Botanical Extracts are key ingredients used to give a product its personality if you like. Certain extracts address certain things and are used for different reasons in combination with other ingredients. Skin care formulas often contain a range of extracts which can originate from plants, flowers, roots, steams, barks, fruits, etc.
If the correct processing method is used, a pure extract can capture the true essence of that plant providing a concentrated substance to be used in a cosmetic formula.
In order for a skin care product to be the most effective and bring results, it must contain active ingredients that are in a form which are synergistic to the skin’s chemistry. For example; it may be beneficial to rub pineapple on your skin, however, it would be even more effective to extract the active component of the pineapple (bromelain) and use that in a cosmetic formula as it can directly interact with the skin bringing faster and better results vs the whole fruit.
Extracts can only be beneficial if the correct processing method is used so that the raw ingredient source does not get denatured in anyway. Gentle and advanced methods using natural solvents such as vegetable glycerine ensure that the end result is a concentrated extract that maintains the true integrity of the original plant source. One other key aspect to consider is the sourcing. It is critical that the herbs, plants etc. used are of the finest quality and do not grow in an environment where any harsh pesticides or chemicals are used.
Extracts I use regularly are:
Cucumber Extract is a popular astringent, with renowned skin-tightening effects. It also is a wonderful soother and moisturiser.
Green Tea Extract is a rich source of anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Green Tea Extract is said to help repair the effects of ageing and environmental factors. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps rejuvenate the skin, prevent damage from the sun and promote elasticity.
Hydrolysed Oat is a naturally derived, soluble form of Hydrolysed Whole Oats; it contains both oligosaccharides and protein. This ingredient is used to improve the feel properties of creams and lotions and imparts a soft, cushiony feel on the skin; giving it a near-velvet smoothness after drying. Studies have shown that Hydrolysed Oats retain significantly more moisture no matter what the humidity, and gain up to 50% more moisture at relative low humidity when extra moisture is most needed.
Nettle Leaf Extract is a nourishing, anti-inflammatory agent that soothes irritation, reduces itchiness and controls oiliness. When used in hair care products, Nettle Extract reduces scalp irritation, nourishes the scalp and hair follicles, stimulates circulation and promotes healthy hair growth.
Papaya Extract is renowned for its ability to refresh, rejuvenate and even repair tired and damaged skin. It also moisturises and has been shown to provide an antibacterial effect at the same time.
Rooibos Extract has a history of being used to help skin problems such as eczema or acne. Rooibos Extract has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and free radical scavenging properties based partly on its unique flavonoid composition including Aspalathin. Rooibos shows anti-allergenic and anti-microbial effects and protects the skin against oxidative stress (anti-ageing effect). It is also known to prevent eczema, relieve diaper rash and reduce swelling and inflammation in muscles and joints.