This season’s newest crop of hot natural ingredients—with several trendy foods in the mix—serves up the secret to beautiful skin.
At first glance kale, nuts, algae, kombucha, chia, ginseng and charcoal don’t seem to have much in common. But they’re actually all the trendiest blockbuster ingredients in skincare right now. “Several of these ingredients are now popular foods for health-conscious consumers,” says Jennifer Schweitzer, director of product development at Lather. “With many healthy food ingredients also delivering topical skincare benefits, natural beauty brands are often inspired by trends in the health-food industry.” Here’s why you should be stocking up on these natural beautifiers.
This tea is known for its health perks, but there’s much more to this type of yeast. “Kombucha is not only a great detoxifying tea, but when applied topically in skincare it can leave a luminous glow,” says Kimberly Sampson, training director for emerginC. “The natural probiotics, amino acids and enzymes contained in kombucha help improve skin moisture and elasticity—perfect for those looking for anti-aging ingredients!”
TRY Scientific Organics Citrus Kombucha Body Wash, emerginc.com; Juara Sweet Black Tea and Rice Facial Moisturizer, dermstore.com
Ch-ch-ch-chia! Formerly famous for its beloved houseplant status, these little miracle-worker seeds are now an esteemed superfood that work wonders for your skin, too. “Chia seeds are one of the highest vegetable sources of omega-3 alpha linolenic acid,” says Schweitzer. “This fatty acid is well known for its soothing, calming properties, helping to ease irritation. Alpha linolenic acid helps maintain healthy moisture levels in skin, keeping it plump, soft and smooth.”
TRY Naturopathica Lemon Verbena Omega-3 Hand Cream, naturopathica.com; LATHER Chia Seed & Passion Fruit Facial Oil, lather.com; One Love Organics Discover Skin Savior, oneloveorganics.com
First it heated up your grill—now it’s heating up beauty counters. Quite the multitasker, charcoal absorbs excess oils, impurities and toxins. It also works as a natural antibacterial to purify, detoxify and exfoliate, refining the appearance of pores.
TRY Shamanuti Activated Charcoal Cleanser, shamanuti.com; Éminence Organic Skincare Balancing Masque Duo Charcoal T-Zone Purifier and Pomelo Cheek Treatment, eminenceorganics.com; Dew Puff Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge, dewpuff.com; One Love Organics’ The Cleansing Sponge Bamboo Charcoal Heart Shape, oneloveorganics.com
Now ubiquitous at farmers’ markets, cutting-edge restaurants and your local salad bar, kale is becoming a must-have for your skin. Realizing that its benefits go beyond your belly, the beauty world is using kale’s powerful compounds to create products that deliver results, thanks to lutein, which is converted to vitamin A, giving a collagen boost that helps ward off wrinkles, evens tone and keeps skin smooth and luminous.
TRY Alba Botanica Good & Healthy Spots Be Gone Corrector, albabotanica.com; Éminence Citrus and Kale Potent C plus E Serum, eminenceorganics.com
There’s a reason why ginseng has been in the beauty rotation for generations. “Panax ginseng has been used for years in traditional eastern medicine as a topical treatment to help soothe and heal skin,” says Schweitzer. “It also has been shown to possess stimulating, energy-boosting, regenerative properties, making it a useful ingredient to help tone, smooth, brighten and renew skin.”
TRY Lilikoi Living Ginseng Genie Peptide Priming Serum, ahalife.com; DeVita Mini-Cappuccino-Cocoa Mud Masque, devitaskincare.com; LATHER Sea Kelp & Ginseng All-Over Mask, lather.com
Ever wonder what makes jojoba Mother Nature’s anti-ager? “It is a golden liquid wax almost identical to the wax already in young skin,” explains Vicki Engsall, cofounder of The Jojoba Company.
“As we age, the natural wax in our skin begins to diminish. Jojoba is the only known natural plant source of this liquid wax so it can put back what age takes away, and can penetrate much deeper into the skin. Therefore, it can really make a difference by deeply hydrating and fighting wrinkles from deep down in the skin.” Plus, it’s rich in vitamins A, D and E antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which deliver a beautiful glow.
TRY The Jojoba Company Absolute Serum, thejojobacompany.com; ESPA Optimal Skin ProCleanser, us.espaskincare.com; Kerstin Florian Face Serum SPF 25, kerstinflorianusa.com
Now you know why mermaids always have beautiful skin: their constant exposure to algae, the ocean’s best beauty booster. The natural hydrator helps skin retain water and improves its barrier function. “Seaweed is used for its moisturizing, humectant (water-binding), antioxidant, purifying and soothing properties,” explains Schweitzer. “Seaweed is rich in minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids and vitamins A, B, C and E. In masks and wraps, seaweed is typically used to draw out waste products from the skin.”
TRY Jurlique Purely Age-Defying with Active-Firm Complex Firming and Tightening Serum, jurlique.com; Sea Flora Seaweed Body Gel, sea-flora.com; OSEA Ocean Cleansing Mudd,
oseamalibu.com; Voya Angelicus Serratus Body Oil, voya.ie
The benefits are nearly as varied as nuts themselves. “Nut oils nourish and protect skin with fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants,” Schweitzer says. “Almond oil has fast-absorbing, moisturizing properties. It’s especially rich in skin-protecting antioxidant vitamin E, and oleic acid, an omega fatty acid known for its protective and calming properties,” she continues. “Macadamia nut oil is a richer oil and is often used in heavier creams and contains palmitoleic acid, a fatty acid present in skin that diminishes as we age.”
TRY LATHER Almond, Milk & Honey Body Butter, lather.com; Acure Organics Marula Oil, acureorganics.com; Jindilli Brightening Eye Cream (with macadamia oil), jindilli.com; SheaMoisture Olive & Marula Baby Head to Toe Wash & Shampoo, target.com
Have any natural ingredients you’ve tried on your skin? Any favorites from our list? Please share in the comments below.