G
Galactaric acid A chelating agent derived from apple pectin.

Galactoarabinan A moisture-binding and moisture-retaining ingredient – derived from larch trees – which has a mild, non-irritating exfoliating action. Also used in sweeteners.

Geraniol A fragrance element derived from rose oil, palmarosa oil and citronella. It must by law be listed as a separate fragrance component on labels because it is known to cause perfume allergies in some people.

Gluceth-20 (also known as Methyl Glyceth-20). Produced from Glucose (usually corn sugar) and Methyl alcohol; a gentle and effective humectant and moisturiser.

Gluconolactone A poly-hydroxy acid created from milk sugar. It’s one of the newer generation of AHA ‘fruit acids’, and is said to be gentler than some of the earlier versions, used as a skin-brightener. Also doubles as a fragrance ingredient in products like shampoos.

Glucose oxidase Found in honey, this enzyme can act as an effective natural preservative.

Glyceryl caprylate A semi-synthetic mixture derived from Caprylic acid and Glycerine; some glyceryl derivatives have been linked with contact dermatitis; it is also a ‘penetration enhancer’, according to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments.

Glyceryl dibehenate A mixture derived from Glycerine and Behenic acid (which is a water-soluble component of animal fats, seed fats and marine mammal oils).

Glyceryl monolaurate We can’t find out a great deal about this particular glyceryl ingredient. There are lots of glyceryls, which are largely synthetic, although as natural skincare guru Aubrey Hampton puts it, ‘with perhaps a drop or two of natural fatty acids in them. Some glyceryls have been linked to contact dermatitis.

Glyceryl stearate Glycerine-derived ingredient widely used as an emulsifier and conditioning element in make-up, powders, creams, lotions, etc.

Glyceryl stearate citrate A citric acid ester of Glyceryl stearate (see above).

Glyceryl stearate SE See above.

Glycol distearate This widely-used surfactant (foaming and cleansing ingredient) is made from Glycerine and Stearic acid. Also used to make products more opaque. (Glycols mean ‘glycerine’ plus ‘alcohol’; the family includes Propylene glycol, Butylene glycol, Ethylene glycol, etc.); some glycols have been linked with eczema.