Banana Milk Is About to Be Big...and Other Eco-Chic Skin Care Ingredients to Know About Now

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Annie Tevelin, founder of indie brand SkinOwl, says one of the biggest misunderstandings surrounding natural ingredients is that they aren’t “equal to their non-natural counterparts"—a notion she thinks couldn’t be further from the truth. “What's cool about many of the big ingredients coming out right now is that there are plant-derived and bio-identical options, and yes, they’re considered actives, and yes, they work just as well,” she adds. What's next? The experts pinpoint these breakthrough eco-friendly options as ones that offer big-time benefits: 

Veggie-Based Hyaluronic Acid

Hydration is always big, and, in Tevelin’s opinion, it’s probably the next “untapped” frontier for formulators who want to make use of natural options. “Hyaluronic acid can now be derived from radishes. Much like the animal-derived version, it strongly binds to water and fills in wrinkles and fine lines, making it a no-brainer to hunt for the vegan alternative.” 

You May Also Like: 10 Vegan Beauty Products That Are Ethical and Effective

Plant Oils

With regards to breakouts, Tevelin says pure plant oils, such as argan oil and marula oil, can do wonders for acne, as counterintuitive as putting oil on acneic skin might seem. “The days of stripping the skin with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are over—healing and calming the skin is paramount when combatting acne.” Aesthetician Tammy Fender also adds that plant oils as an ingredient in any type of product, not just facial oils, have the ability to “rebalance and soothe” skin.

All-Star Antioxidants + Essential Oils

Tevelin says here are some pretty "amazing" antioxidants coming out at the moment. “Similarly, the use of essential oils taking the place of synthetic fragrances is remarkable. Getting a headache because of your perfume or product’s fragrance will soon be a thing of the past. I'm also seeing a big push for plant and fruit waters in skin care—banana milk and cactus water to name a few. It's very exciting!” Right now, Fender says she's specifically been working a lot with the ingredient of hibiscus, "a wonderful antioxidant that protects skin from free-radical damage, as well as white lily, which encourages cellular turnover and rejuvenation, healing burns and wounds."

Algae

According to Marc Cornell, vice president of innovation at Englewood Lab in Englewood, NJ, when looking for anti-aging options, you should consider algae. “One new type of red macro algae helps maintain the hydration state of the skin all day long and regulates skin’s homeostasis. Another new strain of blue green micro algae is sustainably harvested and purified. This cosmetic active material is loaded with essential fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants that allow it to soothe and calm skin while protecting it from environmental aggressors via antioxidants.”  

Ancient Oils

Nyakio Kamoche Grieco, founder and formulator of beauty line Nyakio, which entered Ulta over the summer, predicts more “throwback” oils getting in on the trend. “I think we’ll see more oils that have stood the test of time for centuries, as witnessed by the beautiful skin of the women who’ve traditionally embraced these natural ingredients in regions of Peru, China, India and Africa.” One example: tamanu oil, which she claims is one of the most efficacious, nutrient-dense oils that works perfectly for many skin types and concerns. “Its versatility is truly extraordinary; it helps with wrinkles, breakouts, irritation, sunburns, dryness, sensitivity, symptoms associated with conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and even diaper rash and cradle cap.” 

Bio-Fermentation

In what’s more of a nod to the environment and not necessarily what is actually in your products, according to Cornell, bio-fermentation is coming on very strong. “This natural biologic manufacturing technique allows customized actives to be made in an eco-friendly way. No more smokestacks belching fire and brimstone; now it’s stainless steel kettles slowly percolating away, generating fewer toxic by-products and providing green phytochemical actives. I also see plant cell culture actives making strides in purity and activity in a similar way. In this technique, a small part of the plant is grown in large culture broths. These broths are purified and characterized to produce anti-aging actives. You don’t need millions of plants to get this started; one plant cell grows into a large source of phytochemical compounds.” 

Bio-Identical Hormones

This is one that is close to Tevelin's heart, as a personal health bout is the main reason she started her company (she believes that synthetic ingredients have the ability to alter hormones). “With all of the plant technology happening in green beauty right now, you no longer have to sacrifice your health to look better. The use of these ‘new’ hormones will soon be necessary to regulate overall health and well-being. While on the surface we are all looking for bright, even, youthful complexions, we have to be interested in sustainability, ingredient transparency and long-term health, too.”

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