From honey to lavender to mulberry silk, the standout substances that make our brands tick.
David Hamsley for BeautySage
Romeo without Juliet? Hall without Oates? Yin sans Yang? Some things we just can’t imagine apart. The same goes for beauty: There’s always one star ingredient that comes to define a brand. Whether they raise the beauty bar with their astounding benefits or provide the base that allows others to do their best work, these ingredients are the cream of their beauty-full crop.
Honey and Beeswax - Beecology
When circumstances led to Amy and David Rzepka taking the helm of a Cleveland bee farm, the couple became fascinated with the little buzzing buggers. This led to the launch of their bee-based natural skin and hair care line. Using primarily honey and beeswax, Beecology is a testament to nature’s healing properties. Honey, loaded with powerful antioxidants that enable your skin to fight free radicals, helps keep wrinkles at bay. Beeswax, on the other hand, acts as an emollient and a humectant, drawing moisture to the skin and sealing it in. It’s also the bee’s knees when it comes to chapped lips.
Organic Aloe - Bayberry Naturals
Turns out aloe is not just for slathering on sunburned skin. Packed with minerals, vitamins, enzymes and amino acids, the aloe plant’s ability to reduce inflammation makes it a powerful weapon in that ongoing fight against acne and wrinkles. It also delivers oxygen to your skin cells, which increases the strength of the surrounding tissue. Used for centuries as a natural way to heal, Bayberry Naturals founder Nancy Liddell is also a fan of its water-like consistency, which makes it a great natural base for the creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos and conditioners in her line.
Shea Terra Organics - Argan Oil
This exotic oil hails all the way from Morocco, where it has been the Berber’s (an indigenous group of North Africa) beauty secret for thousands of years. High in vitamins A, E and squalene, argan oil is a liquid asset you need in your anti-aging arsenal. It not only repairs skin by helping to decrease wrinkles and sagging (no small feat!), but it also delivers hours of protection from moisture loss. Argan oil's fame is on the rise, as are preparers that take shortcuts, skimping on the tedious, traditional process of preparing the oil to extract its full skincare benefits. Shea Terra founder Tammie Umbel chose a cooperative of women still producing undiluted oil by hand. You can smell the authentic nutty aroma of the oil in its 100% unaltered form—and that scent means your skin is reaping the full benefits.
Mineral Pigments - Revolution Organics
Though many of us are particular with the skincare we put on our faces, we’re pretty clueless about the cosmetics we smear on top. Mineral pigments deliver smooth, seamless coverage sans synthetic dyes, artificial fragrances or petro-chemicals that found in many makeup products. Made from the minerals and inorganic pigments that exist in nature (like mica, titanium dioxide, zinc and iron oxides), they are then finely milled and purified before being coated with other pigments to create different colors and effects. Revolution Organics Freedom Glow Beauty Balms and Freedom Glosses get their gorgeous color from mineral pigments and organic plant extracts, which provide a fresh, dewy finish that allows your skin to breathe.
100% Mulberry Silk - Branché Beauty Sleep
For thousands of years, the Chinese have touted the benefits of sleeping on silk (it's the nearest thing to human skin, they say). They found that by raising silkworms on mulberry leaves, they could produce a cultivated silk with a rounder, smoother fiber—a.k.a. the highest quality silk you can purchase. After snoozing on her mulberry silk pillow, Branché Beauty Sleep founder Donna Gaynor Hinds noticed she awoke refreshed and balanced—but that wasn’t all: Her hair and skin looked awesome. Realizing that all silk is not created equal, she set out to create the ultimate quality silk pillow. With premium long silk fibers, state-of-the-art weaving and a lofty 22 momme weight, Branché pillows create the best glide for hair and delicate facial skin. What does that mean for you? A pillow that remains smooth wash after wash, minimizes morning facial creases, creates shiny and lustrous strands and helps your blowout last through the night.
Jojoba Oil and Lavender - 21 Drops
Turns out you and jojoba oil have more in common than you thought. The seed oil is structurally and chemically very similar to human sebum—both are largely composed of wax mono esters. Since it so closely resembles our skin's natural juices, jojoba oil easily penetrates the skin, which is why founder Cary Caster chose it as a base for her formulas: It safely carries the essential oils in her blends through the skin's barrier. The brand uses lavender oil most frequently. Proven to help heal the nervous system (due to its high content of esters and monoterpenols), this soothing oil gets to the root of many ailments in our stress-crazed society.