Every season beauty journalists are bombarded with a sea of products claiming wondrous, active new ingredients. While half of this is essentially nonsensicalmarketing, there are some genuinely brilliant brands bringing cutting-edge ingredients to the beauty table. And by cutting-edge we mean unusual, natural ingredients and unique extracts that are changing the way we view beauty and skincare. But how can you decipher between the truth and the fluff? As Newby Hands recently commented in Harper’s Bazaar on the silent debate of the word ‘natural’ in beauty marketing, ‘are these products all they claim to be, or are we all just victims of ‘green-washing’?’
In essence, the truth of the matter lies in the quality and quantity of ingredients in the products used. Such percentages are usually tracked back to the ethos of the company’s structure and how they have sourced their ingredients and their explanation on the value of the ingredients used. One brand (which is exclusive to Zuneta.com) is extremely open about the quality and reasoning behind the products created. FOUND is a niche skincare range, created by Eric Cosson that currently has two unique skin moisturisers, one of which is built upon rare oyster extract (ISTR) and the other, laboratory designed peptides which imitate snake venom (SARPA). Both products have been a labour of love for Eric who designed them based on scientific research and an interest in the history of these unusual extracts and elements. But what is his take on brands that have, or indeed claim, to have new, unusual ingredients? ‘FOUND products are very concentrated and that is the specificity. I believe in the highest concentration of active matter. I didn’t put the snake venom in just for marketing reasons, I put the percentage claimed to have an activity’ he says. However, Eric acknowledges that as the founder of such a small niche company he was involved completely in the process of creating the formula and choosing the ingredients. Both SARPA and ISTR contain active ingredients of over 55%, a significant percentage that is naturally reflected in the high-end price of the unique creams. The wise words ‘you get what you pay for’ ring true especially in this case but what about those of us with more dash than cash? Are we to be excluded or are there brands with a more affordable price tag that can give us similar results?
Korres, the Greek skin and beauty company that has roots in Athens’s first Homeopathic Pharmacy is a world-class brand with a unique track record that has converted beauty skeptics high and low. Dating back to its founding legacy, Korres still credits that all their products are based on four large groups of natural ingredients; medicinal herbs such as aloe vera and evening primrose known for their pharmaceutical use, specific Greek flora herbs for example thyme and mastiha, food ingredients such as yogurt and thyme-honey and high-efficacy naturals like watermelon DNA-protective bio extract. Korres is one of the biggest beauty and skincare brands to steer clear of specific synthetic compounds that are non biodegradable and linked to common problems such as skin irritations and allergies while keeping their prices very affordable. Due to the brand’s Mediterranean history, Korres is famed for their inclusion of slightly unusual ingredients with exotic twists. They have recently sourced GUAVA for their products, a sweet fruit tropical fruit from Asia which has rarely been used in the skincare world. Korres realised that Guava is an important source of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis for healthy, hydrated and renewed skin and as such created body butters and shower gels and even lipsticks using this unique ingredient.
As our world becomes a smaller place and exotic ingredients become more readily available along with advances in technology it is exciting to imagine how the buzzword ‘natural’ in beauty will evolve. So for now, how should you decipher between the truth and the fluff? Trust the brands that are committed to creating products with a high active content and remember Eric’s wise words ‘the more products the brand has, the worse the products will become.’ As with most things in life, ‘natural’ is a notion where simplicity definitely overrules.
By Camilla Nazeri