Cosmetics are often reproached for being too chemical, not natural enough… And yet there are many interesting opportunities for the industry to transform into a beautiful fruit basket, as faraway countries provide us with so much richness, in the form of vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, fatty acids, or sugars our skins are crazy about… even if each of them has their own specificities, and even if their carbon balance is less positive than our local actives’.
Pineapple (Ananas sativus)
The ‘king of exotic fruits’ was imported from the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus, and it is now very familiar to us, although it also offers revitalizing beauty benefits, as it is rich in vitamins, fruit acids, and sugars.
• Its cosmetic active: bromelain, or bromelin. In addition to its numerous medicinal properties, this enzyme is essentially present in the fresh fruit, and has a keratolytic action on the skin. It acts as an exfoliating agent on dead cells, without any rubbing, to eliminate them and restore the skin’s radiance.
• Its products: purifying masks and radiance enhancers are regulars. Pineapple extracts are also used to balance combination skins or boost the tone of tired epidermises.
• But also: bromelain is also used in organic toothpaste for an anti-dental plaque action. However, its efficacy in slimming products has never been proven… or actually observed.
Banana (Musa balbisiana)
This is the most well-known and consumed tropical fruit. It mainly comes from Africa, Latin America, and the West Indies, where it is cultivated all year round. Bananas can be yellow or green, and they are a source of antioxidants, vitamin B6, and mineral salts for young or mature skins.
• Its cosmetic actives: sugars and mucilages are bananas’ main assets. The former are soft moisturizers, the latter are richly nourishing. And this is valid both for skin and hair, which also benefit from its richness in vitamins and minerals.
• Its products : until then, bananas were not much used in cosmetics. But things move fast in this ever-changing sector. Kadalys launched a first skincare range exclusively based on banana tree actives in 2012. Musatherapy®, the banana beauty therapy, was born!
• But also: children usually love the taste of banana. Its aroma can sometimes be found in toothpaste or lip balms intended for them.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
This exotic active is all the rage. It can be found in numerous cosmetic products in the form of a fruit extract or seed oil, juice, powder…
• Its cosmetic actives: antioxidants are what makes pomegranate so rich, and it is its oil that is mainly used in cosmetics. Its polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and other ellagic tannins, or hydrolyzable substances constitute powerful anti-aging actives. They are enhanced by the punicic acid, a fatty acid with repairing properties that has a tightening effect, which makes the whole pretty coherent.
• Its products: there are countless pomegranate ranges, whether for face or body products, with Weleda ahead of the other brands.
• But also: Everything is good in a pomegranate! Its pleasant smell makes its bark or juice useful as masking agents (to cover the not-so-attractive odour of some raw materials used in cosmetics) or perfuming agents. Its seed can be used as an abrasive agent in body or face exfoliants or scrubs. Its oil is renowned for being emollient, moisturizing, and really nourishing for the epidermis. Its fruit is astringent (it tightens the skin’s pores for a refined complexion) and toning…
Let alone its tannins, which can be used to fix hair colourants, its antioxidants, which enhance skin regeneration, offer anti-radical protection, and are therefore particularly welcome in anti-aging or after-sun ranges, and its pigments, which can illuminate makeup products with most beautiful rosy shades.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
The coconut fruit is a very interesting cosmetic ingredient for its perfuming, moisturizing, and exfoliating properties. Its oil is widely used, but it can also be found in the form of shell powder, milk, water, alcohol, esters, or surfactant in our beauty products.
• Its cosmetic actives: the fatty acids in its saturated oil (which are saturated too) make it nourishing, softening, and well-adapted to treatments intended for dry skins, to which it gives a satin-like gloss.
• Its products: skincare, hair treatments… this gentle oil has a good skin tolerance and can be found almost everywhere, even in baby products. Let’s not forget about the essential monoï, as it is its main component.
• But also: oils of coconut (derived from the nut’s fresh pulp) and copra (obtained from dry pulp) are used as a base to numerous emollients and emulsifiers, which further reinforces the omnipresence of coconut in cosmetics, since it can be found in almost all cleansing gels (shower gels, shampoos, liquid soaps…). Its micronized shell also finds applications as an exfoliating agent in body or face scrubs.
Mango (Mangifera indica)
Its richness in nutrients (vitamins C, B, and E, provitamin A, iron, betacarotene, polyphenols) and its antioxidant power make this Indian fruit a very popular anti-aging cosmetic active.
• Its cosmetic active: the oleic acid (Omega-9) contained in mango butter intensely moisturizes and nourishes dry skins and devitalized hair.
• Its products: this is an essential ingredient in masks and treatments for dry hair. It can also be found in numerous moisturizing products intended for dehydrated skins or lips.
• But also: the mango extract, which is also rich in antioxidant carotenoids and polyphenols, moisturizing squalene, vitamins, and minerals, also constitutes an interesting toning active. It is frequently used in skincare products such as cleansers or lotions.
Papaya (Carica papaya)
This is the anti-aging star at the moment. It can be found in food supplement departments. It was given media coverage by Prof. Luc Montagnier when he treated Pope John Paul II: fermented papaya is rich in fibres, antioxidants (catechin, carotenoids), and vitamins. When it is used in cosmetics, papaya offers the skin the same benefits, plus its soft and exotic perfume often associated with that of mango.
• Its cosmetic active: papain. Do you remember bromelain in the pineapple? Here is its equivalent in papaya, which is derived from the latex of the fruit, but also the tree. And these actives are often combined in the same formulas… for the same reasons.
• Its products: it is most welcome in combination and oily skin treatments, revitalizing anti-aging skincare, and skin radiance enhancers.
• But also: papain is also said to have anti-hair regrowth properties. In any case, some deodorants or post-epilation retarding treatments claim it has. Its oil is rich in oleic fatty acids, which makes it emollient. It regulates the sebum in oily or acne-prone skins and revitalizes dry and dehydrated hair.
The list of exotic fruits and their cosmetic properties does not stop here: avocado, guava, passion fruit, lychee… they all brighten up our beauty products.
Lastly, a detail that makes everything even better, they make the best impression when they decorate cosmetics labels, and they sell so well marketing departments just love them. So the cosmetics industry has every reason to keep using them!