Ever wondered which plant-based extracts are worth scoping out? Holistic skin therapist Jess Arnaudin has the answers…
These are the tried-and-true ingredients I love and depend on the most – in the treatment room and for my own skin, too. Thanks to our global marketplace, we now have access to thousands of natural raw materials, such as plant oils, extracts, powdered minerals, marine ingredients, essential oils and vitamins. It’s empowering to have the know-how to create your own customised skincare, based on what your complexion needs the most.
Both of these act as a gentle facial scrub to remove impurities and microtoxins from the pores. Rice bran is a by-product of rice milling and contains beneficial antioxidants. My skin looks bright and firm after using both of these velvety-soft exfoliating ingredients. I love that they are customisable (you can add a small scoop to any cleanser or mask), extremely gentle even for the most reactive skin, and effectively decongest skin without causing any unnecessary inflammation.
Carrot seed oil is rich in antioxidants to offset free radical skin damage caused by pollution and environmental aggressors. It’s also a natural source of SPF to protect your skin from UV damage, and is very high in betacarotene, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Enzymes found in fruits like papaya, pineapple, tart cherries and mango are both anti-inflammatory and exfoliating. They break down the keratinised bonds between skin cells – a gentle chemical process that removes excess cell build-up to reveal healthy, fresh skin. Fruit enzymes are often activated by heat, so use an enzyme mask in a steamy shower or with a warm washcloth used as a compress. Enzymes also boost the absorption of all other skincare products.
An important tool in any DIY skincare enthusiast’s beauty pantry, glycerine is soluble in water and provides gentle cleansing properties without stripping skin of moisture. Distilled from vegetable oils, this clear, odourless ingredient behaves like a powerful humectant, drawing moisture from the air to the skin’s surface like a magnet. Always check the label to ensure it’s not blended with synthetic ingredients.
There’s something transformative about the soft, subtle scent of floral hydrosols. They boost moisture in the skin and are a simple way to squeeze self-care into a busy day. These mists contain antioxidants and micronutrients to cool and reduce redness of the skin, and most importantly, prepare it to fully absorb the benefits from any oils, balms and creams.
Jojoba oil is a go-to multipurpose oil because it closely mimics your skin’s own natural sebum production. Even though it’s referred to as an oil, it’s actually more of a liquid wax (it’s extracted from a desert shrub), and is absorbed quickly without feeling greasy or clogging skin.
Densely packed with phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that seal in hydration, this oil leaves skin feeling plump, radiant and buttery-soft. All skin types, even breakout-prone, can use it generously: it contains zinc, which can soothe irritation and keep skin looking clear and healthy.
Consider this your daytime, summertime, anytime oil of choice. Specifically for sunexposed skin, red raspberry seed oil provides the first layer of UV protection (in addition to wearing a clean mineral SPF), and is an excellent anti-inflammatory due to its high levels of linoleic acid, an essential building block for strengthening the skin’s barrier.
This detoxifies and draws impurities from the pores while also soothing inflammation and calming hyperreactive skin. I often use it with clients after a peel or steam. It soothes and nourishes like magic. Keep a mask damp by using a wet cloth as a facial compress. You never want the clay to fully dry and crack on the skin.
Extracted from Plant-Based Beauty: The Essential Guide to Detoxing Your Beauty Routine by Jess Arnaudin (Aster, £12.99).
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