Abietic Acid - Obtained from pine rosin. Used as a texturizer in soaps.

Abrasives - The most frequently used are calcium carbonate (chalk) and, in toothpaste, di-calcium phosphate dihydrate.

Absolutes - Pure essential oils acquired from plants (mostly flowers) and used in products as natural fragrance additives.

Acetic Acid - Acid found in vinegar, some fruits, and human sweat. Used in hair dyes and hand lotions, and in lotions for bleaching freckles. Skin irritant and toxic to lungs.

Acetone - Colorless, flammable liquid. Used in nail polish, nail polish removers. It is excessively toxic.

Acid Rinse - Extremely useful for eliminating soap films from the hair after shampooing. A mixture of vinegar or lemon juice and water is a common one.

After Shave - A perfumed liquid usually containing alcohol used to soothe the skin after shaving. May contain menthol to cool irritated skin.

After Shave Balm - After shave with a thicker consistency containing lotion for increased moisturizing capabilities.

Albumin - Type of protein found in blood, egg whites, milk, fruits, and vegetables.

Alchemy - The study and practice of chemistry in the Middle Ages which focused primarily on the transmutation of metals into gold and the finding of a universal remedy for disease.

Alcohol - A group of compounds that includes ethanol, methanol, and others.

Alkyloamides - Groups of synthetic fatty acids designated as DEA, MEA, MIPA, and PEG. Used for thickening, gelling, emulsifying, emolliency, skin and hair conditioning, foam boosting, foam stabilizing, wetting, opacifying, lubricating, powder binding, skin protecting, fungicidal properties, and superfatting. Found in shampoos, bubble baths, and liquid hand and body cleansers. Harmful when contaminated by nitrosamines and harmful to the environment.

Allantoin - Reported to have healing, soothing, and anti-irritating properties. Extracted from urea, which is derived from the urine of most animals, and from herbs like comfrey or uva ursi.

Aloe Vera Gel - Is a compound expressed from the leaf of the aloe plant, which is a South African lilylike plant. A moisture storehouse for enzymes, vitamins, proteins, and minerals that support skin functions, Aloe Vera helps maintain the skin's moisture balance and stimulates blood circulation. Tightens and rejuvenates skin leaving it silky feeling.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids - Group of acids that appear naturally in fruit. Used in toners, creams, and masks to exfoliate and moisturize the skin. Can be a skin irritant causing redness and rashes.

Amino Acids - Every living cell in the body contains protein and cannot function properly without it. Approximately 80 amino acids are found in nature; only 20 are necessary for human metabolism. Some must be supplied by food and are called "essential". Amino acids are rapidly absorbed in the blood stream, and in combination with vitamins, provide essential nutrients to a wound area to promote healing.

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate - Derived from natural coconut alcohols. Acts as a mild cleanser.

Anise Oil - Known for its warm, spicy liquorice-like scent. An antiseptic and stimulant.

Antioxidants - Substances that slow the breakdown of nutrients and counteract the destructive effect of free radicals (chemically reactive compounds) in the body. There are several types which include vitamins A, E, C complex, and B complex, the minerals selenium and zinc, and the synthetic compounds BHT and BHA. Vitamins A, C, and E as well as BHA and BHT are used as preserving agents in cosmetics.

Apothecary - A person who prepares and sells medications, a pharmacist. A system of weights used in the pharmacy.

Apricot Kernel - A natural exfoliant especially when finely ground.

Arnica Extract - Herbal extract made from the dried flowers of a mountain-loving plant. Has reviving and firming qualities

Aroma - The pleasing odor, many times recognizable, given off by a substance.

Aromatherapy - The use of essences that are extracted from different parts of a plant - Root, Seed, Flower, Leaf, Bark, Fruit. These essences are called essential oils. Essential oils have numerous properties and various scents that affect us on a mental, emotional, spiritual and physical level. The art of using the essential (odor producing) oils from roots, barks, and herbs for treating the skin and body.

Ascorbic Acid - Acid occurring naturally in many fruits. Also known as vitamin C. Used as a preservative in food and cosmetics. Nontoxic and not a skin irritant.

Astringent - A clear liquid containing alcohol used mostly to cleanse oily skin, closes pores with its property of contracting the skin.

Azuki Beans - Traditional Japanese beans which, when ground, are excellent natural exfoliants. Protein and mineral rich.