Remember when acai was billed as “exotic,” and argan oil was a buzzy “new discovery”? Here are six innovative, unique—and most importantly, effective—skin care ingredients that may soon be as familiar in your bathroom cabinet as Vitamin E.
What it is A relative of cacao, the cupuaçu tree is native to the Amazon basin, and is found in the jungles of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and northern Brazil. The pulp of the nut is commonly used in desserts and juices, while a powdered version has started popping up in herbal supplements.
What it does Believed by some to be a superfruit, cupuaçu is high in the theacrine alkaloid, which has anti-inflammatory and healing properties similar to caffeine, but without the jittery side effects. It’s also a powerful hydrator along the lines of cocoa butter, and has a high capacity for absorbing and holding on to water.
Where to find it Certified organic, sustainably-harvested cupuaçu seed butter is the main ingredient in the waterless Me & the Girls skincare line, which aims to restore elasticity and moisture to the skin and soften the appearance of fine lines. The award-winning, roll-on Bar Beleza does triple duty as a non-greasy moisturizer, face primer, and tissue-off cleanser. meandthegirls.com
What it is Found primarily in Asia and South America, about 60 species of plants are classified as “amaranth.” High in protein and essential amino acids, amaranth has been consumed for generations in grain, seed, flour, and leaf/vegetable form, from India and Vietnam to Nigeria and Greece. It’s now a fairly common sight on our natural grocery store shelves, too.
What it does A prized grain of the ancient Incas, amaranth seed extract is a rich source of Vitamins B, D and E, and helps improve skin elasticity, protect against free radicals, and support the renewal of the skin’s protective layers.
Where to find it Using amaranth sourced from India combined with Moroccan argan oil, Dr. Scheller’s highly effective five-product Argan Oil & Amaranth Anti-Wrinkle line harnesses the nourishing and regenerative properties of both ingredients to help diminish fine lines. Try the Intensive Serum and the Beauty Mask. drschellerusa.com
What it is Indigenous to the coasts of Florida and some Caribbean islands, the super-resilient mangrove tree can survive in direct sunlight—even without nourishing soil, with exposed roots and just a little water. Grouped together, mangroves help maintain the delicate ecological balance of these coastal regions.
What it does Red mangrove has potent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-aging properties, and helps protect the skin and promote cellular health.
Where to find it Florida-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Oscar Hevia’s eponymous skin care line features extracts from antioxidant-rich red mangrove seedlings, which are ecologically-grown and sustainably-harvested. We love the silky Repair Serum and Luminous Day Cream, both of which help lighten and brighten.
What it is Once known as the “flower of emperors and kings,” edelweiss is able to withstand the harsh climate and high altitude of the Alps, and can also
self-heal when damaged—making it a perfect regenerating skincare ingredient.
What it does Edelweiss plant stem cells have been clinically proven to reduce wrinkles, increase collagen production, firm skin, protect against the sun, and encourage cellular healing. And since the edelweiss stem cells regenerate themselves, there is no harm done to the plant when the cells are sustainably harvested.
Where to find it Recent clinical tests showed that a 1 percent concentration of edelweiss plant stem cells in an eye cream helped reduce wrinkle depth in the eye contour area by 15 percent, after 20 days of use. Clovertree’s botanical-packed Eye Serum contains a 5 percent concentration of Italian Alps edelweiss—the maximum allowed—making it the most potent on the market. clovertree.com
What it is Also known as bakeapple and knotberry, cloudberry is an orange-colored fruit native to the boreal forest, arctic tundra, and some alpine regions. It can be found in the Nordic and Baltic countries, and in parts of northern Canada, Minnesota, Maine and New Hampshire.
What it does Cloudberry is rich in Vitamin C and benzoic acid (the latter helps it act as a natural preservative.) It’s commonly found in jams, juices, and desserts in Scandinavian countries, but has only recently started popping up in skin care, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties.
Where to find it Created to specifically combat the effects of travel on the skin, Air Repair’s products soothe inflammation caused by climate change, environmental stress, and dehydration. Four of their products—including the popular Complexion Boosting Moisturizer–contain cloudberry seed oil sourced in Iceland to help reduce inflammation and rehydrate. airrepairskincare.com
What it is Orris root is the name used for the roots of three iris plants: Iris Germanica, Iris Florentina, and Iris Pallida. They are native to the eastern Mediterranean, and can now also be found in parts of northern India and North Africa.
What it does Once commonly used in herbal remedies (and is still sparingly used by herbalists to treat headaches, scars, digestion, and kidney issues), it’s best known for its fragrant properties. When dried and turned into a powder, the root imparts a violet-like scent; cultures as far back as the ancient Greeks used it in perfumes, sachets, potpourri, and even in cooking.
Where to find it Based in Brooklyn, NY, the skinnyskinny organic line features an array of excellent dry shampoos that help freshen and scent locks—and impart a stylish texture—without stripping oils and moisture. We love unique fragrance combinations like Rose and Black Pepper, Lavender and Rosemary, and Grapefruit and Cardamom. skinnyskinny.com