Botanicals – The Latest Cosmetic Ingredients

botanicalsSynthetic chemicals have a history in the cosmetics world, especially since many modern day cosmetics came about in the early days of chemistry as a science. While petroleum-based chemicals have always been a major foundation for skin cleansing, makeup, and hair care products, botanical ingredients are becoming more popular.

Which Companies Are Using Botanicals?

While in the past, botanicals were used mainly in smaller, organic brands, they are increasingly appearing in the ingredients lists for major brands such as Estee Lauder and L’Oreal. Floral concentrates and plant extracts are more frequently recognized for their healing properties that improve skin health, boost hair volume and help women appear younger.

Of course, it will take a long time to phase out chemical ingredients entirely, considering that chemical suppliers are still giants in the cosmetic manufacturing world. However, suppliers of botanical ingredients are finding that demand is increasing steadily, with more major cosmetic companies seeking out these natural ingredients than ever.

African Botanicals Gaining Steady Ground

The biggest trends recently include shea butter as a moisturizing element in lotions and body creams, which is well known by now. Less well known is kigelia, an African fruit originating in Mozambique, which is known for its healing properties. Many of the biggest botanicals in the American cosmetics industry are African in origin, but going global as more companies pick up these staple ingredients.

Even botanicals that were previously known for food applications are becoming popular cosmetic additions. West African coffee firms the skin and helps users look younger, a function of chlorogenic acids that make up compounds in the coffee. Additionally, kola nut, an additive in cola, reduces cellulite and hides dark circles.

Tea-based additives are also gaining momentum, with South African rooibos offering anti-aging properties to vulnerable skin and even acting as a sunscreen. Hibiscus is a flavorful plant that produces deep red tea when steeped, and its other properties include anti-inflammatory action, making it great for treating red, sensitive skin. Because it is so vibrant, hibiscus is also a popular dye for cosmetics that require a red or purple coloration.

Herbal Skin Remedies from Across the World

Exotic herbal formulas come from everywhere from Nepal to Japan, ranging from essential oils to natural extracts. When offered in the right form, nearly any beneficial botanical can become a trendy cosmetic additive. Even fungi are finding their way into cosmetics, with mushrooms appearing as a major component of many facial creams targeted at softening and anti-aging.

Why Botanicals?

Although chemistry has dominated cosmetics for decades, it looks like natural ingredients are finally catching up and taking their place. These botanical trends are not without evidence, of course. Most herbal ingredients are backed up with a strong record of scientific research and chemical analysis, giving a concrete reason for the way that they work and how they can affect a finished cosmetic formula.

Finally, sustainability seems to be important to many consumers, which makes it important to the manufacturer as well. The biggest cosmetic manufacturers are catering to their customers by phasing in natural ingredients with ethical trading and a mark of sustainability. Those manufacturers and suppliers who have not joined the cause are finding themselves standing alone.

The biggest draw to botanicals for many consumers might be the notion of renewal. Bringing in natural compounds that function just as well as chemical ingredients means that the consumer gets to enjoy cleaner products with a better safety track record and less impact on the environment. For many consumers, this is exactly what they want.