Beauty products make a lot of claims, especially when it comes to natural and organic ingredients. Rose oil is supposed to make your skin as pretty as a flower, tea tree is reputed to blast away acne, and marine algae has started to sound like the fountain of youth. But do these ingredients actually live up to the hype? Get the facts on 10 of the most popular natural beauty boosters now.
Rose oil is, well, an oil, so it's bound to be hydrating, and it should at least plump up skin temporarily. It's also high in vitamin C, although research suggests that the fatty acids and vitamin content often degrade when exposed to daylight . So if you're going to use a rose-based product, do it because you enjoy the moisture and the scent, not because you expect to get all your omegas and vitamins from it.
Oats are one of those things that people have been loving for millennia, and they were used to treat everything from gout and rheumatism to rashes. They contain high levels of beta-glucan, a humectant, which helps make oats a great hydrator as well.
Calendula has a reputation for healing up skin and reducing redness and irritation, making it a great alternative to over-the-counter first aid ointments.
Lavender in an oil base might moisturize your skin, but it will be as a result of the oil, not the lavender. However, what lavender is, besides terrific smelling, is a good antiseptic. The French Academy of Medicine even used it as a disinfectant to swab wounds during World War II.
Hailing from Morocco, argan oil has gained quite the reputation as a natural wrinkle fighter over the last couple of years. Argan is an excellent hydrator, which may help your skin look younger in the long term. It's also an anti-inflammatory, which makes it surprisingly useful as an acne fighter.
Jojoba is supposed to be the plant oil closest in structure to the sebum secreted by your own skin, making it a "perfect" hydrator and the preferred natural moisturizer for dry, acne-prone skin. A lot of what we love about jojoba is in its texture, which doesn't feel greasy on skin and absorbs easily. It's also known to improve skin elasticity and prevent skin dehydration.
Honey has long been heralded as an antiseptic and moisturizer, and some skin care also claims that it fights skin damage and aging. Not only does it possess antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, but it's an excellent humectant, as well.
We all know about using aloe on sunburns, but more recently, beauty products have used it as an acne-fighting ingredient and antiager. Although it cools skin down nicely, aloe is also great for healing wounds, so consider it next time you have a scratch or a blemish you want gone.
Tea tree helps with some aspects of acne, because it's an excellent antiseptic. Its action, however, is very different from salicylic or benzoyl peroxide, so it should be considered an alternative instead of a substitute.
Algae extracts first became popular in the East Asian market as a skin lightening ingredient, then moved onto US shores as sun damage reducers and skin tone eveners. They're known to inhibit pigmentation, and some varieties may also hydrate or stimulate collagen growth. But if you're looking for dramatic results, lasers or injectables are probably your best bets.