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The obsession for natural and organic beauty products with ingredients sourced from popular tourist hotspots is taking a new direction. Instead of selecting ingredients from other continents, European brands are now looking to their own hills and coastlines. Premium and mass-market brands alike are introducing products formulated with traditional plants from the region surrounding the Mediterranean. The regional sourcing of the ingredients has an added eco-friendly benefit of reducing air miles for those in Europe and close by.
Olive oil is a popular Mediterranean beauty ingredient, as it has long been featured in skin and hair care products. Similarly, pomegranate, a fixture of the Mediterranean landscape, has appeared in more than 250 new beauty products in 2008 alone, according to Mintel GNPD. Some lesser-known, appetizing Mediterranean ingredients also are feeding innovation in recent skin care launches:
Prickly Pear Cactus
French natural brand Terre d’Oc was one of first personal care companies to formulate with Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear) in its introduction of Mousse de Fruits Démaquillant Visage in October 2006. Recently, the brand launched Terre d'Oc Beauté du Monde Elixir Visage, a serum formulated with argan and prickly pear fruit oils that are reportedly rich in carotenes. The product also contains date extract, known for antiaging and firming properties. This product claims to be made with 100% natural and 96% organic ingredients.
Another brand that uses prickly pear oil is MarocMaroc, launched at Le Bon Marche in Paris. L'Or et l'Argan Huile Sublimante Corps is a shimmery body oil that is formulated with argan to nourish and wheat germ and prickly pear oils to form a soft film. This noncomedogenic product is hypoallergenic and free from silicon and mineral oil.
Spanish brand Natura Bissé uses the prickly pear cactus’ flower extract in its GlycoLine Glyco Extreme Peel. This product combines chemical, biotechnological and pro-enzymatic exfoliating activities. It claims to restore the skin's natural exfoliating capabilities with 60% active ingredients. It contains a bio-engineered peptide called Exfoliactyl Mimetic Peptide (EMP) that was specifically designed to eliminate rough skin. Prickly pear flower extract is said to stimulate the exfoliation process by activating the enzymes involved in natural skin renewal.