The Good Skincare Ingredient Dictionary

The 10 BEST proven-to-work Natural skincare ingredients to keep you looking fabulous


Hello, Gorgeous!

Derived from nature, these ingredients are our secret weapons for beautiful skin!

Reading the back of a skincare product can be a lot like trying to decode a made-up foreign language, which makes a lot of us skip over the research and blindly put our trust into a product without actually knowing what the ingredients are doing for our complexion. Similar to how particular we all are with what we put into our body, reading the ingredients on the food we consume, what we put on our body is important too. While there are lots of resources out there placing caution signs around the toxic ingredients to avoid at all costs, like synthetic fragrance, parabens, and polyethylene glycol, we are here to let you know the good ingredients to look for.


Good Acids

Sugarcane where glycolic acid is derived

Sugarcane where glycolic acid is derived

Glycolic Acid

  • What it is: Glycolic acid is derived from sugarcane,  and is part of the AHA acid group, which means it is pulled from naturally occuring acids in fruit.

  • What it does: This particular acid works as a great exfoliant, because of its tiny molecular size, it is able to dig in and pull out all your dead skin cells, as well as stimulating new cell growth, resulting in a smooth complexion.



Citric Acid

What it is: Citric acid is another AHA derived from grapefruit or other citrus plants, but is a little gentler than glycolic acid, but nonetheless, another environmentally friendly ingredient.

  • What it does: This acid is a gentler exfoliant that works to resurface the uppermost layer of the skin.



Lactic Acid

What it is: An AHA acid derived from fermented milk or sugar.

What it does: Lactic acid is great for exfoliating and hydrating skin by flaking off the dead skin cells that deter moisture from entering the skin.


Good oils

Sunflower oil

  • What it is: Sunflower oil is derived from sunflower seeds, and packed with rich fatty acids.

  • What it does: Fatty acids work wonders for moisturizing the skin, and sunflower oil especially has loads of Vitamin E and natural antioxidants to aid the moisture effect.



Rosehip oil

What it is: Not to be confused with rose oil, rosehip oil is derived from cold pressed seeds of wild rose bushes.

What it does: This oil is filled with retinol, Vitamin C and fatty acids, all of which boosts collagen and elastin for firm, healthy looking skin.



Argan oil

What it is: Argan oil is derived from the argan nut from Morocco, and is a fatty acid and Vitamin E rich oil.

What it does: This oil is moisturizing but stays light on the skin, and protects the skin’s natural barrier to keep pollutants out.


Other good ingredients

Shea butter

What it is: Shea butter comes from the seeds of the African karite tree, and is packed with natural fats, oils and waxes that moisturize the skin.

What it does: Shea butter has been used in skincare for ages because of it’s intense moisturizing properties. This conditioning agent slows the cell degeneration process, which means your skin will create less dead skin cells.


Carnauba Wax 

What it is: Carnauba Wax is harvested from Brazilian palm leaves, and has a gentle exfoliating effect on the skin.

What it does: It is a sustainable, natural alternative to synthetic thickening agents, while also acting as a protective barrier on the skin.


Aloe Vera

What it is: Aloe vera is a succulent plant that has a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins in the inner gel that is extracted and used for skincare.

What it does: This ingredient is known to repair the skin of sun damage, as well as help prevent fine lines and wrinkles because of its amino acids, lipids, and vitamins that soak the skin barrier.


Knowing how ingredients are sourced and where exactly they come from is an important step when fact-checking your clean skincare, especially since greenwashing is taking over the beauty industry. Whether you are an experienced skincare-ingredient-reader, or you are just learning the basics, these are a great place to start.

–Delilah Eby