And so, 2022 is shaping up to be the year of natural beauty, with a focus on superfoods, but also, and above all, on age-old ingredients that are making their way into many of our cosmetics. Prickly pear, rice and flax are among the natural skin allies coming our way this year. Let's find out why.
The pandemic has sounded the death knell for complex product formulas and endless beauty routines, paving the way for more authentic, natural approach and preventative care. Beauty is now more minimalist, focusing on a few powerful active ingredients instead of multiple layers of creams, serums and other products, where it's sometimes difficult to decipher every ingredient. As such, it's not surprising to see that, with a few exceptions, it's grandma's age-old remedies that have been all the rage on TikTok -- Gen Z's preferred social network -- throughout 2021, with a craze for ingredients with multiple virtues that we owe to Mother Nature.
While all talk is of retinol at the beginning of this new year -- considered one of the most effective anti-aging active ingredients -- there are many plant-based ingredients that are holding their own alongside this active form of vitamin A. Today, more and more cosmetic brands are turning to natural active ingredients with many and varied powers. Here are three such ingredients that are likely to make it big in skincare this year.
Prickly pear and its anti-aging properties
If retinol is now considered a miracle ingredient in fighting the signs of aging -- featuring among the three most popular active ingredients in the world according to recent research from Skincare Hero -- an active ingredient known to all could soon steal the show, or almost. A more natural alternative, the prickly pear is also an anti-aging ally of choice. Found in Mexico and the Maghreb, prickly pear seed oil is now renowned throughout the world for its anti-aging properties, now giving rise to numerous cosmetics formulated with this natural ingredient.
Rich in vitamin E, polyunsaturated fatty acids and sterols, prickly pear seed oil not only reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, but also improves skin tone and fights premature aging. And to top it all off, it is believed to have healing properties. While it is found in the form of a plant-based oil, there is a growing number of cosmetics based on prickly pear, including creams and masks for the skin and hair.
The many benefits of rice
Star of social media in 2021, rice is now an exceptional ingredient in cosmetics, enhancing dull skin, combination to oily skin, as well as mature skin. In fact, TikTokers came up with hacks and challenges throughout 2021 to highlight the many virtues of rice, using hashtags like #ricewaterhairchallenge (75 million views) and #ricewaterforskin (3.6 million views). While there were already rice-based cosmetics, it hasn't taken long to see the emergence of many more, from rice powder masks to rice bran plant oils, exfoliants, mattifying powders and the likes. Indeed, the virtues of this kitchen staple are many and varied.
Used for centuries in Asia to enhance women's skin and hair, rice powder is known for its strong absorbing and mattifying power, whereas rice water, rich in antioxidants, fights the signs of aging while improving skin firmness and deep moisturizing. And as if that wasn't enough, rice is also a great ally for hair, making it stronger and shinier. Properties that are now highlighted in a host of beauty brands' products in the cosmetics aisle.
Flax to soothe and nourish
If the environmental qualities of flax have allowed it to make a comeback in the fashion world in 2021, its benefits for the skin are perhaps less well known. And yet, the powers of its flowers and seeds make it an essential ally for sensitive, dry and mature skin. And it's clear that cosmetic brands have caught on too, bringing out a vast choice of creams, serums and oils based on this ingredient that's soon to be a must-have.
The most sensitive skins will appreciate the soothing, anti-inflammatory and emollient powers of flax, which, as a bonus, has regenerating and repairing properties. But flax is also everywhere in the moisturizing section since it has nourishing virtues, while improving the elasticity and tonicity of the skin. Like prickly pear and rice, flax is also a top choice for mature skin because it helps delay skin relaxation and sagging. And, like its counterparts, it is not to be outdone when it comes to boosting hair in need of strength and thickness.