Explained: Indie Ingredients

During my Indie Quest, I have found that I have become much more interested in what is actually in my makeup. Of course I always checked ingredients lists for the ‘good stuff’ and for things that I have had reactions to before but now I find myself not only intently reading the ingredients list but also comparing ingredients between Indie Brands. Although I am a trained makeup artist I have not trained as a cosmetologist therefore I am by no means a skin care expert.  The list of ingredients below are ingredients which I have found to be common in the Indie world. The definitions accumulated from various sources around the web, books and journals.

I hope to keep adding to this glossary and I invite you all to leave comments giving me additional information or adding to the list! If you think I have missed anything then pleased let me know so that I can add it to the list.


Titanium Dioxide:

Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral which is found in two raw forms, rutile and anatase. Both of these forms contain pure titanium dioxide which must be chemically processed to remove the impurities bound to the titanium dioxide. Once purified the titanium dioxide is odorless, highly absorbent, white in colour yet also opaque. It is used in cosmetics as a sunscreen (spf), a white pigment and an opacifier.


Lanolin is most commonly harvested from sheep but occurs on many different ‘hairy’ animals. It is also known as wool wax or wool grease. It is a yellow coloured, waxy substance that the sheep (and other woolly animals) secrete to project their hair. It is water-repellent and has many commercial uses. It is used in cosmetics because it is a great moisturizer for skin, nails and hair. Because of it’s water-repellent properties it also helps to prevent water loss through the skin, thus keeping the skin protected and moisturized.


Glycerine is a colourless, odorless liquid which is sweet tasting and non-toxic. It is used as a lubricant and promotes smoothness. It also has intense moisture absorbing properties.

Water (Aqua):

Water is used in everything, found in everything and is the basis for life itself. When used in cosmetics is added to work as a solvent to help dissolve the other ingredients in the product.

Oat Milk:

Oats are high in protein, iron and fiber as well as having many healing properties. Oak milk is full of many important vitamins and minerals such as manganese, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B, vitamin A and vitamin E. On top of all that good stuff, oat milk is also an antioxidant which helps protects against diseases and ailments. Oat milk is used in cosmetics because of something called avenanthramides, this is a type of antibiotic that the plant produces which is soothing to the skin, relieves swelling, reduces redness and injects the skin with all the goodness it contains.

Safflower Oil:

Safflowers are one of the ‘oldest’ crops in the world, similar to sunflowers. Traditionally grown for it’s seeds and used for food colourings and flavourings, it is also used within medicines and cosmetics. The Safflower is high in vitamin E, Omega-6 and other fatty acids which help the body burn fat. It has been shown that Safflower oil is moisturizing to the skin leaving a healthy glow whilst having the same effect on hair.

Aloe Vera:

Aloe Vera is cultivated from plants in the Aloe family, which boasts massive healing, rejuvenating and soothing properties. Aloe Vera extract moisturizes the skin, reduces the flaking of dry skin and works to restore skin suppleness. It is high in vitamin E and it is claimed to remove wrinkles, reduce sun damage, sooth burns, treat acne as well as sooth and heal a wide range of other skin conditions. It is usually used in cosmetics as an anti-aging and healing agent.

Rosehip Oil:

Rosehip oil is extracted from the seeds of wild rose bushes and contains provitamin A. Although the raw fruit is rich in vitamin C, the oil itself does not contain any. It is used to treat skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne and eczema. In cosmetics it is used for products aimed at mature, aged or damaged skin. It is a wonderful moisturizer, reduces the appearance of scars, helps to relieve facial rosacea, treats sunburn and helps to repair dry or cracked skin.

Shea Butter:

Shea Butter is the fat of the Shea Nut. It is high in vitamin A and has intensive moisturizing properties. It is used to treat skin conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis and skin allergies and in cosmetics it is often included for it’s antibacterial properties and anti-aging benefits. Shea butter has also proved as an effective treatment for skin rashes, peeling or flaky skin, blemishes, wrinkles, itching or irritated skin, sunburns, cracked skin, tough skin, stretch marks and stretch mark prevention, insect bites and dry skin.


Honey is a sugary sweet food made by Honey Bees. There are a number of different types of honey made by other species of bees such as bumblebees, sting-less bees, insects and honey wasps which has different properties to the honey created by Honey Bees. Honey has 100’s of useful properties such as bleaching, nourishing to the skin, an astringent, anti-ageing and is an antiseptic. Honey is now included in cosmetics as an anti-ageing ingredient, wrinkle refiner, moisturizer, acne fighter and broken skin soother.

Tincture of Benzoin:

Tincture of Benzoin is benzoin resin dissolved in alcohol. It is also referred to as Friar’s Balsam and Compound Benzoin Tincture. It is mainly used in the treatment of damaged skin or as a way to protect the skin by toughening it. In cosmetics Tincture of Benzoin is used as a natural preservative to prolong the product lifespan and as skin protection to seal in moisture to prevent against skin dehydration.

Almond Oil:

Almond Oil is produced from the Almond drupe and is full of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, salts and sugars. There are many benefits to using Almond Oil in you cosmetics routine, it moisturizes skin, improves complexion, soothes irritated skin and reduces inflammation, relieves dry and itching skin dark circles appear lighter and can relieve certain rashes.

Jojoba Oil:

Jojoba Oil is produced from the seed of the Jojoba plant although it is technically a wax and not an oil. Unrefined jojoba oil has a nutty smell whereas refined jojoba oil is odorless. Jojoba oil is mainly used as a replacement for whale oil (and by products of whale oil). Jojoba oil is a common ingredient in many cosmetics products such as moisturizer, makeup remover, lip balm, conditioner, shaving oil/foam and massage oils. It is an incredibly effective moisturizer.

Soya Oil:

Soya oil, also referred to as Soyabean oil, is a vegetable oil which is extracted from the seeds of the soybean. The oil can protect the skin against UV rays and is very effective at treating sun damaged skin. Soya oil is high in vitamin E and keeps the skin feeling smooth and health. It is believed that regular use can improve the overall skin tone and glow although this had not been scientifically proven.

Rice Bran Oil:

Rice bran oil is extracted from the hard outer layer of the rice. Rice bran oil is often used as a substitute for carnauba wax. As well as being an excellent exfoliatent, rice bran oil is also an intensive moisturizer.

Caranuba Wax:

Caranuba wax, also referred to as Brazil wax and Palm wax, is a wax derived from the leaves of Copernicia Prunifera. Caranuba wax is shiny or glossy and is hypoallergenic which is why it is often used in cosmetics. It is also used as a thickening or stiffening agent.

Bees Wax:

Bees wax is produced in hives by worker bees. It has been found that beeswax is far superior to barrier creams, mineral based cream and oil based creams but does not appeal to the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. Beeswax is nonallergic, can sustain sunscreen, it water repellent and work well to combine ingredients.


Talc is a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate. Talc is used in cosmetics as an absorbent, anti-caking agent and to improve the texture of products.




  1. What a helpful reference! Thank you!

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