Like a seedling blooming in optimum conditions, plant-based beauty is flourishing. With veganism on the rise, beauty goliaths are taking note – according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), launches of vegan beauty and personal care products have more than doubled in the past five years, up by a whopping 175% from July 2013 to June 2018. And with consumers insisting on greater transparency when it comes to the ethical and environmental impact of their products, we can expect to see continued growth in plant-powered beauty for 2019.
Three verdant ingredients playing major roles in the shift towards ‘clean’ beauty are kale, algae and spinach. Luxe-sounding? Perhaps not. But this trio are nutritionally dense superfoods rich in antioxidants, and the benefits they achieve when applied topically to the skin are just as powerful as those delivered internally.
Algae is a true survivor, an ancient plant that thrives in the toughest conditions. That's because it's self-protecting, producing the compound alguronic acid, which regenerates the algae's own cells. Throw in the powerhouse components and essential minerals integral to algae's many varietals - calcium, magnesium and iron, to name a few - and it's no wonder this unassuming looking organism is such a warrior.
Award-winning biotechnology brand Algenist is on a mission to unlock algae's beauty benefits. The plant is a natural moisturiser and helps skin retain water, bolstering the skin’s barrier as a result, while its alguronic acid compound has a multitude of anti-ageing properties. Genius Ultimate Anti-Ageing Cream – an award-winning bestseller – is their hero product, enriched with microalgae oil derived from the plant, which is clinically proven to keep skin hydrated up to five times longer than untreated skin.
Kale, the fashionable member of the cabbage family, is similarly hardy, and an antioxidant miracle worker rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol and quercetin. Famed for its digestive properties, it contains more iron per ounce than beef and is the poster-plant of the health-conscious crowd, but it offers a heap of benefits when applied topically too. These include increased collagen production, tighter pores, reduced puffiness in the eye area and deep-cleansing - all thanks to kale's plethora of antioxidants, phytonutrients and vitamins.
Superfood skincare brand Youth To The People enrich their 100% vegan beauty products with the most powerful plant-based ingredients. Their gentle but effective Superfood Cleanser Daily Facewash is a prime example, combining kale with other cold-press antioxidants like spinach and green tea to give your skin the ultimate cleanse, removing every last scrap of makeup without drying the complexion.
Spinach is the more delicate party in this superfood trio, but no less potent in its vitamin-rich makeup. Like kale, it’s rich in iron, and is a brilliant source of magnesium, folant, potassium and manganese. Championed by the likes of beauty guru Liz Earle, its vitamin complex (containing vit C, A, and K) does a heap of good stuff inside and out, from improved skin and hair to good bone health.
This all-natural exfoliating and clarifying mask from iLike Organics combines its core ingredient spinach with the plant horsetail (another strengthener of bones, hair, and nails) along with honey, corn germ oil and calming peppermint oil. Sweep a thin layer over the face post-cleansing, using circular motions to gently remove impurities. Leave it to absorb for a couple of minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Writers: Mary-Jane Wiltsher