Brand Glossary

Meet our brand glossary! A place that is always here for you to reference as you explore our products, blog posts, and more. Here we define the terms we use on our site (like natural, sustainable, waterless) and more information you might be wondering about, like the purpose of our ingredients in our products.


General Terms

Waterless Beauty  A category of personal care products in which there is little to no water present in the product itself, yet the conventional formulation of that product contains primarily water. For example, waterless shampoo is a good example of a waterless beauty product as the conventional formulation contains 80% water on average.

Water-activated Beauty  A just add water beauty product that transforms from an anhydrous formula to a liquid product upon use. In the case of Moondust waterless shampoo, our powder transforms to a rich, velvety lather within seconds.

Powder-to-Lather  An innovative cleansing shampoo format developed by Susteau that allows for a sustainable shampoo formulation with a silky, creamy lather that delivers salon-quality performance for the hair and scalp. 

Powder-to-Liquid  A science-backed conditioning format developed by Susteau that allows for a sustainable conditioner to emulsify when water is added, retaining ingredient concentration that delivers moisture and retains elasticity in the hair. 

Natural Ingredients  Ingredients of natural derivation are qualified by identifying the ingredient origin (plant, mineral, fossil, and animal) and the amount of processing the raw material experiences to get to the final safe ingredient for use in cosmetics.

Clean Beauty  Clean beauty is safe beauty. Typically clean brands have a “No List” that indicates what ingredients they avoid that are unsafe for humans and the environment. Clean beauty brands push for ingredient transparency so you know what’s in your products. Ingredients used by these brands are usually high-quality ingredients that do not include any potentially unsafe byproducts for people and the planet alike. 

Sustainable Beauty  Beauty products for the conscious consumer that are developed with the environment in mind. Sustainable beauty products use ingredients, formulations, and packaging that decrease a product’s impact across the entire supply chain.

Cruelty-Free Beauty  Products that are cruelty-free are not tested on animals in any capacity. This includes the testing of the final product and the individual ingredients used.

Vegan Products  (Vegan Beauty, Plant-based Beauty) Products that are described using any of these terms are not developed with any ingredients of animal origin.

Unscented  Cosmetics that are formulated to have no scent. These products can contain added-fragrance ingredients. Read more about unscented beauty products here on our blog. 

Fragrance-Free  Cosmetics that are formulated without any added fragrance. This means there are no ingredients added to make the product smell “unscented” and the product will maintain the scent of the ingredients themselves. Read more about unscented beauty products here on our blog. 

Post-Consumer Resin (PCR)  A raw material that is made from recycled plastic and can be used to replace virgin plastic for packaging like shampoo and conditioner bottles.


Ingredient Categories

Fragrance  An ingredient in beauty products used to increase the sensorial experience. Fragrance ingredients in cosmetics can be synthetic or natural. The FDA term “fragrance” can be over 3100 different chemicals in the US. 

Sulfates  A category of surfactants that are known as strong cleansing agents (detergents) in personal care. These ingredients are such good cleaners, that they can be drying and irritating to skin and scalp. It is not necessary to have sulfates to create a formula with lather. For example, Moondust Hair Wash is a sulfate-free formula that has a velvety, silky lather.

Parabens  (Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, and Isobutylparaben) This category of synthetic broad-spectrum preservatives were a very popular choice for use in cosmetics for a long time because they replaced the need for multiple preservative ingredients. Broad-spectrum preservatives are effective against mold, yeast, and bacteria. To replace parabens, multiple preservatives need to be used.



Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice  Aloe vera. A plant extract with conditioning properties for hair and scalp alike. Aloe vera contains over 75 components including amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It’s like a superfood for your hair.

Aqua (Water, Eau)  Water. The primary ingredient in all liquid shampoos and conditioners used as a carrier solvent to deliver ingredients to your hair, or to dilute any harsh detergents (like sulfates) present in the formula. Water is no longer necessary as a primary component in shampoo and conditioner formulations due to raw material innovation and the increased absence of sulfates. You may see “aqua (water, eau)” listed as an ingredient in some of our formulas, and that’s because water is in some of our raw materials in trace amounts. We do not add any water to our formulas.

Cananga Odorata Flower Oil  Ylang ylang essential oil. Used as a floral note in our Moondust fragrance that is slightly sweet and a little woody.

Cellulose Gum  Acts as a thickening agent to give a rich, creamy texture.

Citric Acid  A natural acidic ingredient particularly found in citrus fruits that is used to adjust the pH of our formulas, so that once water is added, our products are the ideal pH to interact with your hair and scalp. (future blog post on ph)

Cocamidopropyl Betaine  A gentle, sulfate-free, cleansing agent derived from coconut to mildly clean hair and scalp without over-drying. Acts as a secondary surfactant.

Coconut Acid A plant-based surfactant derived from a mixture of coconut fatty acids and used to gently cleanse the hair and scalp. It is a by-product of the primary surfactant used in some of our formulas, sodium cocoyl isethionate.

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil  Coconut oil A plant-based oil derived from the inner fibers of coconuts used to deliver moisture and tame frizz; leaving hair smooth, shiny, and soft. 

Ethylhexyl Olivate  A plant-based ester derived from olive oil used to lock in moisture without weighing down your hair. This ingredient also acts as a carrier agent for our olive-oil derived squalane. 

Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Leaf Oil  Clove essential oil. Used as a spicy, but sweet, note in our Moondust fragrance.

Eugenol  A naturally occurring aromatic oil that is a component of eugenia caryophyllus (clove) leaf oil and a known allergen in the EU. We disclose this ingredient as part of our fragrance transparency standard. Read more about fragrance transparency on our blog.

Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride  A cationic conditioning agent derived from guar bean that leaves hair free of tangles and static, without weighing hair down.

Hydrolyzed Rice Protein  A plant-based rice protein, rich in amino acids, that adds natural shine and fullness. A conditioning agent for hair and scalp alike.

Maltodextrin  A plant-based sugar that can be derived from a number of starches, but ours is derived from corn. Maltodextrin has many functions in cosmetics that include acting as an absorbent, binding agent, stabilizer, film-forming agent, and skin-softener.

Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil  Geranium essential oil. Used as a floral note in our Moondust fragrance.

Ribes Nigrum Bud Extract  Black currant extract. Used as a light floral note in our Moondust fragrance that is slightly fruity and woody.

Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate  A gentle, sulfate-free, cleansing agent derived from coconut to mildly clean hair and scalp without over-drying. Acts as a primary surfactant.

Sodium Dehydroacetate  A preservative used to keep products fresh & you safe.

Sodium Phytate  A chelating agent used to remove build-up in your hair and soften the water you use to cleanse & condition. Having a small amount of a chelating ingredient present in your shampoo leaves hair soft and lightweight.

Tocopherol  Vitamin E. Used as an antioxidant to maintain our naturally-derived fragrances.

Triethyl Citrate  A fragrance fixative ingredient that allows the fragrance to last longer.

Xanthan Gum  Acts as a thickening agent to give a rich, creamy texture.