The best beauty products employ some of nature’s finest ingredients. As I said when I discussed the Natrue certification, I seek out products formulated with ingredients found in nature and minimally processed ingredients because they are safe for me and the planet. Some of my favorites, like Weleda’s Firming Eye Cream, use plant-derived ingredients to great effect. Let’s talk about some of these natural ingredients and what exactly makes them so great.
The açai palm, native to northern South America, is harvested for its fruit, the açai berry. And as you have maybe noticed, açai has been having a moment in recent years. The fruit itself contains tons of antioxidants, which may promote healthy skin. The fruit’s nutrients can be taken internally by eating the berries, or applied externally through the extracted oil in lotion, like in Nature Gate’s Açai Moisturizing Lotion.
Aloe vera is a common succulent plant found in tons of green beauty products. The plant is known for its soothing and healing properties, which is why people apply the inner flesh of the plant to burns. It is naturally rich in vitamin C, amino acids, and enzymes, meaning it promotes good circulation and helps rejuvenate aged tissues, giving your skin (or hair!) a healthy glow.
Chamomile isn’t just for your tea. The daisy-like plant has highly soothing properties and makes a great tea to lull you to sleep. Chamomile oil soothes redness and irritation, and as an anti-inflammatory may also work to alleviate irritated skin.
Coconut oil is another godsend, an ingredient I know and love. I use it to moisturize my hair when it’s dry, and to remove makeup at the end of the day. The oil is extracted from mature coconuts, and has a bevy of practical benefits. Applied to hair, it promotes healthy growth and gives your locks a shine you wouldn’t believe. Coconut oil also fights dandruff and protein loss. It also relieves dry skin and fights wrinkles when used on its own, or in a scrub like Deep Steep’s Lavender Chamomile Sugar Scrub.
Jojoba, a shrub found in deserts in the southernmost parts of the U.S. and Mexico, is grown and harvested for the liquid wax (commonly known as jojoba oil) found in its seeds. The oil makes a great moisturizer and emollient (fancy word for something that softens your skin).
Not only does lavender smell delightful (it is, after all, in the mint family), but the plant and the oils extracted from it work as an astringent to help control oily skin. When used with aloe vera, like with Blum Natural’s Daily Facial Cleanser in Lavender, your skin is left feeling clean and fresh.
Left to right: Dried lavender sachets; Deep Steep Lavender Chamomile Sugar Scrub; lavender essential oil
When you look for these ingredients, remember that they’ll often appear in different forms. Sometimes you’ll find the pure thing — like a jar of unrefined coconut oil or a bouquet of dried lavender — or you’ll encounter them in products in the form of extracts, essential oils, or derivations. Whether pure or incorporated into a product, try them as an alternative to highly processed synthetic ingredients.