Botanical ingredients have kept skin beautiful and healthy for thousands of years. I am a big fan of their plumping, soothing and smoothing qualities. Here are some of my favorites.
Pure natural plant oils are used in skincare for their therapeutic effects and because they’re so easily absorbed in to the upper layers, where they get to work beautifying our skin.
Delicious to eat (and so good for you-and your skin), the creamy-textured, greeny-yellow flesh of avocados yields an unctuous oil that I love to use in skincare for its super-moisturizing properties. As well as vitamin E (also traces of B vitamins and beta-carotene in unrefined versions), avocados contain omega-9 essential fatty acid, a little omega-6, plus chlorophyll, which may help regenerate skin cells. The rich oil, which is very easily absorbed, is also high in plant sterols, which may help in reduce age spots and to heal sun damage and scars.
Avocado oil is especially useful for those with dry or mature skins. It works very well for most with sensitive skin, also eczema or psoriasis. I like to see it as an ingredient in soaps, massage oil and facial masks for its emollient properties. Avocado oil can be found in supermarkets and is a fabulous addition to salad dressing.
Apricots, which come from the same prunus genus as peaches, plums and almonds, have been cultivated in their birthplace in the mountains of north China for four thousand years, Trade and military expeditions by plan-loving generals such as Alexander the Great brought them to the Middle East and onto Greece and Italy in about the first century BC, where they are now cultivated.
The kernels are crushed to yield between 40-50 per cent pure oil which contains much the same array of fatty acids as sweet almond and peach kernel. The wonderfully light texture means it’s easily absorbed into the uppermost level of the skin: dry, mature, sensitive and inflamed skins benefit most.
Apricot oil also has very little odour, so it’s an ideal base for facial and body massage oil blends. For a bath oil, add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to one tablespoonful of apricot (or peach kernel) oil and mix with your fingertip before adding to a full tub.