View Aveda's ingredient glossary

Aveda's ingredient glossary

These key ingredients help power the Aveda products you love. Discover what they do and where they are sourced from - and why they'll make a difference in your hair care routine.

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our ingredient promise

At Aveda, The Art and Science of Pure Flower and Plant Essences, we believe that Nature is the best beauty artist of all. This is why we continually strive to increase our use of naturally derived ingredients whenever possible.

Naturally Derived: Aveda uses the ISO standard 16128 when calculating the naturally derived percentage of its ingredients derived from plants, non-petroleum minerals, and other natural sources, including water. Naturally derived means that over 50% of the ingredient is natural (by molecular weight).

Our commitment to deliver high performance, botanically-based products that much deeper than our use of naturally derived ingredients.





Growing wild in the expansive and mostly arid landscape of Western Australia, the sandalwood trees from which we source our oil are harvested by local, indigenous communities.

sandalwood from western australia

Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) oil is a key ingredient found in many of Aveda’s own aroma blends, providing a rich, woody depth with polished smooth notes that create an air of complexity and mystery in many of our beloved skin, body and hair care products.

For many years, Aveda has partnered with these communities to source high-quality essential oils and to assist in connecting them with the global business community. In keeping with Aveda’s mission to care for the world, we work with a local distiller from Western Australia, ensuring that the premium we pay for the oil directly benefits the indigenous sandalwood collectors.





Visit Brazil to see how this moisturizing oil is helping to preserve a community's way of life.

buriti from brazil

with oil from the tree of life.

Deep within Brazil, the people of Piaui say “where there is buriti, there is water” because the tree grows along rivers. The oil from the fruit is so moisturizing that it drew us into a new partnership, a Brazilian company that shares our mission to care for the world we live in. Dedicated to improving lives in communities where they find ingredients, Beraca purchases buriti oil from local cooperatives, providing income to many families—so they can keep their way of life.




rose from bulgaria

Aveda's partnership with Enio Bonchev, a Bulgarian Rose and Lavender oil distillery, ensures the Romi People's fair treatment and compensation.

rose and lavender from bulgaria

Nestled in a valley at the foot of Bulgaria's Balkan Mountains, near the small village of Tarnichene, are fields of native lavender and rose and a distillery on which local villagers and many nomadic Romi people depend for their livelihood. The family-run Enio Bonchev distillery—which employs people to pick the blossoms and operate the distillery—is the main source of economy for the village, and the owners also provide food, clothing, and access to medical care to their workers. Aveda helps supports this local economy by purchasing lavender and rose oil from Enio Bonchev. Aveda has also donated funding to help increase the workers' quality of life.

The distillery—founded in 1907—was shut down for almost 50 years under the communist regime, leaving the area impoverished and local workers and traveling Romi people without jobs. It re-opened in 1992 by Dimitre and Filip Lissicharov, descendants of the founder, Enio Bonchev. The distillery employs approximately 25 villagers to work full-time through the year. Approximately 50 additional workers are employed to maintain the fields, performing tasks such as weeding and planting, during the non-winter months. And, during the harvesting season an additional 40 people are hired to operate the distillery, and 250 people—including the Romis—to work in the fields. Some Romis live in a nearby city, but transportation is scarce so the distillery provides a bus service three times a day to and from the fields. Romis who come down from their mountain villages in donkey-carts bring their entire families, and the children play with toys (provided by the distillery) while the adults work.

Picking lavender and rose is an incredibly labor-intensive process: field workers spend all day in the hot summer sun cutting the stems by hand and loading the blooms into carts. Many distilleries cut costs—and jobs—by using machinery for this process, but the Enio Bonchev owners prefer to keep jobs in the community, and in doing so they produce a purer oil since hand cutting means fewer stems go into the batches. When picking season is over, the workers cull and replant the fields and compost leftover plant material back into the soil. “This is our land,” says co-owner Filip Lissicharov. “We feed it and nurture it because it feeds and nurtures us. It is our freedom, our home, our health—everything we need in this life.”

At Enio Bonchev, the harvesters are appreciated for their hard work. Other distilleries pay either at the end of the season or when the raw material sells, leaving the workers without income for many months. The Enio Bonchev distillery pays daily, which to the workers means they can feed their children every day. In the end they are able to make enough money to help support their families through the winter months. The distillery also provides animal feed at the end of the season so the workers' horses and donkeys don't starve during the winter.

Aveda supports the distillery by purchasing large quantities of the exceptional oil, which has been grown organically and certified to USDA standards since 2002. This on-going purchase provides economic security for the distillery, allowing the owners to provide additional benefits. They offer dental care to all full-time employees, and for the field workers they hire a doctor to be on hand in case someone becomes overheated or sick, provide free breakfast and lunch for the workers and children that come with them, and supply the pickers with lightweight cotton t-shirts and hats to help protect them from the sun. A 2008 grant from Aveda helped construct restroom and shower facilities.

The Enio Bonchev distillery presents a clear example of how a business model built on fair treatment and compassion for employees and the local community can be a success. It's a system that benefits everyone involved. Season after season, word spreads about the Enio Bonchev distillery and the respect for the workers, the fields once again fill with people and the cycle continues.




lavender from bulgaria

Aveda's partnership with Enio Bonchev, a Bulgarian Rose and Lavender oil distillery, ensures the Romi People's fair treatment and compensation.





Spanish cistus extract is essential to aveda—like the people who harvest this certified organic plant. our relationships with local andalucian village inhabitants have helped create an earth-friendly cistus practice.

cistus from spain

Cistus ladaniferus, jara in Spanish, is a plant of survival, renewal and rebirth. For centuries it has been the foundation of Andalucía's landscape, and the unlikely resource upon which local wildlife, farming and vegetation live in balance. Cistus plants are considered by some to be a “wild weed,” and “rockrose.” Untamed, they grow wildly from rocky, dry ground on sunny plains dotted with oak trees, or encinas.. In fact, cistus thrives in the most rocky, arid soil, growing more fiercely and wildly in Andalucía than any other part of the world. Arid conditions encourage the cistus plant to produce more resin—a key ingredient Aveda uses in its aromas and as a powerful moisturizing agent in its botanical kinetics skin care.

The cistus plant flowers once a year, opening a wrinkled, white, five-petaled blossom to the late winter sun for a few short days. In hot summer months, the plant exudes a sticky resin along its leaves and branches and a rich, restorative aroma. Once cut, the cistus plant automatically regenerates fresh branches for the following summer.

Since the early 20th century, the local people of Andalucía have harvested wild cistus and sold it to European perfumeries and distilleries to produce into oil. In 1989, Biolandes, a French company specializing in essential oil extraction, set up a distillation factory in the small rural village of Puebla de Guzmán, in Andalucía, and trained workers to harvest and process cistus using Earth-sensitive processes. Employing those who are connected to the needs and nuances of the local environment, Biolandes brought the business of cistus production back to its home, inspiring new jobs for its communities. These jobs enable some families to stay in their native region, rather than leave in search for work. Thus, the sustainable harvest and production of cistus oil supports local growth, livelihood and harmony.

The process by which cistus is transformed from wildly growing shrub to an essential oil begins each summer in Andalucia, where hundreds of local workers collect the organically-grown cistus twigs. With the dry ground crunching under their feet and crickets singing in rhythmic waves, workers cut 2-foot long cistus twigs, hand harvesting up to 400 kilograms per day—per person. Using a moon-shaped cutting tool called a hoz, the men pick only the young, ripened, fragrant upper twigs of the cistus plant, leaving a 6-inch stem to generate new growth the following year. This coppicing method perpetuates the cistus plants' natural cycle of growth.

Once the cistus has been cut, the twigs are packed into 15 kilogram bundles and transported by truck to the local distillery, where a group of 20 local workers process the cistus into gum or oil. In an effort to conserve resources and minimize waste, left-over cistus stems are placed into the wood-burning furnaces to create the steam needed for distillation. As a result of these efforts, there is no petroleum-based energy in the distillation factory. Then, bundles of freshly-picked cistus are steam-distilled for 24 hours. The 400 kilograms of cistus branches workers collect each day produce approximately 300 grams of the golden, fragrant oil—used in Aveda aromas for its powerful, long-lasting, sweet and spicy notes.

Aveda's search for the highest quality organic cistus essential oil brought the company to Puebla de Guzmán in 2002. At the time, neither the distillery nor the cistus oil was certified organic. Aveda initiated a conversion, partnering with Biolandes to help foster a smooth transition in the challenging path from conventional harvesting and manufacturing processes—to organic. The result is a transparent business model for organic conversion, strengthened by partnership. Since 2005, the cistus oil from Andalucia has been organically certified by ECOCERT, a third party auditing company specializing in organic standards. Today, the cistus oil Aveda receives from Andalucía is certified organic. As a result, Aveda has doubled its purchase of certified organic cistus oil from Biolandes, , purchasing 90% of Biolandes' certified organic cistus oil produced in Andalucía.

This sustainable business in partnership with Biolandes and Aveda continues to thrive, as does Andalucia's wild cistus plant. The partnership also assures a high integrity organic cistus essential oil for Aveda professionals and guests—completing the cycle of sustainability. With cistus at its heart, the village of Puebla de Guzmán represents a small-scale ecosystem tuned into community and Earth with harmony. As renewable and traceable as the self-perpetuating growth of wild cistus, the cycle from harvest to oil, from Soil to BottleSM--is beauty in balance.

“Cistus is my life; it is my family's life, my children's lives, my heritage.”
- Roman, Community member, Puebla de Guzmán, Andalucía

Cistus Ingredient Benefits
Cistus oil is used in many Aveda aromas for its powerful and very long-lasting sweet, spicy, resinous note.




Meet cupuaçu farmers making a change in the Amazon.

Step into the Amazon borderlands for a look at how cupuaçu butter helps revitalize farms and forests.


Step into the Amazon borderlands. Meet an association of farmers who converted from traditional agriculture to agroforestry. See how they’re helping revitalize farms and forests around Tomé Açu, Brazil with certified organic cupuaçu (koo-poo-AH-soo).

Not long ago, rural farmers in Tomé Açu, Brazil, struggled to support their families—even on the borderlands of the bountiful Amazon jungle—because their land was depleted by decades of clear-cutting and burning for traditional agriculture and cattle ranching, which proved unsustainable for their small family farms.

In 2005, they decided to make a change, and more than 20 farms formed an association to adopt a more sustainable method of farming, called agroforestry. They learned that by mixing crops like passion fruit and black pepper, with trees like Brazil nut and cupuaçu, they could increase the yield of each plant, and replenish nutrients to their depleted soils in a more natural way. 

Many of the farmers planted cupuaçu, a native tree, because it grows in a mutually beneficial way with other trees and crops. They sold the fruit pulp for food and threw away the seeds—until they discovered the unexpected treasure they held: a rich, moisturizing and conditioning butter with a “growing” value in the global market.

Farmers began selling the seeds and in 2006, many converted to certified organic farming to earn even more. In 2014, Aveda funded the purchase of a seed dryer through the Global Greengrants Fund to help the association produce their own butter—and earn four times more than they did from selling the seeds.

The association’s sales director, Manuel do Carmo, says, “With this process, we also begin to earn more…and invest more in the education of our children, have better housing and transportation.”

The association plans to also reinvest some profits in seedlings and reforesting.
Yet, they believe their greatest investment extends to all of Brazil, to the thousands of visitors who come to learn their model of success, and to younger generations who will return to Tomé Açu and build upon the legacy they started.




Brazilian Andiroba Oil

Take a journey through the Amazon rainforest and discover how andiroba oil helps support a sustainable way of life in Marajó Island, Brazil.