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The Ultimate Glossary of Beauty Terms



Acetone is a clear and strong-smelling chemical found in nail polish, gel polish, and acrylic nail removers. Acetone essentially breaks down nail polish and other nail products to make removing them from your nail bed much easier to do.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal, also called activated carbon, is a versatile compound found in many beauty products. It helps to cleanse the skin, unclog pores, detox your pores, exfoliate and remove dead skin cells, and leaves your skin feeling fresh and clean.
Man Applying Charcoal Face pack


Antioxidants reduce free radical production on your skin, which helps remove toxins and leave your skin feeling brighter and cleaner. Antioxidants are in many daily cleansing and anti-aging products because they help reduce cell damage.

Argan Oil

Argan oil is an oil derived from the argan plant. It is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that work to improve your skin’s health.


It’s also found in many hair products because it helps trap moisture and keep your hair looking sleek and beautiful. Argan oil can even help to promote healthy hair growth.

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Ascorbic Acid

Ascorbic acid is another name for vitamin C. It is an antioxidant oh, so it protects your skin from free radicals. It also reduces redness and hyperpigmentation to help even out your skin tone.


When we hear somebody refer to the beauty terms bake or baking, they are referring to the act of applying a translucent powder to your face and letting it sit for several minutes to absorb oils so that your makeup lasts longer without creasing.

BB Cream

The “BB” in BB cream stands for blemish balm or beauty balm. Unlike regular foundations, BB creams include skincare products that help to promote hydration and anti-aging and provides SPF protection.
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Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a chemical found in many over-the-counter acne treatments. Benzoyl peroxide seeps into your skin upon application and kills acne-causing bacteria. Benzoyl peroxide also helps remove sebum in your pores, which is also great for reducing acne.


Blending refers to the act of using a brush or sponge to remove any harsh lines of a powder or cream product on your skin. For example, if you have a harsh crease in your eyeshadow, you can use a brush to fluff the rough edges and make the look appear softer.

Broad Spectrum

The term “broad-spectrum” refers to a beauty product’s ability to absorb and block both UVA and UVB rays. Broad-spectrum products vary in SPF levels, and the higher the SPF, the more protection the broad spectrum product provides.

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CC Cream

The CC in CC cream stands for color correcting. CC cream is used in place of or underneath the foundation and provides even coverage, moisture, and sun protection to your skin without clogging your pores.


Collagen is the protein responsible for skin elasticity and is an active ingredient in many anti-aging beauty products. People who use a collagen regimen regularly have a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance.
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Contouring your face is the act of using a bronzer or darker concealer to accentuate your face’s features. You can contour your forehead, chin, nose, and cheekbones to define your face’s shape.


Products that exfoliate your face and body remove your skin’s layer of built-up dead skin cells to give your skin a smoother, healthier look. Products can exfoliate either physically or chemically.


Chemical exfoliants loosen the bond between your skin and the dead cells and sedum. When you rinse off the chemical exfoliant, the dead cells come off with it.

Physical exfoliants are products like sugar scrubs or soap with a grit added, and they remove your dead skin cells by loosening them up with their coarse texture.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a common ingredient in chemical peels and exfoliants. It’s a water-soluble acid that comes from sugar cane. Glycolic acid breaks the bonds between your skin’s outer layer of dead cells and your epidermis to give your skin a smooth and rejuvenated feel.
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Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring acid that’s used in serums and moisturizers. Scientists discovered that this acid could help your skin hold onto water and retain moisture, which helps your skin stay hydrated, heal any imperfections, and reduce inflammation.


The term “kickback” refers to the powder that spills onto your cheek or other parts of your face while applying makeup, most commonly eyeshadow that falls onto your cheekbone.

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Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a naturally occurring chemical that is an active ingredient in many facial serums and creams. Lactic acid exfoliates your skin and makes it feel smooth while also brightening your skin tone.

Micellar Water

Micellar water is a gentle facial cleanser made of soap molecules suspended in water. Micellar water is great for people with sensitive skin. It’s good for removing makeup and natural oils, and it also can help even out your skin tone.

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Parabens are the most commonly used artificial preservatives in skincare products. Parabens help lengthen the shelf life of a product and make it resistant to mold and bacteria growth.


Retinol is a vitamin A product found in many skincare serums and creams. Retinol stimulates the production of collagen in your skin, which not only helps make you look more rejuvenated but also reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a common active ingredient in acne treatments. Salicylic acid helps to clean your skin of dead skin cells and natural oils to prevent acne from occurring.

Salicylic acid


Sulfates are common ingredients in any products that develop a lather, such as shampoos and toothpaste. Sulfates help a product attract dirt and oil on your skin and hair to ensure that you are as clean as possible.
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