ylang, bergamot, jasmine, geranium and it can be found in 90-95% of prestige perfumes on the market.

The problem with linalool is, that just like limoneneit oxidises on air exposure and becomes allergenic. That’s why a product containing linalool that has been opened for several months is more likely to be allergenic than a fresh one.

A study made in the UK with 483 people tested the allergic reaction to 3% oxidised linalool and 2.3% had positive test results.

Lush Curl Power ingredients (Explained) (2024)
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