We know that if you’re after moisture, hyaluronic acid is a must, and that if we want to unclog our pores, salicylic acid is the one to go for; so why is it that when it comes to earthy ingredients, we draw a blank?
We think it’s pretty safe to say that, as consumers, we know more about what’s going into our beauty products than ever before. Gone are the days of simply buying a face cream through recommendation – now we know the ins and outs of every ingredient and exactly what they mean for our skin.
The reality is that the earth’s natural elements hold an array of skin-boosting secrets. Nataliya Robinson, facial therapist and founder of Quantum Botanika, explains: “Elemental ingredients have been used in beauty for centuries because they are not as frequently rejected by the body in comparison to ingredients of synthetic origins. Natural earth ingredients are 100 per cent adaptogens, making them more powerful antioxidants.”
So what exactly is elemental skincare? Well, in short, it’s any product that champions ingredients that are derived from the elements. For those that need a science refresh, the four natural elements are earth, fire, water and air.
Gone are the days of natural skincare being all about potentially irritating essential oils and plant extracts – elemental skincare harnesses nature at its very core and the results are seriously impressive. Sound interesting? These are the elemental ingredients you should have on your radar…
A by-product of fire, charcoal has been used in both the health and beauty industries for hundreds of years. For health, activated charcoal is heralded for its toxin-absorbing abilities. Often included in drinks, it is thought that ingesting activated charcoal prevents toxins from entering the bloodstream.
In skincare, the process is similar. Charcoal-infused products work to rid the pores of toxins and purify the skin – acting as ‘nature’s magnet’. For blemish-prone skin, charcoal products can work as great purifiers. “Charcoal acts as a sponge, drawing out impurities from the skin and normalising the function of sebaceous skin glands, making it a great option for oily to combination skin,” says Nataliya.
Considering we breathe it in all day every day, you’ll be shocked to hear that, actually, we’re not really getting enough oxygen. In fact, we’ve become pretty lazy breathers. Not breathing properly (and not getting enough oxygen) can lead to feeling drained, stressed and even anxious. Plus, it’s really not doing your skin any good.
As our biggest organ, it will come as no surprise that making sure our skin is getting its daily dose of oxygen is imperative to keeping it healthy. If your skin is looking dull and tired, oxygen-infused products will plump, nourish and detoxify all at once.
If it’s dryness that’s getting you down, start paying attention to products that contain any form of water algae (including seaweed). For years, seaweeds and algaes have been used in spa and salon treatments (hi seaweed body wraps), but only now are we starting to see them utilised to their full potential in our daily products.
While different algaes have the ability to deliver different results, generally they are extremely powerful hydrators that come with other individual benefits. “I love seaweed. Seaweed contains vitamin A, which lifts and hydrates the skin, whereas algae is great for lymphatic drainage,” says Nataliya.
This one should come as no surprise, given that it’s been in every best-selling mask since the dawn of time/face masks. A form of natural earth terrain, clay works similarly to charcoal and aims to draw out oil, dirt and toxins.
Unlike charcoal, however, certain clays are so powerful that they can often be too harsh to use on the skin regularly – hence their usual mask form. Treating your skin to a few minutes of clay indulgence once a week will leave pores less visible and your skin looking bright.
Feeling inspired? These are the elemental skincare products we can’t get enough of…