The best skincare ingredients to add to your routine ASAP
Who said winter meant dull skin? With the chilliest season now in full swing and hibernation mode switched on, now is the perfect time to breathe life into your beauty cabinet with our guide to the latest breakthrough ingredients and those that still stand the test of time.
Consult our beauty glossary below for a roundup of the must-know ingredients right now in beauty...
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs, deliver a chemical exfoliation rather than a manual physical exfoliation like your typical face scrub. They encompass a class of chemical compounds with the most common being Lactic and Glycolic Acid (more on the latter later!). Simply put, AHAs gently dissolve dead skin cells without the need for harsh buffing, which is ideal for particularly sensitive skin. They also feature humectant properties, meaning they lock in moisture for longer. Using cleansers, serums or moisturisers with AHAs, will reveal a smoother, plumper complexion, as well as a thicker epidermis, increased cell turnover and boosted collagen production overtime.
2. Bee Venom
Dubbed ‘no-needle Botox’, bee venom is considered the Botox of nature, due to its ability to deeply penetrate the skin’s dermis and naturally stimulate a plumping effect. Bee venom temporarily relaxes facial muscles and improves circulation, delivering a tighter and smoother complexion. But, don’t worry, no bees are harmed through harvesting the venom – it is extracted humanely adhering to a safe process, which ensures that the bee's lifespan and wellbeing are not affected.
bh loves: Bees Brilliance Skin Brightening Moisturising Cream, $41.99; Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Day Cream, $69
3. Evening Primrose Oil
An up-and-comer in the beauty world, evening primrose oil is a therapeutic oil extracted from the seed of the evening primrose plant. It’s most beneficial for mature skin due to its ultra-moisturising qualities, which can help to strengthen skin structure, increase elasticity and maintain optimum barrier function. Problem skin can also benefit – it’s renowned for treating hormonal acne at the root and reducing flare-ups. The toning qualities of the oil have also proven effective in reducing hyper-pigmentation and scarring.
bh loves: Sukin Sensitive Calming Night Cream, $25.99; Wild Ferns Manuka Honey Radiance Renewal Facial Serum, $24.99; Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask, $37.99
4. Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid, a type of AHA, has taken off in recent years for its ability to unclog pores and treat acne. It is the smallest molecule of the acids meaning it can penetrate through the skin easier and deliver results the fastest. If you’re prone to blackheads, whiteheads and acne scarring, a cleanser with glycolic acid should be your go-to.
bh loves: L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Laser Glycolic Pads, $44.99; Elizabeth Arden Skin Illuminating Retexturizing Pads, $82 or if you really want to splurge, the luxurious Lancôme Absolue Precious Cells Rose Drop Night Peeling Concentrate, $225, is divine.
5. Jojoba Oil
It’s been utilised in ancient folk medicine for hundreds of years and it turns out there’s actually real merit. Pronounced "ho-ho-ba”, jojoba oil is a natural emollient, which soothes and softens, making it a popular ingredient for dry or inflamed skin. Jojoba beads are commonly used in natural face scrubs as they’re less abrasive but also a great environmentally-friendly alternative to microbeads.
6. Kakadu Plum
This humble Australian fruit is the latest powerhouse ingredient to find itself in the beauty spotlight - and for good reason. Kakadu plum has the highest source of vitamin c on the planet - In fact, it’s estimated that a single Kakadu plum contains 55 times more vitamin C than an orange. It’s a fantastic ingredient for brightening, refining and firming skin, which is why you’ll find it popping up everywhere, from masks and serums to even your makeup.
bh loves: Nude By Nature Flawless Liquid Mineral Foundation, $44.95
You’ve probably heard it thrown about but chances are you don’t actually know the benefits of this ‘miracle’ multi-tasker. Niacinamide is a topical form of vitamin B3, which our bodies need but can’t produce on their own. Its uses in skincare are almost limitless but in short, it keeps the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. It’s been found to dramatically help delay the signs of ageing by increasing cell turnover, circulation and antioxidant protection and is also very effective in preventing environmental damage and trans-epidermal water loss.
bh loves: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $16; La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Riche Facial Moisturiser, $32.99
8. Omega Fatty Acids
Omega fatty acids form the essential building blocks of our skin’s surface, helping to create a smoother and healthier complexion. To name a few of the benefits, omegas can intensively hydrate without feeling heavy, calm signs of skin sensitivity, eliminate flakiness and strengthen the skin barrier. Contrary to what you might think, it doesn’t mean slathering fish oil over your skin - there are also plant-derived omega fatty acids too. Hazelnut oil and chia seeds are also a key source of omega which is why many beauty products incorporate these.
bh loves: Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil, $66; Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil, $143; Snowberry Starbright Moisturiser, $53; The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, $26.30
9. Pink Clay
After exploding virally earlier this year, pink clay is most definitely having a moment but we have a feeling it might just stick around. More than just pretty and pink, it is a magnet for toxins, drawing out impurities from the skin’s surface…fast. Pink clay masks are a great way to deeply cleanse and detoxify skin for an instant radiant glow. It’s also incredibly gentle and soothing making it ideal for inflamed or sensitive skin.
bh loves: Alya Skin Pink Clay Mask, $54.99
10. Vitamin C
A balanced diet is great when it comes to nutrition – healthy foods deliver a wealth of benefits to your complexion - but did you know your skincare routine could also benefit big time from vitamins too? Regardless of how nutrient-dense your diet is, the body only delivers a small percentage of vitamins to your skin. The solution: applying vitamins topically for maximum skin benefits.
Not sure where to start? Vitamin C is a miracle-worker renowned for its ability to refine skin tone and texture, as well as boost skin radiance for that lit-from-within glow.
bh loves: Dermalogica BioLumin-C Serum, $159; Trilogy Rosehip Vitamin C Booster, $44.99; Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily + Overnight Boosters with Vitamins C 10% A (retinol), $68 (these also feature retinol – more on this below!)
Of course no beauty glossary would be complete without arguably the most powerful and transformative ingredient out there. It surely needs no introduction but for the uninitiated, if you ask any beauty expert what to do about almost any issue — acne, fine lines, pigmentation, enlarged pores — retinol will most likely be at the core of the answer. In a nutshell, retinol is pure vitamin A that comes in over-the-counter and prescription varieties, with both essentially binding with receptors in our skin cells causing them to behave younger. Using retinol-based products can deliver numerous skin improvements from boosted cell turnover and a clearer complexion to accelerated collagen production and in turn, less wrinkles and a more youthful glow. Generally, the more potent the vitamin A is the bigger result it will yield. However, do bear in mind that almost all vitamin A comes with an adjustment period. It’s recommended that you practice restraint and ease into it with a pea-sized amount once or twice a week.
12. Reishi Mushroom
The real magic mushroom, Reishi Mushroom extract is a naturally powerful antioxidant boasting a host of skin-loving benefits. It contains a high number of polysaccharides, responsible for the skin’s natural ability to hydrate and retain water, which is essential for skin repair and renewal. The extract has been found to help reduce skin inflammation, puffiness, wrinkles and free radical damage, while promoting cell regeneration.
bh loves: Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate 2.0, $173
Main image: Miss FQ Issue 1.
Photography: Michael Rooke