Plant-based skincare focuses on natural and organic ingredients that are harvested from plants. It’s often free from harsh chemicals and fragrances, which can damage skin over time.
Plant-derived ingredients are incredibly beneficial for the skin — aloe vera soothes sunburns, rosewater reduces inflammation and moisturizes all skin types, and chamomile treats puffiness and redness around the eyes. These ingredients come from plants that have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Plants are naturally rich in antioxidants, which help to restore and strengthen your skin cells. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals that are important for nourishment and balance. In fact, a single plant can contain dozens of phytonutrients (sometimes called phytochemicals) that offer a wide variety of skin benefits.
When used in skincare, they can hydrate your skin and improve its texture. They can also calm your skin, fight inflammation, decrease signs of aging and reduce redness.
Look for natural beauty products that list the majority of their ingredients as plants. These are the most likely to be pure and will have more of the nutrients your skin needs. Beware of products that only list some of their ingredients as plant-based or vegan, and be sure to read the entire ingredients list for any unfamiliar names. For example, the ingredient glycyrrhiza glabra may sound like an alien language, but it is simply the scientific name for the licorice root.
Essential Fats & Acids
Plant-derived oils are naturally rich in essential fatty acids which work to restore, balance and strengthen your skin cells. These are key to preventing premature aging, calming acne, fighting oiliness, smoothing scars and promoting healthy skin tone.
Plant oils like jojoba and sweet almond contain PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats) which help reduce hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone. These natural oils also support your skin barrier and have antioxidant properties that are helpful in reducing UV damage.
Green tea extract contains catechins, which are powerful antioxidants that protect the skin against free radicals. It also helps reduce puffiness and redness, making it a great ingredient for sensitive skin. Green tea extract can also be used as an emulsifier and thickener for water + oil formulations (creams, lotions).
Plant extracts are rich in a wide range of beneficial skin nutrients including antioxidants, vitamins, essential fatty acids and hydrocolloids. They can help reduce oxidative stress, fight acne, and increase skin elasticity.
Hydrocolloids are polysaccharides or proteins that can thicken or form gels in a solution. They typically have large numbers of hydroxyl groups which increase their affinity for binding water molecules and produce a dispersion intermediate between a true solution and a suspension.
The gelling process is a result of random entanglement of polymer chains and the formation of associations between them known as junction zones. The resulting three dimensional network is characteristic of gels.
The plant gelatin-like ingredient carrageenan is a common skin care hydrocolloid. It is an effective emulsifier and gives products a silky smooth feel. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is great for soothing irritated skin. It also helps to calm acne and unclog pores. It is an important ingredient in our natural astringents and face washes.
With increased interest in health-focused and sustainable products, plant-based skincare has gained popularity. The skin is able to absorb ingredients it comes into contact with, which means that harmful chemicals from conventional skincare can enter the bloodstream and cause harm, while natural plant-based products are gentle on the body.
Plant extracts like green tea contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that are beneficial for the skin. They can help to protect the skin from damage caused by sun exposure, and also prevent inflammation and redness. Other natural plant-based ingredients include the red dye carmine (derived from crushed cochineal beetles) and sodium hyaluronate which is derived from green algae.
Plant-based products are naturally scented with essential oils and other non-toxic ingredients. This helps combat scent immunity (when the brain stops reacting to a specific scent), while adding a soft and natural fragrance that is beneficial for the skin. Some natural perfumes even have a healing effect, such as lavender which is known to soothe the skin. Plant based skincare