Even the most curious, up-to-date skin care enthusiast can occasionally come across an unfamiliar ingredient. For example: carbomer. While it may sound a little suspect, carbomer in skin care is one of the most effective, helpful ingredients you probably had no idea even existed. Without it, much of our skincare products would be sloppy, hard-to-use messes, as you’ll discover when you read on.
IN A NUTSHELL
Ingredient Category: Emulsifier
Main Benefit: Carbomer helps the ingredients in skincare stick together while improving their texture.
What is Carbomer?
Carbomers are polymers made of acrylic acid (otherwise known as PAA). The official formula is C3H4O2. They are known for their ability to expand when put in water and for their ability to absorb it – this fact 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 that keep formulas looking and feeling as we expect. They actually don’t do anything directly for your skin, but rather for the product itself.
Here are a few carbomer skin benefits:
- Carbomers keep skincare products consistent - Without something to make sure everything is mixing correctly, skincare products would just be a big, uneven mess of individual ingredients. Thankfully we have carbomers which help skincare ingredients stay consistent and therefore, usable.
- Carbomers thicken skin care products - Before you put a thickener in your skincare, it’s usually just a lot of liquids. Carbomers give products 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. Carbomers are what keep skincare products from feeling uneven and unpleasant.
- Carbomer is an emulsifier - To give skincare products a little help, we use an ingredient like carbomer to 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, it is completely safe for the general population. 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
No matter what your skincare concern, we have a serum for that. Our ‘A’ Game retinol serum works to reduce the look of dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and brightening the skin. Besides retinol, it includes botanical ingredients like aloe vera leaf juice, wild geranium extract, organic rosehip oil, organic jojoba seed oil.
For dry, dehydrated skin, Just Dew It is your go-to serum. 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. And yes, we’ve used a touch of carbomer to make sure all those great ingredients stay together.
You need a moisturizer to seal all of the above 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
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. Treat and Protect Your Lips
Don’t forget that your lips need love, too! One Lip Wonder lip treatment features peptides, coconut oil and plant stem cells to smooth, hydrate and plump your lips better than any ol’ lip balm. Use it as needed, but especially when the weather is dry to protect your lips from becoming chapped.
7. 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.