Examining The Role of Terpenes in Personal Care Products

by Eric Van Buskirk February 03, 2022

Examining The Role of Terpenes in Personal Care Products

Feb, 2022

Examining The Role of Terpenes in Personal Care Products


Natural plant extracts have become much more popular than synthetic ingredients in the manufacture of personal care products in recent years, and for good reason. Instead of artificial colourings or fragrances, natural compounds can soothe and nourish sites of damage or injury, and have plenty of therapeutic potential on a physiological level.


Of the naturally occurring beneficial compounds seeing plenty of use in contemporary personal care products, not many have captured the interest of consumers like terpenes — which are now a mainstay in a variety of industries including fine dining, cosmetics and sports medicine.

"Terpenes are the next frontier in wellness."

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced by plants that often give them their distinctive aromas and flavours. In nature, they serve a variety of important functions throughout a plant's life cycle, including the attracting of pollinators and repelling of herbivores. Scientific research shows terpenes have notable medicinal properties that can aid against various health conditions. This is backed up by their key role in essential oils, which are commonly used in aromatherapy and massage.

An example of beneficial terpenes is terpinolene, which is produced by lemon trees and can be used to reduce symptoms of stress or mood disorders. Other terpenes like myrcene or linalool can act as sedatives or painkillers when turned into essential oils. As a whole, terpenes can bind to receptors that activate a wide variety of neurological and physiological effects.

Terpenes are typically associated with the cannabis plant, but contrary to popular misconception, terpenes can be sourced from practically all plant life. However, over 200 of them have been identified in the cannabis plant alone, and it has had a large role in ongoing research into terpenes' beneficial properties.

Just as adding CBD isolate to recovery balms and salves can have beneficial effects on pain or inflammation, different terpenes have a range of properties that can complement a variety of personal care products. In this post, we go over three examples of beneficial terpene functions and how they can improve everything from mouthwash to night creams.

Terpenes in Oral Hygiene Products

Oral care products like mouth drops and mouthwash are excellent options for maintaining fresh breath while simultaneously preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Two examples of complementary terpenes in the manufacture of oral care products include:


  • Eugenol is found in clove oil (also known as Syzygium Aromaticum oil) and has been used as a topically in dentistry for thousand of years. It’s active against bacteria associated with dental caries and periodontal disease.
  • Menthol is an antimicrobial terpene that has been in use in oral care for decades; not only because of its refreshing aroma and flavour, but also because of its established viability against harmful organisms that can grow on teeth or along the gumline with poor oral hygiene practices.

Terpenes in Common Bath Products

The mark of quality bath products like body wash and bath bombs is not only their ability to nourish the skin and provide relief from irritation, but to provide added antioxidant, antifungal and astringent benefits as well. Essential oils are commonly incorporated into bath products because of their predominant terpenes, which include:


Geraniol which can be found in citronella and coriander

Terpineol which is abundant in cajeput and pine

Linalool which is commonly sourced from lavender, rosewood or laurels

Nerol which can be found in hops and lemongrass

Citral whose natural sources include verbena and lemon myrtle


Additional advantages of the terpenes listed above are their respective aroma profiles, which work very nicely with bath products like soap, bubble bath liquids and shower gels.

Terpenes in Skincare

There are terpenes, like limonene and eugenol, that are shown in laboratory studies to increase skin permeability (i.e. skin penetration). This makes them ideal for infusion not only into practical skincare items like mosquito repellent, but some niche products as well. These include cold creams, which are designed to lift and remove makeup from skin pores, and night creams which are designed for use right before bedtime for intensive skin repair and nourishment overnight.


Other beneficial terpene qualities that can benefit skincare products include their anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects, as well as the ability of some terpenes to down-regulate the production of sebum, which can cause whiteheads, blackheads and pimples.

Terpenes are everywhere

In this post, we explored the benefits of three terpenes that have been shown to have beneficial effects in oral hygiene, skin care and bath products. These include eugenol, menthol and geraniol. Each has unique properties that work together to provide additional antioxidant, antifungal and astringent benefits beyond those provided by traditional ingredients alone. The ingredients of Glowing Orchid's products are all selected with this knowledge in mind, to provide you with the best quality products for you needs.

Written by Eric Van Buskirk


Thank you!

Eric Van Buskirk
Eric Van Buskirk


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