In Other Words…Cosmetic Language

Posted by: on Aug 15, 2011 | No Comments

Recently a customer of mine asked me why the ingredients on products are always in a “different” language – why can’t they just be written in plain English.

The “different” language he’s referring to is the INCI form of the ingredients. INCI stands for Ingredient Nomenclature Classification….

If you can refer back to biology class and recall that animals fall under the classifications of different species, classes and kingdoms. The same holds true for the ingredients used in cosmetics. Lavender essential oil comes from different parts of the world. There’s Bulgarian lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), French lavender (Lavandula dentate), Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas), and so forth. But while these may be all lavender some components are not the same. Therefore they all have a distinct name or INCI.

It’s also important for formulators to know what the INCI is for their ingredients as different suppliers can sell the same ingredients but can be comprised of different components. For example, emulsifying wax used as an emulsion in body products can be different from one supplier to another. One supplier will list it as emulsifying wax NF but another will list it as Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Polysorbate 60 . The difference in the two that they both can lend a different “feel” in an emulsified base such as lotion. They’re both good! but one may give the lotion extra “glide”.

INCI is important because it is what the FDA requires of every cosmetic product sold for the purpose of safety to consumers. We all have different reactions to different things either man-made or natural. Knowing the ingredients on the label is very important to recognize to prevent an allergic reaction.

Our Ingredients

Posted by: on Feb 17, 2011 | No Comments

As BrooklynBath is growing with its product line I figured I should take some time to explain what are some of the ingredients that I like to use and why.
Through the course of learning and product development I have learned about different vegetable and fruit oils, their properties and how they can contribute to beautiful skin! One of the natural by-products of handcrafted soap is that glycerin is retained in the soap. Glycerin is a humectant that helps attract moisture to the skin. In commercial soaps glycerin is a commodity. It is extracted from the soap manufacturing process and used in other body products such as lotions.
Here are my base oils that I use for making  soap:

1. Coconut Oil – provides a fluffy lather to soap. It’s high in lauric acid which is also found in human milk (breast).  It is highly praised as a “natural skin conditioner” as it easily penetrates skin and hair follicles.

2. Palm Oil – I like using palm oil because it provides the “hardness” that I need in a bar of soap. We use sustainable palm oil.

3. Olive Oil – not just for cooking! Olive oil has been known to have moisturizing properties. It is widely used in skin and hair products.

4. Castor Oil – a multi-purpose oil that is used in such a variety of different things. I like using castor oil because it gives my soap “extra” bubbles.

These oils alone make a great bar of soap. Personally, I barely use lotion after my shower now that I use handmade soap with the oils listed above. My skin feels less dry and much smoother.

From time to time I do add an extra oil such as sweet almond oil, mango butter, avocado oil, etc. for a super luxurious bar. Keep tuned! I will come out with some of these luxurious bars of soap soon enough.

Ingredient Profile: Mango Butter

Posted by: on Jun 15, 2010 | 2 Comments

I just received a bag of mango butter and I must say I am in love! At first I wasn’t sure what to expect but very clearly from the first application of this butter on my skin I knew I can never be without. So what is mango butter and what is it good for? Let’s look at the profile for this incredible butter.

INCI:Mangifera indica (Mango) Seed Butter


Mango Butter

Color: pale gold

Shelf Life: 1 – 2 Years

Mango butter is an odorless butter obtained from the kernels of the mango tree. Although solid at room temperature it melts on contact.  It  has a melting point of about 100 degrees higher than that of shea butter (about 85 degrees).  Because of this it makes it an ideal raw ingredient to use in solid bath products such as lip balms and lotion bars. In fact, it is a great alternative butter to that of shea butter to use in the summer months.

Like all butters, mango butter is moisturizing for the skin. It is said to help the skin retain its elasticity and it is a great ingredient to use for people with eczema and/or psoriasis.

It can be used as is or in combination with other soft oils in the formulation of bath products and soap. The usage rate can go as high as 100% for solid bath products.

Ingredient Profile: Olive Oil

Posted by: on Feb 4, 2010 | No Comments

INCI: Olea Europea Fruit Oil

INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. It is a system of names for waxes, oils, pigments, chemicals, and other ingredients of soaps and cosmetics. The labeling of ingredients in any given product is listed in INCI format.

One of the most versatile  oils ever used is Olive Oil.  It is widely used in cooking food, soapmaking and cosmetics, pharmaceuticals.

It derives from the Mediterranean region and comes in a variety grades.  The grade is dependent on the process of extraction.

Grades of Olive Oil

  • Virgin:  oil was extracted without any chemicals.  Rather it was extracted by physical means.
  • Extra-virgin:  oil is commonly used in salads and cooking. It is derived solely from virgin oil.
  • Pomace: oil was extracted by heat using chemicals or solvents; this is also a less expensive grade of olive oil.
  • Refined: oil was extracted using chemicals and all taste and smell elements have been removed. This is considered to be a lesser grade of oil.
  • Pure: oil is a blend of virgin and refined olive oil. This is a low-end grade of olive oil.

It is a medium to heavy weight oil with a shelf life of 2 years.  Yes even oils have an expiration date! In skin care, it is high in oleic acid which means its properties are: moisturizing, regenerative, softening and anti-flammatory. Also considered a humectant since it attracts external moisture to the skin and then absorbed rather well by the skin.

For the purposes of soapmaking I use Extra- Light Virgin Oil. I love getting the benefits of using olive oil and it gives my soap a soft, yellow natural hue.

Ingredient Profiles

Posted by: on Jan 26, 2010 | No Comments

As many of you know and have seen I love making soap!  But more than that, I love to research the various oils that I will use. In believing that knowledge is key in anything you do and as one of the reasons I began this site is to inform the general public what these ingredients are and what they are good for, I will for the next several weeks begin writing a segment called Ingredient Profiles.

It is my hope that after reading these articles, you, my readers are well informed and understand why handmade soap is beneficial.  After all, isn’t your skin the largest organ in your body? Love your skin and it will love you back 🙂