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Liliana Morosini

Natural cosmetic ingredients chart

In this natural cosmetic ingredients chart I listed the main cosmetic actives and ingredients used in my handmade cosmetics recipes, with information on their properties, dosages, solubility, and warning notesFat-soluble actives are shown in orange, while water-soluble actives in blue.
Oils and butters are listed in this chart.

To better view the natural cosmetic ingredients chart for DIY cosmetics with your cell phone, rotate the screen horizontally.

Natural cosmetic ingredients chart for DIY cosmetics

 Name  Properties and notes  Dosage and Phase
(always double check on the product sheet)
Acmella oleracea extract (Relax'Rides) Anti-wrinkle botox-similar effect that is noticeable in 4-5 days by applying it morning and evening. It acts at the level of skin micro contractions and visibly relaxes small wrinkles around the eyes and lips (not so effective on the rest of the face or deep wrinkles). Its effect is reversible and fades after discontinuing application for at least 24 hours. 2-5%. Cooling down phase.
Allantoin Moisturizing and soothing. 0,1-0,3%. When used in larger doses it tends to form crystals. Water phase..
Aloe Vera gel Healing, regenerating, antibacterial, soothing. Stimulates collagen production. Excellent as a base for gel cosmetics. 1-100%. 1 to 5% in emulsions. Cooling down phase.
Aperoxid (Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl palmitate, Citric acid) Antioxidant. Slows down oils rancidity. It has a distinctive odor, so use it in scented cosmetics 0.1-1% depending on the amount of oils in the formula. 1% in oil based cosmetics. 0.2% in emulsions. However, since it appears that citric acid and Benzyl alcohol (contained in some preserbatives like Isocida/Cosgard) are not compatible, I prefer to avoid Aperoxid in emulsions containing it to be on the safe side, replacing it with tocopherol. More info here.
Arnica - CO2 extract Anti-inflammatory, for muscular pain. Great in cases of hematomas. Soothing and anti-acne. Do not ingest and DO NOT use on injured skin. Photo-sensitizing. 0,5-2%. Don't go above the 0.5% for face cosmetics.
Bacti-pur (Candida bombicola / glucose / methyl rapeseedate ferment, water, potassium sorbate) Antibacterial, sebum-regulating, deodorizing. Suitable for acne-prone and impure skin. 1-2%. The pH of the formulation must be above 5. Cooling down phase.
Benzyl alcohol, Dehydroacetic acid) - also known as Cosgard, Isocida, Geogard or Microcare DB. Preservative. Effective with a pH below 7. Has a distinctive, almondy smll. Should be stored in glass containers and may corrode plastic if poured directly into the container 0.6 % (16 drops per 100 g of product). Up to 1% if the formula contains ingredients such as honey that could cause the product to deteriorate faster.
Bisabolol Soothing. For sensitive and irritated skin. 0,05-0,5%. Cooling down phase.
Burdock alcoholic extract Purifying and soothing. Useful for acne and seborrheic dermatitis. 5%. Cooling down phase.
Calendula fluid extract Soothing, anti-inflammatory and healing. 1-5%
Caffeine Lipotic, stimulates microcirculation and draining. Reduces eye bags. Suitable for cellulite lotions. If the pH is between 4.5 and 5, it solubilizes more easily. 0,5 - 2%. Water phase.
Centella asiatica glyceric extract Healing, stimulates circulation and helps against water retention. Photosensitizing.   5-10%. Cooling down phase. 
Chamomile, fluid extract Soothing, anti-inflammatory and calming. For very sensitive skin. 1-5%
Chamomile hydrosol Decongestant and soothing. Excellent as a base for cosmetics intended for the eye area. 1-100%. Cooling down phase. 
Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone) Anti-aging and antioxidant, excellent against wrinkles. 0.2-1% (0.2% is sufficient). Use it in cooling down phase after dispersing in an oil.
Cucumber glyceric extract Purifying, refreshing, brightening, moisturizing, soothing and regenerating. For impure skin, blemishes and to fight dark circles under the eyes.  5-10%. Cooling down phase.
Edelweiss extract Soothing, anti-aging. For sensitive, atopic, reactive skin and in post-depilation or after sun cosmetics. Very effective. Also for hand creams and for mature skin. 1-5 %
Farnesol Lemonester Deodorant Complex
(Triethyl citrate, Farnesol)
Deodorant. It works by lowering the pH of the skin by inhibiting the enzymatic activity of bacteria. Not everyone finds it effective, but I have noticed that it works most effectively if you wash the skin with a cleanser with a pH around 5.5 instead of a soap, which has a basic pH. 2-5%. Cooling down phase.
Fucocert (Biosaccharide Gum-1) Very moisturizing (for skin and hair), soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, conditioning, stimulates cell renewal, regenerating. Lotions containing it leaves a pleasant feeling on the skin.
Incompatible with grapefruit seed extract, BTMS, Honeyquat and Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine.
3-20%. 3-5% in emulsions and up to 20% in hair cosmetics. Put it in water phase if used in doses above 5% (can be heated up to 75 degrees), otherwise add it to cool down phase.
Glycerin Humectant and moisturizing. Extracts the active ingredients of the plants in the glyceric extracts. If it is 4 times the water part of the recipe, it sequesters the water making it unavailable to bacteria and acts as a preservative (like in this homemade scrub). If used in high doses it makes cosmetics sticky. 1-20%. Body creams: 3-10%. Face creams: 2-5% (maximum 2- 3% if you have oily skin).
Green tea fluid extract  Antioxidant, calming, astringent and draining. Stimulates collagen production, improves circulation and is useful against puffiness and dark circles.  5-10%
Gum arabic (acacia gum) Tightening and anti-aging effect. It is incorporated into eyeliners and mascara to make makeup adhere more effectively. 1-10%. At 5% it has a tightening effect and holds 4-5% of oils. If used in larger doses it becomes sticky and unpleasant, but useful for mascaras and eyeliners.
Guar gum Thickener and stabilizer of emulsions. Not easy to dissolve: it is recommended to slowly add hot water while whisking and then allow to stand. Makes cosmetics more "slippery" and smooth. 0.1-5% depending on the density you want to achieve. For gel cosmetics 1% is sufficient, otherwise they become too dense and pudgy. As a stabilizer in emulsions: 0.1 to 0.3% (I often use 0.2% xanthan and 0.1% Guar getting a very nice consistency). Water phase.
Hamamelis, hydrosol One of the most effective hydrolates. It has astringent, decongestant, antibacterial, antifungal, hemostatic, healing, purifying and soothing properties. It is also a vasoconstrictor, making it useful for tired and swollen eyes, as well as for tired legs and hematomas. Useful for circulatory problems and rosacea. 1-100% but it's better to use up to 60% for sensitive skin. Avoid heating it if possible.
Lauroyl lysine - Touche de douceur Anti-static, improves the texture of creams and make up powders. Makes makeup lasting longer. Hair conditioning agent. Insoluble in both water and oil.  1 - 5 %
Hyaluronic acid - sodium hyaluronate High molecular weight sodium hyaluronate is moisturizing and humectant (and cheaper). The low molecular weight one is anti-wrinkle and more expensive. Use them together for better results. It soothes, repairs and regenerates the skin. Great against sunburns. Sodium hyaluronate powder should be dissolved in 1% water as outlined in this recipe. Sodium hyaluronate gel is used at 2 to 5% in body creams. In face creams: 1-2%. In water based cosmetics, the gel is often used in higher doses, usually up to around the 20%. Cooling down phase.
Hydrolyzed silk protein (liquid) For stronger and shiny hair. Improves hair styling products performance. When used in face and body products, it softens and moisturizes but is potentially comedogenic. It has a characteristic odor that is less strong than that of wheat proteins. 0.2-3% Best not to go beyond 2% to avoid to weigh down the hair. Cooling down phase.
Hydrolyzed wheat protein (liquid) They strengthen and shine hair. They improve the hold of the style. When used in face and body products they soften and moisturize but are potentially comedogenic. They have a characteristic odor that is not very pleasant. 0.2-3% Best not to go beyond 2% to avoid to weigh down the hair. Cooling down phase.
Mallow (alcoholic or glyceric fluid extract)  Soothing. For sensitive and irritated skin. 2-5%. Cooling down phase.
Neroli hydrosol Fragrant, refreshing, soothing. Relaxing and antidepressant 1-100%. Avoid to heat if possible. 
Nicotinamide (or niacinamide) Soothing, anti-acne, mattifying, lightens skin spots, promotes cell renewal. Best to use with a pH between 5 and 7. Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes. 2-4% for blemishes and to lighten skin blemishes, but at 4% it may sting and redden the skin. 1-2% for soothing action. Put it in cool down phase, after dissolving in a liquid or gel with a pH between 5 and 7.
Onopordum acanthium hydro-alcoholic extract (Skin repair) Restructures the skin barrier, repairs damaged skin, stimulates collagen synthesis, counteracts dehydration. For mature, dry and atopic skin. Up to 2%.
Panthenol (liquid) Moisturizing, healing and soothing. 0,5-5%. It is usually used at 2%. Cooling down phase.
Rose hydrosol Soothing, anti-aging, astringent, invigorating. Has a very pleasant scent. Excellent for tonics and as a base for body and hair scented waters.  1-100%. Avoid heating if possible.
Sodium PCA Excellent moisturizer and humectant. Makes lotions very smooth and pleasant to spread. Increases combability in hair products. 0.5-2% Best in cooling down phase. However, it is also often added to Water phase.
Tocopherol (Vitamin E) Antioxidant. Delays the rancidity of fats. 0,5%. Best in cooling down phase. However, it is also often added to Oil phase.
Tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E) Emollient and healing. Transforms into vitamin E after being smeared on the skin. Does not retard fat rancidity like tocopherol. 0,5-3%. Best in cooling down phase. However, it is also often added to Oil phase.
Unsaponifiable of avocado Rich in phytosterols, it promotes collagen synthesis, regenerates skin, is anti-inflammatory and regulates sebaceous secretion 1-3%. Add it at the end of the oil phase avoiding to overheat it.
 Red vine - fluid extract Antioxidant, astringent, promotes microcirculation. Suitable in cases of rosacea and for sensitive and easily reddening skin  3-5%
 Xanthan gum  Thickener and stabilizer of emulsions. Very easy to use. To form a gel instantly, it is recommended to disperse it in glycerin and add slowly add water while whisking.  0.1-3% depending on the density you want to achieve. For gel based cosmetics 0.5-1% is sufficient. As a emulsions stabilizer use 0.1 to 0.3%. A 0.5% xanthan gel holds up to 1- 2% fat. Water phase. 

Important notes:

  • Please always double check the dosage in the info sheet of the ingredients you use. This cosmetic ingredients chart contains generic info, but the dosage could be different depending on the brand or the kind of extract. Some products could contain a mix of different ingredients and could require a different dosage.

  • The list only includes ingredients used in natural cosmetics and allowed by natural and organic certifications like Eco-Cert. I'm not listing the ones used in traditional cosmetics as I don't use them in my formulas.

  • Not sure about what water, oil and colling down phases are? Click here for more info about emulsions and phases.

  • I suggest you to bookmark this natural cosmetic ingredients chart for handmade cosmetics to have it on hand. I'll keep it updated.