Read-the-Label: FACE Atelier Lip Glaze

Today I wanted to do another lip product and I choose the Lip Glazes from Face Atelier.

FACE Atelier Lip Glazes are available in 10 beautiful and versatile colors: Clear, Ice, White Gold, Flamingo, Peach, Cameo, Dianthus, Primrose, Plum and Shiraz and come in generous tubes of 15 ml/.5 fl.oz. at € 21,50. An enduring industry staple!



What’s in the product?

Polybutene, Octyldodecanol, Petrolatum, Beeswax, Ozokerite, BHA, Trihydroxystearin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butyrospermum Parkii, Silica, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, Squalene.

May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Mica, Carmine, Red 7 Lake, Red 6 Lake, Red 30 Lake, Red 33      Lake, Red 27 Lake, Red 28 Lake, Red 36 Lake, Red 21 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Tin Oxide, Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate.

Polybutene is a polymer that is used for lubrication and thickening. It ensures that the application is even and smooth. Octyldodecanol is an alcohol, which is a surfactant. It is used as a thickener and emulsifier. It also gives the product a bit of opacity and provides lubrication. Petrolatum can form a film and is also used as a thickner. Beeswax is a thickening agent with some moisturizing capacities. It is made by bees, so this product isn’t vegan. Ozokerite is a mineral that is a thickening agent.

BHA, betà hydroxy acid, also known as salicylic acid (aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, and thus closely related), is an exfoliant which is probably used in a concentration of 0,5 to 2%. BHA has the ability to penetrate into the pore, and therefore can exfoliate inside the pore as well as on the surface of the skin. Trihydroxystearin is a mixture of fatty acids and glycerin and is used as a moisturizer and thickening agent. Ascorbyl Palmitate is the stable form of Vitamin C, and acts as a anti-oxidant. Tocopheryl Acetate is also a vitamin and anti-oxidant, Vitamin E. Butyrospermum Parkii, also known as Shea Butter and should be listed as Vitellaria paradoxa, is a thick butter that is renowned for it’s moisturizing properties, but can be used as a thickener as well. Silica, a mineral is used as a thickener.

Methylparaben and Propylparaben are the preservatives which stop the formula from going rancid. They are the most safe and effective preservatives. Retinyl Palmitate is better known as Vitamin A, an anti-oxidant and Squalene is an oil which could be derived from sebum, plants (mostly olives) or shark liver. It’s a natural component of the skin, and thus can moisturize the skin. It also has antioxidant and immune stimulating properties.

Now onto the “may contain” list. Keep in mind that the ingredients in this section are added in such low quantities, that is has no other effect than to color the product. For instance, Titanium Dioxide has some thickening properties, but because of the low concentration, it only acts as a white pigment. Same for iron oxides, a group of chemical compounds with have range of colors such as yellow/orange/red/brown/black. Mica is white as well. Carmine (derived from bugs), Red 7 Lake, Red 6 Lake, Red 30 Lake, Red 33 Lake, Red 27 Lake, Red 28 Lake, Red 36 Lake, Red 21 Lake are pigments used for their red color, Yellow 5 Lake is yellow, Blue 1 Lake is blue, Tin Oxide can give the product, in stable form a blue-black color or in metastable (the stability is long, but not infinte) a red color. Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate is another preservative.

It is a bit weird is that a polymer is the major ingredient. No water or any kind of (cheap) oil is used as a carrier for the other ingredients, but then again, based on the ingredientlist, this is a quite a thick liquid, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Until next time,



Read-the-Label: Embryolisse Essential Dry Skin Balm

I have mentioned the Embryolisse Essential Dry Skin Balm in the last post about shea butter, so I thought it would be nice to discuss the ingredient list of the balm.

The ingredient list is short, I guess something we all like (fewer ingredients means lower cost price, which equals a cheaper retail price):


The list starts with Butyrospermum parkii, known as Shea or Karité butter.
I guess that the listing will be changed soon to Vitellaria paradoxa, because that is the new, proper name.
Shea butter is known for its moisturizing properties, and consists of fatty
acids and anti-oxidants. The melting point of shea butter (at which the butter becomes an oil) is very close to the temperature of the human body, so the butter melts when you rub your finger over the balm. Be careful when you have a latex allergy.

Continue reading

A Closer Look At: Shea Butter

Vitellaria paradoxa

Today I want to highlight an ingredient – Vitellaria paradoxa. Perhaps you might have heard of it, with it’s more common name: Shea or Karité Butter. The name ‘shea’ comes from ‘s’í’, the name of the tree in Bamana (spoken in Mali). ‘Karité’ comes from ‘ghariti’, the equivalent in Wolof (spoken in Senegal). It used to be listed as Butyrospermum parkii, but has changed recently to Vitellaria paradoxa.

I think I’m going to refer it as shea butter from now on – so I don’t make any more spelling errors than necessary 😉

Shea butter is an oil that is solid at room temperature (around 20 degrees celcius) from the Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa).

The tree grows in central Africa, in a range of nearly 5,000 km from Senegal to Uganda. The tree is perennial, meaning that it grows for more than two years – most trees do so anyway). The first fruit comes from the tree is when it’s about 10 – 15 years old, and production is in full swing when the tree is about 20 – 30 years old. For 200 years, the tree produces nuts.

The fruits are plum shaped and need to ripen for 4 – 6 months. The avarage yield is 15 – 20 kilograms of fresh fruit per tree, with a maximum up to 45 kilograms. Each kilogram of fruit yields about 400 grams of dry seeds – per tree it is 400 grams x 15 kilograms, about 6000 gram of nuts – and that for about 200 years!

The oil (or butter) is extracted from the nuts. Traditionally, first the outer pulp (the fruit) is removed and the nut is dried. After drying, the nuts are separated from the outer. This can be done with an machine (but there is controversy whether those nuts are still useful), but mostly it is done by eldery women and young girls, by cracking the shells with small rocks.

Then, the nuts must be crushes.This is done with heavy pestles, slamming them into mortars. This is a very heavy and long proces. 

The crushed nuts are then roasted in huge pots over open wood fires. The pots must be stirred constantly with wooden paddles so the butter does not burn. The butter is heavy and stirring is hard under the african sun. This is also where the slightely smokey scent comes from traditional shea butter originates from.



After the roasting, the nuts are ground into a smoother paste, water is gradually added and the paste is mixed well by hand. The paste is kneaded by hand in large basins and water is gradually added to help separate out the butter oils. As they float to the top, the butter oils, which are in a curd state, are removed and excess water squeezed out.

The butter oil curds are then melted in large open pots over slow fires. A period of slow boiling will remove any remaining water, by evaporation.


Collecting and shaping: The shea butter, which is creamy or golden yellow at this point, is ladled from the top of the pots and put in cool places to harden. Then it is formed into balls. In the cosmetic industry, shea butter can be refined, either with chemicals such as hexane or by clay filtering.
The shea butter extract is a mixture of fat that contains, besides many components that can’t react with an alkali (a strong base, such as sodiumhydroxide) to become a soap, a diversity of fatty acids like oleic acid (40-60%), stearic acid (20-50%), linoleic acid (3-11%), palmitic acid (2-9%), linolenic acid (<1%) and arachidic acid (<1%).  Shea butter is a rich source of antioxidants, including epicatechin gallate, gallocatechin, epigallocatechin, gallocatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate, as well as quercetin (Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, October 2003, pages 6268–6273).
Because shea butter is a product formed by nature, the concentration of these oils may vary.

Shea butter is mostly used in cosmetics and medicinal ointments as a base or because of it’s moisturizing properties. Shea butter is solid, but its melting point is very close to the temperature of the human body (37 degrees Celcius), so that after a bit of rubbing, the butter becomes liquid again so it can be easily spread and absorbs quickly into the skin.

Take for instance the Embryolisse Essential Dry Skin Balm, in which shea butter is the main component, or the Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre or Lait Fluide.

Shea butter gives it it’s great moisturizing properties.

For the dutch readers: here is Beautytreat’s review of the Baume Secours  ~Monique

Some soap makers love to add shea butter in small amounts (5-7% of the total of oils used) because it leaves a small amount of oil in the soap (the parts of the oil that do not transform to a soap, as written above). Some of the components of shea butter are reported to be anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and humectant properties. It also can be used as a sunblocking lotion (but I would’nt DIY with it – not unless you have a tried and tested recipe). Oh, and if you are allergic to latex, watch out with Shea butter, because there might be chance for a cross-allergy (another example for a cross-allergy is that if you are allergic to peaches, you also might be allergic to birch because of the allergens (the substance which the body reacts to in case of an allergy) look a lot alike.

Until next time,