Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - we know. But it’s no secret that we really are at our most confident when we’re looking and feeling our best, and a common way to look after our image is through the use of cosmetics. It’s safe to say cosmetics have come a long way since the days of Cleopatra lengthening her eyelashes with a mixture of animal fat and led sulfide, as the development of science and technology has exponentially diversified the beauty industry and led to innovations in just about every corner of the sector. From miracle face creams to paint your own freckles, the industry has seen a massive boom in recent years, with UK consumers forking out around £27.2 billion on cosmetics each year.
With the multitude of beauty products being made available, however, it can be hard to know what actually works, and, even more importantly, how these products are impacting our bodies. In these times of abundant choice, sometimes it’s wise to take a look back at what has been serving us well for centuries.
Botanicals have formed the basis for cosmetic products since humans first sought ways to improve the way they look, and as more people are opting for a stripped-back, chemical-free approach to looking great, botanical products have been witnessing a recent spike in popularity. In case you haven’t heard of botanicals before, the term simply refers to an extract from a plant that is beneficial or medicinal in some way, and botanical ingredients range from substances that have been used for centuries like chamomile, aloe vera, rose and tea tree, to newer discoveries such as cannabidiol (CBD).
In this article, we’re going to explore the multiple ways that CBD and other more traditional botanicals can benefit our skin, hair, and more, while also outlining the other positive impacts they can have on our physical and mental health - because there really are ways to look beautiful without jeopardizing your skin, your health, or the world around you.
The downsides of chemical cosmetics
Around 60-70% of everything you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. That’s a lot. And that’s exactly why using products that contain a lot of chemicals regularly may not be conducive to healthy skin and a healthy body. While most cosmetic products on the market pose little to no risk to the health of the consumer after routine use, over 595 cosmetic manufacturers have admitted to using chemicals in their products that have been linked to serious health conditions such as cancer, reproductive harm, or birth defects.
These toxic chemicals include formaldehyde, mercury, aluminium and parabens like isobutyl, isopropyl, and quite a few of these wouldn’t pass the simple test of ‘if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t be going on your skin’. While the use of such chemicals is usually listed on cosmetic products, the labelling of many products remains confusing and technical and consumers are urging cosmetic companies to adopt a more transparent approach to listing their use of these toxins.
Another downside of chemically constituted cosmetic products is that their testing processes usually contain animal subjects because of the unverified and unpredictable nature of these chemical compounds. On the contrary, products that are 100% organic and natural are majoritively able to bypass animal testing because the effects of their products on human skin are much more predictable, or are already known.
Finally, artificially produced cosmetics also miss out on the symbiosis that occurs between natural ingredients. This process can improve the efficiency of the natural compounds featured within botanically-based substances, which can improve the overall effect of the product, and this effect can be hard to achieve with artificially sourced ingredients.
What is CBD?
Otherwise known as cannabidiol, CBD has been making a massive splash into the wellness industry in recent years. One of 113 natural compounds that are found in the cannabis plant, CBD is a non-intoxicating substance that has a broad range of medicinal and therapeutic qualities.
One reason why CBD has seen a surge of popularity as of late is because of its inherently versatile nature. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and the presence of lots of fatty acids present alongside CBD in broad-spectrum isolates help it to be effective whether it is ingested or applied outside of the body.
Whether you pop a couple of drops of CBD into your chamomile tea before bed to help you with your beauty sleep or apply the oil or an infused product onto your hair, face or body - cannabidiol has the power to enhance your natural beauty in a variety of ways. So, next, we will be exploring the multiple reasons why you should incorporate CBD oil into your skincare or haircare regimen.
CBD in Skincare
It has anti-ageing qualities
For better or for worse, we’re all conditioned by society to want to look eternally young, fresh, and vibrant. With an abundance of anti-ageing products cropping up from all corners of the cosmetic industry, competition sure is high. However, CBD has been proven to be an extremely viable competitor as the beneficial compound has been shown to not only reduce the appearance of wrinkles but also to stop them from developing in the first place.
The reason CBD is so successful at combating the effects of ageing is because of its ability to limit threats of free radicals, which are molecules that can be produced by a range of external factors such as smoking to overexposure to sunlight, and which, over time, can cause damage to the DNA in the skin. Because CBD products are packed with a range of vitamins and fatty acids, it has antioxidant properties which help it ward off free radicals that contribute to ageing.
Soothing acne-prone skin
Another reason CBD should be incorporated into your skincare routine is that it helps prevent the excess oil buildup that can cause pimples. As a study from the Journal of Clinical Investigation has found, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the production of oil from oil glands, which subsequently prevents clogging of sebum that typically leads to spots developing.
Also, CBD oil is also a non-comedogenic substance, which means it doesn’t sit on top of your skin and create a greasy effect like many other products, making it much less likely to clog your pores. Sweet!
Reducing the appearance of scars or burns
A skin problem that is often synonymous with ance is residual scarring. Around a quarter of people who suffer from acne have to deal with the aftermath of scarring, so finding a product that can simultaneously prevent acne whilst providing a remedy for scarring can be extremely useful.
CBD is able to improve scarring because of its ability to regulate collagen production. This is significant because collagen has the power to change the development of scar tissue, as well as the ability to improve the appearance and texture of the scar. One study even concluded that if CBD oil is applied to a scar routinely for three months, significant improvements to the scar tissue can be visibly seen.
Especially in the colder months, many of us have to deal with the consistent irritation of flaky, dry skin. As annoying as it may be, there are solutions out there. Luckily for us, CBD is understood to be a ‘humectant’, which means that it is very effective at drawing moisture to and retaining moisture in the skin.
Because of the abundance of omega-6 acids found in CBD, the substance absorbs effortlessly and this long term moisture retention creates a very nourishing effect on the skin. This means it can be used on all areas of skin that are suffering, from your face to anywhere else on your body.
CBD in haircare
Strengthening and improving the quality of your hair
Is your hair looking a little lacklustre and are you looking for ways to give it a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’? If so then CBD might be your ticket to restoring your luscious locks. As every strand of hair is made out of protein, the protein-rich 21 amino acids present in cannabidiol help it to be very successful in strengthening and fighting against dry or broken hair.
Also, similar to the mechanism by which CBD fights off the effects of premature ageing, the antioxidant properties of cannabidiol can also protect your hair from free radicals - to help you achieve stronger, healthier, and more flick-able hair.
Boosting hair growth
Worried about your receding hairline or looking for ways to grow out your mane? For the same reasons that CBD is able to strengthen hair, it can also stimulate and encourage hair growth. Because of all the protein and omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids that are present within CBD oil, using CBD oil on your scalp can increase blood circulation, and this provides fertile ground for the growth of hair.
An overview of other botanicals
A botanical is simply a concentrated plant extract that serves any sort of beneficial function. Much like CBD which is extracted from the cannabis herb, other botanicals can be extracted from just about anything in the natural world, from flowers to roots and everything in between. Botanicals have been used in cosmetics for centuries, from honey and pomegranate which were used in exfoliating treatments in ancient Egypt, to coriander being used as a cure for pimples in ancient India. And now their use is really starting to come back in vogue, and the benefits of natural extracts are being advertised on a seemingly limitless array of cosmetic products.
Our bodies have learnt to respond to botanicals that are naturally occurring in the world around us throughout the process of evolution, so their precious antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial qualities can benefit the body in a range of different ways. Next, we’re going to explore all the ways that botanical products can serve to enhance your natural beauty - as well as outlining which specific botanicals are best for the job.
Botanicals in skincare
They’re great for your skin
This is probably an obvious one, but the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits of botanicals mean that they’re great ingredients for improving skincare. Botanical extracts can protect our skin in the same way plants can protect themselves from UV light, because their antioxidant properties prevent overexposure from harmful free radicals. This means botanical products are great at protecting your skin from situational or environmental influences like sun damage, smoking, and pollution.
The antibacterial nature of botanicals also enables them to be effective at lowering the risk of acne and blackheads by keeping pores clean while preventing the likelihood of new build-ups occurring. The natural form of these products also means that there is much less chance of the substance irritating your skin as they don’t rely on harsh ingredients like alcohol or benzoyl peroxide, which can often leave your skin dry, red, and irritated.
Turns out that green tea is more than a great brew, as the extract is also great at reducing inflammation in the skin and fighting off free radicals, and its antibacterial qualities also make it great at killing the bacteria that can form acne. The anti-inflammatory properties of rose and chamomile mean that they are also especially well suited for tackling red or inflamed skin, and they have been proven to help alleviate symptoms of chronic skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema because of their therapeutic and soothing properties as well.
Botanicals in haircare
They’re great for your hair
Yep, botanicals have been used in hair care treatments basically since the dawn of civilization to improve our locks in a myriad of different ways. From people in Arabia using the peel of a quince to cleanse their hair, to walnut shells and olive oil being used to hide grey hair during the ancient Roman Empire, botanicals have a long history of being our hair’s best friend. So this is probably why it’s no surprise that you can’t pick up a conditioner in the supermarket without finding the powers of ancient plant extracts plastered all over it.
Due to the abundance of vitamins and fatty acids they contain, different botanicals are successful in promoting the growth of strong healthy hair, dying it rich colours, generating hair growth, and even preventing the occurrence of dandruff. So without further ado, let’s get stuck into which botanicals are the most effective at doing what, so we can more clearly understand their relationship with our hair.
This one probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but henna is the plant which is the most effective at naturally altering the colour of hair. Most commonly found growing in the tropical climates of southern Asia, Africa and Australia, henna is an extremely pigmented plant that can dye hair and skin a variety of reddish and orange tones. While being a very important natural ingredient in hair care, it is also widely used to create decorative body art for ceremonial purposes in India.
Looking to combat the effects of hair loss? Millet seed extract may be just what you need. As a study in Germany has concluded, when this extract is combined with pantothenic acid and L-cystine, it has the power to reduce hair loss by around 5%. Also, as millet seeds contain linoleic acid, it is also great at strengthening hair and promoting healthy scalps.
Looking for a natural solution to dandruff? Peppermint oil and flaxseed extract have got your back (and your scalp!). The presence of fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 in both of these extracts help them fight against inflammatory conditions like dandruff. Also, their antiseptic and antimicrobial effects also make them effective at improving the quality of hair by fighting off external sources of damage and free radicals.
Another way to strengthen your hair is through the use of aloe vera. If you’re worried about the effects of sun damage or have found that our hair has been lacking a bit of life, aloe vera is great at moisturising, thickening, and strengthening your hair while soothing your scalp at the same time - perfect if you’ve been soaking up the sun for a little too long.
Botanicals in make-up
Switch up your look
Botanicals have been a staple of makeup since people have started seeking ways to alter their appearance. From hiding blemishes to adding definition and colour, the natural world is filled with highly pigmented and nutritious extracts that are great for enriching your look.
Because green tea is bursting with protective vitamins and minerals, it can be great at protecting the thin layer of skin on your lips. This makes it very effective in lip products like gloss or balms because it’s great at shielding your lips while giving them a lovely sheen.
If you’re looking to get glowy dewy skin, without the complication of added chemicals, grape seed and rosehip are great natural alternatives to traditional products. They are both filled with vitamin C which is super effective at evening out your complexion while helping your skin to look warm and radiant.
This one may seem a little left field, but as well as being incredibly nutritional and tasty, beetroot is also highly pigmented and can give your lips or cheeks a gorgeous natural pinky hue. Whether you apply it in its natural form or search for products containing the extract, beetroot can be a great alternative to more conventional lipsticks or blushes that you would find on the market.
The best way to incorporate these natural extracts into your beauty regimen
So, as we’ve just covered, CBD and other beneficial botanicals can enhance your natural beauty in an abundance of ways, as well as providing a great source of vitamins and minerals that can improve the overall health of your body and mind. But this begs the question, what is the best way to reap the benefits of these wonderful extracts and incorporate them into your everyday practices? There are a number of different ways you can harness the potential of these plant-based botanicals, but the most effective ways would be to use them in the form of an extracted oil or incorporated into a topical product.
When botanicals are extracted into an oil, their natural benefits are enhanced because of their concentrated form. Oil-based botanicals therefore last longer and are more effectively absorbed by the body. They are also much more versatile, as botanical oil is much easier to apply and can be used in a variety of different ways and for different purposes. CBD oil is a great example of a botanical oil, as it can be used in a huge variety of ways, from ingesting it to applying it directly to the face, body, or hair, for an array of cosmetic effects.
A good way for you to dip your toe into botanicals is to keep an eye out for products that combine botanical extracts with other cosmetic ingredients. From make-up to skincare to haircare products, lots of the products on the market contain extracts of the key botanical ingredients that we’ve just explored. For our cannabinoid lovers, topical CBD creams are an effective way to reap the benefits of cannabinoids for healthy skin and hair, whilst at the same time benefiting from the multitude of other effects of CBD.
Products at Botanic Lab
Here at Botanic Lab, we believe in the power of botanicals and plant-based products. That’s why all of our CBD oils contain 100% natural ingredients with no artificial sweeteners and lots of additional terpenes. Our Take 5 CBD oil contains 5% of cannabinoid goodness, so you know you’re getting the benefits of CBD without any intoxicating THC or other additional chemicals. Our CBD oil can be applied directly onto the face, body, or hair, or you can easily infuse it into any topical product of your choice, to help you achieve that gorgeous hempy glow!
If cracking open a refreshing drink is more your steam, we also sell a range of deliciously nutritious botanic drinks. We’ve sourced botanicals from all over the world to create three different mouthwatering combinations, and of course, all of our botanical drinks contain the superstar cannabinoid, CBD. If you believe in the power of botanicals or want to read more about our great products, you can browse our site here.