Jergens Natural Glow - Dissecting a cosmetic label

On one of my other blogs (The Beauty Brains) we do a series where we look at the ingredients on a cosmetic label and write about what they do. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to do the same on this blog about cosmetic science. So, here is a new series. We’ll take a look at labels of random cosmetics and dissect what each ingredient does and ponder why it was added.

Today’s product will be Jergens Natural Glow. I should note that I haven’t personally worked on this product or any of the future products that we will dissect here. This analysis is strictly based on my knowledge of cosmetic chemistry and formulation.

Jergens LOI

First, we list the LOI in the order presented.

Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 20, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Dihydroxyacetone, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil (Fruit), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Flower Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, BHT, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance, Erythrulose, Caramel, Titanium Dioxide, Mica

The 1% line

When looking at an LOI the first thing I always like to do is guess where the 1% line. This is the point in the LOI where the ingredients are no longer listed in order of concentration. According to labeling rules, all ingredients above 1% in the formula have to be listed in order. At 1% or below they can be listed in any order. This usually means that companies will put their “natural” sounding ingredients higher on the label to give the impression that there is more in the formula than there actually is.

In this product, the most likely point for the 1% line is after the Ethylhexyl Isononanoate. It is highly unlikely that Tocopherol is used in this product above 1%.

What the ingredients do

Rather then go through each ingredient in the order listed on the LOI, I thought it would be better to group them according to function. So, here you go.

Self tanning functional ingredients

Dihydroxyacetone - Responsible for changing color of skin
Erythrulose - Responsible for changing color of skin
Using a blend of these two ingredients gives a better result than DHA alone.

Emulsion ingredients

Water - The solvent. In an oil in water emulsion it’s almost always to most abundant ingredient.
Stearic Acid - Emulsifiers
Cetearyl Alcohol - Emulsifiers
Ceteareth 20 - Emulsifiers
Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer - Thickener / emulsion stabilizer

Skin feel ingredients

Glycerin - For its humectant and moisturizing effect
Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum) - Moisturizer
Petrolatum - Occlusive agent and excellent moisturizer
Ethylhexyl Isononanoate - Emollient affecting skin feel
Octyldodecyl Myristate - Emollient
Dimethicone - Emollient that improves shine & slip

Claims & puffery ingredients

These make the product sound natural and allow for various marketing claims. They don’t have much impact on the performance of the formula but they do have an impact on whether it sells or not.

Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E)
Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil (Fruit)
Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Flower Extract
Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil

Production adjustment agents

These are added to improve stability and make adjustments after production.
BHT - Antioxidant added to improve stability
Citric Acid - pH adjusting compound
Sodium Hydroxide - pH adjusting compound


They are leaving nothing to chance here including both a formaldehyde donor and a couple of parabens. This is a nicely preserved product.
DMDM Hydantoin - Preservative
Methylparaben - Preservative
Propylparaben - Preservative


Caramel - Brown Colorant
Titanium Dioxide - Colorant
Mica - Colorant gives sparkles

Odor adjuster

Fragrance - Because the odor of DHA is awful

Overall, a nicely formulated product.

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