If you’re searching for the best skincare ingredients, botanicals get our vote every time. Boulder-based Pharmaca esthetician Camille Capone explains that botanical ingredients are not just a safer choice, they’re often more effective than synthetic ingredients. “Many can have moisturizing, hydrating properties, stimulate cellular regeneration, and work with the immune function of the skin,” she says. That’s in addition to the fact that they’re non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.
So how to choose which botanicals are right for you? We recently talked ingredients with Terese Linke, Global Education and Training Director of Spa for PRIMAVERA, a German skincare line. (Though PRIMAVERA products are sold in spas, Pharmaca is PRIMAVERA's only U.S. retail outlet.) Here are some tips and highlights from PRIMAVERA’s NATRUE-certified line, broken down by skin type.
Sensitive skin: Soothing chamomile is great for sensitive skin, says Camille. PRIMAVERA’s Revitalizing Serum contains chamomile extract as well as organic rose essential oil to help reduce broken capillaries and promote cell renewal for a radiant, even tone. Also try PRIMAVERA’s Replenishing Cream, which contains organic, EFA-rich cassis seed oil and organic shea butter to lock in moisture and strengthen skin.
Dry skin: Find everything for your skincare regimen in the Moisturizing line. Each product in this line features Neroli oil, an essential oil from orange blossoms that Therese says is exceptional for balancing and soothing dry, flaky skin. Also good for dry skin are cassis oil, jojoba oil, fig oil and apricot oil—all of which help prevent moisture loss and together make up the super-softening contents of PRIMAVERA’s Moisturizing Multi-Purpose Face Oil.
Other skin challenges, solved
As Capone says, many botanicals have the ability to “stimulate cellular regeneration.” We got the skinny on Linke’s top tips for common skin problems, based on the botanical ingredients they contain.
- For rosacea, Linke suggests the Revitalizing Intensive Firming Cream. Its Matcha Tea Powder is anti-inflammatory and helps prevent free radical damage, while Green Algae Extract increases collagen and moisture, decreases expression lines and wrinkles, and enhances skin's firmness and density. She says another perk is that “since the color is slightly green, it takes away the severity of redness.”
- For sun-damaged or aging skin, go with the Restoring Body Care line. It features organic rose essential oil, which Linke says is good for broken capillaries, as well as “organic sallow thorn oil, which helps restore the condition of sun-damaged skin and helps heal and calm overexposed skin, and organic rose hip seed oil, which helps refine skin texture.”
- For puffy eyes, try Revitalizing Anti-Puffiness Eye Cream. Linke says its “organic eyebright extract helps soothe irritation and is wonderful for skin around the eyes because it brightens and stimulates the eye area.” It also contains organic Madonna Lily extract “to fight free radicals around the eyes.”
Sourcing is everything
It’s not just about choosing the right botanicals, it’s also about their origins. Therese emphasizes PRIMAVERA’s dedication to working closely with small organic and biodynamic farms, and finding farms in the country in which each ingredient grows its healthiest and best--e.g., lavender from France, tea tree oil from Australia or sage from southern Italy.
Nurturing close relationships with small farms also means that PRIMAVERA has much better control over handling and manufacturing, from harvest to bottling. For example, they use a custom cold-pressed distillation method just once; Therese says that many companies purchase oils that have been distilled three to five times, diluting their natural benefits. Camille prefers the same simple distillation processes that don’t require lots of heat. “This keep enzymes and other aspects of the herb intact, making it more beneficial,” she says. “As you distill it multiple times, the concentration gets weaker and weaker.”
Setting high standards for distillation means that PRIMAVERA knows for a fact that most of its natural essential, seed and plant oils are also organic. “We are not only in control of how the plants are grown, but also how that oil or extract is taken out of that plant,” she says. “Most of our oils are certified organic because we’ve extracted it naturally and haven’t used a synthetic solvent to take it out.” Camille agrees that it’s important to understand the distillation process, as oftentimes essential oils are distilled in cheap, synthetic solvents that contain parabens.
To find out more about better botanicals or about which products are great for your skin type, speak with a Pharmaca esthetician today.