Ingredient focus

The best emerging extracts on your INCI lists

Or should we say, the best emerging extr-ACT-s on your Skindie INCI playlists… ? From mushrooms to tamarind, squalane to acids, these are the cool new (and not so!) ingredients staking their claim to the industry airwaves.

Hailed as the *it* thing for those with skin discolouration, tranexamic acid – a derivative of the amino acid, lysine – is fast gaining industry traction. A brightening powerhouse, this superhero is perfect for tackling dark spots, melasma or lessening signs of sun damage or scarring to gradually unify tone – plus it complements other skin-brightening playmates like vitamin C and your retinol. Sufficiently gentle for everyday use, THE INKEY LIST’s {Overnight Treatment} works wonders: “In just over two weeks my hyperpigmentation has reduced dramatically. It isn’t gone completely but this is the first product I’ve used that has actually worked – I’ve been searching for years. Deffo give it a go.” – Cult Beauty customer review

Snow mushrooms. In fact, mushrooms, full stop are becoming increasingly present in skin care – celebrated for their anti-inflammatory, moisture-retaining and cell-rejuvenating benefits. Snow mushroom – hailed as ‘nature’s sponge’ for its ability to keep skin plump and ‘springy’ – is the star of Volition’s replenishing {Water Serum}, as well as {THE INKEY LIST’s} thirst-quenching, featherlight formula. Thanks to its gelatinous structure and ultra-high levels of polysaccharides (essential for supporting skin’s ability to maintain moisture levels), this trumps even hyaluronic’s incredible water-retaining capacity – capable of holding up to five times HA’s levels.

The bright yellow staple of Indian cookery – as well as the latte of choice amongst those in-the-know – turmeric’s list of credentials is seemingly endless. Rich in antioxidants, a proven antiseptic and a brilliant brightening agent, it’s also a fabulous anti-inflammatory – calming skin prone to dry, flaky flare-ups. The star of Volition’s {Turmeric Brightening Polish}, it’s also been allied with honey and nourishing avocado oil in Dr. Roebucks’s {Tama Healing Mask} – a balancing and blemish-fighting treatment that repairs and reassures your stressed complexion.

Squalane – a derivative of squalene which is naturally found in sebum – quite rightlfully fell out of favour because it was formerly sourced from shark livers (shudder). A fabulous way to help regulate oil and keep skin moisturised so it stays soft and supple, squalane is back thanks to new (and improved) ways to make it. Sustainably sourced from renewable sugarcane, {Biossance} has dedicated its entire range to this impressive extract – celebrating squalane’s many talents such as: boosting elasticity, normalising oil production, healing stressed or blemished skin, promoting greater clarity and shielding from the everyday environmental onslaught… *aaaand breathe*

Renowned for its ability to retain moisture, as well as its powerful antioxidant properties, camellia helps to protect against the elements’ worst efforts (UV, pollutants, stress), whilst encouraging repair to keep skin smooth and supple. With its high skin affinity making it perfect for soothing and comforting petal-esque faces, it’s ideal for sensitive skin that requires a ‘kid glove’ approach – bolstering barrier function while locking in moisture to ease any tightness. Found in Plenaire’s intensely replenishing {Skin Frosting Mask}, its also been paired with rose extracts in Pai’s {Gentle Hydrating Cleanser} – it’s basically Xanax for skin that’s in need of a chill pill…


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...