If you’ve ever read the ingredients of some of the natural cleansers, lotions, and makeups on the market, you may have thought to yourself, “Is this product for my skin or my stomach?” Since many of the ingredients – oils, herbs, and grains – are frequently used in food recipes, too, such thoughts are certainly understandable.

Bear in mind though, that even many “natural” products contain ingredients which may be unfamiliar or unpronounceable; while they cannot be used in food recipes, they do not necessarily need to be avoided in your health and beauty products (unless, of course, you experience an allergic reaction). Some ingredients simply play an important role in helping a particular product stay fresh or perform better.

Here is a list of some of the common ingredients found in many natural health and beauty products, with explanations next to those which may be most unfamiliar:

Algae and other seaweed products

Almond meal and oil

Aloe vera

Bee pollen

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)


Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

Grape skin extract: used for color

Green tea


Iron oxides: used to color cosmetics

Jojoba oil


Rose hips

Titanium dioxide: covering and tinting powder used in powders, nail polish, depilatories, eye liners, white eye shadows, antiperspirants, face powders, creams, lipsticks, and lotions.

Vegetable oils: used in a variety of products including creams, face powders, lipsticks, and shaving creams. Oils commonly used include peanut, sesame, olive, and cottonseed.

Vitamin A

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Vitamin E (tocopherol)

Zinc oxide: used in facial powders, foundation creams, and dusting powders to provide opacity.