Want clear, luminous skin? There’s a superfood for that—lots of them, actually. And while eating tons of nutrient-dense fruits, seeds, and algae is always going to do your body (and face) good, these beauty boosters can be just as powerful when applied topically.
That may explain why shopping for a serum or exfoliator is starting to resemble a browse through the health food store. From chia-seed facial oils to matcha masks, just about any ingredient that’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, or omega fatty acids has likely found its way into a beauty product (or several).
Why are edible ingredients so big in beauty right now? “Our internal body needs an array of nutrients and vitamins to perform at an optimal level, and so does our skin,” explains Allie Compton, esthetician at Credo Beauty in New York City. “Applying superfoods directly ensures nutrients penetrate the skin in order to be used by the dermis—the second layer of the skin where the magic happens—for repair and damage prevention.”
“Our internal body needs an array of nutrients and vitamins to perform at an optimal level, and so does our skin.”
Just about any skin type can benefit from these nutritional powerhouses—the trick is to look for the superfoods that specifically address your needs. (If you’re in need of something anti-inflammatory, reach for the turmeric, while for an anti-microbial boost search for products with spirulina, for example.)
To ensure you’re getting the cleanest and most potent product possible, Compton says you should keep a few things in mind, starting with seeking out the cleanest ingredients possible. “Organic is not [just] a buzzword—plants and herbs grown under organic conditions are free of pesticides and other toxins,” she says. “The high quality of the soil allows the plants to grow at peak performance, which in turn supports our skin’s health and healing through the deliverance of higher levels of vitamins and phytonutrients.” (Yes, studies back this up.)
It’s also important to check the product’s ingredient deck to ensure there’s enough of the superfood in the formulation to actually make a difference. “Ingredients listed first in a label are found in the highest percentage of the product,” says Compton. So if the ingredient you’re seeking out is near the very bottom of the list, you might want to keep shopping.
Anyone else’s skin feeling hungry?
Keep reading to discover nine great natural beauty products with superfood ingredients.
The most overlooked part of an apricot—its pit—is actually a goldmine of skin-saving nutrients. Exhibit A: The apricot kernel oil in this serum, which is packed with vitamins A, B, and E. It works wonders for a range of skin types (aging and sensitive and dry skin, oh my!), all while offering protection from damaging free radicals.
Superfood: Chia seeds
This ultra-moisturizing oil, which is gently extracted from chia seeds using a patented process, contains eight times the omega-3 fatty acids as salmon, three times the antioxidants as blueberries, and is also loaded with vitamin B3 and zinc. It’s both deeply moisturizing and appropriate for acne-prone skin—basically the definition of a skin-care superhero.
This mask and scrub contains 19 (!) different superfoods, and matcha is high on the ingredient list. Although the concentrated green tea powder’s energizing when you drink it, it’s also anti-inflammatory—making it a surprisingly super-soothing topical. (In case you were wondering, yes, this product is food grade, but you probably don’t want to stir it into your a.m. latte.)
Another anti-inflammatory ingredient, the organic turmeric root in this exfoliating scrub suppresses melanin to brighten the skin while calming not-so-ideal redness. Turmeric also contains naturally occurring salicylic acid, making it a great option for those with blemishes.
Superfood: Aloe vera
Spritzing on this toner made with vitamin-infused aloe vera juice—a hydration powerhouse that’s able to easily penetrate to the dermal layer of skin—gives your complexion an instantly dewy glow.
Superfood: Prickly pear
Prickly pear cactus oil is super moisturizing (it does need to stand up to desert dryness, after all) and helps to restore the skin’s elasticity. When paired with calming green tea and arnica extracts (as is the case in this serum), it’s a pretty potent soother and de-puffer for the eye area.
Avocado oil is the main ingredient in this lush balm, which helps to nourish and hydrate lips alongside hemp seed oil, shea butter, and vitamin E. Not like you need a reason to put the healthy fat near your mouth….
This weekly treatment contains spirulina as one of its active ingredients—a potent source of cleansing and detoxifying chlorophyll. Tourmaline crystals create a chemical reaction that allows the formulation to penetrate deeply into the skin, resulting in a lit-from-within kind of glow, no algae-spiked smoothie required.
The sweet almond oil in this moisturizer absorbs readily into skin, is packed with vitamin A (great for anyone dealing with acne woes), and has even been shown to have UV protective properties (although you’ll still want to slather on the SPF). Plus, you’ll go, er, nuts over its woodsy rose scent.
Superfoods quite literally live up to their heroic name—these three even give you new brain cells (seriously). Looking to add more into your diet? Here are unexpected ways to incorporate them into your meals.