Beauty buzzwords and their meanings

Beauty buzzwords and their meanings

Even though I encounter all things beauty on the reg, words and phrases still pop up that I can’t explain or define. From reading the ingredients list on a product to deciphering instructions on a tanning foam, sometimes a beauty dictionary would really come in handy! With that in mind, I chatted to a few body and health experts to decode some common beauty buzzwords and their meanings.


Probiotics – Otherwise known as friendly bacteria, probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that help improve one’s digestion. Fion So, Marketing Manager for Nutrimetics says, “Probiotics are a super convenient way to ensure your gut flora is balanced. By that I mean, there are always enough ‘good guys’ to balance out the ‘bad guys’. There’s also a huge trend towards utilising probiotics in skin care as well – what’s good for your inside is also great for your outside!”

bh recommends: Nutrimetics Skin Regeneration Toning EssenceBlackmores Superfoods Cacao + Nature Boost Prebiotics & ProbioticsSwisse Ultiboost Inner Balance Probiotic 100 BillionClinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF 15 With Probiotic Technology

Super greens – Fion also tells us about super greens: “You’re looking at a mix of green goodness that may consist of spirulina, alfalfa, barley grass and wheat grass. Super greens are a fabulous means to ensure your body receives its share of easily utilised, alkaline nourishment.”

bh recommends: Sukin Super Greens – Detoxifying Clay MasqueNutrimetics NutriShape Super Greens PowderBlackmores Superfoods Vitality Super Greens + Nature Boost Antioxidants

Psyllium – Metamucil Wellness Coach Fiona Cosgrove tells us psyllium is a “natural source of fibre that improves your health in a number of ways. It helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, assists the body’s natural toxin removal process and cleanses from within. It can also make you feel lighter and more active.” Psyllium is found in all Metamucil products

Peptides – Ultraderm Dermal Therapist and Registered Nurse Monique Dickson describes peptides as “short chain amino acids that act as cell communicators and building blocks for protein. They send messages to the body to make new collagen. Peptides can help make skin thicker and more resilient without the irritation sometimes experienced by users of retinol products.

bh recommends: Ultraderm Eye Restore Serumphilosophy the microdelivery peel – in home vitamin c/peptide peel kitSanctuary Spa Active Reverse Peptide Protect Day Cream SPF 15

Tyrosinase inhibitors– Monique explains that these ingredients “help to slow the response of the enzyme tyrosinase which is partially responsible for hyperpigmentation issues” and can be found in Ultraderm’s Skin Renew Active Night Repair and Skin Karma Hydration Toner.

Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid (NDGA) – You’d be forgiven for not being able to pronounce nordihydroguaiaretic, which is why there’s a helpful abbreviation! “[NDGA] inhibits hyper‐keratosis (excessive build-up [of] surface skin cells) so is helpful in products for problematic, congested skin,” Monique explains. This ingredient can be found in Ultraderm’s Skin Karma Blemish Control Moisturise Lotion.


Infrared – Infrared is an increasingly popular buzzword when it comes to environmental skin damage and ageing, and is a type of electromagnetic radiation we encounter daily. “Infrared has the strongest penetration into the skin, with its damaging effects seen in the dermis, resulting in accelerated ageing. The main take away point here is that traditional SPF products are not enough to protect against infrared damage,” explains Swisse Skin Care Product Developer Selina Mithen.

Pro-ageing – On a more positive note, Selina tells us pro-ageing “describes embracing the ageing process and looking as good as you can for your age. Celebrities like Cameron Diaz are at the forefront of this movement but I think all women will agree that we are relieved to see this attitude towards ageing emerging. Terms like ‘anti-ageing’ will be out, and positive terms such as ‘healthy skin’ will be in.”

Multifunctionality – Selina explains the hybrid skin care trend: “Consumers are wanting more from their skin care products and are beginning to expect numerous benefits in one product, mostly due to being time-poor and not wanting to have too many steps in a skin care routine. Cosmetic companies are answering the call for multifunctional products by offering numerous benefits in one product such as UV protection, moisturisation, barrier repair, skin brightening, and rejuvenating.”

Sustainability – A word most of us recognise, Selina reckons it’s one of the strongest buzzwords associated with cosmetic ingredients and manufacturing methods. “There will be a growing groundswell of consumer demands and legislative changes imposed on cosmetic companies to have more ‘eco-responsibility’. Some examples of this are the banning of microbeads in cosmetics, and utilising sustainable palm oil sources, as well as restricting chemical ingredients that harm sea life and coral reefs.”


Ah, one of my favourite topics! The market is saturated with self-tanning products and it’s never been easier to achieve a natural bronze glow, year round. As a result, there are a heap of phrases associated with the topic, which St. Tropez Skin Finishing Expert Michael Brown explains for us:

Moisture prep – The days leading up to your self-tan application, skin needs moisture build-up to accept the tan perfectly. So make sure you moisturise regularly!

Skin prep – The day before you tan is when exfoliation and hair removal should be done to remove any excess dead skin cells, for a smoother application.

Tan prep– Only moisturise the dryer areas of the body before you self-tan: knees, ankles, feet, elbows, wrists and hands. These are tell-tale signs of tan mishaps, so adding a moisture barrier first prevents tan build-up.

Tan mitt – The most effective tan applicator [is a tan mitt, which ensures there are] no streaks and a perfect glide over skin.

Green base – This is the undertone of the tan. Green base resembles that of an olive skin and it does not contain any pink/red pigment, so the tan is not orange!

Feet up – When applying tan yourself, always start application from the feet up. This avoids any crease lines if you bend forward at a later time during tan application.

Buff – When applying the tan, massage and buff product with the tan mitt. Applying in sweeping movements can lead to an unexpected streak, [while] buffing covers larger surface areas and will blend all edges into the body.

Tantouring – Deeper shades can recede areas, just like contouring for the face. If you want to slim larger areas of the body, apply a second or third coat to these areas, it creates the illusion these areas are slimmer.

Take 5 – Wait at least five minutes before putting on loose clothing after your application. This allows your tan to set in your skin.

Skin finishing– Gone are the days of the dark, matte tan. We want to resemble healthy, glowing skin. After you have showered, apply a good layer of moisturiser to the body to give a lived-in realistic approach to your skin.

Party glow – Like we add highlight to our face to lift [the] cheekbones and reflect light, we can add a liquid highlight to certain areas of the body also. Think of frontal bones as a pop: shins, collarbones and shoulder blades.

Even fade – The only way to guarantee a more even fade after your tan is applied in the days after is moisture!

bh recommends: St. Tropez Prep & Maintain Tan Enhancing Body PolishBondi Sands Liquid GoldModelCo BLEND BUFFING MITTRimmel London Sun Shimmer Self Tan Mousse

Are there any other words, ingredients or phrases you’ve come across that you’d like us to find out more information on? Tell us in the comments below!

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