Toiletries Key Terms

Understand the jargon of the toiletries industry to benefit from personal care products

The United States has always been a leader in cosmetic innovation and entrepreneurship. Lotions, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes fall under the category of toiletries. They are used on a daily basis by men and women alike. Toiletries are personal care products. They are usually marketed with promises of bettering the individual. Consumers, many times, do not know or understand much more about the terminology of these products than what the market declares. Because consumers desire that youthful look or those pearly white teeth, they purchase products that may not be the best for them. To really benefit from personal care products, consumers should look into the make-up of the product. Understanding the real jargon of the industry can disclose a wealth of information.


Paraben-free indicates that particular toiletry's bases and concentrates have been designed free of parabens and harsh surfactants. Parabens are a controversial group of chemicals used as preservatives in certain cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. While studies have shown parabens to be a safe addition to some products, it has been declared by some that the use of parabens poses a health issue. Many companies are catering to the health-conscious and are pronouncing their toiletries free of such chemicals.

Essential oils and carrier oils

An essential oil is a concentrated liquid extracted from plants and used as an ingredient in personal care products. Essential oils can be inhaled or applied to the skin. While many fragrance oils and essential oils are safe to use, they should be researched properly as many cannot be used full strength on the skin. A carrier oil is an extract used to suspend or carry a fragrance or essential oil. Carrier oils are skin-safe. Commonly used carrier oils are olive oil and grapeseed oil.


Viscosity is the measurement of a liquid and its resistance to movement and flow. Some personal care products, such as mouthwashes, eyedrops and lotions, have a thin viscosity. Others, such a toothpastes and liquid hand soaps, have a thicker viscosity. Manufacturers produce toiletries in a variety of viscosities to appeal to a wider market.

Saponifier Magazine

This magazine is known for its support of handcrafted soap, toiletries, cosmetics, and candles. It includes industry updates as well as a directory of supplies and services for those in the cosmetic and toiletries industry.


The Cosmetics, Toilet Goods, and Fragrances Association, now known as the Personal Care Products Council is an organization that helps consumers better understand safety issues in the personal care products and cosmetics industry.


IUPAC is the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry. This organization ordains rules and standards for the declaration and naming of any pure chemical. An international standard of names and symbols, as well as weights and measures of chemical solutions is important for the continued development of cosmetics and toiletries as pertaining to international trade and commerce.

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