While some of us have embraced the complicated Korean beauty regimens, others are still struggling to begin a proper skincare routine that comprises a bit more of a cleanser and a moisturizer.

For those of you, new to the now complicated beauty world, we can totally understand the confusion that the blogging world, beauty editors and brands bring to you while choosing any new product. The complicated list of ingredients, the abbreviated jargon, the never-ending routine lineup and so on.

To help you get started, here is a small list of beauty terms explained easy:

AHAs and BHAs

AHAs, Alpha-Hydroxy Acids and BHAs, Beta-Hydroxy Acids are newer, albeit lesser recognized ingredients, used in skincare products. The powerful duo took the beauty world by storm last year, only to scare some newbies with the word “acid” in their names.

While it may seem scary to use acids on your face, these revolutionary ingredients are super beneficial. They act as chemical exfoliants that help de-clog pores, remove the outermost dead skin layer, reveal a more flawless complexion and get you that coveted glow.

AHAs and BHAs

Image Credit: browngirlhacks

AHAs include acids like glycolic and lactic acids while BHAs’ most popular member is salicylic acid. Although, both types of acids help drastically improve your complexion, they both should be used as appropriate.

AHAs are more suitable for dry skin while BHAs help oily, acne-prone skin more. AHAs work on the more superficial layer of the skin and hence, are beneficial for problems like sun damage. BHAs penetrate oils and pores better, thereby, help address issues like blackheads, acne and rosacea.

Both of these exfoliants are excellent alternatives to the original gritty scrubs and sonic cleansing brushes since they are gentler on the skin and much, more effective. However, it is highly important that the product, using these ingredients, is formulated correctly. We recommend trying products like Bliss That’s Incredi-Peel! Spa-Strength Glycolic Resurfacing Pads, NeoStrata Ultra Smoothing Cream AHA 10, PETER THOMAS ROTH AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel and Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Night Multi-Rejuvenating Nighttime Serum in Cream.

Always follow application of any AHA and BHA product with a good SPF.

Hyaluronic Acid

Another acid, but for a completely different purpose, Hyaluronic Acid is a revolutionary anti-aging ingredient. It is essentially a component of natural skin tissue. A synthetic identical ingredient by the same name is used in anti-aging products to help inject moisture into the skin.

Hyaluronic acid helps reduce inflammation, while boosting moisture content and preventing moisture loss from the skin at the same time. The ingredient is also known to help prevent free-radical damage by providing a strong anti-oxidant defense.

This multi-purpose moisture goodness is perfect for sensitive skin because it’s so gentle and ideal for oily skin because it’s so light-weight in nature.

hyaluronic acid

All in one, Hyaluronic Acid is a hallmark anti-aging ingredient perfect for almost anyone looking to give their skin some firmness, pliability and plumpness. A good brand to introduce Hyaluronic Acid in your skincare routine is Beauty Bridge Cosmetics. Their Anti-Aging Lifting Serum, Anti-Aging Illuminating Eye Cream  and Anti-Aging Revitalizing Night Cream are all worth a try!

Parabens

The black sheep of the beauty industry – Parabens – are probably the only ingredient that have received so much flak for no good reason.

Parabens were once the Holy Grail preservatives for beauty ingredients not only because they were less irritant than other known preservatives but because of their effective anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties too.

parabens

However, a few years ago some inconclusive results and marketing ploys gave them a bad reputation for being associated with breast cancer cells. After much debate and research, there has still been no known connection between the two and as of now, Parabens are declared quite safe to use unless you are allergic to any of them. Some popular Parabens include butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben and ethylparaben.

If you are still concerned about their use, don’t worry – there are a tonne of paraben-free products on the market now that you can use without worrying like Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant Vanilla Passion Fruit, theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer Luminizer, PETER THOMAS ROTH – Acne Clearing Wash and Whish – Rice Milk Smoothing Body Cream.

Retinoids

Retinoids, the anti-aging miracles, are yet another controversial yet indisputably beneficial skincare ingredient. It’s a chemical related to Vitamin A that contains cell-communicating ingredients which essentially “communicates” to skin cells to be healthier, thereby displaying miraculous anti-aging properties.

The over-the-counter Retinoids include Retinol, easily found in most renowned skincare brand products while the prescription-only Retinoids include Retin-A, which is known for its effective wrinkle-fighting properties.

retinoids

The problem with all of these active ingredients is that they irritate skin to an extent and can be damaging to sensitive skin if not used with proper care. Since their effectiveness is irrefutable to quite an extent, people still prefer to use them in spite of the surrounding debates. However, some brands are actively working towards creating Retinol-free anti-aging products using Peptides to do the same job, without causing any trauma to skin.

Some effective Retinol products include Exuviance – Super Retinol Concentrate, Dermalogica – Overnight Retinol Repair, PETER THOMAS ROTH – Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum and StriVectin – StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Night Treatment.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)

You have heard all about SLS and you know you should opt for SLS free products but do you know why?

Sodium Laureth Sulfate or SLS is a cleansing agent known for its foaming/lathering properties and for leaving that “squeaky clean” feeling we all so crave for. The problem? It dries out hair and skin and is known to cause irritation to sensitive skin.

As much as that lather, in a shampoo or cleanser, is satisfying, it’s essentially doing us more harm than good, which is why it is preferable to opt for SLS free products rather than ones with them.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)

Good shampoos that deliver frizz-free hair usually don’t have SLS as a surfactant, and neither do good cleansers that promise soft, glowing skin. A SLS cleanser might help “clean” the skin, but it will definitely strip it all of its natural moisture goodness and make it look dull and drab.

Avoiding the ingredient is not necessary but a good choice since we all want smooth, silky hair and gorgeous, glowing skin, don’t we? Some good options to jump the SLS free bandwagon are Marula Pure Beauty Oil Intensive Repair Shampoo, REN Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser, REN Clarimatte T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel and Exuviance Age Reverse BioActiv Wash.