You know how we always tell you to read labels and stay away from ingredients you don’t know — well today we’re changing our tune. We’re not sure whoever thought to put sea buckthorn or coffee grinds on their face, but we’re sure glad they did.
The story starts with stumbling upon Vega Organics on a trip to Bali. Initially drawn to their long list of exotic ingredients, one of our editors returned to Singapore with a small bottle of potion: the face serum. In the days that followed, a lot of oohs and aahs went around the office, and that small bottle became a hot commodity. Naturally, we went straight to Google, and before discovering that we could pick up more in Singapore, we got caught up with a long list of ingredients we’d never heard of before. There were all these fancy names like prickly pear, evening primrose, and sea buckthorn, and upon doing some more research, we quickly realised that they were crazy, but effective. We reached out to Vega Organics and asked its founder for a lesson, and we came out with an encyclopedic list of exotic ingredients that will give you a good reason to revamp your routine.
1. Prickly Pear
This Moroccan beauty mainstay has been an integral part of skincare routines for Berber women for centuries. These are just SOME of the prickly pear benefits that you need to know about: it’s rich in vitamin K1 (which is known to help brighten under-eye circles), it won’t clog pores making it a great choice for oily and acne-prone skin, and it contains the highest levels of Betalains of any known plant, which are super antioxidants with powerful anti-ageing effects. “Prickly pear seed oil is one of the most powerful, luxurious skincare ingredients on the planet. With it, we make a serum, whose star ingredient is prickly pear seed oil, which is found at the highest percentage in our premium product exquisite face serum.” What’s more is that if you don’t use up all that serum (happens all the time), it can be used in your hair.
2. Evening Primrose
Evening primrose is a plant with yellow flowers that has picked up quite the reputation for being a remedy for everything from acne and PMS to high blood pressure. It also soothes and moisturises the skin, scalp, and hair while enhancing elasticity. “Evening primrose oil is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that’s also known to benefits reproductive tissues, blood channels, the respiratory passages, and the nervous system. Along with prickly pear, it is found in our exquisite face serum.”
3. Sea Buckthorn
Sea buckhorn? What on earth? We thought the same. Apparently, it’s renowned for its anti-ageing and skin healing benefits for containing up to 12 times the amount of vitamin c as in oranges. “Sea Buckthorn is referred to as the holy fruit of the Himalayas. It repairs oxidative damage and has wonderful anti-ageing properties while hydrating the skin and promoting the formation of collagen, a structural protein essential for youthful skin.” Sea Buckthorn can also be found in the face serum by Vega Organics.
4. Ginseng Extract
Ginseng has long been touted as being a prized anti-ageing ingredient because it has so many phytonutrients and because it helps tone and brightens skin. Read: it can help firm and tighten your look. What is it exactly? “Ginseng refers to eleven different varieties of a short, slow-growing plant with fleshy roots. And like most herbs, ginseng also protects the skin from environmental stressors. Also, because of its properties, it can help with oily skin as well as sensitive skin for its natural ability to balance oils.” Find ginseng extract as a core ingredient in the face cream from Vega Organics. As well as being the perfect facial cream, it can also double as a hand cream, a lip balm or for extra dry spots like elbows and knees.
5. Argan Oil
Anyone who pays attention to what they put in their hair has certainly come across argan oil, which makes us think of shiny, bouncy hair. “Argan oil is one of the rarest oils in the world and is known as liquid gold. It gets its real name from the argan tree, which until recently was grown only in southwest Morocco.” Argan oil is extracted from a nut and so nutritious that even goats will climb trees to get to them. As for us, we like the oil for being a multi-action, multi-purpose “superfood” for the hair and skin. Find it in the hair elixir from Vega Organics.
6. Camellia Seed Oil
Camellia seed oil is known for being the beauty secret of the Geisha to help keep their skin flawless. “Camellia oil is extracted from Camellia Oleifera, an evergreen shrub with shiny leaves and rose-like flowers. The oil is obtained by cold pressing of the seeds of the plant. No heat is involved in the process, so all properties of the extract are fully preserved. The oil has remarkable skin restorative and hair reviving properties, which is why Japanese women have used camellia oil as a key ingredient in hair care for hundreds of years. It is still one of the most treasured beauty oils in Japan.” Camellia seed oil is so versatile that it can be used in your hair, skin and body, so Vega Organics have included it in a couple of their products like their hair elixir and face serum.
7. Coffee Beans
Those who can’t start their day without a cup of joe will enjoy an extra dose of that irresistible smell of coffee by lathering some grinds up in the shower. It might not be something you ever thought of doing, but in fact, coffee grinds work wonders to unclog pores and polish skin by scrubbing away all the dead bits and exfoliating — without the use of chemicals. But that’s not all… “In the same way caffeine can wake your body up, it can actually help to wake your skin up too, so we made a coffee bean body scrub with added coffee extract for that extra kick.” According to Vega Organics, another benefit of using a coffee scrub is that it can help reduce the appearance of cellulite thanks to its high concentration of essential fatty acids, sterols, and vitamin E. “It’s love at the first scrub!”
8. Neem Extract
Neem comes from the Indian lilac tree and has for millennia been recognised as possessing powerful health-promoting in Ayurvedic medicine. Even more recently, modern research has been confirming its traditional uses. The extract of the neem leaf can be taken orally, but the oil is widely used to treat a variety of skin conditions due to it’s antiseptic, antioxidant, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. “Because of this, neem highly effective in treating skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. The concentrated essential fatty acids help to restore moisture and elasticity to the skin. Thus, it also has excellent moisturising, regenerative and restructuring properties.” Vega Organics use neem extract in their oat and white clay face cleansing powder, which is a gentle, daily all-in-one cleanser, exfoliator and mask.
9. Hazelnut Oil
With all the buzz about exotic oils in recent years, we’re not sure hazelnut oil slipped past us. Because it’s a powerhouse of fatty acids, proteins, and vitamins, hazelnut is a great oil for maintaining good hair growth and ideal for scalp massages to not only stimulate the hair follicles and nourish them but also to alleviate a dry scalp. “Because of its high composition of nutrients, minerals, flavonoids and antioxidants, this is a rejuvenating oil that has positive effects on our skin cells, combatting ageing in the scalp. And it protects your scalp from the sun by acting as a natural sunscreen.” Hazelnut oil is highly nutritious and supplies the hair with vitamins and minerals that promote beautiful and healthy hair. Vega Organics uses it in their hair oil for just that effect.
Asians have been using konjac fibre for over 1,500 years as an eco-friendly beauty product for sensitive skin and those suffering from atopic skin disorders.
Why? Because they are a natural way to cleanse, exfoliate, and detoxify your skin by buffing away dry, flaky skin. Vega Organics make an activated charcoal sponge that is a little gem in helping to create a natural glow for your complexion. “It cleanses, exfoliates and removes excess oil from the skin. All skin types can use the charcoal konjac sponge, including sensitive skin, and it can be especially beneficial for acne-prone skin.” The sponge is made from 100% natural and biodegradable vegetable konjac fibre.