Some of the best ingredients for transforming skin are found in the plant world. Whether you want to fade fine lines, reduce hyperpigmentation, soothe acne breakouts or hydrate parched skin – there’s a plant for that.
Here are the best natural skincare ingredients to look out for.
Vitamin C is one of the most beneficial antioxidants to use on your skin. It helps to even out hyperpigmentation, fade dark acne scarring, and it even helps to boost the power of your SPF.
Since vitamin C is water-soluble, it’s best used in water-free formulas like facial oils or suspended in safe silicones. If you want to avoid silicones, look for plant and fruit extracts with high levels of vitamin C naturally occurring in them. Raspberry extract, fig extract and melon extract all contain naturally high levels of vitamin C, as well as other plant antioxidants like vitamin E and A.
Aloe vera juice is an excellent hydrator, and is packed full of plant nutrients to help regenerate the skin. As well as being over 95% water, aloe vera juice contains plant enzymes and sterols to nourish the skin. Its soothing properties can also be particularly helpful for acne, irritation and inflamed dry skin.
With aloe vera powder, there are even more benefits. Aloe vera powder is made by drying the leaves and gel of the aloe vera plant and then processing it into a fine, dry powder. This makes it easy to add to water-free formulations, such as oil-based products. The concentration of active plant ingredients can also be increased, to make the end product more potent.
Typically derived from hemp plants (although CBD can also be extracted from high THC cannabis plants), cannabidiol has huge potential for treating a wide range of skin conditions.
While studies on humans are still in early stages, some preliminary research on CBD and cannabinoid receptors in the skin show that CBD could help relieve inflammatory skin conditions, like acne and dermatitis. Some research also shows that high levels of antioxidants in CBD oil could help to reduce hyperpigmentation and skin ageing, by helping to fight off harmful free radicals.
One study of CBD on human sebocytes (the cells in our skin that produce sebum) showed that CBD could help to reduce the production of excess sebum in the skin, to potentially reduce the severity of acne break-outs.
Bakuchiol is a relatively new ingredient in western skincare, but it’s a staple in Chinese ayurvedic medicine. Bakuchiol is found in a few different plants, but it’s most commonly derived from the Babchi plant that is native to India and Sri Lanka.
Think of Bakuchiol as nature’s retinol. It can improve the signs of photodamage in the skin, to reduce hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. While retinoids and retinols are amazing products for reducing fine lines and calming acne, they can be quite volatile – and are notorious for their potential to cause irritation.
Bakuchiol is a natural alternative to retinol that comes with all the same benefits, just without the risk of irritation, dryness and peeling. As well as that, it’s totally safe for pregnant people to use – unlike retinoids and retinol.
Honey is one of the most beneficial natural skin ingredients and has been used in cosmetics since ancient Egyptian times. That’s because it has a wealth of benefits for all skin types, from dry and dehydrated to oily and blemish-prone.
Honey is primarily known for its ability to condition the skin, leaving it soft, supple and smooth. That’s why it’s an excellent addition to moisturisers and leave-on face masks.
You might have heard that when stored properly honey never goes off. That’s because it’s slightly acidic (just like your skin) and is full of enzymes to fight bacteria. These naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial properties make honey particularly beneficial for acne-prone skin, for it’s clarifying effects.