Plants are active agents in new beauty products
Why people only ever hand over the flowers post row is a mystery for another columnist, because my puzzle this week is about skincare. In an increasingly tight market, beauty brands need to keep up to compete. That means being the first to discover the latest ingredients, and one of the biggest trends the industry has seen in recent years has been that of ethnobotany.
Skin scientists plunder far flung regions of the globe, suffering extremes of climate to bag ingredients, such as the Mediterranean pomegranate and the Siberian rhodiola herb.
Ethnobotany is big news and even bigger money and its latest harvest is that of flowers. At this point you’d be forgiven for sarcastically wondering “what next?” but according to Dr Lieve Declercq, the global spokesperson for plant physiology and molecular biology at Origins, a company with a mission to use naturally sourced ingredients, there’s a lot of history behind the rationale.
“Camomile flowers have been used as a remedy for a very long time,” she points out. As have the flowers of the echinacea plant. Origins is all about fin replica watches uk ding out what’s new and fab too, and a recent discovery the brand has made has been that of the power of the magnolia flower.
“Magnolia had been reported in scientific literature already,” Declercq adds, “so this triggered our attention and we thought it could work for us.”
Tests revealed that it is not just a pretty face. In fact, magnolia is a workhorse. “The major benefit is botanicals often perform multiple tasks as opposed to one single func replica watches uk tion, and this is the strongest we have ever used,” she says. Its abilities to control vascular permeability and the fact that it is a potent antioxidant have made it an ideal inclusion in Origins’ new GinZing Refreshing eye cream to brighten and depuff, 31 (see right).
I’m an eye cream sceptic, and if you read product claims closely, you’ll often come across the magical words “reduces the appearance of”. Now, that’s not the same as plain old fashioned reducing, and while the Origins product does contain some camouflaging and brightening ingredients in the form of silica and mica, it’s the magnolia that provides a point of difference.
Let me explain: those dark circles you see under your eyes are caused by blood pooling in the area and you tend to be able to see them so easily because the skin is very thin here.
“Dark circles are caused by blood vessels under the skin,” Declercq confirms. “When you are tired, they become leaky and because the tiny capillaries close to the surface in the eye area are very noticeable, you can really see them.”
This leaky thing is worrying: “The vessels let extra cellular fluid and blood out but we have found that magnolia makes the eye area less prone to this problem in the first place, and it controls that sensitivity and stabilises blood capillaries too,” Declercq explains.
Origins isn’t the only brand to sing the praises of magnolia. Guerlain, a company beloved of celebs such as Dita Von Teese and Elle Macpherson, has just launched Success Age Splendid, replica watches uk which uses magnolia extract as a key ingredient. Richard Hawkins, director of education and development at Guerlain, says that “the extract, derived from the magnolia flower, is able to restore the youthful functioning of mature skin allowing it to take on new life.”
Traditionally, the use of high end botanicals has been the preserve of small, luxury skincare lines: brands such as Darphin, Sisley, Chantecaille, Decleor and Guerlain lead the flower strewn charge. But difference is entering the industry, most noticeably from brands such as Liz Earle, Origins and even Garnier. That’s good news for consumers who don’t want to spend more than 100 on a pot of cream. But rest assured: if luxury lotions are your weakness, then you’ve plenty to choose from.
It’s not just facial skincare that contains the benefits of flowers. Botanical whizz Liz Earle uses piles of plants in her gorgeous, affordable products. Energising Hip and Thigh Gel, 24, uses geranium with toning and balancing properties, and is ideal for areas prone to cellulite. Earle has built a successful business on botanical extracts and says: “I am a big fan of their plumping, soothing and smoothing qualities.”
Garnier recently launched an orchid derived line, Vital Restore, aimed at women who are 50 plus and battling the effects of ageing and the menopause. I’ve got to ask, what’s so great about orchids, then?
“The orchid plant is endowed with a surprisingly long life span. Its secret lies in its capacity to pe replica watches uk rmanently renew its cells,” says the brand’s managing director of their international skincare labs, Anthony Potin.