Skincare Glossary - Robert Natali

Skincare Glossary

Redefine Yourself

There’s an old saying, You are what you eat. There’s a little more to it than that. You're also what you put on your skin, as your grooming and skincare products are absorbed into your body where they can compromise your health. In fact, many noted physicians insist there's no difference between what you eat and what your skin absorbs. Food for thought.

One sure way to redefine yourself is switch to grooming and skincare products crafted with pure, natural ingredients. This will help reduce your exposure to potentially harmful toxins while safely nourishing your skin. Best of all, you can see and feel the difference. So will others.

The following glossary of basic skincare terms is designed to help you know what you’re buying, so you can feel good about your choices and, ultimately, more comfortable in your skin.

All Natural means an ingredient is 100% derived from natural sources with no synthetic elements. Robert Natali Grooming Essentials are crafted from organic, all-natural and wildcrafted sources—all of which qualify as all natural.

Antioxidants are natural substances found in many plant, vegetable, and fruit extracts that neutralize harmful free radicals on your skin and in your body. By doing this, they help prevent cell and tissue damage that contribute to and accelerate the aging process. Vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene are examples of common antioxidants. Robert Natali products are loaded with them. [Also see Free Radicals]

Artificial Colors & Coal Tar Dyes are synthetic colorants used to create products with aesthetically pleasing colors. They are known to be toxic in varying amounts, which is another way of saying they are poison for your skin and body. Common examples include D&C Green No. 6 and FD & C Blue No. 1. Some artificial coal tar dyes contain toxic heavy metals, including lead and arsenic. Believe it or not, plenty of skincare and grooming products contain them. Not ours.

Benzoyl Peroxide is a compound commonly found in many anti-acne products. Although hydrogen peroxide has several safe, effective uses, benzoyl peroxide can irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory system. Even worse, it can cause cellular and DNA damage. Using this ingredient is a perfect example of a remedy that solves one problem and creates new ones. We never use it.

Botanical is a general term for plant- or tree-derived extracts often included in skincare products for their natural, skin-enriching properties. Aloe Vera is a common one. Coconut oil is another. They are also commonly referred to as plant-based ingredients. We use botanicals in all of our products. [Also see Plant-Based]

Cosmeceuticals are skincare products that contain biologically active ingredients purported to have powerful replenishing and rejuvenating benefits beyond that of traditional skin creams, lotions, and moisturizers. It’s a fancy term for products that are good for your skin. But many contain harmful chemicals. We avoid fancy lingo just as we stay clear of harmful chemicals. Robert Natali Pure Grooming Essentials are made from natural ingredients that support optimal skin health. Pure equals safe.

Cruelty-Free means that no animal testing was conducted at any point during the manufacturing process of a product and its individual ingredients. All of our products are cruelty-free. However, they tend to make your skin irresistibly—if not mercilessly—touchable, typically eliciting uncontrollable responses from spouses, intimate partners and potential suitors. If you consider that cruel, we’re guilty as charged.

Dioxins are toxic chemicals commonly found in soil and absorbed by plants as well as in the ingredients extracted from them. Described by the EPA as likely carcinogens, they can compromise the immune and nervous systems, and may cause cancer with extended exposure. They are consistently found in skincare products made with ingredients that aren’t organic. Since dioxins are not actual ingredients but the result of farming methods, you’ll never find them listed on your product packaging. If your skincare product is not made with pure ingredients, it probably contains these harmful contaminants. We keep them out of our products. Keep them away from your skin.

Essential Oils are the highly concentrated essences of plants. They are natural aromatic compounds typically distilled by steam or water from the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They offer a variety of restorative, replenishing, and rejuvenating benefits for the skin. Their scents are often uplifting and nutritive as well. As with all ingredients, the process by which they are distilled is crucial. The purer the better. We use the richest and purest essential oils on the face of the earth. For your face, nothing less will do.

Formaldehydes (also known as urea, formalin, phenol formaldehyde, methanal, methylene oxide, oxymethyleine, methylaldehyde, and oxomethane) are colorless, gaseous compounds commonly used as skincare preservatives and are known to be carcinogenic. Einstein’s brain was preserved in formaldehyde. Use yours and avoid any product that contains this toxic chemical.

Fragrances are what add scents to many grooming and skincare products. They’re often used to mask other ingredients that have unpleasant aromas. The use of fragrances in products can be misleading. The following are a few terms we hope will clear the air…

  • Artificial Fragrance means exactly what it suggests: a fragrance created with artificial ingredients. Artificial fragrances can often cause allergic reactions and/or skin irritations. They are also frequently animal tested. But as fragrance formulations are considered a trade secret, manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients used to create them. You don’t need artificial intelligence to see you’re better off without them. We never use them.
  • Fragrance-Free means no artificial fragrances have been included in the product. It doesn’t mean the product has no scent. The ingredients themselves often combine to create a scent.
  • Natural/Organic Fragrances are pure, high-grade virgin essential oils added to formulations to produce aromatic scents. They are often beneficial for skin and general health. Essential oils are the only fragrances ever used in Robert Natali products. Au natural…go for it!
  • Unscented is one of the most misleading terms in all of skincare and not to be confused with fragrance-free. Unscented means chemicals have been added to mask unpleasant scents due to other chemicals already in the formulation. Often, they contain harmful phthalates. We don’t use the chemicals so we have nothing to hide.

Free Radicals are incomplete molecules that can do serious harm to your system. They are the direct result of environmental pollutants, smoking, and various toxins including herbicides (commonly used in farming), as well as the by-products of simply breathing. They cause chain reactions that can lead to cellular damage and several chronic diseases, and can accelerate the skin’s aging process. Antioxidants such as Vitamins C, E, and carotenes actively reduce the threat and damage of free radicals. Make sure your skincare products are rich in antioxidants. Ours are. [Also see Antioxidants]

Genetically Modified Organisms—more commonly referred to as GMOs—are plants or animals created through genetic engineering techniques. This technology is still experimental and uses gene splicing to combine DNA from different species to develop new mutations of plant, animal, bacterial, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. GMOs have been linked to a variety of severe health conditions. As skincare products must be absorbed into your skin (hence, your body) in order to be effective, we recommend using only those products labeled Non-GMO. Ours are.

Herbal refers to plant-derived essences used for nourishing, strengthening, and replenishing skin or hair. No surprise, we use them in everything—even our shave products.

Humectant is a chemical compound or substance that retains moisture and increases a product’s ability to penetrate the skin. Common examples include triethylene glycol, tripropylene glycol, propylene glycol, and PPGs. If they sound nasty it’s because they are, which is why we don’t use them. Ours are always safe.

Imidazolidinyl Urea & Diazolidinyl Urea are chemical compounds widely used as preservatives in skincare, even though they are known to cause dermatitis. We never touch the stuff.

Organic means an ingredient is sourced from a plant grown and processed without chemical fertilizers, growth hormones, or synthetic pesticides. Organic ingredients are also Non-GMO. Restricting your skincare products to those formulated primarily with organic ingredients is your best defense against unnecessary exposure to harmful toxins, rapid aging, and potentially dangerous side-effects. Robert Natali uses organic ingredients whenever possible—that is, whenever the ingredients are available in organic form.

Parabens are synthetic compounds used as preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in skincare products and extend their shelf-life. But they won’t extend your shelf-life. Although easy and inexpensive to produce, they are highly toxic and may cause allergic reactions and other more serious health problems. The most common parabens are propylparaben, butylparaben, and methylparaben. Robert Natali Pure Grooming Essentials are paraben-free.

Petrochemicals are products derived from petroleum or its by-products. Frequently used as preservatives and thickeners in skincare products because they are inexpensive, they are toxic and can cause an alarming array of health issues including eye/vision problems, intestinal damage, kidney/liver problems, respiratory problems, clogged pores (leading to acne and blemishes), cysts, skin spots, rashes, hair loss, and premature aging. Some are endocrine disruptors that can severely damage your body’s natural functions. We stay clear of petrochemicals and suggest you do the same.

The following are the most common petrochemical additives found in skincare products:

Benzene Butylparaben Butyl (prefix) Carbomer Carbopol Cocamide DEA Cocamide MEA Coco-Betaine DEA-Cetyl Phosphate DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate Diethanolamine (DEA) Ethylparaben Lauramide DEA Lauryl Glucoside Linoleamide MEA Methyl (prefix) Methylparaben Mineral Oil Myristamide DEA Paraffin PolyEthylene Glycol (and all PEGs including PEG-8, PEG-80, PEG-100 Stearate, Cocoate, Peroleate & PEG 15 Soyamide/IPDI Copolymer) Petroleum Jelly (Petrolatum) PolyEthylene Glycol Propyl (prefix) Propylene Glycol Propylparaben Sodium Laureth Sulfate Sodium Lauryl Sulfate  Stearamide MEA TEA-Lauryl Sulfate Toluene Triethanolamine (TEA)

[We strongly recommend not using any skincare products with any one of the above ingredients.]

Petroleum Jelly (or Petrolatum) is one of the most commonly used and recognized petrochemicals. Derived from oil refining, it contributes to photosensitivity (unusual sensitivity to sunlight) and compromises the body’s natural moisturizing functions. The con artist of moisturizers, it creates the illusion of hydrated skin. What it really does is suffocate skin pores so they can’t breathe or absorb moisture. It also inhibits cleansing and seals in dirt and oil, resulting in whiteheads, blackheads, and acne. We never use it. You shouldn’t either.

Phenoxyethanol is a chemical preservative commonly used in skincare products. It can irritate the eyes and skin, and cause inflammation. We find that irritating, which is why you won’t find it in our products.

Phthalates are frequently used to enhance product texture and elasticity. Notorious hormone disruptors, they are known to cause serious reproductive and developmental problems. Although they are found in many skincare products—never in ours—they are typically not listed on labels.

Plant-Based (also known as botanical) refers to ingredients sourced and extracted from plants. They are natural, highly beneficial for your skin and an essential part of all Robert Natali formulas. [Also see Botanical]

Propylene Glycol is a synthetic petrochemical blend used as a humectant (a substance used to help retain moisture). It is an irritant to the skin even in low concentrations, causing conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and hives. If it is made from a vegetable glycerin it’s safe to use. Most skincare formulations use the inexpensive synthetic alternative. Ours are always all natural. [Also see Humectant]

Sulfates (also known as SO2, sulfurous anhydride, sulfuroxide, sulfurous oxide, and sulfurous acid anhydride) are inexpensive detergents used in many foaming cosmetics and linked to skin and eye irritation. They can also cause damage to major organs throughout the body. The most common are sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. All Robert Natali Grooming Essentials are sulfate-free.

TEA/DEA/MEA are synthetic compounds commonly used in skincare products to increase foaming action. Unfortunately, while they’re foaming, they can irritate your eyes and skin, leaving them both inflamed. We never use them.

Vegan-Friendly Products contain no animal ingredients or by-products in the final formulation as well as in any step of the manufacturing process—from sourcing to distribution. In addition, they are not tested on animals. Robert Natali Grooming Essentials are vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. [Also see Cruelty-Free]

Wildcrafted refers to plants carefully harvested from unspoiled natural habitats. Generally, just the leaves, flowers, and branches are taken from the plant. Their extracts are used in skincare formulations for their enriching, restorative, and anti-aging properties. They are free of artificial additives, and are grown and gathered in accordance with environmental sustainability standards. Men who use products with these ingredients have been known to drive their partners wild. That’s reason enough to use them.