Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Cosmetic Industry What are terms created by marketers to communicate science?

  • What are terms created by marketers to communicate science?

    Posted by OldPerry on December 29, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I was reading an article in Allure and the author used the term “dry oil.”  I’m still not exactly sure what it means but from the article it either means an oil that absorbs into the skin quickly.  A “wet oil” would be one that takes longer.

    To my scientific sensibilities this is silly.  But it does demonstrate to me that there is a hole in my knowledge about how technology is being communicated to consumers.

    Perhaps we could help each other by listing some of the terms you come across and what they might mean.  I’ll start.

    Dry oil - an oil that absorbs quickly into skin

    Wet oil - an oil that stays on top of skin or absorbs slowly

    Micellar water - another way to talk about surfactants?

    Water fragrances - ones that use water instead of alcohol

    I’ll add more as I stumble on them.

    OldPerry replied 6 years, 5 months ago 5 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • gld010

    December 29, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    I once was given a formulation for a “Mediterranean Dry Oil” that was mostly new “natural” silicone replacements plus some argan oil.

    This post made me look up some “dry oil” products and in almost all of them there was a volatile (or something that feels like one) right at the top of the list- D5, isododecane, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate. Only one that I looked at was nothing but oil and antioxidant/preservative. So I guess consumers want that dry skinfeel even if the oil itself isn’t technically “dry”. In one of them there was barely any oil at all, it was ethylhexyl palmitate and isohexadecane with jojoba and sesame seed oil in the 1% or less section.

    Because of this I think “dry oil” refers to the entire product and not the oil itself because people are expecting that dry skin feel you can really only get from certain ingredients. That’s not to say that there aren’t oils that absorb into the skin/hair or anything, just that “dry oil” is like “dry shampoo”. Dry shampoo ain’t shampoo. I guess I’m just splitting hairs though. ;)

  • heraklit

    December 30, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I was in a seminar about new trends in cosmetics and a chemist researcher used the term cosmeceuticals, but the leader of the panel, a professor of pharmacology rigorously said: “please don’t use this term again. It’s wrong and it means nothing”

  • OldPerry

    December 30, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    @heraklit - lol

    @gld010 - I used to work on the VO5 Hot Oil product. There was no oil in it.

  • DAS

    December 30, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Micellar water was the first to come to mind. Everytime I see the ad I yell at the TV.

    Water fragrances can be hydrosols, so it’s possible.

    The term chemical free, instead of synthetic free. Of course nobody reads the very tiny letters on the back that covers the company from a lawsuit. But the concept is so stupid that makes me laugh.

  • OldPerry

    December 30, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    I’ve always found the terms for the different types of sunscreen troubling.

    “chemical sunscreen”
    “chemical free sunscreen”

  • Bill_Toge

    December 31, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I’ve always thought that ‘dry’ refers to the after-feel rather than the oil itself; ‘volatile low viscosity oil’ would be more rigorous description

    ‘chemical free’ hasn’t caught on over on this side of the Atlantic, because it is blatantly false (both in the scientific and legal sense) and the Advertising Standards Agency cracks down pretty hard on that kind of thing

  • Bill_Toge

    December 31, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    also, one of our sales staff has a habit of pronouncing ‘micellar’ as ‘micular’… in unrelated news, my desk has a forehead-shaped indentation in it

  • OldPerry

    December 31, 2017 at 5:52 pm


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