Natural ingredients and 'green beauty' have been around for centuries, with some of the earliest evidence being traceable back to the Ancient Egypt. Ancient artefacts discovered in burial grounds portray Egyptians wearing makeup, and it is not just this we have taken from our ancestors. Many ingredients we find in our skincare today, have been used for many, many years before us and the uses for them have not changed too much either! We've taken a look at some of these unique ingredients which have lasted the test of time and where you can now find them in modern skincare.
Used in skincare since the biblical age, frankincense is a resin gum extracted from the bark of the Boswellia tree. Frankincense and frankincense oil both have skin disinfectant and regenerative properties and carry a unique scent, it's for these reasons that it was first utilised in skincare to reduce fine lines. Today it is similarly used for its rejuvenating purposes, as well as for scarring, stretch marks and insect bites as is naturally antibacterial.
Find it in: Balmology Neroli & Frankincense Beauty Balm and Dr Jackson's 02 Night Skin Cream.
Cleopatra is said to have added saffron to her legendary milk baths to maintain a light skin tone as far back as 50 BC. Centuries later it has been adapted to work well when taking off the fake tan! Saffron, on its own, is now a rather expensive ingredient and one you wouldn't be using too heavily if you were to throw it in your evening bath!
These days, there are many more beneficial uses of adding saffron to skincare. Adding saffron to a face mask helps the blood circulation to create a glowing appearance. It also has antibacterial properties, and when added to other ingredients such as basil leaves, it can contribute to reducing the appearance of pimples.
Find it in: Dr. Alkaitis Ageless Facial Elixir and Mauli Rituals Radiance Mask & Exfoliant
Utilised by the Ancient Egyptians, they knew the importance of staying clean and would mix clay in with ash and oil to form soap which they would fragrance slightly to stop the odour created by the scorching sun. As well as using it as soap, just as it is used today, they used the clay to draw out impurities in their skin with face masks and to smooth fine lines and wrinkles in the skin.
Today, there are several types of clay products available. Kaolin clay is best for those with sensitive skin that want to cleanse without drawing out too many oils, as it is mild. Those with particularly oily skin should look at French Green clay, which has an exceptional ability to draw out toxins and absorb oil, this is also commonly used for body wraps.
Find it in: REN Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser (Kaolin), Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (Rose Clay) and Skin & Tonic Gentle Scrub (French pink clay).
In Ancient Greece, honey was used, along with goat's milk, herbs and olive oil, as a base for cosmetics. Its anti-inflammatory actions were used to make face masks and face and body scrubs to help shed dead skin cells, as well as being used in Ancient Egypt to hydrate the skin after being exposed to the blistering heat.
Honey can now be found in an abundance of beauty products, but most notably in skin care, it is used in cleansers as it helps break down and remove makeup from the skin and as well as a spot treatment to zap and calm down any pesky breakouts, due to its fabulous antibacterial functions.
You can find it in the Living Nature Deep Cleansing Mask or Egyptian Magic Skin Cream.
Taking inspiration once again from our Ancient Egyptian ancestors, both Pharaohs and their workers loved to use almond oil on their skin to keep them looking youthful. The vitamin E found in the oil would draw out harmful toxins and rid the body of any free radicals and is still used in formulations developed today.
Today, it is used for its many skin benefits including being amazing for those with dry skin as it prevents excess moisture loss and will help balance the skin when used a cleanser.
Find it in: Balance Me Super Toning Body Oil or Trilogy Vital Moisturising Cream.