Artisanal Skincare Formulator’s Guide to the Best Natural Anti-Aging Ingredients

In 2015, the anti-aging market was worth about $140B – this is expected to rise to $216 billion by 2021. It’s easy to get caught up in the marketing of anti-aging products, but the truth is you don’t need to spend a lot to get results.

The key is understanding what ingredients actually work versus what is marketing hype. Once you understand the basics, you can learn to make your own anti-aging skincare or find smaller brands (without a crazy advertising budget) that use natural ingredients to help keep skin glowing and healthy for years to come.

 

How does the skin age and where can skincare help?

No matter what, the natural aging process over time will lead to fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.  The Journal of Cosmetic Science reports that genetics, hormones, and your anatomy (skin thickness in certain areas, for example) — also known as intrinsic aging — play a big role on when these changes to our skin occur. Also, beyond the skin’s surface, bone, fat, and cartilage loss (sometimes called “subcutaneous support”) as we age can also contribute to more “droopy” skin that may not look as full, elastic or supple as when we were younger.

However, how we treat our skin,  our environment, lifestyle, sun exposure, diet, and stress levels — known as extrinsic aging — also plays a big role on how our skin ages. Years and years of our food choices and personal habits like smoking and sun exposure have varying effects on how our skin looks as we get older.

Fortunately, a natural skincare routine incorporating natural and plant-based ingredients high in fatty acids, vitamins, amino acids, and have been shown to fight inflammation, restore moisture, decrease the appearance of fine lines, and promote regeneration of skin cells.

I’ll show a few of my favorite anti-aging ingredients you can incorporate in your homemade skin care.

My favorite natural anti-aging skin care ingredients

There are a ton of resources out there that claim they have a magic potion or miracle ingredient for anti-aging – but when dealing with organic, homemade products, I’ve found a good rule of thumb is to gravitate to simple ingredients with names you can recognize.

Your local health food store and Amazon are great places to get basics, but some of these more exotic ingredients are harder to come by. For these more unique items, a good place to go for purchasing your botanical ingredients are Formulator’s Sample Shop and Lotioncrafter – they sell almost any ingredient you can think of (including the ones listed here) in small quantities so you can experiment at home.

My favorite natural anti-aging ingredients for skincare formulation:

honey-anti-aging-skincare-ingredient

Honey Powder  

Great for: Hydrating dry skin

How it works:  Honey powder, is essentially honey that has been sprayed onto a malodextrin powder carrier to spread more evenly. As I’ve said in past posts, honey is a natural humectant – a botanical that helps draw moisture from the air in a process called a hydroscopic effect that can help restore natural moisture to the skin. This is crucial for anti-aging since sun exposure and loss of subcutaneous support under the skin causes drying and loss of natural oils. This powdered version of honey is less sticky than it’s hydrated counterpart and can be used in soap, body dusts, facial masks, salves and more.

Where to buy: Amazon, Formulator Sample Shop, Lotion Crafters

 

wheat-for-anti-aging

Rice, Quinoa, and Wheat Protein

Great for: Reducing inflammation and hyperpigmentation

How it works: Rice, Quinoa, and Wheat proteins are great anti-aging peptides – a string of amino acids bonded together by nitrogen and carbon. Peptides are able to easily penetrate the epidermis to send signals to the cells of how they should function, meaning they’re great at treating inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and other signs of aging. Rice is also fairly mild, and is good for sensitive or allergy-prone skin types. A bonus – hydrolyzed rice proteins are great for your hair, too!

Where to buy: Amazon, Formulator Sample Shop, Lotion Crafters

iris-for-anti-aging

Iris Florentina Extract 

Great for: Improving elasticity and fading age spots

How it works:  Irises are the best. They’re beautiful flowers that also have hugely powerful anti-aging properties! Iris florentina extract is common in many products you can find in your local beauty store, but is best whenever used in its natural form in a mask, cream, or balm. Its main benefit lies in its naturally-occurring isoflavones, which are a class of flavonoids that exhibit antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that can improve skin elasticity and limit wrinkles.

Where to buy: Lotion Crafters, Formulator’s Sample Shop

Save 20% from Formulator’s Sample Shop

If you purchase from Formulator’s Sample Shop, use the code “Botaneri” for 20% off your purchase.

Rosehip-seed-oil

Rosehip Seed Oil

Great for: Retin-A like replacement 

How it works: You’ve probably heard of Retinol and Retin-A as powerful anti-aging products that decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These are the marketing terms for a powerful version of Vitamin A, which has antioxidant properties that can work wonders on these markers of aging skin. A great way to get the benefits of Vitamin A in a natural way is through using a rosehip seed oil. It’s fast-absorbing, packed with antioxidants, and can be added into your cleansing and moisturizing routines at night to pack an anti-aging punch while you sleep.

Where to buy: Amazon, Lotion Crafters

Botaneri “Level-up” Tip

A simple way to get started with making your own anti-aging skincare products is to start with facial oils and balms. One of my favorite recipes is my Homemade Cleansing Balm for Dry or Mature Skin. It’s super simple, only has two ingredients, and is a multi-purpose product that can be used as a cleanser, moisturizer or a hydrating mask.

algae-for-skincare

Algae Extract 

Great for: Cell regeneration and reducing the appearance of fine lines

How it works: I bet you’ve never seen a wrinkled mermaid? Algae may be to thank for that. Just kidding. 

But many popular, cult-like skincare products (think Le Mer) include some form of algae or seaweed extract. There are a wide variety of algae and seaweeds, but all are rich in vitamins, minerals, and various trace elements.  These minerals work as co-factors in many enzymatic reactions such as protein synthesis and cell reproduction. Algae extracts can moisturize the skin, as moisture loss is a key component that leads to skin aging and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  

Where to buy: Formulator Sample Shop

 

bamboo-extract

Bamboo Powder

Great for: Gentle exfoliation

How it works: Bamboo powder is a gentle physical exfoliant great for when you need some extra help to slough off dead skin,  thus providing better cellular oxygenation and a purified appearance. Skin irregularities are reduced and the skin appears more radiant. What makes this powder special is its tiny size, around 200 μm or the width of a human hair, so it feels fine to the touch, not gritty like other physical exfoliants.

Where to buy: Formulator Sample Shop

 

edelweiss-for-skincare

Edelweiss Extract

Great for: Vitamin C replacement

Edelweiss is a mountain flower belonging to the daisy or sunflower family that became a symbol of rugged purity of the Alpine region and of its native inhabitants

It is a very powerful antioxidant with one source claiming it has a ”twice the free radical scavenging power of Vitamin C”.  These properties come from plant-derived compounds such as Chlorogenic acid, Luteolin, Bisabolane derivatives, and beta-Sitosterol.

Where to buy: Lotion Crafters

 

 

sea-buckthorn-skin-anti-aging

Sea Buckthorn Oil 

Great for: Plumping skin and hydration of dry skin 

How it works: Another go-to organic oil you should have in your anti-aging repertoire is sea buckthorn oil. It comes from berries that grow naturally in Europe and Asia, and has been popular there long before it hit the Western natural beauty world.

This oil has high concentrations of vitamin E and C which combat and prevents wrinkles, along with moisturizing omega 3 and omega 7 fatty acids that plump up the skin. A 2012 study found a mixture of sea buckthorn oil and water applied to the skin promoted skin elasticity better than a placebo.

Where to buy: Amazon, Lotion Crafters

Save 20% from Formulator’s Sample Shop

If you purchase from Formulator’s Sample Shop, use the code “Botaneri” for 20% off your purchase.

Frankincense-for-skincare

Frankincense Essential Oil Boswellia sacra Flueck. syn. Boswellia carteri Birdw.

Great for: Mature skin, dry skin, wrinkles

How it works: Frankincense comes from Boswellia trees (actually it’s more of a shrub) and historically only grew only in Southern Arabia, India, and Northern Africa making it hard to find, and therefore very expensive. 

What makes it so great for the wound healing and regenerative properties. Because of this, it’s effective on helping to fade ages spots, fine lines and assisting stretch marks to fade.

Where to buy: Florihana, Stillpoint Aromatics

 

 

helichrysum-essential-oil-for-skin

Helichrysum or Immortelle Essential oil Helichrysum italicum

Great for: Skin healing and cell regeneration

How it works: This oil is known as immortelle for a very great reason. Once you use it, your skin will be immortal.  This oil is known for helping to heal everything from bruises, acne, eczema, scar tissue, rosacea, and help with mature skin.

The reason you don’t hear more about helichrysum (immortelle) is two-fold— the price and the fragrance.  Expect to pay around $30 to $40 dollars for 5ml. The second is the scent. Helichrysum is also known as curry plant because of the strong scent of its leaves. If you walk past a field of helichrysum, you’ll know why it got that name.

According to Clinical Aromatherapy, the healing properties of helichrysum are said to be due to two unusual ketones — italidione and beta-diketone which are  only found in Helichrysum italicum.

Because of the scent, this oil is best used in night creams. Trust us, on this one.

Where to buy: Florihana, Stillpoint Aromatics

Botaneri “Level-up” Tip

If you want to try your hand at a DIY essential oil recipes, we love our Japanese Forest Bathing bath salt soak as well as this ultra-healing DIY cuticle oil.

Kakadu-plum-anti-aging

Image credit: jurlique.com.au

Kakadu Plum 

Great for: Helping UV-damaged skin

Kakadu Plum has been an important food and medicine in Northern Australia for millennia. Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital said “It’s (Kakadu plum) been shown to fight off cancer cells and may be helpful for UV-damaged skin.” This may be because when found in its natural state, it contains ten times the amount of Vitamin C found in other fruits.  Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that slows down the aging process by helping to form proline, an amino acid that makes collagen.  

Where to buy: Formulator Sample Shop

 

chamomile-essential-oil-great-for-anxiety

Allantoin

Great for: Skin smoothing and healing

How it works:  Although allantoin was originally derived from the comfrey plant, chamomile, sugar beet, and wheatgrasses, today a natural-identical version of allantoin is created to sustainability, cost, and safety reasons. Allantoin is an active ingredient in skincare products like diaper creams and psoriasis medications to treat or prevent dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin and minor skin irritations. Allantoin works to smooth the skin by increasing the water content of the extracellular matrix and enhancing the shedding dead skin from the top layers of the skin. This is one of my personal favorite facial cream additives because it leaves my skin glowing and soft at a reasonable price.

Where to buy: Formulator Sample ShopLotion Crafters

 

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Premature Skin Aging

It might not always feel this way – but aging is beautiful! On a certain level, we all must accept that changes to our skin will happen. However, there are some natural and homemade skin care ingredients that will be a big help in reversing some of the not-so-great effects aging has on our skin.  Even lifestyle and skincare changes we make later in life can make a big difference in helping prevent and even remedy the effects aging has on our skin.

As Dr. Kauvar says, prevention is the best step you can take to limit the effects of aging on the skin. This includes protecting yourself from the sun by staying indoors during the hottest time of the day (typically 11 – 3 pm) and using a sunscreen including zinc oxide as a physical barrier.

We tend to focus on the weight loss and cardiovascular effects of exercise on our bodies, but regular cardio can improve our skin and limit aging as well. Exercise increases blood flow to the skin, flushing cellular debris and cleansing it from the inside, according to dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD.

 

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About the author

I’m Drew, creator of Botaneri and an artisanal skincare formulator and certified aromatherapist who is here to help take the mystery out of DIY natural beauty. I started creating my own plant-based skin and body care products at home to deal with my own skin issues.

I love helping people create luxurious and effective self-care products right in their own kitchens. It’s a lot easier than you think. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you.