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What Is an Emollient?

March 27, 2020

Ever wonder what goes into your favorite skin care products? Who hasn’t! Knowing what you’re putting on your skin is not only interesting, but it’s also important. Today, we’re here to talk about moisturizers and the types of ingredients you’ll find in their formulas. We’ve covered humectants before, and now it’s time to go over another popular term you may have heard: emollients. Read on to learn what an emollient is and what benefits they have, and get recommendations for a few products, including emollient creams, to add to your skin care routine.


There’s no need to turn to Google for an emollient definition—we have you covered! A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) defines emollients as an ingredient, mainly lipids and oils, used in a moisturizer. Some emollients you may recognize from the labels of your go-to products include lanolin, sunflower oil, and jojoba oil, per the Mayo Clinic.


As you can imagine, if emollients are included in moisturizer formulas, they have to benefit your skin in some way. So, what emollient skin benefits should you know about? According to the Mayo Clinic, emollients are used in creams, gels, and serums to help smooth the skin. Aside from smoothness, they also help hydrate and improve skin softness and flexibility, per the NCBI. Basically, they’re a class of essential ingredients for moisturizing and improving skin texture.


Chances are, you already own a few moisturizing products that contain emollients, but if you want a few more to add to your collection, consider one or more of the following.

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Manuka Honey All Over Balm - Face, Neck, Chest and Hands: This all-over balm contains two emollients: jojoba esters (a product of jojoba oil) and sunflower seed oil. The emollient cream absorbs quickly to relieve mature, very dry skin on the face, neck, chest, and hands—even on the go.

How to use it: Every morning and/or night, apply onto cleansed skin. Smooth gently onto your face in an upward and outward motion. Smooth from neck to jawline, then upper chest until thoroughly absorbed.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Overnight Mask: This overnight mask contains jojoba seed oil along with Pro-Retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid. The formula works to visibly reduce wrinkles, firm and brighten skin, and leave your complexion looking more radiant and resilient.

How to use it: Smooth over your face and neck every evening as the last step in your routine.

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Nourishing Cream Cleanser: Looking for a cleanser that’ll help hydrate and nourish your complexion while ridding it of impurities? This cleanser’s cream formula contains jojoba seed oil and can be used to gently yet effectively remove all traces of making without over-drying the skin.

How to use it: Use every morning and evening. Moisten face. Lather into wet hands, gently massaging onto skin while avoiding the delicate eye area. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Nourish & Soften Cocoa Scrub: This face scrub contains sunflower seed oil, three pure sugars, finely crushed cocoa, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. The buttery-soft formula melts onto skin for gentle yet effective exfoliation and leaves skin nourished, refined, and glowing.

How to use it: Use dry fingers to smooth a small amount onto clean, dry skin, avoiding the eye area. Massage over your face with wet fingers, then rinse with warm water.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Smooth & Glow Grapeseed Scrub: Formulated with sunflower seed oil, three pure sugars, finely ground acai, and monoi and grapeseed oil, this ultra-soft sugar scrub provides deep, yet gentle exfoliation for a baby-soft, glowing finish.

How to use it: Use dry fingers to smooth a small amount of the scrub onto clean, dry skin or lips, avoiding the eye area. Massage over your skin with wet fingers, and rinse with warm water.

L’Oréal Paris Eye Defense: This eye cream contains jojoba seed oil and helps defend the delicate eye area against the first signs of aging. The light, non-greasy gel-cream smoothes fine lines, reduces puffiness, and diminishes dark circles.

How to use it: Apply small dots to the eye area morning and evening, patting in with fingers.

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Manuka Honey Eye Gel: Formulated with jojoba seed oil, manuka honey extract, and other ingredients, this ultra-gentle eye gel works to reduce puffy bags, brighten dark circles, and create a more youthful appearance. The de-puffing rollerball wand works with the cooling formula to cushion mature, very dry skin with nourishing moisture.

How to use it: Apply twice daily on clean skin. Using the rollerball applicator, massage the formula onto your under-eye area in circular motions. Gently pat in any excess with your fingers.

Next: What Is Salicylic Acid?

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