Essential oils are distillations of herbs. They come in many varieties such as lavender, which is healing, or lemon, which is astringent.
Shea butter, found in better moisturisers, prevents dehydration in dry climates such as cold weather and air-conditioned offices.
Titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide are natural UV filters and fight the signs of sun damage by screening out harmful rays.
Sodium laureth and lauryl sulphates are the commonest wash active substances and detergents used in wash-off products like shower gels and hair care. Derived from Palm and coconut, they are best used sparingly.
Decyl glucoside is a softer and more skin-friendly. More expensive with less foam, it is the choice for sensitive or itchy skin. Sugar based.
Tamanu oil is a green healing oil with regenerative properties from the South Seas. It is added to the finest shave and moisturising creams, making it ideal for those little nicks and razor burns.
Aloe vera is a ubiquitous desert cactus that's renowned for soothing burns and chaps. In other words, ideally suited to friction troubles.
Monoi is a special coconut oil steeped with gardenia from Tahiti. It can be found in shaving and anti-age products.
Vitamin A and carotenes promote cell regeneration and have anti-oxidant properties to keep the skin looking healthy, not dull.
Proteins from various sources such as wheat, cereals or even silk contain amino acids and are used widely in regenerative and anti-age skincare for men.
Words by Jan Kusmirek, designer behind such brands as Origins, Nude and Elemis