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Sept. 20, 2019 | Cosmetics glossary


Founded in Geneva in 1973, IFRA is the International Fragrance Association, the official international body representing the fragrance industry. Its main goal is to ensure the safety of fragrance raw materials for health and the environment through a dedicated scientific program.

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CosmeticOBS - Observatoire des Cosmétiques
20 Feb. 2013 Cosmetics glossary


A "distributor" of a cosmetic product is precisely defined in the Cosmetics Regulation (Regulation 1223/2009 – implemented in full on 11 July 2013).

Sunagatov Dmitry/Thinkstock - Observatoire des Cosmétiques
11 Feb. 2013 Cosmetics glossary

Undesirable effect

Several types of undesirable effects may result from the use of a cosmetic product. They include irritation, intolerance or allergy reactions, which may appear as soon as the product is applied, or within a relatively short period of time, or toxicity, which is assessed on a longer time-scale. All the ...

FSC Logo
02 Aug. 2012 Cosmetics glossary


Logo of the responsible forest management brand. It identifies products (paper and packaging board) made from wood that comes from a forest that has been properly managed and certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council.

Imprim'Vert Logo
17 July 2012 Cosmetics glossary


Logo indicating that the manufacturer reduces the environmental impact associated with printing activities for its product.

PEFC logo
13 July 2012 Cosmetics glossary


Logo indicating that the packaging of the product meets the guaranties of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.

21 May 2012 Cosmetics glossary

Soil Association

Label designating an ecological cosmetic, attributed by the venerable Soil Association, an English institution founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists. Soil aims to promote organic farming, and is divided into several entities: the association itself, which is non-profit (any surplus revenue is used to raise awareness and ...

02 May 2012 Cosmetics glossary


French National Agency for the safety of medicines and health products

Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des produits de santé
01 May 2012 Cosmetics glossary


French Health Products Safety Agency.

21 March 2012 Cosmetics glossary

0% Tree (or Tree-free)

A logo stating that the paper used for the "Instructions" or the cardboard box is manufactured without any need to cut a tree.

03 Feb. 2012 Cosmetics glossary


European system for the rapid exchange of information on dangerous products.

25 Jan. 2012 Cosmetics glossary

Cosmetics Europe

Cosmetics Europe (formerly known as COLIPA) is the European personal care professional association.

The European Cosmetics Association
25 Jan. 2012 Cosmetics glossary


COLIPA is the European Federation of Cosmetics Industries. In 2012, it took the new name of Cosmetics Europe.

©C. O'Kane-Thinkstock/L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
26 Dec. 2011 Cosmetics glossary


A conservative guess is that 90% of cosmetic products come as emulsions: creams, gels, toothpastes, scrubs, masks, foundations … all are emulsions. And although their uses are very different, their bases are very similar: it is primarily a mixture of water and fats (lipids, oils) … along with some other ingredients.

25 Nov. 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Open Jar

Symbol representing the period-after-opening: period of time after opening for which the cosmetic product may be used.

The Observatory of Cosmetics
26 Oct. 2011 Cosmetics glossary

CFS (Certificate of Free Sale)

The Certificate of Free Sale (CFS) is a real passport, an open sesame without which it is sometimes impossible to export cosmetics. Required by many countries, among them the heavyweights: China, South Korea, Russia, India, Brazil…, before a product is placed on their own market, it certifies that the product ...

24 Oct. 2011 Cosmetics glossary


Widely used in many industries and present in many consumer products, nanomaterials, nevertheless, are a concern, especially due to their possible effects on consumers’ health. Many questions, not yet so many answers: however, for their application in cosmetics, their regulatory statute is currently being rewritten, and their definition becomes more ...

Fair Trade
01 Oct. 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Fair Trade International (FLO)

Fair Trade International gathers 25 organizations working to promote to secure a better deal for producers.

25 Sept. 2011 Cosmetics glossary


The term pH comes for Hydrogen potential, and is written pH. It defines whether a water-based product is acidic or basic.

25 Sept. 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Buffering Agent

A family of cosmetics ingredients. A buffering agent is used to stabilise ou adjust the pH of a cosmetic product.

Swiss Guarantee COS
29 Aug. 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Swiss Guarantee COS

Logo of Association for the protection of the origin of Swiss cosmetics.

29 Aug. 2011 Cosmetics glossary


Logo certifying that the product complies with the requirements of Bureau Veritas Certification’s I-305 “Organic and Ecological Cosmetics” certification.

27 Aug. 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Verre Infini (Infinite Glass)

A logo defining a 100% recycled and recyclable glass container.

Thinkstock/Cosmetics Observatory
03 Aug. 2011 Cosmetics glossary


A preservative inhibits the development of micro-organisms in cosmetic products.

Blaj Gabriel/Thinkstock
22 July 2011 Cosmetics glossary


As a cosmetic product, a deodorant is designed to minimize or mask an unpleasant body odor due to perspiration. Not to be confused with antiperspirants, which interact in a very different way and the formula of which are also very different.

One Voice
02 June 2011 Cosmetics glossary

One Voice

Seal of approval awarded and controlled by One Voice, a French association working to promote the rights of animals in laboratories or in the wild, circus, and farm animals or pets.

Jupiterimages - Thinkstock
26 May 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Skin ageing

Skin ageing is an unavoidable phenomenon … Wrinkles and fine lines, as any other cutaneous change, are only an image on our face of the passing of time. As for our entire body, our skin undergoes changes along the time. For a better understanding of what we fight against, CosmeticObs-L’Observatoire ...

© - Observatoire des Cosmétiques
19 April 2011 Cosmetics glossary


In the cosmetics vocabulary, a serum has a fluid texture, and is more concentrated in active agents than a standard care product, for an increased efficiency.

Darja Tokranova-Thinkstock
13 April 2011 Cosmetics glossary


A plasticizer softens and makes supple another substance that otherwise could not be easily deformed, spread or worked out. They are widely used for example in nail polishes.

02 April 2011 Cosmetics glossary


US Food and Drug Administration

The Observatory of Cosmetics
31 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary


Acne is a skin disease: it is an inflammation of the pilosebaceous follicle (which makes hair grow); this inflammation relapses quite often. Juvenile acne is by far the most frequent, occurring during adolescence, generally on the face only, but occasionally also on the cleavage or on the top of the ...

31 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Hydrolipidic film

Skin is not directly in contact with the outside world: in fact, it is covered with a protective film, which allows skin for the maintaining of its moisture and the preventing of many kinds of aggressions.

Serhiy Kobyakov-Thinkstock/Cosmetics Observatory
21 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary


A chronic skin disease, considered as benign, leading to thick patches of skin with dander (dead skin flakes) that may become whitish skin lesions.

Serhiy Kobyakov-Thinkstock/Cosmetics Observatory
21 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary


A skin disease, also known as atopic (a term describing a genetic predisposition to develop an allergy) dermatitis, characterized by dryness of skin along with dander (dead skin flakes), redness and a strong itching, most often coming as attacks.

Serhiy Kobyakov-Thinkstock/Cosmetics Observatory
21 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Atopic Dermatitis

A chronic skin disease, also known as atopic (a term describing a genetic predisposition to develop an allergy) eczema, characterized by dryness of the skin accompanied by dander (dead skin flakes), redness and a strong itching, building up especially in very young children.

Serhiy Kobyakov-Thinkstock/Cosmetics Observatory
21 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary


A chronic skin disease due to an abnormal thickening of the stratum corneum, and leading to a severe dryness of skin and to a scaly skin (dander, i.e. dead skin flakes looking like fish scales).

18 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Abrasive Agent

An abrasive agent removes materials from many body surfaces or helps for the mechanical teeth cleaning or enhances gloss.

TAP-Thinkstock/L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
17 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary


Hair is considered as an annex of skin, made of keratin. Colour, thickness or apperance may be different; hair is an image of our culture or our origins and also our tastes. On average, hair comprises 120000 to 150000 hair which grow constantly throughout our life

The Observatory of Cosmetics
17 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary


Nail is a skin annex. It comes as hard, smooth and translucent "blade" protecting the end of the upper face of fingers and toes. For centuries,nails have been seen as fashion accessories that can be coloured according to one's desires through nail polishes ...

Thinkstock/Cosmetics Observatory
15 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary

Antimicrobial Agent

An antimicrobial agent opposes the growth of germs and keeps the growth of micro-organisms on the skin under control.

The Observatory of Cosmetics
09 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary


Dermis is the thickiest layer of skin, the second one from top. A true Aladdin's cave, it has a wide sort of cells, which each has a  clearly defined role. Dermis is also the feeder tissue of the skin, which brings the epidermis the nutrients it ...

09 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary


Epidermis is the outer layer of skin, the one we can see and touch! As such, it says a lot about others and ourselves (tiredness, health ). Thanks to its structure and composition, it acts as a shield protecting the skin and ...

Anna Ankudinova/Thincstock
08 March 2011 Cosmetics glossary


Refers to lipolysis (the process that ease the breakdown of fats) or stimulates it. Lipolytic agents are mostly used in slimming products.