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Terms A-Z




Allergens are naturally found in essential oils, fragrance oils and botanical extracts. You can find out which of the 26 allergens are present in an ingredient by checking the allergen declaration. Allergens that must be disclosed in the ingredients list on your product label if they exceed 0.01% for wash-off products (eg soaps, shampoos) and 0.001% for leave-on products (eg lotions, creams), by weight of the total formulation.


Anti-oxidant & Free radicals

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. Free-radicals are aggressive, unstable, oxygen containing molecules that have lost an electron and need to steal one from another molecule to regain stability. This creates a chain reaction damaging cell membranes and normal cellular metabolism. Free radicals can also damage DNA and RNA, contribute to the hardening of collagen and elastin cells, and may cause cancer. This cell damage leads to premature aging, increased skin sensitivity, irritation, age spots and dryness. The main focus of anti-aging skincare products is on antioxidants that combat free radicals in the skin. Plants and animals maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such as vitamins and flavonoids to name but a few. Antioxidants are used both to help the condition of the skin and to help products retain their properties, hence they are considered both functional and performance ingredients.

“At the top of the list of wonder chemicals used in anti-aging products are the ubiquitous antioxidants, one of the few morsels of scientific terminology that has made it into the public consciousness unscathed. If consumers are looking for a significant and permanent effect on the skin, it is the antioxidants in which they should put their faith.” (Moore, Andrew. The Biochemistry of Beauty: The Science and Pseudoscience of Beautiful Skin. European Molecular Biology Organization Reports, Volume 3 Number 8, 2002).

CO2 (carbon dioxide) extracts

Extraction with CO2 gas (Carbon Dioxide) is the purest and gentlest way of making Botanical Extracts. Under high pressure (73 bars) and moderate temperature (31° C) CO2 gas has the ability to dissolve different organic substances without the use of either heat or solvents. This results in an oil which is a truer representation of the properties of the original plant. They are very concentrated including the essential oils as well as the fat-soluble and water-soluble substances from the plants. These extracts are free of heavy metals, microbes, solvents and preservatives and are resistance to bacterial contamination which is conducive to a longer shelf life.


Collagen is the main protein of connective tissue and the most abundant protein in mammals. Collagen, makes up 70% of the dermis and gives the skin structure. In contrast, the quantity of elastin in the dermis is only about one-fifteenth (1/15th) of the collagen amount and gives the skin its flexibility. Damage as they break down is the primary cause of the wrinkles and sagging that accompany aging. Unfortunately, elastin and collagen are not replaced naturally by the body alone, and the skin does not regain its once-pliable shape after being stretched and expanded over time. However, new research shows that certain ingredients such as vitamin A may stimulate collagen and elastin growth, which has the potential to slow down the aging process. There is, however, a better chance of stimulating the growth of collagen than elastin in the skin. UV exposure is a main cause in the deterioration of collagen and elastin.


A comedogenic substance is one that clogs pores, This blockage can lead to whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. More specifically, comedogenicity is the tendency of any ingredient or product to cause or to worsen a buildup of dead cells in follicles (referred to as pores), leading to the development of a comedo (blackhead). Although non-comedogenic skincare products may not prevent acne, they do not promote pore-clogging and acne production, either.


Decoction is a method of extraction by boiling, of dissolved chemicals, from herbal or plant material, which may include stems, roots, bark and rhizomes. Decoction involves boiling in water to extract oils, volatile organic compounds, and other chemical substances. Decoction can be used to make tisanes, teas, coffees, tinctures and similar solutions. A decoction is also the name for the resulting liquid.


Emulsify & emulsifiers

An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally nonmixable or unblendable. Without emulsifiers, oil and water would separate into layers. Emulsifiers surround oil particles, allowing them to remain evenly distributed throughout the water. They can also act as thickening agents.



There are two basic categories of moisturiser: humectants which absorb water from the air and emollients. Emollients are common cosmetic ingredients that act as functional and performance ingredients. As a functional ingredient, emollients help spread, place and keep other agents on the skin. As performance ingredients, they lubricate the skin’s surface and support its barrier function. Lying on top of the skin they increase the skin's hydration (water content) by reducing evaporation. This technique of moisturisation is called occlusion and has a softening and soothing effect on the skin in addition to filling in fine lines.


Essential oils

An essential oil is a concentrated liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. It is "essential" in the sense that it carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant. Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, expression or solvent extraction. Various essential oils have been used medicinally at different periods in history.
Omega oils (essential fatty acids)

Essential fatty acids are fatty acids that are required in the human diet and they cannot be synthesized by the body from other fatty acids and must be obtained from food. The essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 fatty acids include: linolenic acid, EPA and DHA. Omega-6 fatty acids include: linoleic acid and arachidonic acid. Omega-9 fatty acids are not essential because they can be synthesized from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Some of the plant sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are found in oils from thistle (safflower) oil, rosehip oil, evening primrose amongst others. Essential fatty acids play a part in many metabolic processes related to the health of the skin; they are required for the normal structure of all cell membranes and essential for healthy skin. Absorption of EFAs throughout the skin is an effective method of acquiring EFAs for some skincare purposes, but including them in a diet is also required.


Hydrolates, also known as hydrosols, or herbal and floral waters, are by-products of the process of making essential oils. During this process, the herbs and flowers are distilled with spring water. The water is heated and presses itself through the plants as vapour, which collects the essential oils and other ingredients present. The essential oils - which float on the surface of the water - are removed, leaving the hydrolate, which contains a small quantity of essential oil and other water-soluble agents from the plant. These waters can sometimes be used as they are, as skin toners, facial cleansers, hair rinses, for aromatic baths, baby baths, on compresses or in sprays for freshening up the skin.



Infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from plant material typically dried herbs, flowers or berries in water, oil or alcohol. The liquid is typically boiled (or brought to another appropriate temperature) and then poured over the herb, which is then allowed to steep in the liquid for a period of time. The liquid may then be strained or the herbs otherwise removed from the liquid. An infusion is also the name for the resultant liquid. Kinvara skincare infuses plant parts in spring water only.



Dried or fresh plant material is steeped in a plant oil and agitated vigorously daily for a period ranging from several days to 6 weeks. Plant materials is then removed by filtering the oil, leaving the oil with some therapeutic properties of the plant material including essential oils and even its original colour


Sebum is the natural oil secreted by the sebaceous glands in humans that protects the surface of the skin (from environmental stressors) and lubricates both the skin and hair keeping them soft and supple.



There is no agreed definition of what a serum is in cosmetic or skincare science. In general it is understood that a serum is a highly concentrated product containing significantly more biologically active substances than creams and are therefore quicker and more effective at getting results.



The sun protection factor of a sunscreen is a laboratory measure of the effectiveness of sunscreen — the higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen offers against UV-B (the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn). However SPF is an imperfect measure of skin damage because invisible damage and skin aging are also caused by ultraviolet type A (UVA, wavelength 320 to 400 nm), which does not cause reddening or pain. In practice, the protection from a particular sunscreen depends on many contributing factors, not least of which is the amount applied and the frequency of re-application.

RSPO (Round table on Sustainable Palm Oil production)

Palm oil is intensively grown commercial crop, traded on the stock market and found in nearly everything we eat. Vast swathes of often very vulnerable and important habitats are cleared to make way for palm oil, especially in Asian countries such as Indonesia. It is crucial that it is produced in an environmentally responsible manner. Kinvara skincare doesnt use palm oil directly but it is a component of some of our emulsifiers, but in these cases the palm oil has been produced by suppliers that are part of RSPO. RSPO is an association created by organisations carrying out their activities in and around the entire supply chain for palm oil to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through co-operation within the supply chain and open dialogue with its stakeholders. As a self governing organisation it has ambitious goals but no binding legal requirements. Read more about RSPO at Kinvara skincare will be actively seeking eliminate palm oil derivatives as and when that becomes possible.


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