Unique Skincare Ingredients from Africa
why we love them!
By Jana Leonard
Africa has many tourist attractions and with good reason. From Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, the Pyramids in Egypt, Masai Mara National Park in Kenya, as well the Kruger National Park in South Africa, Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Morocco’s desert, markets and mountains - there’s something so incredibly beautiful and magical about Africa.
It’s no surprise that Africa also plays host to incredible, natural, ingredients used in many beauty products across the globe. Here, we have identified the top 10 we love - all from our gorgeous Africa.
Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa
Baobab oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the Baobab tree found in Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa. Often referred to as ‘The Tree of Life’, the lifespan of a Baobab tree is 500 years.
Benefits for your skin:
Nutrient dense: Baobab oil contains a lot of nutrients and minerals such as Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, alfa and beta carotenes, uronic acid, tannins, and phytosterols. All with their own unique benefits such as minimizing aging, regulating your skin’s oil production as well as improving balanced hydration and overcoming breakouts.
Moisturizing: Baobab oil is not only an excellent moisturizer but it also has anti-inflammatory properties which assist in soothing common skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta carotenes help protect our skin from harmful free radical damage, which are unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging.
Kalahari Melon Oil
South Africa (Botswana and Namibia)
Deep in the Namibian and Botswana desert, you will find the wild watermelon, however they certainly ain’t the sweet watermelon we know and love. They have yellow or pale green flesh and an extremely bitter taste, but the power lies in the seeds! Once opened, they are split open for their seeds which will then be dried out in the African sun until they hardly have any moisture left in them - leaving us with a golden-coloured oil. The seeds are pressed to extract the oil we know as Kalahari Melon Oil.
Benefits for your skin:
Strengthens your skin’s barrier: Linoleic acid, which makes up between 50% and 70% of its entire content, helps make the skin's barrier stronger so it can effectively keep water in and irritants out. It gets to work unclogging pores and removing excess sebum from the surface of your skin.
Anti-inflammatory: Kalahari melon oil reduces inflammation caused by skin conditions, while skin-friendly vitamins soothe.
Anti-aging: Thanks to its antioxidant properties as well as Vitamins A, C and E - Kalahari melon oil tightens and reduces wrinkles when used on the skin.
Repairing: The Kalahari Melon Oil consists of omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids, not naturally produced in our bodies so we need to find it through food or skincare, which stimulate skin cell growth, helping to repair skin damage and scarring. These stimulate skin cell growth, prompting regeneration and giving skin a much plumper, fresher appearance.
Moisturising: Kalahari melon seed oil is easily absorbed and very light, making it an excellent moisturiser.
Eastern and Southern Africa
Derived from the Marula tree, Marula Oil is either extracted from the seeds itself, or from the nut’s hard shell. Both houses incredible benefits for your skin.
Benefits for your skin:
Anti-aging: Marula Oil decreases the appearance of wrinkles, stimulates collagen production, and reduces water loss. The essential fatty acids improve elasticity.
Moisturizing: a non-greasy oil, Marula Oil is an excellent moisturizer for all skin types especially dry and oily skin. No, it won’t make your skin more oily - it penetrates deeply and effectively leaving your skin hydrated. A really good ingredient in lip balms.
Vitamin C and hyperpigmentation: Marula Oil has up to 4 times more Vitamin C, which counters hyperpigmentation, than in an orange.
We all love and appreciate Lavender Bushes in our garden, but it’s their oil that is the true star of the show. The oil is derived from the plant itself and can be taken orally, applied directly onto the skin as well as breathed in through aromatherapy.
Lavender oil’s benefits for your skin:
Acne-flighting: how amazing - Lavender oil is naturally antibacterial which means it naturally fights acne.
Calming: it has calming properties which means it will soothe irritated skin as well as reduce redness and scarring.
Anti-inflammatory: insect bites and sun damage for example can be treated with Lavender Oil due to its anti-inflammatory properties, because it soothes and heals the skin when applied.
Stress-relieving: Ah the smell of Lavender - it’s no surprise spas often have Lavender bushes around the property. The oil is known for stress - and anxiety relief - a true therapeutic experience for your skin and mind.
What sounds like a story from a faraway land, Rhassoul Clay found in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco is a beautiful skin detoxifying product which means “to wash”. Often referred to as “Moroccon red clay”, it is a mineral-rich clay high in magnesium and potassium.
Benefits for your skin (and hair):
Detoxifying: A very scientific answer, but due to the molecular structure of Rhassoul clay, and its high negative charge, it’s excellent for drawing out impurities from the pores of your skin. This means purified pores and significantly minimizes the appearance of blackheads! Thank you Marocco!
Deep-cleaned pores also means fewer signs of aging.
Oh the shine! It rebalances sebum production, preventing future breakouts while absorbing excess oil and impurities from your skin. This will result in a brighter, healthier and smooth skin - even after one use. However it is recommended as a weekly skincare treatment and after 8-12 weeks you will be astounded by the results. Oh the glow!