Beauty and cosmetics
Discover the plants that are used in the beauty industry - be it in cosmetics, skincare or fragrances.
Plants are a source of oils used as moisturisers in a variety of products. For example, Cape chestnut seed oil is an ingredient in soaps, and avocado oil, which penetrates human skin readily, is added to products such as moisturising creams.
A wide range of species are used to fragrance beauty products. These include essential oils of wintersweet, lavender, lemongrass, basil, oregano and myrrh. Vanilla is one of the most important ingredients in perfumery. Many plant species are also used in aromatherapy.
Other plant products are selected for their physical properties. Oats and rice are used in exfoliating scrubs and sugar cane is used for hair removal. Gum arabic is used as an adhesive in face masks and powders, and to give a smooth feel to lotions.
The chemical properties of species are also important. For example, Aloe vera gel is used in skin products for its healing properties, Hoodia gordonii is used in slimming products, and rice starch and oil are used for their alleged anti-ageing properties.
Other species are used as a source of dyes for skin and hair products, for example Cape chestnut.
Explore profiles of species used in the beauty industry
Tasmanian blue gum
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