cosmetics classifications

In this article, I'm going to focus on providing you information about the main classification of cosmetics.

    Definition of cosmetics

    Cosmetics can be defined as any substance which is primarily produced and aimed to be used on the external parts of the human skin and vocal mocusa in order to scent, protect, cleanse, treat, and improve the general look and form of the body.

    learn more about the meaning of cosmetics here

    Classification Of Cosmetics

    The classification of cosmetics mainly depends on the country or region you are living in. Some countries consider cosmetics by law as anything that can change the general appearance of a body both internal and external.

    While some countries consider cosmetics by law as any substance that is intended to be used only on the skin and the primary aim should be to beautify not treat or prevent any disease. This classification of cosmetics excludes medicated body cleansers and soaps, plastic or cosmetic surgery, and body creams such as hydrocortisone cream.

    In general, cosmetics can be classified into medicinal and non-medicinal cosmetics. Medicinal cosmetics are cosmetic products produced with the aim to treat a specific disease while improving the texture and complexion of the body. For example, 2% salicylic acid can be added to the formulation of body cleansers or creams in order to acne.

    The medicinal cosmetics are also further classified into synthetic and organic medicinal cosmetics.

    What are synthetic medicinal cosmetics?

    Synthetic medicinal cosmetics are products manufactured with chemicals that are artificially produced in the laboratory with the aim to treat or cure skin illness.


    • Synthetic medicinal cosmetics are affordable when compared with organic or herbal.
    • The ingredients used in the production of synthetic medicinal cosmetics are easily accessible.


    • Synthetic cosmetics are mostly not safe on the body
    • Some of them are non-biodegradable

    Related: Cosmetics meaning and importance

    What are Organic Medicinal Cosmetics?

    Organic medicinal cosmetics are cosmetic products, which are produced from pure natural ingredients such as plant and animal products. For example, the use of essential oil in aromatherapy to massage the body.


    • Organic cosmetics are safe when compared to the synthetic products
    • They are biodegradable, and hence causes less harm to the environment


    • They are sometimes very expensive
    • The cosmetic products are sometimes made without formulation. The organic medicinal cosmetics may be produced base on estimation without formulation, and this increases the likelihood of intoxication.
    • The individual ingredient in cosmetic products are sometimes very difficult to find

    Forms Of Medicinal Cosmetics

    Medicinal cosmetics are further grouped into four different forms:

    • Protective
    • Curative
    • Corrective
    • Decorative

    The protective medicinal cosmetics protect your skin and vocal mocusa from the effects of sunlight, harmful microorganisms, dirt, excess secretion of sebum and accumulation of dead skin cells. For instance, sunscreen lotion is produced to help protect skin from the effects of sunlight.

    Curative medicinal cosmetics are cosmetics primarily produced to treat or eliminate a certain disease that affects the outer part of the body. For example, Vicky Vapor rub can be used to treat the toenails fungus.

    Corrective medicinal cosmetics can be explained as cosmetics that are designed to correct a certain defect or abnormality on the skin or external body. For example, Gynecomastia cosmetic surgery can be performed to remove the enlarged breasts from men with abnormal breast growth, while a tummy tuck can be performed to remove excess from the tummy or belly.

    Decorative cosmetics are types of cosmetics primarily brought to improve the general appearance of the body by implanting an external object. Examples of decorative medicinal cosmetics are neck lift, breast augmentation, and neck lift.

    Recommended reading: Types, uses, and effects of cosmetic surgery

    Non-Medicinal Cosmetics

    These are classes of cosmetics, which are primarily aimed to increase the look and form of a body and is not made to treat or cure any skin illness. They are generally made for everyday use.

    Non-medicinal cosmetics can also be further classified into the following groups:


    Just like in the case of medicinal cosmetics, synthetic non-medicinal cosmetics are products made from chemicals that are artificially produced in the laboratory with the aim to beautify and aromatize the outer appearance of the body. For example, fragrance in perfumery.

    While the organic nonmedicinal cosmetics, they are made from purely organic products. For example, soap produced from beef tallowed and wood-ash.

    Related: Guidelines for using cosmetics and deodorants

    Further Classification Of Non-Medicinal Cosmetics

    Nonmedicinal cosmetics can further be classified into the followings:

    • Lightening cosmetics
    • Enlightening cosmetics

    In this case, the lightening cosmetics contain one or more whitening agent, which has an immediate and long-term effect in removing dead skin cells, suppression of melanocytes and sebaceous glands functions.

    These types of cosmetics are widely common among fashionable ladies, however, most fans are not aware of the side effects of these products.

    The normal or non-lightening nonmedicinal cosmetics ate just pure cosmetics made to keep your moisturized, refreshed, soften, and to prevent the skin from drying out.

    These are the most recommended cosmetic products because, with proper dietary and lifestyle strategies, you can obtain a finer and gorgeous skin with these types of cosmetic products.

    Related: what are differences between cosmetics and deodorants

    Further Classification and Forms of Cosmetic Products


    Solution is among the most simplest form or types of cosmetic formulations that are widely used in a variety of products like body wash, Colognes, and shampoo.

    Solutions cosmetics are homogeneous mixtures of water or aqua and other water soluble ingredients.

    Creams and Emulsions

    These are like opposite form of solutions, because the ingredients are insoluble in water. To make the main ingredients (oils) combine with water, which is called aqueous phase, an emulsifier is used.
    Creams and emulsions are widely used forms of cosmetics that are used in the production of body moisturizers, sunscreen creams, and hair conditioners.


    Suspensions are types of cosmetics that contain visible ingredients looking like a gelatinous substances suspended throughout the product.

    Suspensions are mostly used in the production of hand washes and cleansers.


    Lotions are another form of cosmetics, which are purposely created to serve those people who don't want the greedy nature of cream. In other words, lotions are thin form of creams, which are mostly used in the production of moisturing cleansers, leave-in hair conditioners, and facial moisturizers.

    Tablets and Capsules

    Tablets and capsules are forms of cosmetics that are widely used in medicated cosmetic products like vitamin E capsule and foundations.

    They are usually in solid forms, which are compressed to fit a desired shape.

    Ointments and Paste

    These forms of cosmetics do not contain water. They are sticky and greedy, which are made from pure mineral oils like lanolin and petroleum jelly.

    Ointments and pastes are widely used in the production of hair dressing oil and Vaseline.


    Gels are types of cosmetics, which are clear thick in form with a property known as "shear thinning". Meaning, gels maintain their thickness until when a force is applied on them, which makes them " thin and flowable".

    They are mostly used in the production of shaving products, toothpastes, hair products, and body washes.


    Aerosols are also forms of cosmetics, which are pressurized in a can using a propellant.

    This is done by first creating the product, then transfer the finish product into a can and seal. Then, an appropriate propellant is used to pressurized the can.


    These are forms of makeups, which the consumers do not need to touch the products before they use them.

    They are firmly held using a stick. Sticks are widely in the production of lipsticks and armpit deodorants.


    These are forms of cosmetics that are combination of raw ingredients blended into a fine powders. These forms of cosmetics are widely used in the production of baby powders and facial powders.
    Cosmetic products can exist in the following forms:

    Examples of Cosmetics Classification

    Solutions: examples are astringent solution, aftershave lotions, and hand lotions

    Aerosols: example is Perfumes

    Cakes: examples are makeup compacts and rouge compacts

    Attachments: examples are eyelash extensions and false eyelashes

    Soap: examples are toilet soap, laundry soap, and shampoo soap

    Powder: examples are face powder, talc powder, and tooth powder

    Emulsions: examples are cleansing and vanishing creams

    Twigs: examples are Deodorant sticks, Lipsticks

    Balms: examples are lip balm, fragrant balms

    Oils: examples are fragrance oils, hair oils

    Paste: examples are Creams and toothpaste

    Ointments: examples are tooth ointments, rub


    We hope this post gives you a clear understanding of the classifications of cosmetics. So, do write to us with your view in the comment section below.


    Halla N, Fernandes IP, Heleno SA, et al. Cosmetics Preservation: A Review on Present Strategies. Molecules. 2018;23(7):1571. Published 2018 Jun 28. DOI:10.3390/molecules23071571

    Retrieved from Jetro.go

    Retrieved from
    Wikipedia contributors. (2020, February 23). Cosmetics. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:13, March 2, 2020, from

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