Updated: Jan 18
Nature has a remedy for just about everything, as we all know. Herbal extracts have been utilized in traditional medicine for thousands of years for their therapeutic qualities. Today, these same extracts are used in skin and hair care products to give natural, safe, and effective solutions to common beauty concerns.
If you're looking for a natural way to enhance your skin and hair care routine, consider using herbal extracts. These plant-based ingredients can be found in everything from shampoo and conditioner to face cream and body lotion, and they offer a range of benefits depending on the specific extract you choose. For example, some common uses for herbal extracts include reducing dryness, itchiness or inflammation.
Herbal Extracts in Skin Care
Herbal extracts are becoming increasingly popular in skin care products due to their natural, beneficial properties. Herbal extracts such as aloe vera, chamomile, lavender, and calendula are known to soothe and calm the skin while also providing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Additionally, herbal extracts can help to improve the overall appearance of the skin by reducing redness, evening out skin tone, and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Herbal extracts are a great way to naturally improve the health and appearance of your skin without resorting to harsh chemicals or artificial ingredients. If you are looking for a natural way to achieve healthier, more youthful-looking skin, consider incorporating extracts into your skincare routine.
Here's a few popular herbal extracts and their benefits in skin care:
Green tea extract has been proven to be prolific within the body. It’s no wonder it can cause similar benefits on the skin surface as well. The star of the plant compounds is the main active ingredient in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). It provides the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that make it a natural anti-aging tonic. Topical use on human skin has been shown to provide a photoprotective effect, protect epidermal Langerhans cells from UV damage, and reduce the DNA damage from UV radiation1.
Another holy grail that continues to amaze us is aloe vera. This cactus-like plant contains 20 minerals, 20 amino acids, and vitamins making it potent with wound-healing benefits. Its regenerative properties are due to the compound glucomannan, which stimulates the increase in growth factor receptors that, in turn, produce collagen. If that’s not enough, mucopolysaccharides along with amino acids present in Aloe vera can lead to skin integrity, moisture retention, and help to prevent skin ulcers2.
Another collagen synthesizer is lavender. The essential oil has potential to promote wound healing by accelerating tissue remodeling with collagen replacement and wound contraction. This can help in more ways than specifically wound healing by working as a preventative measure.
German chamomile is identified as an antimicrobial, antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic. Levomenol, a terpenoid in chamomile, is an anti-inflammatory and natural moisturizing agent that has been found to diminish the signs of photo damage and improve skin texture and elasticity.
Traditionally, calendula has been used to treat inflammation of internal organs, gastrointestinal ulcers and dysmenorrhea and as a diuretic tea. Its benefits in skin care have now also been explored. This plant contains several bioactive compounds, including terpenoids, terpenes, carotenoids, flavonoids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The flavonoids and triterpene derivatives present in calendula petals exhibit the anti-inflammatory properties3.
Herbal Extracts in Hair Care
Hair care is another area where herbal extracts can be very beneficial. Many commercial hair care products contain harsh chemicals that can strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness, brittle strands, and scalp irritation. Herbal extracts can help to restore the hair's natural moisture balance, making it softer and more manageable. They can also help to protect the hair from damage caused by heat styling and environmental factors. When used regularly, herbal extracts can help to improve the overall condition of the hair and scalp.
Herbal extracts have been known to help with scalp conditions like dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of certain herbs can help to soothe the scalp and reduce irritation. Herbal extracts can also help to stimulate hair growth by increasing circulation to the scalp.
Rosemary is thought to improve circulation to the scalp, which can promote hair growth. In one study, carnosic acid, an active ingredient in the plant, healed tissue and nerve damage. This active ingredient’s characteristic can heal nerve endings and may rejuvenate nerves in the scalp, possibly restoring hair growth. Another study showed successful hair regrowth in people with alopecia who used essential oils - one of which being rosemary essential oil.
Sage is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce scalp irritation and promote healthy hair follicles. Rosemary and sage are known to work synergistically together due to their similar properties. Sage’s high content of beta-sitosterol, a 5-alpha reductase compound, has been found to be effective in treating male pattern baldness.
Peppermint extract and essential oil stimulates and invigorates the scalp because of its ability to increase blood circulation around the scalp. The main reason for the invigorating tingly feeling and the benefits that peppermint produces is its main ingredient: menthol. Known to have astringent properties, it helps to normalize the sebum secretion and cools the scalp. Peppermint’s moisturizing properties help in treating dry scalp and dandruff so that you get beautiful hair and problem-free scalp. It heals the scalp and prevents itching too.
Stinging nettle contains a large amount of essential vitamins and minerals that can improve hair health, including Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, along with minerals such as folate, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and manganese. This combination of essential nutrients contributes to healthy, glowing skin and hair. Nettle also contains silica, making hair and nails stronger and promoting hair growth by boosting blood flow. Studies show that stinging nettle extract (leaves and roots) has the ability to block dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone produced by testosterone that, when overproduced, can cause significant hair thinning and hair loss.
While each plant active has its unique chemical make-up, your skin may react to an ingredient you’re allergic to. It’s important to always patch test for 24 hours before using any product especially if you have sensitive skin.
There are many different types of herbal extracts that can be used in hair and skin care that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties. You can find these herbs in a variety of forms, including shampoos, conditioners, oils, serums, and body creams and butters. When choosing a product, look for one that is specifically formulated for your hair type. For example, if you have dry hair, look for a shampoo or conditioner that contains hydrating ingredients like aloe vera or glycerin. If you have oily hair, look for products that contain astringent herbs like mint or lemon balm.
P.S. Our HerbalTonic line is infused with many of these ingredients and more. Check out the multi-purpose self-care line here!