The Essential Dictionary of Skincare Ingredients


Your DIY Family

Ask any Byrdie editor to name a few of her best skin tips, and she'll inevitably say "always check the ingredient list." When it comes to skincare, you can't always trust chic packaging or rosy marketing language that promises "plump, firm, clear, youthful, flawless skin." Frankly, brands can say pretty much whatever they want, so it's up to us consumers to know our ingredients. That way, we're able to find the most effective product for our skin, saving us time, money, and breakouts.

We also know that becoming an ingredient scholar is easier said than done. Flip over any bottle of serum or cleanser, and it can feel like reading a foreign language. All those polysyllabic words are intimidating, as are the exhaustive (albeit accurate and dependable) skincare glossaries you can find through sources like Paula's Choice. To help you weed through the confusion, we put together this easy-to-read glossary of the most common and necessary skincare ingredients to know.

Keep scrolling for your handy-dandy guide to the 30 essential skincare ingredients.