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Cosmetic Definitions

What exactly is a cosmetic? Isn't that the same thing as makeup? And how does it differ from a toiletry? What is with this newfangled word cosmeceutical that is becoming used more and more?

Often, these words can be used interchangeably, but there are some minute differences between each category of product:


A cosmetic is generally defined as any product (with the exception of soap) that is intended to enhance one's hygiene and beauty. Although most cosmetics counters at finer department stores focus on selling products that fit the definition of makeup as shown below, cosmetic products span a larger body of products. Examples include lipsticks and eye shadows and also include moisturizers, cleansers, toners, personal fragrances, toothpastes and deodorants.

The Food Drug and Cosmetics Act defines a cosmetic as the following:

  1. articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance,

  2. articles intended for use as a component of any such articles; except that such term shall not include soap./li>

-- Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Sec. 201 (i)


The term makeup was most likely coined as a result of the heavy use of cosmetics by those in the entertainment industry including clowns that "make up" their appearance. Foundations, concealers, lipsticks, other lip colorization products, blushers, bronzers, eye shadows, eye liners, mascara and eyebrow pencils are all examples of makeup products.


The word toiletry is often used interchangeably with the word cosmetic. Generally speaking, however, a toiletry is most commonly used to describe products that enhance general hygeine. Toothpastes, shampoos, cleansers, toners, deodorants and sugar scrubs are examples of toiletries.


A cosmeceutical can be thought of as a cosmetic that is intended to have underlying nutritive benefits. A moisturizer that includes EFA-rich cranberry seed oil can be thought of as a cosmeceutical. A body mist that contains mostly synthetics and that is simply intended to fragrance the body is not generally classified as a cosmeceutical product.

Shop Confidently for Cosmetics With Beauty By the Batch

Beauty By the Batch is a practical resource for assisting you in finding artisans that provide natural and nearly all-natural makeup and other cosmetic products. Begin your search by visiting the Beauty & Fragrances category of Beauty By the Batch's Artisan Directory. Not only do the artisans that appear within the Artisan Directory support the efforts of Beauty By the Batch, but they have all agreed to adhere to Beauty By the Batch's Artisan Code of Conduct. By agreeing to our Artisan Code of Conduct, artisans promise to abide by truthful and accurate marketing and a number of other practices that are in the best interest of consumers.

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