The best skin-care ingredients you don’t know—yet

If we had to pick just one thing we love about beauty (which, honestly, is like picking a favorite child), it would have to be how new natural ingredients keep popping up. Some of them are never before heard of, and some of them we might know but never thought about putting into a skincare product. Like who knew beets could make your pores look smaller?

We embarked on a shopping expedition to discover the seven most exciting ingredients in beauty right now. Keep reading to learn what bakuchiol, oat milk, cica, and more can do for you.

Marmur Mask
Marmur Mask

Oat Milk

Besides being the dairy alternative du jour, oat milk also happens to be fabulous for your face. The “milk” is produced by soaking raw oats in water, then straining them, explains Ere Perez, founder and creative director of Ere Perez Natural Cosmetics. The translucent white liquid left behind, she says, “is very nourishing and [naturally] rich in vitamins and minerals that have lasting benefits for the skin.”
Find it in: Ere Perez Oat Milk Foundation


According to basically every dermatologist ever, retinol is the be-all, end-all of skin-transforming ingredients. Unfortunately, it also happens to cause irritation and sensitivity among a large portion of the population. Fortunately, there are some great herbal alternatives. One such green option is called bakuchiol and, according to skin expert Ole Henriksen, it’s one of the best retinol replacements nature has to offer. “What my colleagues and I quickly learned, and our clinical studies proved, is that bakuchiol brings the power of retinoids to everyone safely, without any of the negative side effects,” he says.
Find it in: Ole Henriksen Transform Plus Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Creme

Centella Asiatica

Followers of Korean beauty will be familiar with this ingredient, which is also commonly referred to as cica. “It has widely been used as a medicinal herb: in Ayurvedic traditional medicine in India, in traditional Chinese medicine, and as a historic remedy ingredient in Madagascar,” says Roberta Weiss, head of product innovation for Kiehl’s. “Cica helps minimize signs of irritation and discomfort while also helping to strengthen the skin barrier over time, making it more resilient against environmental assaults.”
Find it in: Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Centella Cica Cream


Found in many plants and herbs, adaptogens “support your adrenal system to help balance your hormones, so you can manage your stress response on a day to day basis,” explains Ellen Marmur, MD, a New York City dermatologist and founder of Marmur Metamorphosis. “They adapt to what your body needs and have the ability to regulate your system up or down depending on the need in the moment.” In your skin, that translates to reducing production of cortisol (aka the stress hormone) and protecting from skin-damaging pollution.
Find it in: Marmur Metamorphosis Repose Face Mask

Kakadu Plum

This purple fruit has been popping up all over the place and it’s no surprise why: Plum is a powerhouse antioxidant. Kakadu, a specific variety native to Australia, is hailed as one of the natural world’s most potent forms of vitamin C. “It’s been used for thousands of years by indigenous Australians for its medicinal and health properties,” explains Zoe Kelly, co-founder of Aussie beauty brand Dr. Roebuck’s. It’s also been shown to actually improve the penetration of vitamin C into the skin, meaning you get better absorption of the free-radical fighting, anti-aging fruit extract.
Find it in: Dr. Roebuck’s Bondi Hydrating Mist


The prickly plant’s ability to survive in harsh climates also happens to be what makes it such a great hydrator. “Cacti are flowering plants that have an incredible ability to conserve water due to the harsh environments they are often found,” notes Fatma Shaheen, founder of Skin Design London. “It delivers excellent hydrating properties due to its high content of water-binding compounds—without blocking the pores,” she continues. Try it for dry, acne-prone skin.
Find it in: Skin Design London Hydrating H2O Intense Luxe Serum


As Sarah Lee, co-founder of Korean beauty retailer Glow Recipe, points out, beet is not an ingredient you see pop up in face products all that often. Which is a shame, because it’s an absolute wonder at dealing with texture issues. “Beet is a naturally exfoliating ingredient that helps to refine pores, so it gives you an extra-smooth skin surface,” she says. Consider this root vegetable your secret weapon for silky skin.
Find it in: Sweet Chef Beet + Vitamin A Serum Shot

—Megan McIntyre. Feature image by Lydz Leow.

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