The Ultimate Guide To Beauty Ingredients

We rely on beauty products and their ingredients to repair, correct and maintain our skin, body and hair. But do you know what each ingredient does? From chocolate to watermelon, click through the ultimate guide to beauty ingredients.  


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Acai

The Antioxidant Powerhouse

Known as one of nature’s finest free-radical fighters, this superfood combines antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids and omega fatty acids to reverse signs of aging. 

Try this: FRESH Sugar Acai Age-Delay Body Cream, $65 

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Agar

The Nail Strengthener

The product of several species of seaweed, agar is a gelatinous substance that’s high in fiber, calcium and iron. Its proclivity for expansion works both as an appetite suppressant and a skin and nail strengthener.

Try this: Japanese Agarwood Body Lotion, $16 

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Agave Plant Color

The Natural Sweetener

A natural alternative to refined and artificial sweeteners, this honey-like ingredient is a good choice for sweetening foods and drinks due to its low glycemic index value.

Try this: AGAVE Healing Oil Treatment, $24

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Almond Milk

The Milk Alternative

A tasty alternative to milk, almond milk is increasing in popularity. With benefits like aiding in reducing blood pressure and providing skin with a radiant glow, who wouldn’t give this healthy drink a try? 

TTry this: Philosophy Almonds And Cream, $20

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Aloe Vera

The Skin-Soothing Savior

Straight from the leaf, aloe vera has been a main go-to for healing burns caused by radiation damage. It also helps soothe skin conditions such as psoriasis and sunburn, and may reduce constipation if taken orally.

Try this: Ole Henriksen Aloe Vera Deep Cleanser, $22

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Alphahdroxy Acids (AHAS)

The Skin Softener

Found in sugar cane, sour milk and certain fruits, these natural acids are used to treat dry skin while promoting firmness by thickening the deeper layers of skin.

Try this: philosophy Renewed Hope in A Jar, $47

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Apple

A Bushel of Beauty

Eating one a day can keep the doctor away, but adding this crisp ingredient to your daily diet can fend off signs of aging. Rich in vitamins A, B, C and K, plus antioxidants, apples are great foods to consume to help promote skin rejuvenation.

Try this: Green Apple Peel Full Strength, $45

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Argan Oil

The Skin-Nourishing Essential

This multitasking oil features powerful vitamins and nutrients that work to protect and nourish skin, hair and nails while reversing environmental damage and preventing fine lines and wrinkles.

Try this: Josie Maran 100 percent Pure Argan Oil, $48

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Avobenzone

The Sun Shielder

This common ingredient in chemical- based sunscreens helps protect skin from the sun’s full spectrum of UVA rays, which can damage skin and lead to signs of aging. 

Try this: Solbar AVO SPF 35, $15

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Avocado Oil

The Skin Soother

Chock-full of vitamin E, protein and potassium, avocado oil (when applied topically) soothes skin and heals wounds, and may also help lower cholesterol when ingested.

Try this: Giovanni Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Conditioner, $9

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Azelaic Acid

The Skin Soother

Used mainly to treat hyperpigmentation, acne and inflammation, this natural antibacterial also helps those with sensitive skin and rosacea since it helps soothe irritated skin. 

Try this: philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel, $70

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Basil

Little Lead, Big Benefits

Packed with minerals and vitamins K and A, basil is known for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Plus, it helps fight off free radicals, which are known to cause skin aging.

Try this: Lime Citron Basil Body Wash, $8 

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Blueberry

The Anti-Aging Superfruit Packed with antioxidants and vitamins, this tiny fruit contains anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with vitamin C to help prevent premature signs of aging. Studies also Studies also show blueberries can help banish belly fat.

Try this: Drunk Elephant Pekee Bar, $28

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Bone Broth

Drink to Good Health

Organic bone broth is high in minerals and nutrients such as glucosamine, magnesium, sulfur and phosphorous, all of which help heal the body from within.

Try this: Recipe to Chicken Bone Broth

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Bread

Feel Fuller for Longer

Diets rich in whole wheat are packed with fiber, which takes longer to digest, making you feel fuller for longer and helping to prevent the urge to snack.

Try this: Different types of healthy bread

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Broccoli

The Radiance Rejuvenator

In addition to strengthening bones and detoxifying the body of free radicals, broccoli helps skin glow from the inside out and restores tissue with vitamins B and E.

Try this: Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser, $58

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Bromelain

The Multitasking Enzyme

Found predominantly in the stems of pineapples, this powerful exfoliator is good for sensitive skin because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Try this: EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser, $22

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Caffeine

The Dark Circle Reducer

When consumed in moderation, caffeine helps increase metabolism by stimulating the nervous system. It can also improve under-eye flaws when used topically thanks to its microcirculatory properties.

Try this: H2O Plus Eye Oasis Instant Hydrating Stick, $25

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Calendula

The Wound Healer

When applied directly to skin, this anti-inflammatory has the power to help encourage the growth of new tissue during the wound-healing process—it also helps to reduce pain and swelling.

Try this: Jurlique Calendula Redness Resue Soothing Moisturising Cream, $46

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Cayenne Pepper

The Fat Burner

This spice not only adds great flavor to foods, but also helps boost metabolism to burn fat. And, some say it can even assist in improving memory.  

Try it in: Mahalo Skin Care Pele Mask, $64

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Chamomile

Soothes + Relaxes Skin

This flower is chock-full of antioxidants and has healing properties, which help soothe irritated skin and fight off breakouts.

Try this: Korres Chamomile Soap, $11

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Charcoal

The Rock of All Trades

Known for its cleansing capabilities (skin, hair, teeth, etc.), beauty experts also tout charcoal’s detoxifying effects. Drinking activated charcoal can help clean out toxins that build up in the stomach and intestines.

Try this: OriginsClear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores, $25

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Chia Seeds

The Mega Moisturizer

This moisturizing super seed is known for softening and protecting skin along with promoting healthy cell membranes due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.

Try this: NUDE Skincare ProGenius Omega Treatment Milk, $58

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Chocolate

The Antioxidant Powerhouse

Packed with antioxidants, flavonoids and flavonols, dark chocolate fights free radicals when eaten and is thought to improve blood flow and circulation.

Try this: Too Faced The Chocolate Bar Eye Palette, $49

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Clove Oil

The Breath Freshener

Derived from the clove plant, this essential oil is often used in aromatherapy and can also help ward off toothaches and bad breath.

Try this: Clinique Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup, $23

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Coconut Oil

The Ultimate Hydrator

Safe to use on the face and body, this anti-aging oil is rich in vitamin E, contains skin-repairing proteins and has the power to soften tough, cracked skin.

Try this: Mizani Coconut Souffle Light Moisturizing Hairdress, $21 

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Coffee

The Quick Pick-Me-Up

In addition to providing an energy boost, coffee, when consumed in moderation, has shown to help protect against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and liver cancer.

Try this: Organix Awakening Mocha Espresso Shampoo, $7

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Coffeeberry

The Beneficial Berry

Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, this ingredient can help protect skin against the free radicals that often cause premature aging.

Try this: Revalskin Intense Recovery Treatment, $130

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Dragon Fruit

The Antioxidant Powerhouse

Surprisingly, this unique-looking fruit contains more antioxidants than acai berries, making it an ideal food to eat to help fight premature aging.  

Try this: Ulta Beauty Smoothie Body Crème, $10.50

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Eggs

The Protein Provider

A great source of protein, eggs are known to raise high density lipoprotein (HDL), which is considered “good” cholesterol. They also have omega-3s, which help lower triglycerides linked to heart disease. 

Try this: SkinFood Egg White Pore Foam, $16

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Essential Oils

The Natural Healer

Used in aromatherapy, as well as medicinal healing practices, essential oils are high in antioxidants and have numerous benefits that include regenerating skin and supporting
the immune system.

Try this: Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil, $53

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Eucalyptus Flower

The Aromatic Healer

Although the dried leaves and oils from eucalyptus trees are mainly used for medicinal purposes, they also help treat acne, calm inflammation and heal wounds.

Try this: belief Eucalyptus Herbal Extract Toner, $28

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Folic Acid

Helps Thinning Hair

A type of B vitamin found in leafy green veggies, red meat, wheat and soybeans, folic acid is a great defender against thinning hair.

try this: Foods That Contain Folic Acid

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French Sea Clay

The Skin Revitalizer

Thanks to its high concentrations of minerals, French sea clay naturally revitalizes cells and stimulates circulation while removing toxins and impurities for stronger skin.

Try this: NUDE Purify Cleansing Mask, $48

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Glycerin

Repairs Dry Skin

This moisturizing humectant works to treat itchy, dry and/or rough skin. Being that it’s skin-identical, it maintains and protects the skin’s outer barrier to prevent dryness or scaling.

Try this: Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation, $40

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Glycolic Acid

The Multitasking Acid

Known to be one of the most effective AHAs, glycolic acid improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating elastin and collagen in the dermis and treats conditions like acne, dry skin, sun damage, psoriasis and more.

Try this: Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, $90

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Goat's Milk

The Ultimate Hydrator

Used for centuries, goat’s milk is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and has nourishing and moisturizing properties.

Try this: Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream, $65

 

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Goji Berry Extract

The Ancient Superfruit

Believed to have helped you live longer, these berries have been eaten in Asia for many generations and they treat conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. This nutritional fruit boosts a bevy of wellness benefits and is said to help you sleep better.

Try this: Smashbox O-PLUMP Intuitive Lip Plumper with Goji-Berry-C Complex, $26

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Gotu Kola

The Herbal Remedy

Commonly used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, when used on the skin, gotu kola promotes wound healing, reduces stretch marks and minimizes the appearance of scarring.

Try this: Givenchy Hydrasparkling Sap Serum, $67

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Grapeseed Oil

Essential Oil All-Star

Despite its name, grapeseed oil isn’t oily at all. It’s a light film that promotes hair growth and strengthening, stands in as a natural substitute for shaving cream, and helps control moisture levels in your skin.

Try this: Aura Cacia Natural Skin Care Oil Harmonizing Grapeseed, $3.99

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Green Tea

The Antioxidant Essential

When applied both topically and taken internally, the high level of antioxidants in green tea defend against the oxidative damage that causes wrinkles, loose skin and discoloration.

Try this: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup, $39

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Guava

The Nutrient-Rich Fruit

With higher levels of vitamin C than your average orange, this tropical fruit, native to Brazil, helps maintain the health of the eyes, skin, teeth and bones.  

Try this: Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Guava, $5

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Honey

The Antibacterial All-Star

Widely regarded for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey has been used throughout history and continues to remain a necessity due to its immunity- boosting powers.

Try this: Marc Jacobs Fragrance Honey Body Lotion, $45

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Hyaluronic Acid

The Anti-Aging Acid

This multitasker, commonly found in root vegetables, can be administered by your doctor as a filler and can be used as a moisturizer. 

Try this: Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint, $55

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Jojoba Oil

The Natural Moisturizer

The moisture-rich oil produced from the seeds of this shrub makes it an ideal ingredient for cleansers, balms and moisturizers. It can also be used on its own to hydrate skin and hair because it mimics the natural oils of the body.

Try this: NexGen Coconut & Jojoba Serum, $30

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Kale

The Hair Strengthener

A superfood that is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods, kale is extremely nutrient-rich and beneficial in maintaining healthy skin and hair.  

Try this: Eminence Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Masque, $70

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Kaolin

The Pore Purifier

Derived from nature, this emollient clay is used in products like masks, peels and cleansers for its soothing and absorbent properties. It’s ideal for cleaning out dirt and impurities from the pores.

Try this: Clarisonic Detoxifying Clay Mask, $27

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Kiwi

The DNA Protector

This age-fighting fruit protects against DNA damage and helps rid the body of harmful toxins. It’s also a great source of vitamin E, which works to safeguard skin from degeneration.  

Try this: Artec Kiwi Color Reflector Smoothing Masque, $69

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Kohlrabi

The Smile Solution

A relative of the turnip, kohlrabi is chock-full of vitamin C, which helps to maintain healthy teeth and gum tissue. It also contains phytochemicals that protect against prostate and colon cancers.

Try this: Kohlrabi Recipes With Martha Stewart

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Lactic Acid

The Fine-Line Fighter

Derived from milk, this alphahydroxy acid (AHA) can improve skin texture, in addition to reducing acne breakouts and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Try this, REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, $55

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Lavender

The Fragrant Relaxer

The flower and oils from this herb boast aromatherapy benefits when inhaled and it is believed to help you sleep better when used before bed.

Try this: WEN Lavender Cleansing Conditioner, $32

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Legumes

The Nutrient-Rich Option

Legumes are low in calories and an excellent source of protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates. Bonus: Eating legumes several times a week can promote bowel regularity and keep blood sugar levels in check.

Try this: Legume Recipes

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Lemon

Skin-Improving Citrus

The juice from this sour fruit has some sweet side effects: It’s full of powerful antioxidants that can aid in healing photoaged skin and also improve overall skin tone and texture.

Try this: Vitabath Lemon Creme Bath Wash, $7.99

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Licorice

The Allergy Remedy

The roots of licorice have hundreds of healing substances to treat baldness, body odor, tooth problems and skin conditions. It’s also an ideal ingredient for those with allergies and/or bronchitis since it’s highly soothing.

Try this: Skin Inc. Licorice Serum RELIEVE, $45

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Macadamia

Go Nuts for Weight Loss

Macadamia nuts can promote weight loss, help burn off fat and curb appetite when consumed in moderation.

Try this: Clif Bar White Chocolate Macadamia , $15 per box

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Micellar Water

The Ultimate Cleanser

Taking its name from micelles, tiny cleansing molecules that float in water, these microscopic agents eliminate dirt, oil and makeup on your skin for a clean, healthy look.

Try this: Cleansing Micellar Water, $7.99

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Moroccan Rhassoul

The Skin + Hair Cleanser

Rich in iron, magnesium and other elements, this natural, mineral-rich clay comes from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and is ideal for absorbing impurities in the skin and hair, removing dead cells, tightening the pores and softening the skin.

Try this: REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash, $27

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Obliphica

The Scalp Soother

Also known as sea buckthorn, obliphica contains a high volume
of omega-3, -6, -7 and -9 fatty acids, along with an alphabet of vitamins, all of which promote healthy skin and hair. Some studies show obliphica aids in hair elasticity and builds up healthy cells on your scalp. 

Try this: Obliphica Professional Seaberry Shampoo, $24

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Okra

The Hair Follicle Fix

Not only in this nutritional powerhouse a digestible source of fiber, folate and vitamins, but it can also give your hair added bounce when applied topically. Boil the okra in water and apply directly to hair for voluminous results.

Try this: Okra Recipes

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Olive Oil

The Moisturizing Multitasker

Packed with antioxidants and vitamins A and E, this hydrating oil restores moisture to the face, body, lips, hands and feet.

Try this: C. Booth Italian Olive Oil Body Butter, $8

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Papaya

The Skin Perfecter

Known as a natural exfoliator, hydrating papaya works to remove dead skin cells, blemishes and dark spots to even out skin tone.

Try this: Dolce & Gabana Dolce, $92

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Peas

The Weight Regulator

Although small in size, peas are packed with antioxidants that aid in weight management and blood sugar regulation.  

Try this:Elizabeth Arden Anti-aging Daily Serum, $162

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Peppermint

The pH Balancer

Packed with vitamins A and C, this ingredient balances the pH levels of skin by decreasing the production of excess oils which often leads to reduced acne.

Try this: Clasisonic Deep Pore Daily Cleanser, $27

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Petrolatum

The Ultimate Hydrator

Commonly referred to as petroleum jelly, this ingredient is used in an array of different beauty products because of the powerful moisturizing effects it has on skin. 

Try this: Vaseline Lip Therapy Original, $2

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Pomegranate

The Pigmentation Preventer

Commonly found in anti-aging and sun-care products, this antioxidant battles hyperpigmentation, dry skin and age spots. It also helps smooth skin by increasing collagen and elastin production.

Try this: Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Primer, $33

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Potassium

The Blemish Banisher

This mineral works to heal dry skin by keeping it moisturized internally while supporting the growth of new skin cells, which, in turn, may also help eliminate blemishes and scars.

Try this: Formula X Erase - AHA Cuticle Cream, $14

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Pumpkin

The Stretch Mark Solution

Rich in essential fatty acids, pumpkin helps fade fine lines and wrinkles in addition to reducing the appearance of stretch marks.

Try this: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, $58

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Quinoa

The Original Superfood

The health benefits of quinoa are extensive: The protein-, fiber- and mineral-rich grain contains antioxidants, is low
on the glycemic index (which means it won’t stimulate hunger when you eat it), and has also been linked to improved metabolism.

Try this: Quinoa Recipes 

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Raspberry Seed Oil

The Natural Sunscreen

Red raspberry seed oil contains a high dose of essential omega fatty acids, which enhance skin’s barrier function and decrease epidermal water loss. It works as a natural moisturizer and sunblock with a UVB SPF of about 30.

Try this: Red Raspberry Seed Oil 100% Pure, $13.95 

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Red Bell Peppers

The Eye Essential

Both low in calories and chock-full of vitamin C, this type of pepper contains enzymes and phytochemicals that help protect the eyes from cataracts and muscular degenerations. 

Try this: Zoya Nail Polish-Pepper, $9

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Resveratrol

The Age Fighter

Resveratrol protects the body against heart disease, certain types of cancers and diabetes and may also be effective in fighting acne. It also has been linked to the reduction of oxidative stress, which prevents the signs of premature aging. 

Try this: philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Ant-Aging Moisturizer, $60

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Rice Bran Oil

The Elasticity Booster

Rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, this ingredient boosts skin’s natural regeneration process to improve elasticity, leaving you with a more youthful appearance.

Try this: Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder, $65

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Rose Hips

The Dark Spot Remover

Chock-full of vitamins and essential fatty acids, rose hips are known to hydrate skin, correct itchiness and remove dark spots while reducing scars. Some even believe this ingredient could be the next coconut oil.

Try this: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster, $48

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Rosemary

The Redness Reducer

Often used as an emollient to hydrate dry skin and refine texture, rosemary also helps calm skin and soothe redness and inflammation thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Try this: L'Occitane Cleansing And Softenting Shower Oil With Almond Oil, $25

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Sage Plant

The Stress Fighter

The essential oil extracted from sage is often blended into massage oils in aromatherapy, as it relieves nervousness, stress, headaches, anxiety and fatigue. It also has antibacterial properties, which help reduce signs of aging such as inflammation.

Try this: Sage and Citrus Candle, $15.99

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Sea Salt

The Healthy Choice

A by-product of ocean water or saltwater lake evaporation, sea salt is not heavily processed and is said to be better than table salt since it has a higher level of trace minerals and elements. 

Try this: Drybar Mai Tai Spritzer Sea Salt Spray, $25

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Sea Buckthorn

The Anti-Aging Superstar

Sea buckthorn features an abundance of vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids that purportedly help slow down the aging process and also treat acne, dry skin, dermatitis and eczema.

Try this: NUDE Skinecare ProGenius Treatment Oil, $78

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Shea Butter

The Skin Healer

Packed with vitamins, this moisturizing ingredient helps nourish both the hair and skin and contains healing properties that help soothe skin allergies, sunburns and dry and/or itchy skin.

Try this: L'Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream Rich in Shea Butter, $44

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Soda

The Not-So-Healthy Habit

Most types of soda are connected to health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and tooth decay when consumed in large quantities on a regular basis. If you must include soda in your diet, choose lighter-colored options versus those that are darker (they can stain your teeth) and limit your intake. 

Try this: OPI Nail Lacquer -You're so Vain-illa, $6

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Soy

The Anti-Aging All-Star

High concentrations of protein and fiber in this ingredient help diminish wrinkles, prevent pigmentation and improve the appearance of aging skin.

Try this: Fresh Soy Face Exfoliant, $42

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Spinach

The Anti-Inflammatory Option

This incredibly healthy green veggie delivers a bevy of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits to promote healthy internal functioning, thanks to its potent vitamins. 

Try this: Spinach and Horsetail Exfoliator, $48

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Spirulina

The Immune Booster

A natural type of algae that comes in powder form, spirulina is full of amino acids (protein), iron, antioxidants and B-vitamins that help give the immune system a boost when it needs it. Mix it into a smoothie and enjoy! 

Try this: SpiruLines Intensive Wrinkle Smoothing Cream, $118 

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Sweet Almond Oil

The Skin Rejuvenator

Rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and protein, this plant-based ingredient softens and soothes chapped and irritated skin, works to reverse sun-damage, lightens dark under-eye circles and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Try this: WEN Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner, $32

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Tea Tree Oil

The Fungal Fighter

Due to its antifungal and antiseptic properties, this ingredient helps subdue the symptoms of acne, fungal infections, cuts, burns and insect bites.

Try this: belif Tea Tree Oil, $26

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Tofu

The Meat Substitute

This gluten-free, low-cal food is an excellent meat substitute for those who favor a plant-based diet. It also promotes healthy-looking hair by delivering key proteins. 

Try this: White Tofu Body Pudding, $19

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Tomatoes

The UV Blocker

Available in all seasons, tomatoes contain a superantioxidant called lycopene that works to protect skin from ultraviolet light and cellular damage. Some say it also helps keep acne at bay. 

Try this: Burt's Bees Garden Tomato Toner, $12

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Vitamin A

The Skin Protector

Used to treat skin conditions like acne and eczema, this ingredient can also heal wounds, reverse sun damage and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It can be found in sweet potatoes.

Try this: Anthony High Performance Vitamin A Facial Treatment, $48

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Vitamin B6

The Blemish Buster

Found in meat, fish and poultry, this beneficial vitamin contains enzymes that help prevent acne and reduce skin inflammation that causes rosacea flare-ups.  

Try this: Urban DecayB6 Vitamin-Infused Complexion Prep Spray, $33

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Vitamin C

Fundamental for an overall healthy body (think bones, teeth, gums and blood), this ingredient protects against free-radical and sun damage, creates collagen and is even thought to help relieve the symptoms of the common cold. It can be found in oranges.

Try this: Ole Henriksen Truth Revealed Vitamin C Super Creme SPF 15, $55

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Vitamin E

The Free-Radical Fighter

This antioxidant-rich ingredient fends off free-radicals, slows down the processes that damage the skin and helps heal and prevent scars. It can be found in sunflower seeds.

Try this: The Body Shop Vitamin E Body Butter, $20

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Walnut

The Free-Radical Fighter

Most varieties of these small, yet heart-healthy snacks contain an abundance of proteins, vitamins and minerals that help maintain the youthfulness and integrity of skin cells.  

Try this: C. BOOTH Walnut Shell Body Scrub & Cleanser, $8

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Watermelon

The Free-Radical Fighter

Low in calories and high in vitamins A and C, watermelon is said to help hydrate skin and fight free radicals with its large amount of lycopene (a potent antioxidant).

Try this: Stila Lip Glaze, $22

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White Tea Leave

Make Time for Tea

White tea leaves are potent antioxidants, defending against sun damage and protecting
skin from free radicals that can accelerate signs of aging.

Try this: White Teas, $18

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White Grapefruit

The Digestion Helper

Tangy and refreshing, this juicy fruit not only tastes good, but also helps promote digestive health and reduce inflammatory conditions such as asthma. 

Try this: Back To Basics White Grapefruit Clarifying Shampoo, $8

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