Day 2 – Functional Raw Materials

Welcome to Day 2 of the 30 Days to Become a Better Cosmetic Chemist series

Get the 30 days to become a better cosmetic chemist book

This 30 day challenge is all about giving you basic exercises that will improve your abilities as a cosmetic chemist.

In this episode

In today’s episode I’ll share information about raw materials:

  • Three types of cosmetic raw materials
  • 7 types of functional raw materials
  • How to tell the difference between functional & other materials

Relevant to Exercise

Identifying functional ingredients.

For example, let’s look at the example of the Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer

Water, Glycerin, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dihydroxyacetone, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Ceteareth 20, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Steareth 2, Dimethicone, Fragrance, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Hydroxyhexyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, BHT, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Polysorbate 60, Citric Acid, Olea Europea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Tocopherol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Caramel, Erythrulose

Functional ingredients:

1. Glycerin
2. Mineral Oil
3. Petrolatum
4. Dimethicone
5. Erythrulose

Share your results from the exercise in the comments below.

19 thoughts on “Day 2 – Functional Raw Materials

  1. Avatar
    Margueritte says:

    Thank you Perry,
    It has been a great exercise to be able to list ingredients for different types of shampoos

  2. Avatar
    Kati says:

    Interesting episode, but the task is impossible for a newbie like myself. When you don’t know the lingo, how will you know which ingredients are *actually* functional? My sunscreen from Cliniderm starts with “Aqua, Octocrylene, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Salicylate” and ends with “Ubiquinone, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate”. Well hello there! The only words I truly understand are “Aqua” and “Citric Acid”. How do I even find out which role the 21 other ingredients play in the product? (Actually, one of them I understand: Butyrospermum Parkii Butter – good old shea butter). Do I have to become a walking encyclopedia of chemical compounds to learn how to formulate? And if so, where do I even start??

    • Avatar
      Perry Romanowski says:

      You make a good point. You only learn the lingo over time when exposed to ingredient information. No, you don’t have to become a walking encyclopedia. Ingredients can be grouped into categories which was discussed in this episode. Learning raw materials is a bit like learning to read. If you don’t know an ingredient you can look up what it is & what it is claimed to do. Just know that not all the information that you read will be 100% accurate. You should get verification from good resources. like

  3. Avatar
    Marina says:

    It Cosmetics, Confidence In A Cream Hydrating Moisturizer (source:

    Aqua (Water, Eau), Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate / Dicaprate, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Caprylic / Capric / Myristic / Stearic Triglyceride, (…)

    – Functional ingredients:
    1. Glycerin
    2. Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride (as emollient?)

    • Avatar
      Perry Romanowski says:

      Yes, although I think Butylene Glycol (humectant) & Cyclopentasiloxane (emollient) may also be functional ingredients.

  4. Avatar
    rebecca says:

    Firstly, absolutely loving your work, thankyou. I’m not sure about your example, as a (wannabe) natural formulator I would leave out your examples of functional ingredients with the possible exclusion of glycerin and listed ingredients like the oils such as olive, jojoba etc. or is this dependent on the relative percentage present?

  5. Avatar
    Fathanah says:

    Product name: Dove refresh+care dry shampoo, volume & fullness (source:

    Ingredients: Isobutane, Propane, Sd Alcohol 40-B (Alcohol Denat.), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Butane, Fragrance (Parfum), Isopropyl Myristate, Silica, Cyclopentasiloxane

    Functional ingredient: Isopropyl myristate, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Cyclopentasiloxane

  6. Avatar
    Nada says:

    Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Parfum/Fragrance, Cetyl Esters, Amodimethicone, Isopropyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Pyrus Malus Fruit Extract/Apple Fruit Extract, Trideceth-6, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCl, Limonene, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Linalool, Saccharum Officinarum Extract/Sugar Cane Extract/Extrait De Canne A Sucre, Citronellol, Cetrimonium Chloride, 2-Oleadido-1, 3-Octadecdanediol, Pyrus Malus Water/Apple Fruit Water, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Lemon Protein, Phenoxyethanol, Citrus Limon Peel Extract/Lemon Peel Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract

    -cetyl alcohol and cetyl easter: emollient
    Amodimethacone: conditioning effect
    Pyrus malus fruit extraxt: exfolliant
    Niacinamide: hair growth
    Pyrodoxine hcl: prevent hair loss
    Sugarcane extract: emollient
    Cetrimonuim chloride: removes dirt
    Hydroxypropyl trimonuim lemon protien: conditioning effect
    Camellia senesis leaf extract: hair growth

    • Avatar
      Perry Romanowski says:

      You got some of these correct but I’m afraid many of the “claims” ingredients you have classified as functional. For example, fruit and other natural extracts are put in formulas for label claims, not because they actually do anything in the formula. For this products, I would say the functional ingredients are Behentrimonium Chloride and Amodimethicone. The rest are either claims or aesthetic modifier ingredients.

  7. Avatar
    Anzhelina says:

    Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Butylene glycol, Squalane, Limnanthes alba oil, Pentylene glycol, Alcohol, Propandiol, Betaine, Diglycerin, PEG8, Aframonium extract,Lilium extract, Jasmine extract, Sodium surfactant, Sodium acetylated hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed soy protein, Ascorbic glucoside, Sodium extract, Sodium hyaluronate,Hydroxyethil acrylate, Boron nitride,Caprylyl glycol, Lecithin, Fragrance, Chlorphenesin , Alcaligenes polysaccharides, Polysorbate 80, Sorbitan isostearate, Sodium benzoate, Potassium sorbate, Tocopherol.
    Functional ingredients:
    Glycerin , Niacinamide, Squalane, Limnanthes alba oil, Hydrolyzed soy protein and Alcaligenes polysaccharides.
    Maybe Betaine?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *