Bombarded with beauty buzzwords? Unsure what the difference is between natural and organic? Weve got you. We’re here to break down and de-mystify those trending beauty terms so you can talk, and shop, like a true beauty expert.


Activated Charcoal

A natural, fine, black, porous powder. It's an effective natural ingredient that has loads of benefits including teeth whitening and digestion. In the gut it absorbs toxins and gases. It has similar function on the skin and helps to remove impurities making it ideal for treating acne and blemishes.

Active Ingredients

These are the ingredients that target the skincare concern the product is targeted at. Essentially, they're the hardworking parts of a formula. For example in a product for dry skin, you might see hyaluronic acid on the INCIs. This would be the active ingredient.


Adaptogens are plants that are shown to have a positive impact on a number of both mental and physical stressors. The clue is in the name - they quite literally help the body 'adapt' to different emotional and physical surroundings. For example, they might help you focus or relax, depending on the formula.



AHAs and BHAs are types of hydroxy acids. They help to exfoliate the skin without any rough, gritty textures. They help to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and are super effective at promoting younger, brighter looking skin.


Anti-pollution skincare is usually made with a blend of potent antioxidants (such as vitamin C) that help to protect skin from free radicals and damaging environmental aggressors. It's a must-have for any city dwellers but is beneficial for just about anyone.



Antioxidants are little superhero ingredients that fight free radicals and help to protect your skin (and body) from environmental damage (see anti-pollution). Examples include vitamin C, vitamin A, avocado oil and many more.




This is a plant-based alternative to your average moisturiser that helps to stimulate collagen, improve skin's elasticity and diminish fine lines and wrinkles. A must-have for dry skin (especially if you're vegan).

Botanical Extracts

Our favourite part of any product. Botanical extracts are concentrated plant materials that have been extracted through steam distillation or co2 extraction (to name a few methods). They provide therapeutic properties and are the core of any high quality natural product.

Broad spectrum

This means an SPF is effective protection against both UVB and UVA rays. We've only recently understood the dangers of UVA so formulations used to only protect against UVB rays. 'Broad spectrum' means the product protects against both.




A natural stimulant, caffeine causes that 'buzz' and sense of alertness we experience when we drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks. Similarly in skincare, caffeine tackles signs of dullness or fatigue and works wonders in under-eye creams.

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils do what they say on the tin. They help to dilute potent essential oils and 'carry' them to your skin. They are mostly unscented and gentle so they don't interfere with the essential oils. Examples include coconut oil, jojoba oil and rosehip oil.


CBD stands for 'cannabidiol' and is found in different varieties of cannabis. It comes directly from the hemp plant and does not cause a 'high' (contains little to no THC). CBD has a long list of benefits but is used in skincare for its anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory effects.

Chemical Exfoliant

An alternative to physical exfoliants (scrubs), chemical exfoliants also work to remove dead skin buildup but they do so using different acids (e.g. AHAs). Some people prefer this type of exfoliant as they're less abrasive on the skin. Depending on the type of chemical exfoliant, they can help with acne, dark spots and dull/dry skin to name a few.


A protein that naturally exists in the body, collagen provides structure to skin, bones, skin tissue and teeth. It's best known for its role in keeping skin plump and youthful. Collagen can decrease with age so certain skincare and supplements are great for boosting and supporting it.


Double Cleanse

A skincare trend that involves using two types of cleansers to achieve a deep, effective cleanse. The type of cleansers to use will vary depending on skin type and preference, but the most popular combination is a balm cleanse to start, followed by a rich oil cleanse.



Essential Oils

Essential oils are potent compounds extracted from plants. They are commonly used in aromatherapy but are also popular in topical skincare. They have a variety of benefits, but are best known for their fragrant benefits and are popular natural alternatives to synthetic fragrances.



Fatty Acids

Fatty acids work wonders in skincare and supplements as they act as building blocks in skin cells, helping to strengthen skin for a more healthy, youthful complexion. They're amazing for moisture, elasticity and skin-smoothing properties.



Essentially the opposite of dull, lacklustre skin. A healthy glow is that subtle warm shine on skin that makes it look youthful and fresh. A good glow can be achieved using a variety of different products such as AHAs, vitamin C or simply just an effective moisturiser.



Vegetable glycerin is a sugar alcohol that comes from plants (although animal-derived options exist). It's an effective moisturiser and helps promote smooth, supple skin. It also helps to soothe irritation and protect skin from the elements.



A moisturising agent known in skincare for its ability to retain moisture (a bit like a sponge). It attracts water and helps to pull it into skin and hair. Common examples include hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

Hyaluronic Acid

A substance that naturally exists within the human body. It acts as a sort of lubricant but is also an amazing sponge and can hold up to x1000 times its own weight in water. It's a skincare devotee favourite as it helps to moisturise, plump and smooth skin.




INCI stands for 'International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients'. It's basically the long list of ingredients you'll find on cosmetic product packaging.



A type of protective protein that makes up hair, skin and nails. It helps to improve the glossy, healthy look of hair and can help strengthen strands. It's sourced from the fur and feathers of different animals.



Lanolin is an oil that is sourced from sheep's skin. Similar to human sebum, its purpose is to condition and protect. It's extracted from sheep's wool after shearing, so should technically cause no harm to sheep (depending on extraction methods).


Layering is the key to skincare. For your products to be most effective you need to apply them in the correct order. Your routine will depend on your skin type, the ingredients and formulations of your products, and the time of the day. A good rule of thumb is to apply in order of texture, from thinnest to thickest, since thin products won't be able to penetrate thicker ones.



A natural skin pigment made up of cells called melanocytes. The colour of your hair, skin and eyes is mostly dependent on how much melanin you have (or what type). Interestingly, when we're exposed to the sun our body begins to produce more melanin which may help to protect us from harmful UV rays (but it's absolutely no substitute for your trusty SPF!)


These are micro plastics that are used in cosmetics for a variety of different functions, but are most commonly used as an exfoliant (they're also very common in toothpastes). Recent research has uncovered how damaging these micro plastics are for both people and environment. They are banned in many countries and they are not accepted in formulations at Naturisimo.



A form of vitamin B-3 and an essential nutrient. In skincare, it helps to build protein in the skin and lock in moisture to prevent environmental damage. It's also great at treating hyperpigmentation and helps to minimise fine lines and wrinkles.


Nootropics are substances that can be taken to improve mental performance and clarity. Most popularly they help improve memory and focus. They are also called 'cognition enhancers'. The most obvious example is caffeine (so you may be taking a nootropic everyday without realising it!)


This refers to products that don't contain 'nanoparticles'. These particles are most commonly used in sunscreen to allow the product to work at a cellular level. Some research suggests the 'nano' size of these particles allows them to be absorbed by the body and harm living tissues. This is disputed though. The term 'non-nano' usually indicates the product doesn't contain particles less than 100nanometers in diameter.




Organic ingredients are ones grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or GMOs. Just like with organic food, organic skincare is better for you, and the environment.



These are short strings of amino acids that make up blocks of protein like collagen and elastin. Thanks to their small size they can easily penetrate the skin, making them effective skincare ingredients. They can help with collagen formation and help skin look younger and plumper.

pH level

This is basically a measure of how acidic something is. A pH level of 7 is considered neutral (like water) whereas anything less than this is considered acidic, and anything above is alkaline. The optimum pH level of skin is somewhere between 4.7 and 5.75.


Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you and help support your gut microbiome. They can work wonders on your gut, skin and overall health. You can source them from foods such as yoghurt and kefir, but supplements are also a good way of getting a good daily dose.



Reef Safe

There is no official definition for this term, but it's mostly understood to mean a formulation that doesn't contain oxybenzone or octinoxate. They are common ingredients in SPF but when we go swimming with SPF on our skin, these ingredients can actually cause harm to coral and marine life. A lot of SPF now tries to avoid them for this reason. These formulations would be called 'reef safe' (at Naturisimo, we only stocks reef-safe SPFs).



A natural antioxidant that is found in different plants but is often associated with grapes and red wine. It's great for skin ageing and can help to protect skin from environmental stress while helping to repairing existing damage.

Retinol / Retinoid

Retinol is a type of retinoid (which is made from vitamin A). It goes beyond the outer layers of skin to work at a much deeper level and boost elastin and collagen. It's also a great exfoliant and helps improve texture and tone of skin. It's a very effective ingredient and beauty gurus swear by it. There are different strengths available so make sure you find the right one for you.



Sebum is an oil substance produced by your skin's glands to protect skin and hair against moisture loss. Oily skin tends to be caused by an excess of sebum (your glands may be producing too much).



A lipid produced naturally by our own skin cells, but like collagen, squalane can decrease with age. It's an effective moisturiser and detoxifier. It can help plump skin and even replenish hair. Plant-derived squalane is an ideal moisturiser for vegans.



This stands for 'Transepidermal Water Loss'. This is when water passes through the layers of our skin and is evaporated from the surface. It's a natural process but certain things can worsen it, like injury or weather. You can protect against TEWL by keeping skin effectively hydrated and moisturised.



These are different types of UV rays that come from sunlight (or sunbeds). UVA rays are the more penetrating type and can cause damage to both outer skin (causing visible signs of ageing) as well as deeper layers of the skin. 95% of the UV rays that reach the ground are UVA. Meanwhile, UVB rays damage the outer layers of skin and cause most types of skin cancers. Too much UVB will lead to sunburn.



Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant that can protect and brighten skin, minimise redness and increase the effectiveness of SPF (to name just a few benefits).