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e.l.f. cosmetics Hydrating Serum Ingredients Explained

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Published July 13, 2020

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Overview

What it is

Serum with 21 ingredients that contains hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, dry skin and brightening skin

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, parabens or sulfates

Fun facts

e.l.f. cosmetics is from United States. This product is used in 12 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 21 ingredients that contains hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E

Quick info

You should know

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients 21

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.

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Hydrogenated Polyisobutene Emollient, Skin Conditioning
1 / 2

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene is a synthetic polymer. Polymers are compounds with high molecular weight. Hydrogenated Polyisobutene is an emollient and texture enhancer.

1 Com. / 2 Irr.
Cetyl Ethylhexanoate Emollient

Cetyl Ethylhexanoate comes from cetearyl alcohol and 2-ethylhexanoic acid.

Dimethicone Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
1 / 0 Silicon Icon
SiliconSilicon Icon

Dimethicone is a silicone used for making products smooth and silky. It also has the added benefit of sealing in hydration. The amount of dimethicone found in beauty products is considered safe and non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Steareth-21 Cleansing, Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Steareth-21.

Unknown Full details ->
Steareth-2 Emulsifying
2 / 2

Steareth-2 is a waxy compound used to emulsify ingredients. It is created from polyethylene glycol and stearyl alcohol.

2 Com. / 2 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0-2 / 0 Oil IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

This ingredient is the fixed oil extracted from seeds of the desert shrub Jojoba. It is more commonly known as jojoba oil. The seed oil is liquid wax ester from the plant. It is non-comedogenic.

0-2 Com. / 0 Irr.
Butyrospermum Parkii Butter Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon 2 Concerns

Butyrospermum Parkii Butter is a plant lipid from the fruit of the Shea Tree. It is an effective skin hydrator and emollient.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil Emollient, Skin Conditioning
2-3 / 0 Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil comes from the grape vine. Grape seeds are a byproduct of creating grape juice or wine.

2-3 Com. / 0 Irr.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract is an extract of the leaves of the aloe, Aloe barbadensis, Liliaceae.

Carbomer Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
1 / 0

Carbomer is a polymer of acrylic acid. Its main role is to create gel consistency within products.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Triethanolamine Buffering, Emulsifying, Masking
2 / 0

Triethanolamine is an emulsifier and pH adjuster. It is created using ethylene oxide and ammonia. This gives Triethanolamine a nitrogen core and a similar scent to ammonia.

2 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Tocopheryl Acetate Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon Helps brighten skinHelps brighten skin Icon

Tocopheryl Acetate is AKA Vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and protects your skin from free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin by breaking down collagen.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Disodium EDTA

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

Disliked Full details ->
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.
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent
Antioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconHelps fight Acne Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 5 Benefits

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract is derived from the leaves of the tea plant. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are all harvested from this plant.

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 ->
Caprylyl Glycol Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant and emollient, meaning it attracts and preserves moisture.

Ingredient Ratings

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

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Ingredients Explained

This product contains 21 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
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene is a synthetic polymer. Polymers are compounds with high molecular weight. Hydrogenated Polyisobutene is an emollient and texture enhancer.

In one study, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene showed better skin hydration levels than Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride. As an emollient, it helps keep your skin soft and hydrated by trapping moisture in.

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene is often used as a mineral oil replacement.

Learn more about Hydrogenated Polyisobutene
Emollient
Mixed

Cetyl Ethylhexanoate comes from cetearyl alcohol and 2-ethylhexanoic acid.

It is an emollient that adds a velvety feel to products when applied. Emollients help trap moisture into your skin, keeping your skin soft and hydrated.

Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Very Disliked

Dimethicone is a silicone used for making products smooth and silky. It also has the added benefit of sealing in hydration. The amount of dimethicone found in beauty products is considered safe and non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores.

Dimethicone has been found increase absorption in skin, boosting the benefits of other ingredients. While there is concern for the safety of dimethicone, the levels used in skincare are safe for use.

Cleansing, Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Steareth-21.

Emulsifying
Very Disliked

Steareth-2 is a waxy compound used to emulsify ingredients. It is created from polyethylene glycol and stearyl alcohol.

The 2 stands for the number of ethylene oxide units used to create this ingredient.

Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

This ingredient is the fixed oil extracted from seeds of the desert shrub Jojoba. It is more commonly known as jojoba oil. The seed oil is liquid wax ester from the plant. It is non-comedogenic.

Jojoba oil does not contain fragrance and has many fatty-acids, making it a great soothing ingredient. Jojoba contains Vitamin E, a great moisturizing ingredient. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect your skin against free-radical damage. This may help in anti-aging.

Jojoba seed oil is a humectant, meaning it helps draw moisture from the air. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

While jojoba has antibacterial properties, it is only able to kill some bacteria. It has also been shown to help in wound healing. Indigenous cultures have used jojoba as a moisturizer and to help treat burns.

It is found to be similar to natural human skin sebum, so it has a great effect on dry skin. Jojoba oil may even help with regulating sebum production.

Although jojoba oil is non-comedogenic, we recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient if you have any concerns.

Jojoba oil may not be fungal acne safe. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any concerns.

Jojoba is native to the southwestern US.

Learn more about Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil
Skin Conditioning
Very Disliked

Butyrospermum Parkii Butter is a plant lipid from the fruit of the Shea Tree. It is an effective skin hydrator and emollient.

Emollients help soothe and soften your skin. It does this by creating a protective film on your skin. This barrier helps trap moisture and keeps your skin hydrated. Emollients may be effective at treating dry or itchy skin.

Shea butter is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals, or molecules that may harm the body. It is also full of fatty acids including stearic acid and linoleic acid. These acids help replenish the skin and keep skin moisturized.

While Shea Butter has an SPF rating of about 3-4, it is not a sunscreen replacement.

Shea butter may not be fungal acne safe. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any concerns.

Learn more about Butyrospermum Parkii Butter
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil comes from the grape vine. Grape seeds are a byproduct of creating grape juice or wine.

The components of grape seeds have many skin benefits. Research has found it to be antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It also contains many potent antioxidants such as Vitamin E , Vitamin C, proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. Proanthocyanidin has been shown to help even out skin tone.

Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules. Free-radical molecules are capable of damaging our cells and other genetic material. Antioxidants help stabilize free-radicals by donating extra electrons. Grape seed extract may help reduce the signs of aging.

The antimicrobial properties of grape seed may help treat acne. However, more research is needed to support this claim.

Grape seed has also been found to help absorb UV rays. Grape seed extract should not replace your sunscreen.

The fatty acids of grape seed oil give it emollient properties. Emollients help soothe and soften your skin by creating a film. This film traps moisture within, keeping your skin hydrated.

Learn more about Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil
Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract is an extract of the leaves of the aloe, Aloe barbadensis, Liliaceae.

You may know Aloe to be a good sunburn reliever and inflammation reducer. This is because it contains many components that are known to help reduce irritation and itchiness. These include vitamins, amino acids, polysaccharides, and more. The high water content of aloe also helps give a cooling effect.

Aloe contains the antioxidants Vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins neutralize free radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells, such as pollution.

The aloe plant is naturally abundant in polysaccharides, a carbohydrate made of sugar molecules. Polysaccharides help hydrate your skin by mimicking your skin's natural carbohydrates.

As it is easily absorbed by the skin, aloe is a great moisturizer. It is both a humectant and emollient. Emollients help trap moisture in your skin, keeping your skin soft. Humectants draw water from the air to your skin.

Other components of aloe include sugars such as monosaccharides and polysaccharides, folic acid, choline, many common minerals such as calcium, fatty acids, amino acids, and Vitamin B12.

Aloe does not protect against UV rays, despite it soothing sunburns.

There are over 420 species of aloe but Aloe Barbadensis is the most commonly used for topical products.

Learn more about Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract
Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
Disliked

Carbomer is a polymer of acrylic acid. Its main role is to create gel consistency within products.

Carbomer is commonly found in many types of cosmetics products. It is found to be safe in concentrations up to 15%. However, a high amount of carbomer can cause pilling or balling up of products. Most products contain 1% of less of carbomer.

Buffering, Emulsifying, Masking
Very Disliked

Triethanolamine is an emulsifier and pH adjuster. It is created using ethylene oxide and ammonia. This gives Triethanolamine a nitrogen core and a similar scent to ammonia.

As an emulsifier, it prevents ingredients from separating and enhances texture by adding volume to a product.

PH adjusters are common in cosmetic products. The pH of a product can affect the effectiveness of other ingredients. A product with a high pH may also irritate the skin.

Learn more about Triethanolamine
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Tocopheryl Acetate is AKA Vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and protects your skin from free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin by breaking down collagen.

One study found using Tocopheryl Acetate with Vitamin C decreased the number of sunburned cells.

Tocopheryl Acetate is commonly found in both skincare and dietary supplements.

Learn more about Tocopheryl Acetate
Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract.

Disliked

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it neutralizes metal ions that may be found in a product.

Disodium EDTA is a salt of edetic acid and is found to be safe in cosmetic ingredients.

Learn more about Disodium EDTA
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
Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent
Loved

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract is derived from the leaves of the tea plant. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are all harvested from this plant.

This ingredient has many skin benefits:

This ingredient contains polyphenols, a strong antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight off molecules that damage skin cells.

On top of that, the antioxidants in green tea neutralize free-radicals from the sun. This gives the skin some extra UV protection, but should not replace sunscreen.

Many components of tea have anti-inflammatory properties.

Polyphenols and L-theanine help soothe the skin and reduce irritation. The caffeine in Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract helps calm inflamed blood vessels.

Other compounds found in tea include: Vitamin Bs, linoleic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Research has shown both drinking Camellia Sinensis Leaf Tea and applying it to the skin can help boost skin elasticity and hydration. Studies also show using tea extract may reduce sebum, or oil, production.

Learn more about Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract
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.

Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant and emollient, meaning it attracts and preserves moisture.

It is a common ingredient in many products, especially those designed to hydrate skin. The primary benefits are retaining moisture, skin softening, and promoting a healthy skin barrier.

Though Caprylyl Glycol is an alcohol derived from fatty acids, it is not the kind that can dry out skin.

This ingredient is also used as a preservative to extend the life of products. It has slight antimicrobial properties.

Learn more about Caprylyl Glycol

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