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Carbon Theory Overnight Detox Serum Ingredients Explained

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Updated on October 06, 2023 Submitted by irenegomez_62

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Overview

What it is

Serum with 34 ingredients that contains AHA, exfoliants, hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

Carbon Theory is from United Kingdom. This product is used in 1 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

Serum with 34 ingredients that contains AHA, exfoliants, hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E

Quick info

You should know

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients 34

Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Propanediol Solvent

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract Skin Conditioning

Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract comes from the bilberry plant. This plant is native to Eurasia.

Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 Emulsion Stabilising

Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 is a texture enhancer and pH adjuster.

Disliked Full details ->
Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Heptyl Glucoside

We don't have a description for Heptyl Glucoside.

Unknown Full details ->
Mannitol Humectant, Masking, Moisturising

Mannitol is a sugar alcohol. It is a humectant and moisturizes the skin. In vitro (not tested on a living organism), mannitol displays antioxidant properties.

Saccharum Officinarum Extract Moisturising, Skin Conditioning

This ingredient is also called sugarcane extract. It is a moisturizing humectant and has skin soothing properties.

Sodium Hyaluronate Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

Sodium Hyaluronate is hyaluronic acid's salt form. It is commonly derived from the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Microcrystalline Cellulose Absorbent, Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising

Microcrystalline Cellulose is another name for refined wood pulp. It is used as an emulsifier and mattifying ingredient. As an emulsifier, it helps keep ingredients together.

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract Masking, Skin Conditioning

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract is more commonly known as the bitter orange. Native to Southeast Asia, this extract is commonly found in both cosmetics and foods.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Citrus Limon Fruit Extract Masking, Skin Conditioning
May cause irritation Icon
May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Citrus Limon Fruit Extract comes from lemons. While lemon extract is exfoliating and antimicrobial, it can also cause skin sensitivity.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Xanthan Gum Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

Disliked Full details ->
Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil Antioxidant, Perfuming
Antioxidant IconFragrance IconOil IconGood for Oily Skin Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon FragranceFragrance Icon OilOil Icon Good for Oily SkinGood for Oily Skin Icon

This tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the Tea Tree plant. Tea tree oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride

We don't have a description for Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride.

Unknown Full details ->
Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

Acer Saccharum Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Acer Saccharum Extract.

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose Emulsion Stabilising

This ingredient is a semi-synthetic polymer created from cellulose. In case you need a refresher, cellulose is the main component of plant cell walls.

Unknown Full details ->
Charcoal Powder Abrasive, Absorbent
Exfoliant Icon
ExfoliantExfoliant Icon

Charcoal Powder is an exfoliant.

Vaccinium Macrocarpon Fruit Powder Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

Vaccinium Macrocarpon Fruit Powder is created from cranberries. This species of cranberry is native to Eastern Canada.

Unknown Full details ->
Citrus Limon Peel Oil Masking, Perfuming, Skin Conditioning
Fragrance IconOil IconEU Allergen Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon OilOil Icon EU AllergenEU Allergen Icon

Citrus Limon Peel Oil is created from the peels of the lemon. It is used to add a lemon-scent to products. Lemon peel oil also has antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. However, it may also cause phototoxicity and sensitize skin.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Lactic Acid Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 6 Benefits 3 Concerns

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Algin Masking
May worsen Oily Skin Icon
May worsen Oily SkinMay worsen Oily Skin Icon

Algin is brown algae. Algae is an informal term for a group of aquatic organisms that can photosynthesize. It is estimated there are at least 30,000 types of Algae.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Magnesium Hydroxide Absorbent, Buffering

We don't have a description for Magnesium Hydroxide.

Unknown Full details ->
Tocopherol Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0-3 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 4 Benefits May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

0-3 Com. / 0-3 Irr.
Polyglycerin-10 Humectant, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Polyglycerin-10.

Unknown Full details ->
Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate isn't fungal acne safe.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate is a skin conditioner with emollient and emulsifier properties.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Tricalcium Phosphate Abrasive, Masking
Exfoliant Icon
ExfoliantExfoliant Icon

Tricalcium Phosphate is an exfoliant.

Unknown Full details ->
Sodium Dehydroacetate Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

This ingredient is a preservative with antimicrobial properties. It is the sodium salt of dehydroacetic acid.

Citric Acid Buffering, Masking
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

Disliked Full details ->
Limonene Perfuming, Solvent
Fragrance Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon

Limonene is a fragrance that adds scent and taste to a formulation.

Very Disliked Full details ->
CI 77491 Cosmetic Colorant

Ci 77491 is also hydrated iron III oxide. It's sole purpose is to give a red/pink hue to products.

Ingredient Ratings

Based on the number of likes and dislikes each ingredient has received.

11
4
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7
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 34 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
Solvent
Liked

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
Skin Conditioning
Liked

Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract comes from the bilberry plant. This plant is native to Eurasia.

Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract contains antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. Fighting off these molecules can help reduce signs of aging.

Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract also helps reduce irritation.

Learn more about Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract
Emulsion Stabilising
Disliked

Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 is a texture enhancer and pH adjuster.

It is be used to thicken water-based products and create a gel-texture with a velvet feel.

One manufacturer claims this ingredient to have a pH range of 2-8 and to be biodegradable.

Learn more about Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6
Emulsifying
Very Disliked

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

As a surfactant, it helps collect dirt and oils for washing. Emulsifiers prevent oils and water from separating.

Polysorbate 20 also adds scent to a product. Since it is made using sorbitol, it has a sweet scent. Sorbitol can also be found in fruits such as apples and peaches.

The lauric acid used to create Polysorbate 20 is often derived from coconuts.

Polysorbate 20 may not be fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Polysorbate 20
Preservative
Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

We don't have a description for Heptyl Glucoside.

Humectant, Masking, Moisturising
Liked

Mannitol is a sugar alcohol. It is a humectant and moisturizes the skin. In vitro (not tested on a living organism), mannitol displays antioxidant properties.

When found in aqueous solutions, mannitol tends to become acidic. This is because it loses a hydrogen ion. This is why mannitol can often be found with pH adjusting ingredients, such as sodium bicarbonate.

Fun fact: Mannitol can be found in foods as a sweetener. It can be naturally found in mushrooms, algae, fruits, and veggies.

Learn more about Mannitol
Moisturising, Skin Conditioning
Liked

This ingredient is also called sugarcane extract. It is a moisturizing humectant and has skin soothing properties.

Similar to hyaluronic acid, sugarcane can attract moisture to your skin.

Glycolic acid is a derivative of sugarcane. While glycolic acid is an AHA with exfoliating properties, sugarcane is not an AHA.

A study from 2021 found the compounds in sugarcane extract to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory activity. The study also suggests these compounds can inhibit skin ageing enzymes and promote collagen synthesis.

Learn more about Saccharum Officinarum Extract
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Loved

Sodium Hyaluronate is hyaluronic acid's salt form. It is commonly derived from the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid.

Like hyaluronic acid, it is great at holding water and acts as a humectant. This makes it a great skin hydrating ingredient.

Sodium Hyaluronate is naturally occurring in our bodies and is mostly found in eye fluid and joints.

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Sodium Hyaluronate
Absorbent, Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising
Loved

Microcrystalline Cellulose is another name for refined wood pulp. It is used as an emulsifier and mattifying ingredient. As an emulsifier, it helps keep ingredients together.

Masking, Skin Conditioning
Very Disliked

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract is more commonly known as the bitter orange. Native to Southeast Asia, this extract is commonly found in both cosmetics and foods.

The bitter orange possesses antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

It can also be mildly exfoliating due to the citric acid, an AHA.

Citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids, alkaloids, and vitamin C.

Learn more about Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract
Masking, Skin Conditioning
Very Disliked

Citrus Limon Fruit Extract comes from lemons. While lemon extract is exfoliating and antimicrobial, it can also cause skin sensitivity.

Lemons contains antioxidants, which may help with anti-aging. They are also rich in citric acid, an AHA.

And of course, lemons are rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps with skin-brightening and increasing collagen production.

The acidity of lemons may work as an astringent for acne.

However, lemons can also cause skin sensitivity due to its limonene content. It can also increase photosensitivity, or sensitivity to the sun.

This ingredient is also used to add a lemon scent to products.

Learn more about Citrus Limon Fruit Extract
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
Disliked

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

On the technical side of things, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide - a combination consisting of multiple sugar molecules bonded together.

Xanthan gum is a pretty common and great ingredient. It is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredient that is also commonly used in food products.

Learn more about Xanthan Gum
Antioxidant, Perfuming
Mixed

This tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the Tea Tree plant. Tea tree oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

According to the book Journal of Profiles of Drug Substances, tea tree helps in reducing acne-causing bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes. This is due to the Terpinen components of tea tree oil.

Tea tree may cause sensitivity and irritation for some people. This oil naturally contains fragrance such as linalool and limonene.

However, research shows irritation usually occurs when using pure tea tree oil and not in cosmetic products.

Tea tree oil was found to help relieve the symptoms of psoriasis in one study.

Tea tree oil is toxic when ingested. Another study showed it to caused damage to the nervous system of dogs and cats when applied to their skin or given orally.

Learn more about Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil

We don't have a description for Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride.

Skin Conditioning
Mixed

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

You might see Ethylhexylglycerin often paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Ethylhexylglycerin has been found to increase the effectiveness of these other preservatives.

Skin Conditioning
Liked

We don't have a description for Acer Saccharum Extract.

Emulsion Stabilising

This ingredient is a semi-synthetic polymer created from cellulose. In case you need a refresher, cellulose is the main component of plant cell walls.

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose has many uses:

  • emulsifier
  • create a gel-like texture
  • boost foam
Abrasive, Absorbent
Mixed

Charcoal Powder is an exfoliant.

Vaccinium Macrocarpon Fruit Powder is created from cranberries. This species of cranberry is native to Eastern Canada.

As an antioxidant, cranberry powder may help reduce the signs of aging.

Masking, Perfuming, Skin Conditioning
Very Disliked

Citrus Limon Peel Oil is created from the peels of the lemon. It is used to add a lemon-scent to products. Lemon peel oil also has antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. However, it may also cause phototoxicity and sensitize skin.

Lemon peel oil contains limonene, a skin sensitizing ingredient. Another component is furanocoumarin, which induces phototoxicity in skin.

Furanocoumarins bind and destabilize your DNA to increase the rate of sunburn.

Most reputable companies will remove furanocoumarins from their formulations.

Learn more about Citrus Limon Peel Oil
Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Loved

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Benefits of Lactic Acid are that it can help to reduce large pores and reduce the effects of aging. Some potential downsides are that it can be bad for dry skin, cause irritation, worsen eczema, and worsen rosacea.

Not only does it help exfoliate the skin, it helps strengthen the skin's barrier. When applied, lactic acid helps the skin create ceramides.

Lactic acid is an over-the-counter chemical exfoliant that comes from the fermentation of lactose β€” a carbohydrate found in milk.

Legend has it that Cleopatra used to bathe in sour milk to help reduce wrinkles.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Lactic Acid
Masking
Very Disliked

Algin is brown algae. Algae is an informal term for a group of aquatic organisms that can photosynthesize. It is estimated there are at least 30,000 types of Algae.

Algae contains antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells, such as pollution.

Absorbent, Buffering

We don't have a description for Magnesium Hydroxide.

Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

Vitamin E also helps keep your natural skin lipids healthy. Your lipid skin barrier naturally consists of lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids. Vitamin E offers extra protection for your skin’s lipid barrier, keeping your skin healthy and nourished.

Another benefit is a bit of UV protection. Vitamin E helps reduce the damage caused by UVB rays. (It should not replace your sunscreen). Combining it with Vitamin C can decrease sunburned cells and hyperpigmentation after UV exposure.

You might have noticed Vitamin E + C often paired together. This is because it is great at stabilizing Vitamin C. Using the two together helps increase the effectiveness of both ingredients.

There are often claims that Vitamin E can reduce/prevent scarring, but these claims haven't been confirmed by scientific research.

Learn more about Tocopherol
Humectant, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Polyglycerin-10.

Skin Conditioning
Very Disliked

Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate isn't fungal acne safe.

Skin Conditioning
Very Disliked

Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate is a skin conditioner with emollient and emulsifier properties.

It is an esther of stearic acid and Polyglycerin-10.

This ingredient may not be Malassezia folliculitis, or fungal-acne safe.

Learn more about Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate
Abrasive, Masking

Tricalcium Phosphate is an exfoliant.

Preservative
Loved

This ingredient is a preservative with antimicrobial properties. It is the sodium salt of dehydroacetic acid.

It is especially effective at preventing bacterial and fungal growth in low concentrations.

Buffering, Masking
Disliked

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

As an AHA, Citric Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and even out skin tone.

If you spot Citric Acid near the end of an ingredient list, it's likely there as a pH adjuster rather than an active ingredient.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Citric Acid
Perfuming, Solvent
Very Disliked

Limonene is a fragrance that adds scent and taste to a formulation.

It's found in the peel oil of citrus fruits and other plants such as lavender and eucalyptus. The scent of limonene is generally described as "sweet citrus".

Limonene acts as an antioxidant, meaning it helps neutralize free radicals.

When exposed to air, oxidized limonene may sensitize the skin. Because of this, limonene is often avoided by people with sensitive skin.

The term 'fragrance' is not regulated in many countries. In many cases, it is up to the brand to define this term. For instance, many brands choose to label themselves as "fragrance-free" because they are not using synthetic fragrances. However, their products may still contain ingredients such as essential oils that are considered a fragrance.

Learn more about Limonene
Cosmetic Colorant
Mixed

Ci 77491 is also hydrated iron III oxide. It's sole purpose is to give a red/pink hue to products.

Iron III oxides are classified as inorganic chemicals for coloring.

Synthetically created Ci 77491 is considered safer than those naturally found. This is because the synthetically created version may contain less impurities. Iron oxides are generally non-toxic and non-allergenic.

Learn more about CI 77491

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