What are they?
Plant extracts are solutions prepared from minced or pressed plants or their parts. These solutions usually contain a complex mixture of ingredients.
What are they good for?
Different plants can be used for different purposes. In skincare some are considered to fight ageing signs, others to help against inflammation, still others to protect from UV light, hydrate the skin, soothe the skin etc.
Aloe vera, calendula, camomille, lotus leaf and pomegranate, pine bark and candle tree leaf, hibiscus flower and pistachio nut extracts are some of the popular and commonly discussed ingredients.
Good to know
- Simple ingredients are thoroughly studied: we know their formulas, mechanisms of function, and we can standardize their production. In turn, the key thing about any plant extract is its mystery. Unclear (or not completely clear) what’s in, and how it does it, but it does its magic. A bit like alchemistry.
- Effects of plant extract containing products can be unstable from batch to batch, because it is hard to standardize the extraction. Though there is a lot of skepticism about the topic, we cannot fully deny their action too. If you like experimenting a bit, you can try them.
- Extracts, oils, or other plant-derived products are not the same. The difference is in the preparation process and purity. E.g. there is palmitic acid, palm oil, and palm fruit extract. Palmitic acid naturally occurs in palm fruit. It is a simple molecule with a clear structure, which you can separate from palm oil but one can synthesize it in a lab as well. Palm oil is a very concentrated mixture of fatty ingredients, prepared from the palm fruit pulp by a rather complicated process, usually. Finally palm fruit extract is actually a diluted palm fruit juice.
- Please do not rub crumbled leaves into your skin. Using concentrated plant substances as they are can be toxic. In general, cosmetic products have low concentrations of plant extracts.
Plant extracts can cause irritation. Please check individual extract info to find out more.