Astringent: An astringent is intended to thoroughly cleanse the pores and help combat oily skin and acne. Most natural astringents do not contain alcohol, but some do.
Bath Salt: A bath salt is a pure salt, combination of different types of salts, and/or a salt blended with other ingredients. Added to the water at bath time, bath salts help to relax sore muscles, ease tension, stimulate circulation, eliminate toxins and sooth skin irritation. Dead Sea Salts are known for their ability to assist those who have psoriasis. Bath salts are available unfragranced, but are typically fragranced with either essential oils or synthetic fragrance. Some salts are also colored with liquid or powdered dyes or by use of pigmented mica powder.
Butter: A product labeled as a butter typically consists of one or more vegetable butters. Essential oils, vegetable oils or other ingredients may also be combined to make an array of different moisturizing products with a buttery consistency. Pure vegetable butters may also be added to soaps, scrubs, and bath products to enhance their moisturization or creaminess. Cocoa, shea, hemp seed, mango and avocado are examples of pure vegetable butters. Butters vary in their rigidity, aroma, shelf life and nutritive benefits. If you are looking for a 100% pure vegetable butter, be sure that you check the ingredient list, but remember that some butters like pure cocoa butter are very rigid and difficult to use without first blending them with oils or other vegetable butters.
Body Oil: A body oil consists of a single vegetable oil or blend of oils and aromatics that both nourish and fragrance the skin. Unscented body oils are also available. Body oils that primarily consist of highly nutritive vegetable oils can be more effective than lotions or creams in nourishing dry skin. Upon application, body oils tend to feel more oily on the skin than does a lotion or cream, but a good body oil consists of vegetable oils that quickly absorb into the skin. Avoid products that contain mineral oil. Mineral oil can clog the pores and keep the skin from breathing.
Cold Process Soap: Cold Process is the type of processing that is used to make soap. Cold Process soap generally uses vegetable oils that are combined with lye and other ingredients.
Exfoliant: An exfoliant is a product that includes slightly abrasive ingredients that help to scrub and polish the skin to remove dirt, debris and dead skin. Not all exfoliants are natural. Exfoliating ingredients that are found in natural products include salt, sugar, fruit fibers, fruit seeds, nut and kernel meals (i.e. apricot nut meal), jojoba wax beads, and coarse grains like oatmeal or rice bran powder.
Facial Mask: A facial mask contains ingredients, that when combined, lead to a thick, moist and creamy product that is applied to the face. Depending on the ingredients used, the facial is left on the face for anywhere between 15-30 minutes and allowed to dry. Once dry, the facial is then gently rinsed from the surface of the face using warm water. Facial masks can be formulated for oily/acne-prone skin, combination skin, dry skin and aging skin. More gentle and moisturizing ingredients are typically included in those facials intended for sensitive or dry skin. More absorbent and anti-bacterial ingredients are typically included in those facials intended for oily and acne-prone skin types. Ingredients commonly included in facial mask products include cosmetic grade clays and muds, powdered herbs, essential oils, hydrosols, vegetable oils, fresh pured fruits and vegetables including avocados and cucumbers, honey, and dairy based products including fresh yogurt and milk powders. Most masks are typically formulated for application to the face, but masks can also be made and applied to the back, chest or other areas of the body.
Glycerin Soap: Glycerin is naturally found in cold process vegetable base soaps. It is a humectant, meaning that it attracts water and moisture. Glycerin soaps help to moisturize the skin.
Liquid Castile Soap: Liquid castile soap is often used alone or as in ingredient in hand washes, shower cleaners, exfoliating scrubs and other formulations. It is traditionally made using olive oil and may include other vegetable oils that have been saponified (processed into soap). Liquid Castile Soap also includes water and may include other ingredients including natural or synthetic aromatics.
Lip Balm/Lip Gloss: The terms Lip Balm and Lip Gloss are sometimes used interchangeably. Formally, a lip balm is a lip care product that is formulated specifically to sooth, moisturize and nourish chapped/dry lips. It may leave a glossy shine upon the lips and may have a luscious aroma. A Lip Gloss is a lip color product that is formulated specifically to add shine to the lips. It may also include colorants to add shimmer and a bit of color to the lips. A Lip Gloss does offer moisturization to the lips, but its primary role is to make the lips "shine."
Massage Oil: A massage oil serves multiple purposes. Use of a massage oil nourishes the skin and it lubricates the skin so that there is adequate "slip" during your massage session. A fragranced massage oil can be used to induce relaxation or in a sensual massage situation, to emit an exotic, seductive aroma. If a massage oil is fragranced with natural essential oils, the essential oils will contribute their therapeutic and emotional properties to the massage oil.
Melt and Pour Soap: Melt and Pour Soap is a type of ready-made vegetable oil/glycerin based soap that is used by artisans to create beautiful, specialty soaps. Melt and Pour Soap is not an all-natural soap. Some Melt and Pour Soap bases, however, are nearly all-natural. Despite the synthetic ingredients used in melt and pour soap, these soap bases remain much more gentle than typical commercial soaps.
Moisturizer: Moisturizers are products that include lotions, creams and balms that help to replenish and retain moisture on the face, body or lips. Good moisturizers do several things. First, they rehydrate your skin. Second, they help your skin retain natural moisture and help it to attract moisture. Third, a good moisturizer contains nutritive ingredients such as essential fatty acids that are important for healthy skin and combating the signs of aging. Look for moisturizers that include quality natural moisturizing ingredients such as vegetable oils rich in essential fatty acids, jojoba (a natural wax that does not clog pores), and that also includes essential oils that act both as a natural fragrance and that can help to combat bacteria, can reduce acne inflammation, and can encourage healthy skin.
Mud Pack: A mud pack is similar in concept to a facial mask (see entry), but focuses upon the use of a cosmetic grade mud such as Dead Sea Mud or Moor Mud. Essential oils, herbs, clays and other ingredients may be blended with the mud.
Scrub: A scrub is an exfoliating product that commonly includes sugar or salt as the natural exfoliant. Scrubs help to polish the skin, remove dead skin cells and debris. See Exfoliant for more information.
Shampoo Bar: A Shampoo Bar resembles a bar of vegetable based soap, but it is formulated especially for hair. One of the many advantages of using Shampoo Bars is that they can be formulated using all natural ingredients including vegetable oils, vegetable butters, essential oils and other nutritives especially beneficial to the hair and scalp. They tend to lather well compared to natural liquid soaps.
Vegetable Soap: Vegetable Soap, also known as Vegetable Oil Soap, is soap that is made exclusively with vegetable oils and not animal fats. Vegetable based soap is much more gentle to the skin than commercial detergent bars. The choice in vegetable oils that are used to make a particular type of soap will affect the nutritive benefits of the soap, the hardness of the soap and the amount of lather that the soap generates. Vegetable based soap can be fragranced using essential oils and/or fragrance oils and can be colored and combined to make some beautifully artistic soaps.