Even the most curious, up-to-date skin care enthusiast can occasionally come across the odd mysterious ingredient. For example: carbomer. While it has a bit of a daunting sound, carbomer in skin care is one of the most effective, helpful ingredients you had no idea even existed! Without it, a lot of our skincare products would just be big, gloppy, hard-to-use messes, as you’ll discover as you read on.
IN A NUTSHELL
What is Carbomer?
For all you skin care science enthusiasts out there, carbomers are polymers made of acrylic acid (otherwise known as PAA). The official formula is C3H4O2, in case you ever audition for Jeopardy or anything like that. Carbomers are known for their ability to expand when put in water and for their ability to absorb it (this will be important later when we discuss what carbomers actually do).
Generally speaking, carbomer looks like a white, puffy powder and is used in different amounts, depending on what the product is, which is why you’ll often see a number beside carbomer in the ingredients list.
Carbomer Skin Benefits
Interestingly, carbomers are more of a behind-the-scenes ingredient. They actually don’t do anything directly for your skin so don’t expect them to make it glow , or really anything else. That said, their benefits are crucial as we wouldn’t be able to have skin care products without them.
Here are a few carbomer skin benefits:
- Carbomers keep skincare products consistent - You know when you’re making a cake and you first put in a few ingredients and they’re kind of lumpy and bumpy and hard to stir evenly? But then, once you’ve been stirring a while and you’ve mixed everything there’s a nice consistency? Well, skincare ingredients are the same way–without something to make sure everything is mixing correctly, they would just be a big, uneven mess of individual ingredients. Thankfully we have carmomers which help skincare ingredients stay consistent and therefore, usable.
- Carbomers thicken skin care products - Going back to our cake analogy, think about what would happen if you didn’t put flour in a cake. It would be a goopy, liquidy bowl of slippery ingredients. But again, once you put flour in, the batter thickens and you can pour it in a pan and eventually eat it. It’s the same with skincare–before you put a thickener in your skincare, you’ve basically just got a bunch of liquids. Carbomers are like the flour that gives the cake batter its thickness, allowing you to spread it on your skin.
- Carbomers give skincare products their feel – One of the most appealing things about skincare products is how smooth they feel on the skin–even a good exfoliant will have a nice texture. Carbomers are what keep skincare products from feeling uneven and unpleasant.
- Carbomer is an emulsifier - Anyone who’s ever tried to mix salad dressing knows how impossible it is to get oil and vinegar to meld. Skin care ingredients are a bit like that–some just don’t want to stay attached to others. To give them a little help, we use an ingredient like carbomer which will keep ingredients from separating.
- Carbomers work for all skin types - Given how different each skin type can be, it’s no easy feat to find something that works for everyone. Carbomers work with all skin types, so there’s no need to worry about whether or not it will work with yours.
What Is Carbomer Used In?
Even though you might not be aware of it, carbomer is used in many of the products you use every day. From hair products to lotions to shampoos to serums to moisturizers, if you’re using a creamy or gel-like product, there’s a more than good chance that it contains carbomer.
Is Carbomer Safe?
At this point, you might be wondering, given that carbomer is made from acrylic acid, and that it’s included in so many products, is it safe? Luckily, the answer to that is yes! You may have heard of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, which is an organization that determines the safety or danger levels of ingredients used in cosmetic products. They’re basically the Holy Grail of safety guidelines and they’ve given the thumbs up to carbomers. Although it’s possible that certain individuals might have a slight allergy to carbomer, for the general population, it’s just fine! While not a “natural” ingredient, carbomer is one of the rare ingredients that was specifically formulated for cosmetic use.
How to Use Carbomer in Skin Care
By now you’re probably wondering how to use carbomer in your skincare routine. In fact, you probably already are, but here’s an idea of how it might fit into your skincare routine:
1. Cleanse Your Skin
Cleansing your skin is the bedrock of a great skincare routine so make sure you use a non-drying, purifying cleanser that works for every skin type. So Clean! gently cleanses skin and helps to remove make-up, and while it doesn’t contain carbomer, it’ll get your skin squeaky clean no matter what type of skin you have!
2. Tone Your Skin
Even with a non-drying cleanser, you still need to make sure you’re hydrating your skin which is what our alcohol-free, perfect-for-every-skin-type, gently rose-scented Rose and Shine rose water toner does. Just a few spritzes and you’re good to go!
3. Apply Serum
Keep your skin happy and glowing with Just Dew It hydrating serum. This ultra-hydrating serum will instantly revitalize dry, dehydrated skin and plump the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid infuses your skin with much-needed hydration and sea buckthorn oil delivers a mega-dose of antioxidants to protect and revive your skin.
Between our toner and our serum, your skin may feel as if it’s had enough moisture, but you need a moisturizer to seal it all in and keep your skin protected. Our aptly named Crème de la Cream brightening moisturizer helps to reduce the appearance of dark spots and leaves skin feeling smooth. If fine lines and wrinkles and uneven texture are your main concerns, we recommend Youth Fairy retinol moisturizer. This nourishing face cream contains 0.03% retinol to help stimulate collagen production and increase cell turnover, rendering your skin looking more youthful and rejuvenated. Both products contain carbomer, so they feel great on the skin.
5. Apply Eye Cream
We know what you’re thinking and yes, you absolutely, positively need eye cream, no matter what age you are, so if you haven’t started using it, change that today! Our Eyes Eyes Baby anti-aging eye cream is one of our best-sellers and for good reason. It helps firm the skin while reducing the appearance of dark circles and puffiness. With great ingredients like safflower seed oil, organic sunflower seed oil, and organic green tea leaf extract, it also makes room for the carbomer that keeps it all together!
6. Use the Occasional Detox Mask
Finally, make sure to treat yourself to a great detox mask a few times a week. Our Prince Charcoal detox mask is like a knight in, well, not so much shining armor as a jar, but still–it’s incredible for drawing impurities out of your skin. Use a couple of times a week, and we think you’ll see a major improvement in your skin.
That about does it for carbomer and its uses–if you’ve had any fear about it we hope we’ve managed to quell them!