In the wellness world, there are always new, trending ingredients that seem to suddenly appear in everything from food to facial products, all promising youthful this, and glowing that. There’s no question that certain ingredients pack more of a punch than others, and deliver unquestionable benefits (we should know, we’ve tried them all!).
That being said, the wellness market can be oversaturated with so-called “star ingredients,” and it can be difficult for consumers to decipher which trends are truly worth testing out for themselves. So, to make your lives easier, we sifted through the many noteworthy products out there, and selected four core ingredients that rise above the rest.
Bring it on, bakuchiol
Bakuchiol embodies the notion that nature is healing. The ultra powerful plant-based substance recently started taking the skincare scene by storm, rapidly appearing in serums and creams across beauty brands. Bakuchiol, which is extracted from the leaves and seeds of the babchi plant, is touted by dermatologists as a natural alternative to retinol, with the unique propensity to soothe, heal, and plump even the most sensitive skin. Bakuchiol is beloved for its anti-inflammatory, anti-acne, and antibacterial properties, plus its ability to gently (though highly effectively) reduce wrinkles, tighten skin, and diminish pores.
Although bakuchiol boasts many similar benefits to retinol, it comes with a far lower risk of side effects and potential for peeling and irritation. A 2019 study found that retinol and bakuchiol are equally effective when it comes to treating wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, though retinol users were more prone to dryness and stinging (that’s a reti-no from us, thank you!).
In case you weren’t already sold on swapping your retinol for a bakuchiol-based product, here’s another fun fact: There are currently no known side effects of using bakuchiol, and it’s deemed safe for all skin types. The same study mentioned above found that individuals who implemented bakuchiol into their skincare routine for 12 weeks saw notable improvements in wrinkles, pigmentation, photodamage and elasticity. Other studies have shown similar results, and bakuchiol has repeatedly proven to reduce acne, as well as multiple common signs of aging.
Similarly to retinol, bakuchiol is applied topically, often prior to moisturizer. Given that it’s less harsh than retinol, bakuchiol can be used more than once a day, including in the morning (even if you’re being exposed to sun, though you should still layer on an SPF) and/or evening.
As bakuchiol is swiftly dominating the skincare realm, there are countless products that incorporate the star ingredient.
Here are some of our favourites that we suggest you sample, stat:
From L to R: Province Apothecary's Vital Nutrient Face + Eye Balm; Omorovicza's Miracle Facial Oil; Herbivore Botanicals' Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum; Biossance's Squalane Phyto Retinol Serum; Ole Henriksen - Goodnight Glow™ Retin-ALT Sleeping Creme; Graydon Skincare's Phyto Clear.
Murumuru butter, which is extracted from the seeds of the astrocaryum murumuru plant, has become known for its miracle moisturizing capabilities. The ingredient works wonders on both skin and hair.
If you’re looking for the ultimate hydrator (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), murumuru butter is where it’s at. Murumuru-infused skincare and hair products offer optimal moisturization that will quickly quench dry skin and hair, leaving it bouncy, youthful, and oh-so-shiny.
Specifically when it comes to skin, murumuru is also uniquely soothing, as it’s rich in vitamins A, E, and C, as well as omega 3s and 9s. The ingredient also has natural anti-inflammatory properties, which is ideal for those who suffer from eczema. Not to mention, murumuru butter is also notably less comedogenic than other moisturizing ingredients (such a coconut oil), and therefore is less likely to clog pores.
As far as haircare goes, murumuru is also loaded with benefits. Say goodbye to frizz, as murumuru’s moisturizing properties will work to banish flyaways and soften crimped hair cuticles. Given murumuru’s hydrating strength, it also adds swoon-worthy shine and shields the hair shafts from heat and sun damage.
Must-have murumuru products:
From L to R: Glossier's Priming Moisturizer Rich; Colleen Rothschild's Honey Vanilla Body Butter; Natural Brasil's Murumuru Restoring Hair Mask.
All about ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen with natural medicinal properties. This evergreen shrub boasts a ton of science-backed benefits that range from bolstering mental health to memory, muscle strength to skin.
Research has repeatedly reinforced ashwagandha’s unique ability to target stress and anxiety, boost sexual function and fertility, sharpen memory, and support heart health. Although ashwagandha is often ingested orally in the form of teas, powders, and supplements, the ingredient mustn't be overlooked as a potential skincare savior, too.
Given that the herb has natural anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties, it can stave off blemishes and remedy active acne. Ashwagandha also has anti-aging benefits, as it boosts collagen production in the skin which promotes elasticity and prevents wrinkles and fine lines from forming. In other words, ashwagandha isn’t only useful for healing mental stress; it’s also great for healing stressed skin.
Maximize the benefits of ashwagandha by incorporating it into numerous aspects of your wellness routine. Throw some in your smoothie and some on your skin—you’ll thank us later. Here are some of our favourite products that feature the superhero ingredient:
From L to R: Goli's Ashwagandha Gummies; Sun Potion's Ashwagandha Herbal Supplement; Four Sigmatic's Balance Functional Creamer With Ashwagandha & MCT Oil; Youth to the People's Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream with Ashwagandha + Reishi.
Squalane in the spotlight
Last, but certainly not least, is the star ingredient squalane, which is traditionally sourced from shark livers but found in many other vegan sources as well (look for cruelty free versions of products if this is something meaningful to you). Believe it or not, though, squalane is a natural oil that actually exists in our own skin. Given that it mimics the natural oil found in human epidermis, squalane is an excellent moisturizer, with lots of anti-aging properties.
Historically, squalane has been used in medicine to treat wounds and skin concerns, and with continued use, the product has the ability to reduce scars, reverse UV damage, fight free radicals, and banish hyperpigmentation.
Above all, squalane is stellar when it comes to hydration. It’s an incredibly effective emollient, meaning it literally locks moisture into the skin and brings dry patches back to life.
Beyond boosting your skin health, squalane has a number of other potential health benefits, including improving the immune system, heart health, fertility, and mouth ulcers.
Our favourite squalane products include:
From L to R: The Ordinary's Retinol 1% in Squalane; Biossance's Squalane + Omega Repair Moisturizer; Indie Lee's Squalane Facial Oil; Nature's Glory's Squalane Shark Liver Oil; Graydon Skincare's Intimacy Oil.
Look for the well-necessities
The wellness world is always evolving with new innovations and promising ingredients. It can be hard to keep up with the trends, but bakuchiol, murumuru butter, ashwagandha, and squalane should not be overlooked. These powerful substances have proven their potential, and incorporating them into your daily routine is a simple—though still effective—step you can (and should!) take to enhance your overall well-being.