Ingredients in Cosmetics - Industrial pharmacy - I B. Pharma 5th Semester PDF Notes

Ingredients in Cosmetics



Official definition of cosmetics with scope, Classification of cosmetics; ingredients of cosmetics with significance and present scenario of cosmetics.

Learning objectives

At the end of this lecture, the student will be able to:

•Explain the uses of different ingredients in cosmetics

•List ingredients generally used in cosmetics

Ingredients in Cosmetics

• Over the years, lots of changes have taken place with regard to the use of ingredients in cosmetics

• They come from a variety of sources, ranging from plants to minerals

• Under U.S. law, cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market

• However, they must be safe for consumers under labeled or customary conditions of use

• Companies and individuals who market cosmetics have a legal responsibility for the safety of their products and ingredients.

• Under the law, FDA cannot take action against a coal-tar hair dye for safety reasons as long as it has a special warning tatement on the label and directions for a skin test. The caution statement reads as follows:

Caution - This product contains ingredients which may cause skin irritation on certain individuals and a preliminary test according to accompanying directions should first be made.

This product must not be used for dyeing the eyelashes or eyebrows; to do may cause blindness.

The most common ingredients are:

1. Purified water:

• Most frequently used raw material

• Distilled water or deionized water is used

• Should be free from microorganisms and inorganic contaminants

2. Preservatives:

• Used to prevent microbial spoilage of cosmetics

• Water promotes growth of microorganisms and hence aqueous preparations should contain preservatives

• Preservatives should be compatible with the preparation

• Should be non-toxic, non-irritant and non- allergenic

• Should have good solubility

E.g- Benzoic acid- 0.5%

           Methyl paraben- 0.1%

           Propyl paraben- 0.1%

           Propyl paraben- 0.1%

           Phenyl mercuric nitrate- 0.002%

           Phenyl mercuric acetate- 0.002%

           Chlorbutanol- 0.5%

Dangers of certain Preservatives

3. Oils, fats and Waxes:

• Used as bases for cosmetic preparations like creams, bath preparations, ointments, soaps, lipsticks, lotions, shampoos etc.

• Oils from different sources like volatile oils, vegetable oils, mineral oils


Vegetable oils

• Almond oil, Arachis oil, castor oil, coconut oil, olive oil and sesame oil

 Mineral oils

a) Light liquid paraffin

• Mixture of liquid hydrocarbon. Lower viscosity, colorless and odorless oily liquid. Good spreading agent

• Used in bath oils, hair oils, lotions, creams

b) Heavy liquid paraffin

• Mixture of hydrocarbons

• Colourless and odourless. Emollient in nature. Used in creams, lotions, brilliantines,hair oil,bath oil. 

• Mineral oil more stable than vegetable oil

Volatile oils / essential oils

• Peppermint oil, Lavender oil, lemon oil, anise oil


a. Fatty acids –Stearic acid (C12-C18)

• In nature, stearic acid is found in the fats and oils of plants and animals. Animal fat samples typically consist of 30% stearic acid.

•Most plant oils receive 5% of their volume from the amino acid, with the exception of cocoa butter and shea butter, which contain as much as nine times more stearic acid

• Stearic acid is obtained from fats and oils by the saponification of the triglycerides using hot water (above 200 °C)

• Commercially available stearic acid is mixture of palmitic acid and stearic acid

• Used as Emulsifier for Creams, Lotions and Shaving Cream

• Stearic acid also has important cleansing properties that make it useful in soaps, detergents, soaps, and cosmetics such as shampoos and shaving cream products

• Soaps are not made directly from stearic acid, but indirectly by saponification of triglycerides consisting of stearic acid esters

• Esters of stearic acid with ethylene glycol, glycol stearate, and glycol distearate are used to produce a pearly effect in shampoos, soaps, and other cosmetic products

• They are added to the product in molten form and allowed to crystallize under controlled conditions

a. Fatty acids –Oleic acid

• Causes rancidity, so preservatives have to be used

• It increases pearly sheen in lotion and creams

b. Fatty alcohols- Cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol

• White waxy solid

• Used as emulsion stabilizer, Emollient

• Hydrophobic in nature – produce occlusive film, which help in hydration of dry skin.

c. Fatty acid esters

E.g. Isopropyl stearate, isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate, glyceryl monostearate

• Oily nature and low viscosity

• After applying to skin- thin, film on skin

• Non-greasy in nature

• Used as emollient or emulsifying agent

• Viscosity enhancer

• Used in lotion and creams

• Mainly used in O/W type emulsion

c. Lanolin and its derivatives

Lanolin – a natural fat consists of higher fatty alcohols and higher fatty acids.

• Good emollient – due to hydrophobic and adhesive nature and adhesive nature

• Used at a concentration of 5%

• Produce W/O type emulsion

Lanolin alcohol – mixture of sterols, triterpine and aliphatic alcohols

E.g. Acetylated lanolin, Propionyl lanolin

d. Soft Paraffin

 Semi solid mixture of hydrocarbon obtained from petroleum

 Two types- yellow and white soft paraffin

 Emollient in nature

 Hydrophobic in nature –produce occlusive film, which prevents water loss from skin

 By reducing moisture loss, petroleum jelly can prevent chapped hands and lips, and soften nail cuticles, skin lubrication

White Soft Paraffin-

It is colorless and highly distilled

Yellow Soft Paraffin-

It is pale yellow color when not highly distilled


a. Bees wax

• Collected from bee hives (Apis species)

• Fresh Beeswax is white, but pollens, resins and other natural impurities may give it a light yellow to deep brown color

• Yellowish brown in colour

• M.P-: 62 – 65 pollens, resins and other natural 0C.

• Forms W/O type emulsion

• Used in baby products, bath products, lipstick, makeup, fragrances, coloring and non-coloring hair products, nail and skin care products, personal cleanliness products, shaving products as well as sunscreen and suntan products

• Help to keep an emulsion from separating into its oil and liquid components, especially in cosmetics and personal care products that require a creamy consistency

• These waxes also increase the thickness of the lipid (oil) portion of solid and stick-like products such as lipstick, giving them structure, allowing for a smooth application, and keeping them solid

b. Spermaceti/ Sperma wax

• Is a waxy substance found in the head cavities of the sperm whale (and, in smaller quantities, in the oils of other whales)

• White- Crystalline substance

• M.P- 420C – 500C

• Used in creams & ointments

c. Jojoba esters

• A botanical alternative to spermaceti is a derivative of jojoba oil, jojoba esters, C19H41COO-C20H41, a solid wax which is chemically and physically very similar to spermaceti

• Esters of cetyl alcohol and jojoba oil are used as a substitute for spermaceti

• Used in cosmetic formulations as an emollient, due to its remarkable similarity to the natural oil produced by the human skin, and its high oxidative stability

• Used in cosmetics such as lipsticks, shampoos and moisturizing lotions

d. Paraffin wax /Hard paraffin

• Mixture of hydrocarbons consisting of n-paraffins and their isomers

• Obtained by distillation process from petroleum

• It is colorless /odorless

• Slightly greasy in nature

• M.P – 50-70oC

• It is the translucent in nature

e. Ozokerite Wax/Ceresin /Mineral wax

• Obtained from natural ozokerite by purification process

• Colorless, odorless and crystalline wax.

• M.P- 50 -750C

• Used in all kinds of stick cosmetics (lipstick, lip balm, concealers, deodorants), all kinds of emulsions (creams, lotions).

f. Microcrystalline wax

• Complex mixture of isoparaffins

• Has microcrystalline structure

•M.P -650C-850C

•Used in preparation of lipsticks

g. Carnauba wax (Brazil wax or Palm wax)

 Obtained from leaves of palm grown in Brazil

 Different grades

 Highest grade- light brown

 Moderate grade- pale yellow

 Characteristic bland odor

 M.P- 810-860C

 Hardest in nature

 Used to thicken lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow, foundation, deodorant, various skin care preparations, sun screens etc.

h. Candelilla wax

 is a wax derived from the leaves of the small Candelilla shrub native to northern Mexico and the southwestern US

 Gives a smooth and glossy appearance to a lipstick if used at a slightly higher dosage concentration than the proportion of beeswax

 Used to harden lipsticks, lip balms, soap bars

 Candelilla wax can be used as a substitute for carnauba wax and beeswax

4. Anti oxidants:

• Used to protect the preparation against oxidation

• Since fats and oils are used in cosmetic preparations, they are prone to oxidation

E.g Phenolic type - Gallic acid and salts, BHA,BHT                            

E.g Phenolic type - Gallic acid and salts, BHA,BHT                           

 Quinone type – Tocopherol

 Amine type – Lecithine, ethanolamine

 Organic acids, alcohol and esters – Ascorbic acid,citric acid,oxalic acid

 Inorganic acids and salts –Sodium sulphite, Sod. metabisulphite

5. Humectants:

• Humectants (or moisturizers) are important cosmetic ingredients allowing to prevent loss of moisture thereby retaining the skin's natural moisture.

• Humectants typically draw water to the skin from two different places; they can draw water from a humid environment, and they enhance water absorption from the outer layer of skin

• Used in skin cosmetics, pastes

• They also prevent drying out of preparations in their containers

E.g. Glycerin, Propylene glycol, triethanolamine

Difference between an Emollient, Moisturizer, and a Humectant???

• Emollients are used to soften and smooth the scales of the skin, which help reduce rough, flaky skin. They are also occlusive agents: substances that provide a layer of protection that helps prevent moisture (water) loss from the skin.

• A humectant is a substance that actually bonds with water molecules to increase the water content in the skin itself.

• Many humectant’s also have emollient properties, while not all emollients are humectants. The best moisturizers have a combination of emollients and humectants

6. Surfactants:

• Surface active agents used to decrease interfacial tension

• Used as

Emulsifying agents

 Foaming agent and Cleansing agent

 Wetting agent

 Solubilization

E.g. Anionic surfactants- Sodium stearate, Potassium stearate, Ammonium stearate, Sodium lauryl sulphate

Cationic surfactants- Benzalkonium chloride, Benzethonium chloride & cetrimide (Cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide)

Non-ionic surfactant- Alkanolamides , Polyethylene glycol , Polyethyleneimine

•Higher concentrations of SLS were responsible for severe irritation and even corrosion of the skin.

7. Colours: 

• Enhance the aesthetic appeal of the preparation

• Are of different types

a) FD& C colours:  that can be used in food, drugs and cosmetics

b) D&C colours- that can be used only in drugs and cosmetics

c) External D& C- that can be used only in topical preparation


A. Organic dyes and their lakes

B. Inorganic or mineral colors

C. Natural colors or vegetable and animal colors


• Dyes are synthetic, chemical compounds that exhibit their coloring power or tinctorial strength when dissolved in a solvent

• They are usually 80 to 93% pure colorant material

• Dyes are also soluble in propylene glycol and glycerin

• They are available in a wider range of shades or hues with higher coloring power than the natural pigments

• Dyes are usually cheaper in cost

Eg. Tartrazine, Erythrosine, Sunset Yellow and Patent Blue V


• Lakes have been defined by the FDA as the "Aluminum salts of FD&C water soluble dyes extended on a substratum of alumina“

• Lakes, unlike dyes, are insoluble in water and color by dispersion

• The particle size of lakes is very critical to their coloring capacity or tinctorial strength

• Generally, the smaller the particle size, the higher the tinctorial strength of lakes due to increased surface area for reflected light

• Lakes are formed by the precipitation and absorption of a dye on an insoluble base or substrate

• The base for the FD&C lakes is alumina hydrate


Aluminum lakes- Brilliant Blue Lake, Sunset yellow lake, Amaranth lake, Allura red lake, Indigo carmine lake, Quinoline yellow lake

Inorganic colors or mineral colors

• They have opacifying capacity and stability towards light

• Wide regulatory acceptance, making them most useful

• Range of colors that can be achieved is limited

• Possibly the most important application of, mineral coloring in a present-day medicament is the use of a mixture of red and yellow ferric oxides to give calamine a flesh color

E.g Titanium dioxide

8. Perfumes

• Enhance the aesthetic appeal of the preparation

• Essential oils are used


• Jasmine oil, used for its flowery fragrance

• Lemon oil- Used medicinally, as an antiseptic, and in cosmetics

• Tea tree oil- As an antiseptic

• Rose oil- Used primarily as a fragrance

• Sandalwood oil- used primarily as a fragrance

• Lavender oil- used primarily as a fragrance, relief of anxiety and stress

• Ylang- Ylang- used for calming, antiseptic, and aphrodisiac purposes, as well as hypertension and skin diseases

• Spearmint oil- used in flavoring mouthwash and chewing gum

• Peppermint oil- used in flavoring mouthwash and chewing gum

• Chamomile oil- aromatherapy

• Clove oil- used as a topical anesthetic to relieve dental pain

• Patchouli oil- very common ingredient in perfumes


1. Cosmetic raw materials are …………

• Water

• Anti-oxidant

• Humectant

• Surfactant

• Surfactant

• Oil, fats and Wax

• Preservatives

• Perfume

• Color

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