Going local doesn’t always cut it when you’re looking for high-potency skincare ingredients. Just ask the globe-trotting researchers at The Body Shop, who search the world to find superpower natural ingredients for their product formulations.
The new Oils of Life range, which includes lotions, creams and facial oils, is made with powerful blends of cold-pressed plant-seed oils: Chinese camellia-seed oil, Chilean rosehip-seed oil and Egyptian black-cumin-seed oil. Culled from ancient traditions, they herald the next chapter in results-driven skincare.
Unlike a kernel or a nut (like a coconut), seeds have no protective shell, so, in order to thrive, they develop “protective chemistry”—a mix of antioxidants, oils and nutrients. “Everything a plant needs to grow is in that seed—all the nutrition, all the energy,” says Jennifer Hirsch, beauty botanist for The Body Shop, who explains that the secret to harnessing that energy is cold-pressing. (This is an oil-extracting process in which temperatures are kept below 49˚C to avoid ingredient-damaging oxidation and allow more active nutrients to remain in the oil.)
Skin also has a natural affinity with plant oils because of DNA commonalities. For example, sebum, an oily, waxy substance that lubricates and helps waterproof skin, and camellia-seed oil both contain the natural moisturizer squalene, says Hirsch. “Plant oils blend with sebum,” she explains. “This enhances the skin’s ability to hydrate and protect itself by working with what the skin does naturally rather than against it.”
Many of us fear that oils will bring on the second coming of our worst junior-high breakout, but don’t worry. Using oils may seem counterintuitive, but Dr. Harold Lancer, a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist whose clientele includes Kim Kardashian and Scarlett Johansson, says that if you have very oily skin, they can help rein in sebum production. That’s because women with oily skin often use products that strip and dry out their skin, which causes skin cells to overcompensate and produce even more oil.
Layering products will increase hydrating and anti-aging benefits, especially as we approach moisture-draining winter. Here’s how: Warm a few drops of Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil in your hands and then massage it into your face and neck before applying a pea-size drop of Intensely Revitalising Cream. Now that’s world-class indulgence.
The hottest beauty buys for fall
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.