From tiger grass to silver ear mushrooms, a wave of innovative ingredients is set to shake up the beauty industry.

When it comes to beauty, consumers continue to demand natural, as previously shown in our “New Natural” beauty report. To stand out from the crowd, brands are turning to unique ingredients for the latest beauty elixir. Many of the new ingredients are familiar in the edible world and some derive from ancient medicine—what’s understood is that beauty brands are scouring the corners of the world for exciting new and natural ingredients.

Miracle mushrooms

The magic in mushrooms finds its place in a host of new skincare products. LA wellness brand Moon Juice released Beauty Shroom last month, a skincare range made with different types of mushrooms. The Plumping Jelly Serum is made using the Tremella fuciformis mushroom—also known as the silver ear or snow mushroom—an ingredient that can supposedly hold 500 times its weight in water. The mushroom is also used in the brand’s Vegan Collagen Protection, a powder that can be mixed with coffee or smoothies to hydrate and plump the skin from the inside out.

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Beauty Shroom by Moon Juice
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Volition, the brand behind Sephora’s sold-out Prismatic Luminizing shield, has just launched the Snow Mushroom Water Serum. This miracle ingredient is not only hydrating but can also help to promote cell renewal and aid collagen production to prevent the signs of ageing.

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Volition Beauty Snow Mushroom Water Serum
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In June, Youth to the People released its Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream, which contains reishi mushroom. The benefits? It’s “created to battle the signs and symptoms of stressed skin exposed to environmental pollutants” claims the brand’s site.

Carbonated Korean beauty

Bubble clay masks, snail slime skincare and lip patches have put Korean beauty on the map when it comes to innovation in this sector. The latest K Beauty hack involves using sparkling water in your skincare regime, which will supposedly increase firmness. The face-cleansing technique, made popular in Korea, helps to keep the cells between collagen fibers strong, which promotes plump and firm skin, as well as washing out the pores without unnecessary harshness.

Brands are latching onto this trend by creating powders which become effervescent when mixed with water. Examples include Mizon’s Vita Lemon Sparkling Powder, which purifies and firms the skin when mixed with water. Brilliant’s Love Heart Sparkling Powder is another carbonated face wash, which additionally helps to balance and control oil production.

Superfood skincare

Superfoods have long been celebrated for their positive impacts on the body and the mind, making them the perfect beauty ingredient. The latest superfood cropping up in premium and mainstream beauty products is the moringa seed, which can be used as both an oil and an extract. The seeds are unique as they can be used for both dry and oily skin, as well as a hydrating treatment for your hair. Shu Uemura has used the seeds to create a deep-conditioning hair mask, while luxury skincare company 3Lab has launched an eye cream, using the ingredient to reduce puffiness.

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Shu Uemura Moringa Urban Moisture Hydro-nourishing Deep Treatment Masque and Conditioner
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What else? The Australian kakadu plum superfruit is similarly making waves in the beauty industry, having previously been relatively unknown. Grown in northern Australia, it contains 55 times more vitamin C than a Florida orange and could prove helpful for UV-damaged skin. The ingredient is central to Oilixia’s Kakadu Plum Gummy Facial Cleanser and can help the skin appear both brighter and smoother.

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Oilixia's Kakadu Plum Gummy Facial Cleanser
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Korean skincare brand Dr Jart created a buzz last year when it released two products containing tiger grass—the common name for the centella asiatica plant—which tigers in India are known to roll in to heal wounds and infections. When applied to the skin, tiger grass has a soothing effect and can even encourage new skin cell growth, making it an exciting addition to creams and serums. The brand started by launching the Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment and Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream, later extending the line to include a nightly repair mask and treatment serum.

“Both tiger grass and kakadu plum are interesting as they’ve been used for centuries as folk medicines but are now starting to crop up in cosmetics,” Anna-Marie Solowij, CEO and cofounder of BeautyMart tells JWT Intelligence. “Kakadu plum is an Aboriginal bush food which is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Equally tiger grass (centella asiatica or gotu kola), so called because wounded tigers roll around in it, has been used in Ayurvedic, African and traditional Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory saponins.”

Good bacteria skincare

Probiotics and the microbiome have been hot topics in beauty in recent years. It seems this ingredient is having a second wave of success, with a host of brands incorporating prebiotics into their offerings.

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Gallinée

Too Faced announced last month that it will be expanding its makeup line to include more skincare products. The collection will be based on the Hangover Primer range, which uses coconut water and probiotic ingredients. This year, Unilever invested in Gallinée, a UK-based skincare line which uses a combination of prebiotics, probiotics and lactic acid to help support the skin’s good bacteria.

With the global organic and natural beauty market expected to reach nearly $22 billion, according to figures cited by Statista, brands must stay ahead of the curve or risk missing out on the next big thing. Luckily, unusual and beneficial ingredients are coming to light around the world, which will help brands stay at the forefront of innovative development.

For more on interesting ingredients in beauty read our Q&A with Jasmina Aganovic, president, Mother Dirt.