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Natural Personal Care Product Glossary

Beauty By the Batch's Natural Personal Care Product Glossary defines many common natural, and nearly all-natural, personal and home care product types. Feel free to ask us if there is a term that you're curious about and don't see listed below.

Astringent: An astringent is intended to thoroughly cleanse the pores and help combat oily skin and acne. Most natural astringents do not contain alcohol, but some do.

Bath Salt: A bath salt is a pure salt, combination of different types of salts, and/or a salt blended with other ingredients. Added to the water at bath time, bath salts help to relax sore muscles, ease tension, stimulate circulation, eliminate toxins and sooth skin irritation. Dead Sea Salts are known for their ability to assist those who have psoriasis. Bath salts are available unfragranced, but are typically fragranced with either essential oils or synthetic fragrance. Some salts are also colored with liquid or powdered dyes or by use of pigmented mica powder.

Butter: A product labeled as a butter typically consists of one or more vegetable butters. Essential oils, vegetable oils or other ingredients may also be combined to make an array of different moisturizing products with a buttery consistency. Pure vegetable butters may also be added to soaps, scrubs, and bath products to enhance their moisturization or creaminess. Cocoa, shea, hemp seed, mango and avocado are examples of pure vegetable butters. Butters vary in their rigidity, aroma, shelf life and nutritive benefits. If you are looking for a 100% pure vegetable butter, be sure that you check the ingredient list, but remember that some butters like pure cocoa butter are very rigid and difficult to use without first blending them with oils or other vegetable butters.

Body Oil: A body oil consists of a single vegetable oil or blend of oils and aromatics that both nourish and fragrance the skin. Unscented body oils are also available. Body oils that primarily consist of highly nutritive vegetable oils can be more effective than lotions or creams in nourishing dry skin. Upon application, body oils tend to feel more oily on the skin than does a lotion or cream, but a good body oil consists of vegetable oils that quickly absorb into the skin. Avoid products that contain mineral oil. Mineral oil can clog the pores and keep the skin from breathing.

Body Spray/Mist: A body spray is a personal fragrance product that is usually lighter in aroma than a perfume or cologne. Body sprays can be misted all over the body to cool, refresh and lightly fragrance the body. As with most all fragracing products, avoid the eyes, mucous membranes, genitals and damaged/sensitive/burned skin.

Body Wrap: Body wraps can help induce cellulite elimination and detoxification. Whole body wraps are easy to do yourself if you have the necessary products at your disposal. Body wraps can aid in the healing of skin problems, tone and tighten the skin, improve circulation, alleviate muscle and joint pain, treat acne, detoxify the body and help mobilize fat so it can be eliminated from the body naturally. The effect of the wrap is determined by the ingredients that are used.

Cold Process Soap: Cold Process is the type of processing that is used to make soap. Cold Process soap generally uses vegetable oils that are combined with lye and other ingredients.

Cologne: Colognes are lighter in aroma than perfumes. They contain more alcohol to dilute the aromatics.

Deodorant: A deodorant is a product, most commonly developed for under the arms, that helps to control and mask odor. Deodorants and antiperspirant products function differently. An antiperspirant is a product designed to prevent you from naturally perspiring. The disadvantage to antiperspirants is that they are often loaded with aluminum as well as synthetic ingredients that can be absorbed into the body. Deodorants are available in natural and primarily all natural formulations, and allow the body to still perspire. The disadvantage is that if perspiration odor for some individuals is strong, some deodorants may not fully mask and control the odor.

Exfoliant: An exfoliant is a product that includes slightly abrasive ingredients that help to scrub and polish the skin to remove dirt, debris and dead skin. Not all exfoliants are natural. Exfoliating ingredients that are found in natural products include salt, sugar, fruit fibers, fruit seeds, nut and kernel meals (i.e. apricot nut meal), jojoba wax beads, and coarse grains like oatmeal or rice bran powder.

Facial: A facial is a product that is applied to the face to help absorb excess oil and toxins, improve circulation, and remove debris from the poors of the skin. Facials frequently include powdered clays, powdered muds or wet muds. Pureed natural ingredients including cucumber or avocado and milk based ingredients including yogurt are sometimes used in facials intended to sooth and nourish the skin.

Facial Mask: A facial mask contains ingredients, that when combined, lead to a thick, moist and creamy product that is applied to the face. Depending on the ingredients used, the facial is left on the face for anywhere between 15-30 minutes and allowed to dry. Once dry, the facial is then gently rinsed from the surface of the face using warm water. Facial masks can be formulated for oily/acne-prone skin, combination skin, dry skin and aging skin. More gentle and moisturizing ingredients are typically included in those facials intended for sensitive or dry skin. More absorbent and anti-bacterial ingredients are typically included in those facials intended for oily and acne-prone skin types. Ingredients commonly included in facial mask products include cosmetic grade clays and muds, powdered herbs, essential oils, hydrosols, vegetable oils, fresh pured fruits and vegetables including avocados and cucumbers, honey, and dairy based products including fresh yogurt and milk powders. Most masks are typically formulated for application to the face, but masks can also be made and applied to the back, chest or other areas of the body.

Glycerin Soap: Glycerin is naturally found in cold process vegetable base soaps. It is a humectant, meaning that it attracts water and moisture. Glycerin soaps help to moisturize the skin.

Liquid Castile Soap: Liquid castile soap is often used alone or as in ingredient in hand washes, shower cleaners, exfoliating scrubs and other formulations. It is traditionally made using olive oil and may include other vegetable oils that have been saponified (processed into soap). Liquid Castile Soap also includes water and may include other ingredients including natural or synthetic aromatics.

Linen Spray: A linen spray is a mist that is sprayed onto bed linens or towels to lightly fragrance them. Sprays formulated for bed linens will often be fragranced using essential oils that either help to induce sleep or that are more sensual and seductive for romantic encounters.

Lip Balm/Lip Gloss: The terms Lip Balm and Lip Gloss are sometimes used interchangeably. Formally, a lip balm is a lip care product that is formulated specifically to sooth, moisturize and nourish chapped/dry lips. It may leave a glossy shine upon the lips and may have a luscious aroma. A Lip Gloss is a lip color product that is formulated specifically to add shine to the lips. It may also include colorants to add shimmer and a bit of color to the lips. A Lip Gloss does offer moisturization to the lips, but its primary role is to make the lips "shine."

Massage Oil: A massage oil serves multiple purposes. Use of a massage oil nourishes the skin and it lubricates the skin so that there is adequate "slip" during your massage session. A fragranced massage oil can be used to induce relaxation or in a sensual massage situation, to emit an exotic, seductive aroma. If a massage oil is fragranced with natural essential oils, the essential oils will contribute their therapeutic and emotional properties to the massage oil.

Melt and Pour Soap: Melt and Pour Soap is a type of ready-made vegetable oil/glycerin based soap that is used by artisans to create beautiful, specialty soaps. Melt and Pour Soap is not an all-natural soap. Some Melt and Pour Soap bases, however, are nearly all-natural. Despite the synthetic ingredients used in melt and pour soap, these soap bases remain much more gentle than typical commercial soaps.

Mineral Makeup: Mineral makeup is a loose or compact powder cosmetic that focuses upon the use of finely ground minerals such as micas, zinc oxides, iron oxides and titanium dioxide. most mineral cosmetics are not all-natural, but the advantage to their use is that they typically contain far less synthetic fragrance, artificial color, oil, binding agents, preservatives and other irritating/oil inducing substances found in commercial cosmetics. Powdered foundations, eye shadows, blushes, bronzers and other powdered cosmetics are available as mineral makeup. Mineral powders are also being used in lip colors and other oil based cosmetics such as eye liners.

Moisturizer: Moisturizers are products that include lotions, creams and balms that help to replenish and retain moisture on the face, body or lips. Good moisturizers do several things. First, they rehydrate your skin. Second, they help your skin retain natural moisture and help it to attract moisture. Third, a good moisturizer contains nutritive ingredients such as essential fatty acids that are important for healthy skin and combating the signs of aging. Look for moisturizers that include quality natural moisturizing ingredients such as vegetable oils rich in essential fatty acids, jojoba (a natural wax that does not clog pores), and that also includes essential oils that act both as a natural fragrance and that can help to combat bacteria, can reduce acne inflammation, and can encourage healthy skin.

Mud Pack: A mud pack is similar in concept to a facial mask (see entry), but focuses upon the use of a cosmetic grade mud such as Dead Sea Mud or Moor Mud. Essential oils, herbs, clays and other ingredients may be blended with the mud.

Perfume: The term perfume and cologne are sometimes used interchangeably in common conversation. Typically, a personal fragrance that is labeled as a perfume is much more concentrated than a cologne or eau de toilette product. Fluid perfumes typically contain alcohol, often a distilled alcohol called perfumer's alcohol. The more concentrated the perfume, the less alcohol that it contains in ratio to the aromatic ingredients. Natural perfumes will only natural aromatics such as essential oils or herbs/botanicals that have been infused into the alcohol. Solid perfumes are often made from oils, butters, waxes and natural or artificial aromatics. If you are sensitive to synthetic fragrances or if the scent of commercial fragrances gives you a headache or poses other health issues for you, natural perfumes may be a positive alternative for you.

Room Spray: A room spray is a mist that is sprayed throughout a room to fragrance the room with a pleasing aroma and/or to eliminate odors.

Salve/Ointment: A salve, also known as an ointment, is a thick, creamy textured product that contains nutritive and therapeutic ingredients. Salves help to soothe and promote the healing of wounds, abscesses, burns, or other skin irritations.

Scrub: A scrub is an exfoliating product that commonly includes sugar or salt as the natural exfoliant. Scrubs help to polish the skin, remove dead skin cells and debris. See Exfoliant for more information.

Shampoo Bar: A Shampoo Bar resembles a bar of vegetable based soap, but it is formulated especially for hair. One of the many advantages of using Shampoo Bars is that they can be formulated using all natural ingredients including vegetable oils, vegetable butters, essential oils and other nutritives especially beneficial to the hair and scalp. They tend to lather well compared to natural liquid soaps.

Toner: A toner is intended to balance and sooth the skin and is often used to ensure that all cleanser and makeup debris has been removed from the skin. Natural toners vary in the ingredients they include, but common ingredients include water, essential oils, aloe vera gel, botanical extracts and sometimes alcohol.

Vegetable Soap: Vegetable Soap, also known as Vegetable Oil Soap, is soap that is made exclusively with vegetable oils and not animal fats. Vegetable based soap is much more gentle to the skin than commercial detergent bars. The choice in vegetable oils that are used to make a particular type of soap will affect the nutritive benefits of the soap, the hardness of the soap and the amount of lather that the soap generates. Vegetable based soap can be fragranced using essential oils and/or fragrance oils and can be colored and combined to make some beautifully artistic soaps.

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