Sunday, July 3, 2011

Learned and Lacquered: Emollients & Skin Conditioning Agents

If you don't want to read the whole post, scroll to the end for a few essential points (in bold).

Today's L&L post is about two very important categories of nail polish and nail care product ingredients - emollients and skin conditioning agents. They're basically the same thing, which is why I'm not doing two separate posts. A skin conditioning agent or emollient is something that lubricates, softens, or smoothes the skin. Many emollients and skin conditioning agents (hereby categorically referred to as emollients, because it's a shorter word/phrase and I'm lazy) are natural ingredients, such as coconut oil and soy protein, and many have additional benefits, such as nail growth, antioxidant properties, and so forth. Many nail products, especially cuticle and hand creams, include such ingredients, but I've found that Dr.'s Remedy is the most emollient-rich nail polish brand out of those I own.

coconut oil
image credit

A lot of the emollients used in nail polish are ingredients you could probably recognize without any help. However, there are also quite a few with more "scientific" names, which is why I've compiled a list of all the skin conditioning agents and emollients I know to be used in nail polishes and products. It's a very long list, so I've put it in a smaller font.

Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Adenosine Triphosphate, Algae Extract, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract OR Aloe Vera OR Aloe Vera Concentrate, Arginine, Ascophyllum Nosodum Extract, Aucoumea Klaineana Oleo-Resin Extract, Biotin, Bisabolol, Calcium Pantothenate, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cellulose, Centaurea Cyanus (Cornflower) Extract, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cholecalciferol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Codium Tomentosum Extract, Collagen Amino Acids, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Diethylhexyl Adipate, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein, Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Vegetable/Wheat/Rice/Soy Protein, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Jojoba Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Mannitol, Maris Sal/Sea Salt/Sel Marin, Mineral Oil, Neopentyl Glycol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Papain, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Polyacrylic Acid, PPG-2 Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Retinyl Palmitate, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Saccharide Isomerate, Serine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Soy Amino Acids, Stearyl Alcohol, Threonine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Trihydroxypalmitamidohydroxypropyl Myristyl Ether, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea Seed Oil, Vitamin D, Wheat Amino Acids, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil

Whew! I wouldn't have included the list at all because it's so long, but I thought it might be good for reference.  Here are the essential facts:

  • A skin conditioning agent or emollient is something that lubricates, softens, or smoothes the skin.
  • Many are natural ingredients - that is, they come from sources found in nature, such as plants.
  • Many emollients have additional benefits such as nail growth and antioxidant properties.

P.S. I think trihydroxypalmitamidohydroxypropyl myristyl ether wins the prize for longest nail polish ingredient name ever, don't you? Have a great day!


  1. I love these types of posts!  I find them so interesting :)

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy them.