Stepping into a beauty shop, you will see all the skincare products are beautifully arranged on the shelves according to the key ingredient or function. For example, honey for moisturising or Vitamin C for brightening. With non-stop launching of new products and beauty trends emerge on social media, it can be quite difficult to follow and know if they are worth to buy. So, I think it would be great to share some of the top ingredients, from something you would commonly find to something that you would only find in certain brands. In this post, I will be sharing the natural ingredients like herbs or plants and each of their own benefits.
*Move your cursor to the images for the name of the products.
#1 GREEN TEA
I think this is the most popular ingredient among skincare for a very long time and I would say it is also one of the most reliable ingredient to start with. It is a source of Epigallocatechin gallate or catechin, a type of poly-phenol which is known as a powerful antioxidant. Poly-phenol targets and deactivate free radicals in the skin and thus, improves sun-damaged skin. Green tea products, from cleanser to sheet masks, are widely found in many skincare brands. They are also good for soothing the skin by reducing inflammation. I personally would always never leave out this ingredient in my skincare collection and… my pantry 🍵.
#2 LICORICE ROOT EXTRACT
While I was in the UK, I never liked these licorice or liquorice confectioneries even though they are good for the health. It is the beginning of this year, where I learnt licorice extract is beneficial for our skin. In ancient China and Egypt, licorice root extract (Glyccyrhiza glabra) were used as a natural medicine for gastrointestinal problems like ulcers or food poisoning. This is because licorice is rich in glyccyrhizate which is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. It also consists of an active component called glabridin which helps to prevent and treat hyperpigmentation. Hence, licorice extract used in skincare are good for those who want to fade post inflammatory pigmentation, dark spots and to overall, lighten the skin.
Calendula petals and extract are known for its antibacterial and soothing properties. In earlier times, it is used to disinfect wounds and treat skin infections such as athlete’s foot. Today, it is commonly used for treating eczema, acne and rashes due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin A and E that will give youthful looking skin. Many companies have included real calendula petals into their products to make them look more appealing to customers… including me. I have friends, who have combination or oily skin type, using Kiehl’s Calendula cleanser and toner and they love them.
#4 CENTELLA ASIATICA
I have mentioned many times about this wonderful herb in my blog as it is really good for acne. Centella asiatica, a.k.a Gotu Kula or pennywort, is a herb that has been traditionally used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat various skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and lupus. Its wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties are due to its specific active components such as asiatic acid, asiaticoside, madecassoside and madecassic acid which might be found in skincare instead of centella asiatica. It does not only calm troubled skin but also fights ageing by increasing collagen production and diminishing hyperpigmentation. This is why many acne sufferers have been raving about this skin ingredient as it clears acne and gives a healthy looking skin at the same time.
This is another good ingredient for brightening and anti-aging effect. We all know soy is a source of protein as it contains high amount of amino acids which helps building collagen of our skin. Based on a study, an antioxidant called isoflavone derived from soy extract has shown to improve skin elasticity, increase collagen fibres and epithelial thickness in postmenopausal women. In another study, improvement of hyperpigmentation was seen with soy milk in a 12-week trial. This is definitely an ingredient that is worth looking into, especially if you are focusing on anti-aging. Fresh does a soy skincare line which has became many’s favourites today. Their products are available in Sephora.
I have never tried eating artichoke before but I have heard good things about it for our health and skin. I have a friend’s mother who drinks artichoke tea for her blood pressure. The leaf, stem and root are used to make extracts. These extracts have high concentrations of amino acids and antioxidants which help to improve skin texture, boost collagen production and diminish fine lines. A study has shown that a chemical component called cyaropicrin found in artichoke is an effective agent against UV rays and thus protect the skin from photoageing.
#7 SNAIL MUCIN
I know this is neither a herb nor plant but I just have to included this as it has improved my skin over the years. Snail mucin is the slime you see when the snail crawls, helping them to glide smoothly on rough surfaces. The slimy-gel texture fluid contains glycopeptides, elastin, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. So this is why it is well-known for fading acne scars, blemishes, hydration and improving skin texture. I have emptied COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence which contains 96% of snail mucin and it has definitely helped fading my acne scars. I also like Mizon’s Snail Repair Eye Cream due to its lightweight texture. If you would like to know how snail mucin are collected and added into your skincare product, click here for an interesting read.
I drink chamomile tea especially when I need a better sleep at night as it does give a calming effect. It has now gained much attention in the beauty world due to its soothing properties. If you see a product that is blue pigmented, it is most likely because of chamomile or cornflower (centaurea cyanus). Wait… isn’t chamomile white and yellow? Guaiazulene is what gives the calming blue colour. It is a constituent of chamomile oil but not the flower and has been used in formulation of hair and skincare products. Besides the pretty colour, it also fights inflammation and redness, making it perfect for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
#9 BIRCH SAP
I learnt about this ingredient in one of the the COSRX products called Oil Free Ultra Moisturising Lotion with Birch Sap. In the beginning, from its name, I thought it comes from snail or bird’s nest… It is actually extracted from Birch trees and the water can be consumed as a natural herbal remedy for hair, skin and health. As birch sap is rich in amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, it is able help with skin inflammation, hydration and regeneration. In fact, many companies has replaced water with this nutritious ingredient. The product mentioned from COSRX contains 70% of birch sap and it claims to hydrate and calm freshly exfoliated skin. It is also recommended for dehydrated skin in the winter.
I have grown up eating rice and knowing I can get fat by eating too much but our skin loves it as a skincare ingredient. Korean actress, Go Hyun Jung, who has a luminous, youthful skin at the age of 48, shared that she cleanses her face with rice water. The main function of rice in skincare is its brightening effect. This is because it is rich in minerals, Vitamin B and E, antioxidants and fatty acids. Fermented rice is also popular among the beauty world as it is a source of pitera that aids in regeneration of the skin cells, leaving your skin smooth and supple. This is a reliable ingredient for those who wants some skin whitening effect.
Are you now convinced with the benefits you can get from these ingredients? Also, which skin ingredients are new to you? Is there any of your favourite ingredient that is not listed here? Comment down below, I would like to know too 🙂
There are so much more natural ingredients out there like aloe, pomegranate, propolis, ginseng, willow bark, rose etc. that have revealed the secret to flawless beauty. Whether which ingredient is suitable for a specific skin type, it is indeterminable as it also depends on the product’s formulation itself and other ingredients on the list. But after understanding an ingredient more, you will get an idea what it mainly does to your skin. For example, chamomile for soothing, aloe for moisturising, ginseng for rejuvenating and soy for brightening.
Read PART 2 where I share more of the “active” skin identical ingredients like ceramide, peptides and fatty acids…
Hope you find this blog helpful and thank you for reading! 🍓
Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist or a qualified cosmetic chemist. The information I provide in this blog is purely based on my experience and knowledge, therefore, I cannot guarantee the information is entirely correct. I welcome feedback for any misleading information so feel free to contact me or comment below. I hold copyrights use of the images and content of this blog unless credited otherwise.