While many of us make a point of adding greens to our smoothies and chia seeds to our pudding, it’s not as common to make sure your skin is getting the same nutrients when you’re moisturizing at your bathroom mirror. Though that’s changing.
Peruse the beauty aisles and you’ll now see plenty of skin-care products full of dinner-plate worthy superfoods—like acai, turmeric, and wheatgrass. That’s because while beauty starts on the inside, you can safely slather on skin-benefiting plants for their vitamins and omega fatty acids, too.
Read on for nine foods that are powering your beauty products and just how they do it… —Randi Eichenbaum
The super-popular fermented tea is as good for your skin as it is for your gut, says Element Herbology, an acupuncturist-created line which uses it in this skin brightening serum. “The kombucha we use is a patented form…. that combines the fermentation of sweet black tea with the symbiosis of two microorganisms,” says Elemental founding member and head of marketing Kiwi Gleich. “This improves skin texture, while visibly reducing pigmentation.” We’ll drink to that.
This popular spice is known for its ability to combat inflammation and can be delicious when used in Indian cuisine, teas, or, as of late, taken in a shot, straight-up. It’s also a great anti-ager, which is why it’s used in this Juara serum. “As a high-level antioxidant, turmeric helps to fight those pesky free-radicals that rob our skin of its youthful appearance, and it can help deliver important nutrients to the skin,” explains Nadia Yousif, who works with the Indonesian-inspired line. “It’s a powerful juice cocktail for your skin.”
Chia has had a huge year. The little superfood seed that’s packed with good-for-you nutrients like omega 3s, fiber, and protein is now found in a slew of delish items from pudding and nutrition bars to baked goods. With winter fast approaching, you may also want to be applying it to your face. “Chia oil is clinically proven to significantly increase skin hydration, reduce trans-epidermal water loss, and increase skin barrier function in even the driest skin,” says One Love Organics president Suzanne LeRoux. “[The formula] delivers a whopping 600 mg omega-3 per 1 gram of extract.”
It’s no secret we should be eating heaps of greens. But why would we want to wear what we could order at a vegetarian restaurant? “Asparagus, broccoli, and wheatgrass are antioxidant rich, vitamin rich, anti-aging, and detoxifying powerhouses,” explains Dr. Saul Alkaitis of the key ingredients found in his Universal Mask. “Asparagus supports healthy collagen production and helps clear acne. Broccoli targets environmental damage and wrinkles. Wheatgrass helps maintain skin elasticity. All skin should have it. So good.”
The seed oil found in this delicious summer fruit and post-workout hydrator is traditionally slathered on sun-exposed skin, explains Kahina Giving Beauty founder Katharine L’Heureux, who puts it work in her light and luxe Fez Body Serum. “The melon seed oil sourced from Namibia’s Kalahari helps protect and rejuvenate skin,” she says. Its magic comes from very high amounts of linoleic acid, an essential omega 6 fatty acid. It penetrates easily, “making it an excellent ingredient in body oils,” explains L’Heureux. And it pairs well with argan oil, helping give back what winter, hot showers, and shaving strip away.
Kahina Body Serum, $98
“While most of us love to eat cherries, at Naturopathica, we love them for other reasons,” says Barbara Close, founder of the science-loving natural line and East Hampton spa, who includes the tangy fruit in her Enzyme Peel. “Cherries are rich in potent antioxidants called flavonoids. And flavonoids act as antioxidants in the skin, scavenging and destroying free radicals, and strengthening collagen.” With lactic acid, the ingredients provide a deep clean, that helps even out skin tone and restore a bouncy supple texture.
The popular superfood often added to smoothies and breakfast bowls contains loads of skin-benefiting vitamin C. And those whose dark under-eye circles would really love the vitamin, but can’t (or won’t) hack its often irritating synthetic form, gravitate to acai as a natural skin brightener instead. In the luxe Amala Rejuvenating Eye Cream it helps to gently boost cell turnover while cocoa works de-puffing wonders.
Yes, this root veggie is good for your eyes, but the oil that can be extracted from carrots can also work on those crow’s feet and other fine lines. “This oil is known in France for ‘donner bonne mine,’ which literally means ‘give a fresh healthy glow,’ says Valerie Grandury, CEO of Odacité, the synthetic-free skin-care line she founded after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Her handcrafted line includes many carrot oil-laced products, including the seasonal serum, An Autumn of the World. But what does science say about the veggie’s virtues for our visage? “Carrot seed oil has a high concentration of skin-smoothing vitamin A and beta-carotene,” says Grandury, who recommends it for anyone with sun-damaged, mature, or wrinkled skin looking for a healthy and youthful glow.
This high-potassium vegetable is a great ingredient to sweeten up a juice or roast and toss in a salad. It’s also used in many of Aubrey’s toners and mists as a powerful humectant. That means it can help you preserve and boost your skin’s natural moisturizing factor, says Karen Ress, the affordable natural cosmetic company’s executive director. “Beet phytonutrients also enhance cell renewal, and protect skin from free radical damage.” They have another cool use that we love: Beet extract is also used as a natural source of red color in makeup. Better your lips than your new white sweater.