This is the main ingredient group to explore in the making of truly sustainable skincare products in your kitchen. In Asia, food and beauty products are often interchangeable, and roughly half the ingredients in most dishes are used in a traditional beauty regimen. The reason why we should use food for our skincare products is obviously for safety because food ingredients are far more regulated than cosmetic ingredients. In addition, they are biodegradable and both our bodies and the Earth know how to process them.


Plants, flowers, and marine extracts contain phytochemicals that can be beneficial to our skin. In homemade products, we can control the amount of these useful extracts to make them truly effective. Plants, flowers, and marine extracts make great tincture and infused oils which can be used in creams and lotions.
Arrowroot or kuzu (Maranta arundinacea): A plant harvested from rugged mountains, it soothes and heals irritated skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is odourless and has deodorising qualities too.
Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita): Chamomile prevents pigments from being produced and provides an anti-inflammatory effect. As it prevents skin irritation, including sunburn while some studies show it has SPF 15, chamomile is commonly used in sunscreen products.
Cherry blossom (Prunus yedoensis): Cherry blossom is effective in reducing skin inflammation and is used in skincare preparations owing to its soothing properties. Cherry blossom flower extract is known for its antioxidant properties and has been found effective in treating age-related skin damage. The leaves, bark, and fruits have proven antioxidant properties which means they help fight damage caused by UV rays. You may find unsalted dried flowers or dry tea in Japanese grocery stores.
Cinnamon: It is a bronze brown colorant, although it requires caution as it may irritate the skin.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis): The extract of green tea contains polyphenols which are known to be potent antioxidants and fight free radicals. Topical green tea extract provides photoprotection and reduces the number of cells damaged by UV radiation.
Liquorice: Liquorice extract is helpful to improve hyperpigmentation. It is commonly applied once or twice a day for 3–4 weeks before sun exposure. Licochalcone A, which is extracted from liquorice root, is known to effectively reduce UV damage. Having been a traditional herbal remedy in East Asia, liquorice root extract is valued for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, depigmenting, and skin-lightening properties
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus): The leaves can be used as an astringent when made into a tincture, and it is also beneficial for treating infection if used when bathing wounds. It also makes a soothing eyewash.
Rose water: Filled with antioxidants and various vitamins, it helps soothe and cool sensitive and irritated skin, as well as balances and cleanses. It also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
Thyme: It is known to have anti-inflammatory, healing, and antiseptic properties. Some studies confirm that it helps fade hyperpigmentation. It is known to be an effective antibacterial agent, killing a broad range of microbes.
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