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Novel herbs offer ‘elevated’ natural promise in cosmetics: Review

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

A range of herbs offer promise in hair and skin care formulations, including saffron, jatamansi, knotweed, Indian frankincense, natal mahogany and green tea (Getty Images)
A range of herbs offer promise in hair and skin care formulations, including saffron, jatamansi, knotweed, Indian frankincense, natal mahogany and green tea (Getty Images)

Related tags herbs herbal extracts Natural cosmetics Hair care Skin care

Novel herbal ingredients can be incorporated into a range of natural skin and hair applications for both cosmetic and therapeutic benefits and will rise in importance in coming years, say researchers.

Writing in Plant Archives​, a team from the Chitkara College of Pharmacy in India reviewed the potential of herbal plant ingredients for use as natural alternatives in hair and skin care applications.

The review said there had been a “rapid advancement”​ in how herbs were used in cosmetics since prehistoric times, moving from early use as facial colourings and medicine to functional components in lip balms, soaps, face washes and conditioners. Many herbs – including saffron, jatamansi, knotweed, Indian frankincense, natal mahogany and green tea – were now incorporated into hair and skin care formulations for “cosmetic benefits along with providing therapeutic benefits”, ​they said.

Herbal ingredients could be obtained from any part of a plant, including flowers, seeds, roots and fruits, and extracts could be made in the form of oils, powders and even juice. Possible cosmetic applications were far-reaching and included creams, gels and oils, among others.

Skin care and hair care – herbals a ‘favourable choice’

Writing in the review, the researchers said in the modern beauty era, herbal cosmetics had been “in trend”​ for some time, sought after for their “elevated”​ natural status. Herbs, they said, were appreciated for important compounds, such as flavonoids, carotenoids and polyphenols.

“The utilisation of novel herbal plant ingredients in various formulations such as hair tonic, hair gels, face packs and face creams have proved to be [more] beneficial than the formulations containing solely chemical compounds. These novel ingredients have helped in the enhancement of beauty, as well as the health of an individual,”​ they wrote.

Novel herbs in hair care formulations, for example, could be used to impart smoothness and lustre or treat problems like dandruff and alopecia. Novel herbs in skin care formulations could be used to beautify the skin as well as improve the texture through maintenance of keratin structures and generation of free radicals to boost collagen, they said.

And there were several reasons natural herbal cosmetics were “preferred over the synthetic ones”,​ the researchers said, including compatibility with all skin types; efficacy; diversity; and cost.

Herbal cosmetics, they said, were “suited for almost all skin types”,​ providing benefits irrespective of skin colour or hydration. There was also a “large diversification of herbs and plant materials”​ available to use in cosmetics, they said, many of which cost less than synthetic alternatives.

A future push for herbals – regulation and standardisation

The review stated that whilst herbal formulations held an “appreciable amount of business worldwide”,​ safety and efficacy was often questioned because of a “lack of evidence as well as standardisation procedures”.

Moving forward, therefore, the researchers said it would be important this was addressed and, once achieved, the future would be bright for use of novel herbs in cosmetics.

“…It can be estimated the future trends for the growth of the herbal industry will show an elevated rise along with better standardization procedures for maintaining the safety, efficacy, and quality of the herbal drugs,”​ the researchers wrote.

Source: Plant Archives
Published: 2020, Vol. 20, Supp. 1 – e-ISSN:2581-6063
Title: “Novel herbs used in cosmetics for skin and hair care: A review”
Authors: A. Kaur, TG. Singh, S. Dhiman, S. Arora and R. Babbar

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