Harness the Power of the Plant
Used for centuries, plant botanics offer a range of hydration and moisturising benefits for our skin
Article by Lauren Naylor
If your January consisted of Veganuary, clean eating, mindfulness apps and a huge dose of yoga – you’re not alone. There’s something about a new year that kicks us all up the proverbial to take stock and work on those things that by the end of last year had quite frankly slipped. All of these factors can make us feel a lot more zen on the inside, but what about the outside?
About now most beauty editors will be penning a feature about how skin will look sallow and lacklustre and all the products you need to give a helping hand and huge injection of radiance and a little ‘new year, new you.’ This year’s beauty trends focus heavily around Veganism, natural antioxidants to protect skin again pollutants, and nodding to nature for more natural beauty products. It’s only now that we are unleashing the power of our plants and their proven beauty benefits to results drive skincare.
Plants have been used for centuries, dating back 12,000 years, as they are considered to be highly effective at mimicking the skins own stem cells with no side effects. Men and women in Egypt used scented oils and ointments to clean and soften their skin, mask body odour and protect against the intense Egyptian heat and dry winds.
Thyme, rose, lavender, rosemary, marjoram and many other plants all provided the basic ingredients to their cosmetics. Cleopatra famously slathered her skin with black cumin seed oil while Greek goddesses swore by mulberries. During the Crusades, ingredients used in the cosmetics became a valuable commodity such as flowers, powders, oils, fruit seeds etc and were considered as currency because they were so valuable. Today, using plants in cosmetics proves a great opportunity for farmers to help towards creating skincare products using as many natural ingredients as possible.
So why not harness the power of plants powered with the know-how of botanicals in your skincare.
Botanics the Hydration Burst Hydrating Day Cream, £6.74, 50ml, Boots nationwide
A handbag hero, this lightweight non-greasy formula is infused with Clary Sage extract which is rich in nutrients and helps moisturise dehydrated skin instantly. Clary sage has self-activating ability to store water in dry conditions and helps to hydrate and soothe even sensitive skin. The recently revamped Boots Botanics range has had the backing of the world’s leading plant experts at Royal Botanical Gardens Kew since 2000 to give simple ingredient led natural skincare who help identify the best plant extracts available and to ensure their sustainability.
Swisscode Pure Hyaluron £90, https://pureswissboutique.com/
Everyone needs a serum in their routine, why..? Serum is the skincare product that delivers a high concentration of active ingredients directly into the skin. Serum is made up of smaller molecules that can penetrate deep into the skin; moisturisers create a barrier to lock in hydration, while serums retain moisture at a deeper level and are the ideal product for targeting skin care woes such as fine lines.
The Swisscode range consists of seven pure concentrates with the most exceptional cosmetic ingredients that contain the highest possible concentration of hydrogels and oleo gels. They’re also recommended by doctors and therapists to enhance the outcome and healing of aesthetic treatments.
My personal favourite, the Hyaluron concentrate, features botanical hyaluronic acid which is an excellent water-binding molecule and helps assist the skin with hydration levels by forming structures capable of binding up to 90 per cent water. The serum protects the skin and helps plump up fine lines; in the course of two hours an increase in moisture of 20 per cent was achieved – and this serum also helps facilitate the action of Vitamin C – a radiance boosting ingredient. Use prior to your moisturiser to push deep into the skin.
Bea Skincare Kojic Acid Radiance Bar, £25, bea-skincare.com
You wouldn’t necessarily link a humble soap to skincare but this is a beauty bar with a difference, and certainly packs a punch. This medical strength vegan wash bar lightens hyper pigmentation across the entire body and promotes an even skin tone and skin cell renewal packed with 20 per cent kojic acid, plant enzymes, and nourishing argan oil.
It also helps to gently exfoliate damaged, rough and dry skin – especially the knees and elbows.
Suitable for both the face and body and is a great remedy for acne, pigmentation, the mask of pregnancy and sun damage. This bar also works well as a preparatory product in advance of skin treatments.
The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, £5.50, www.cultbeauty.co.uk/
Found naturally in the skin, squalane is a stable saturated hydrocarbon that prevents the ongoing loss of moisture that in turn impairs suppleness as well as giving skin a super charged hydration boost. It softens and smooths even the most dehydrated complexions and works wonderfully under makeup to give you a dewy glow.
Best of all? Drops can be applied to hair to offer heat protection, enhance shine and reduce breakage. This little wonder in clean and clinical packaging was my daily go-to product until I smashed the entire contents on my bathroom floor – dutifully replenished at the weekend. I often use this as a standalone product – I feel nothing else is needed and it leaves my skin feeling supple and hydrated.
Lush 1000 Millihelens Jelly Face Mask, £6.95, Lush stores nationwide
My latest obsession comes in the form of jelly and is from the company Lush, all hail the viridescent antioxidant face mask. This isn’t for everyone – it packs a real punch (it also smells quite strongly, but it’s zesty and refreshing) and I urge you to give it a go if you suffer with problematic skin prone to the odd spot.
The Witch hazel plant plays a big part here with its anti-bacterial and astringent properties and helps tone and soothe the skin and keep nasty breakouts at bay. It also features enzymic fresh apple and toning green tea, Sicilian lemon and Brazilian orange. The benefits of this multi-tasking mask is to cleanse, exfoliate as well as brighten your skin. To use you simply pinch off a small piece and work to a paste between clean, dry hands – let it work its magic for 5-10 minutes and wash off with warm water.