Beauty Editor Lisa Tristram samples seven of the latest cutting-edge ingredients in natural skincare.
Already regarded as a nutritional rock star, offering an incredible array of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, kale also acts as a detoxifying skin tonic. Sure, you're familiar with kale salads and kale chips, but kale's rich nutrient profile – it's chockful of vitamins A, C, K and B6, contains good quantities of iron and calcium in a highly bioavailable form, and also provides a massive three grams of protein per cup – makes it a great topical treatment for encouraging normal skin cell reproduction; plus, its high potassium content means it's excellent for rehydrating dry skin as well as generally acting as a cleanser and detoxifier.
Try it: Sukin Super Greens Detoxifying Clay Masque ($15.95, www.sukinorganics.com)
Although this Amazonian superfood didn't hit its stride in the West until the late 1990s, today it's a rare health haunt that doesn't boast an acai bowl on its menu. This Brazilian native is also a boon to skincare, thanks to its rich antioxidant content, which is significantly greater than pomegranates, cranberries, blueberries, and even rosehips. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has shown that acai has the highest oxygen-scavenging activity of any food. A powerful anti-inflammatory, when it's applied to the skin it has a noticeable effect in reducing redness and irritation, and minimising fine lines and wrinkles.
Try it: Botani Acai Berry Active Serum ($44.95, www.botani.com.au)
For centuries, the women of the Quechua-Shuar tribe in the Amazon have travelled deep into the rainforest to gather the rahua (pronounced ra-wa) nut, which yields a highly nutritive oil. Unlike most nut oils which are thick and sticky, rahua's fine molecular structure enables it to readily penetrate hair and skin, resulting in a strengthening regenerating, moisturising effect.
Try it: Rahua Finishing treatment ($55.95, www.beautifulbecause.com.au)
“Oh, the flame trees could blind the weary driver/And there's nothing else could set fire to this town ...” Cold Chisel's classic sure earned the flame tree a place in our musical lore – but who knew that one day an extract from this plant would be found to contain bioactive forms of catechins which are now being researched as skin cancer preventives with astounding results? Not only are they being shown to be 100 times more potent as an antioxidant than vitamin C alone, but they also reduce the activity of cancer-producing cells in the skin.
Try it: Mukti Hydrating Moisturiser ($54.95, www.muktiorganics.com)
Tubs of chia pudding are the latest craze, and with good reason: the seeds' mucilaginous properties are a boon for digestion. But the chia story doesn't end there. It turns out these mighty little seeds are not only a super-healthy food, but the silky, lightweight oil they produce is also ideal for skincare, providing the perfect balance of essential fatty acids, anti-inflammatory support, hydration, and nourishment.
Try it: Goodness Everyday Cream Cleanser or Pure Chia Seed Oil ($16.95, www.goodnessproducts.com)
These pretty fruits grow naturally in the cooler climes of the northern hemisphere,and they look a little like fluffy red clouds, hence the origin of their name. Their high vitamin C content has made them a traditional favourite filling for pies and tarts in Sweden and Norway, and there is a legend that they convey long life on the person who eats them, so perhaps it's no surprise they are now also being touted as an anti-ageing skincare ingredient, especially as they contain high concentrations of omega-3 and -5 fatty acids, which help to restore dry, dehydrated skin.
Try it: Madara Superseed Radian Energy Oil ($75.00, www.beautifulbecause.com.au)
Any nutritionist worth their salt will tell you that eating berries of any kind is beneficial to your skin as well as to your general health, because they contain so many of the nutrients needed for skin regeneration, as well as natural acids that gently prompt skin cell turnover. Boysenberries are particularly high in vitamins C and E, two undeniable skin saviours when it comes to warding off damage due to environmental toxins. And, like other red-coloured berries – cranberries, raspberries, strawberries – they are naturally rich in anthocyanins which are fantastic free radical scavengers.
Try it: Antipodes Worship Superfruit Serum ($45.90, www.healyourself.com.au)
Lisa Tristram is a natural skincare expert, aromatherapist, organic educator, and mind-body wellness teacher. www.sproutsolutions.com.au