Following on from last week’s foray into natural beauty ingredients, here is part two of my mini exploration into a selection of ingredients that regularly crop up in beauty formulations.
One of the star skincare ingredients of this year and featuring in many bestselling exfoliators, Alpha Hydroxy Acids are a group of natural and synthetic ingredients that gently exfoliate the top layer of your skin, removing dead skin cells to make way for a softer smoother surface. They are known to reduce the appearance of fine lines, acne scars and dark spots. There are several types of AHAs but you’ll find Glycolic Acid is one of the most popular for skincare (often in synthetic form as it’s easier to stabilize), having benefited from the most research with a proven track record of great results. Natura Siberica’s Gentle Face Peeling is an exfoliator featuring Glycolic Acid which sloughs away dead cells to reveal smooth skin. Natura Siberica Gentle Face Peeling 150ml RRP £5.50
Unless you use only vegan beauty products, chances are you own at least one cosmetic item containing beeswax. This natural ingredient is a popular choice for balm cleansers, lip products and creamy eye makeup and may be listed under its Latin name of Cera Alba on the back of your beauty product’s packaging. It’s the substance created from bees converting nectar into wax that forms the structure of a honeycomb. Beeswax is known for its healing properties including bruises, burns and inflammation. It’s also a very rich emollient so works wonders on dry skin, even creating a waterproof barrier on skin. You’ll find it in Benefit Goof Proof brow pencil which provides a glide-on formula for softly filled brows. Vegan-accredited skincare cannot feature this ingredient as it’s animal-derived, however I think beeswax deserves a starring role in any skincare routine : as Green People explain, investing in products containing beeswax supports beekeepers which is more important than ever with bee populations shrinking every year. Benefit Goof Proof brow pencil RRP £20.50
You will probably have come across this hard working ingredient in quite a few products ranging from . Also known glycerol, it’s a natural component derived from vegetable or animal sources but can also be made synthetically. Glycerin is a humectant, meaning that it attracts moisture onto skin, making it ideal an ideal component in body lotions, moisturisers, face masks and conditioners. Suitable for all skin types, glycerin is moisturising, helps to retain water in the skin, acts as a barrier against external irritants and makes dry skin feel soft and supple. As well as finding it in many skincare products it’s also present in Maybelline Total Temptation mascara, for lashes that feel soft and conditioned. Maybelline Total Temptation mascara RRP £8.99
Apparently the most searched for beauty ingredient last year (source : The Telegraph), vitamin C benefits from numerous skincare benefits, including evening out skin tone, boosting radiance, improving hydration and stimulating collagen production for anti-ageing results. Typically associated to foods such as oranges, kiwis and broccoli, as an antioxidant it naturally helps skin fight against environmental aggressors such as UVA and UVB rays. All of these benefits makes this ingredient highly desirable in skincare, so it’s no surprise that vitamin C features prominently in ThisWorks Perfect Legs Skin Miracle. This multi-award winning tinted serum enhances legs by evening out skintone and fighting imperfections. ThisWorks Perfect Legs Skin Miracle 120ml RRP £37.00
Did you know that avocado, almonds and olive oil are all sources of vitamin E? I certainly didn’t, but with my track record in the kitchen that’s not surprising. When it comes to vitamins in skincare however… well that’s an entirely different matter. Vitamin E is found in certain plant oils like sunflower oil and in the leaves of green vegetables like spinach. It’s both a nutrient and antioxidant, meaning it protects skin from free radicals, protecting it from sun damage and therefore reducing fine lines. Its nourishing properties make it ideal for dry skin and cuticles, and thanks to its skin healing properties it can also reduce the appearance of scars. It also helps to stabilize a product formulation, therefore enhancing its shelf life, which makes it an attractive ingredient not just for customers but also for manufacturers. The lipgloss from New CID Cosmetics features vitamin E and provides hydration to dry lips. New CID Cosmetics i-gloss in Tickled Pink RRP £19.00
If you’re into anti-ageing skincare then you’ve most likely heard of retinol. The final vitamin in this list of beauty ingredients, retinol is actually the technical name for vitamin A. This multi-tasker targets the skin issues associated with ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles, lack of firmness, uneven skin tone and skin surface (source: Paula’s Choice), however it’s also known to treat and prevent cystic acne (the red, painful, deeper spots). Miracle worker it may be, but retinol is quite potent so go easy with this ingredient and test small doses on skin a few times a week, gradually increasing frequency of application if needed. I’ve been using Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser to help clear up some post-pregnancy acne while providing anti-ageing benefits. Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser 200ml RRP £30.00
Do you have any key beauty ingredients that you always look out for in your skincare and cosmetics? Please leave a comment below to let me know.
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