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Revealing the Secret of Beauty—It's Elementary

By: Mintel Oxygen Reports
Posted: January 3, 2012

The four elements. They are essential to life itself, and new findings from Mintel show how three of them—earth, water and air—are becoming more and more commonplace in today’s beauty industry as the market goes back to basics.

Earth: Where There’s Muck, There’s Brass

At first sight, earth appears an unpromising source of cosmetic beauty. That’s far from the case, however. Muds and clays have traditionally been used by women around the world for detoxifying and cleansing face masks, and now beauty companies are carefully selecting different colored clays from sources such as the Amazon basin, the Tuscan hills and the plains and rivers of India for their purifying, protective and anti-aging properties.

KeSari’s Pore Minimizing Indian Clay Masque is a good example. Inspired by Indian bridal traditions, this U.S. company created the clay-based mask to cleanse pores, remove dirt and impurities and lift toxins from the skin. However, while clays and muds are usually seen in facial skin care and body care products, they are also used in hair care and color cosmetics. U.S. niche brand Tarte, for example, added Amazonian clay to its limited edition Collection Palette, inspired by the True Blood television series.

Volcanoes have come under the spotlight too, recently. Formulators have found a rich seam of skin-vitalizing minerals in the muds on the slopes of volcanoes, as well as exfoliating and toning sand. These are appearing in premium skin and body care products, as well as spa brands. Volcanic Ash Mud Mask from Sella Cosmetics is said to help fight against UV damage and repair sebaceous glands, as well as providing anti-aging, anti-acne, anti-wrinkle and anti-blemish action.

Carbon is also in focus. After a brief initial flurry of activity, manufacturers shied away from fullerenes in the face of consumer anxiety, but Asian brands have brought them back into the spotlight, and Western brands are now following suit. Initially selected for their powerful anti-free radical activity, fullerenes are now being combined with whitening ingredients and high-tech actives such as epidermal growth factor (EGF) and stem cell extracts to present global anti-aging skin care. That most emblematic Asian product, the sheet mask, exemplifies this combinatorial approach. White Reviving Skin Radiance Mask Sheet from Natural Sciences Skin Solution combines fullerenes with platinum to form a Skin Renewal Complex, while niacinamide, baobab extract and Fucogel-1000 are said to brighten, reinforce and moisturize the skin.