By Caylie Warkentin
Every aspect of our life is surrounded by flora, even in the midst of a densely populated city centre. From verdant leafy greens in your vegetable drawer to fresh-cut blooms on your coffee table, botanicals and their derivatives surround us every day.
The presence of flora is not just good for the soul but can be good for our skin, and has been adored for thousands of years across cultures - think of Cleopatra, eyes smouldering in ochre and burnt almonds, or of crushed mulberries once used to bring pigment to cheeks. Now, botanicals comprise some of our most beloved skincare products – think of The Ordinary’s cold-pressed rosehip seed oil, or the brand Tata Harper that uses farm-grown natural ingredients in their formulas for this rediscovery of plant derivatives and botanicals.
What are botanicals?
Botanicals are plant-based derivatives, or plant extracts, of the stem, bark, flower, root, and leaf of a plant. This can come from a seed, berry, herb, flower, root, or nut. Botanicals often come in the form of oils and extracts and are processed in a variety of different ways, from steaming to drying to pressing. They’re not exclusive to cosmetic products either. Botanicals are used in everything from gin to herbal supplements.
Botanicals come in six main forms, based on how they are extracted and processed: essential oils, water-based (hydrosols), alcohol tinctures, CO2 extracts, glycerites, powdered extracts. Not every botanical is made equal – botanicals have different levels of efficacy and can be used as a standalone ingredient or paired with other ingredients for highly efficacious skincare and beauty products. In some cases, botanicals derived from the seeds of plants can be more efficacious than those derived from leaves, roots or stems, because seeds contain more concentrated levels of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. Most often botanicals are paired with other ingredients to lessen their concentration making them safe for all skin types and sensitivities.
Botanicals are valued for their medicinal and therapeutic properties. When applied topically, the antioxidant benefits of botanicals can reduce physical signs of premature ageing by bringing a boost of hydration and moisture to fine lines, and can repair damaged skin barriers by soothing inflamed skin and reducing hyperpigmentation.
We use high-quality, nourishing botanicals in our products including hemp seed oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, castor seed oil, and candelilla wax. We included botanicals in our lip care because we want our beauty regimen to be as close to nature as intended. Each botanical serves a different purpose - from locking hydration into the skin to mitigating damage caused by environmental pollutants.