Alpine Purity: Edelweiss

The growing use of floral and plant extracts from pristine environments is indicative of the trend for purity in cosmetic products. Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) is proving particularly popular in natural formulas: the flower’s Alpine provenance is highly marketable and used to evoke visions of crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, bright sunshine and an overall lack of pollution. According to Mintel GNPD Cosmetic Research, launches of premium skin care products containing edelweiss have nearly doubled so far this year, compared to all of 2006.

This beautiful and resilient white flower is considered a symbol of purity in Switzerland. Immortalized by the musical The Sound of Music, edelweiss belongs to the sunflower family and blooms between July and September in rocky areas at high altitude. It is claimed to be capable of resisting extreme temperatures and the flowers are rich in tannins, flavanoids and phenylpropane derivatives, endowing the extract with reported soothing and anti-free radical properties. Tests have shown that as an antioxidant, edelweiss is 50% more effective than ascorbic acid. As seen in Mintel GNPD Cosmetic Research, for some skin care brands edelweiss is the foundation of the range, while for others it is an effective addition to day care, sun care and antiaging formulas.

Inspired by the mountain air and plants near its spa in the French Alps, Fermes de Marie Beauty was one of the first skin care brands to use edelweiss. This spring, the brand launched Lift Alpes, an antiaging range featuring edelweiss and other mountain plants such as mugwort, buddleia and masterwort. The Anti-Aging & Regenerating Serum claims to offer "extreme performance" and "provides shock treatment to combat the first signs of aging--wrinkles and a loss of firmness." True to the pure and natural philosophy of the brand, Lift Alpes skin care products are reported to not contain silicones, mineral oil or preservatives that could be considered aggressive.

From another mountain region in France is La Clarée Oliv'. Although olive extract is the key active in this new ECOCERT-certified range, it contains a complex of organic green tea, edelweiss and aloe vera, said to reinforce the antioxidant action and hydrate the epidermis. The Moisturising Body Cream moisturizes and regenerates the epidermis. It reportedly contains no parabens, mineral oil, GMOs, ethoxylated products, silicon, synthetic fragrance or coloring.

The luxury skin care and makeup brand Chantecaille has introduced Just Skin Anti-Smog Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15. This lightweight product is described as an "anti-smog moisturizing skin perfecter with natural, nonchemical (titanium dioxide) sun protection." It contains anti-irritant, antioxidant and anti-pollution botanical extracts including edelweiss, honeysuckle and green tea.

In the United States, Designer Skin added Shine Ultra Dark Tanning Blend to its self-tanning range. The patent-pending DHA-free formula contains more than 20 plant extracts, including edelweiss. As a bronzing lotion, it promises "24-hour continuous moisture" to hydrate and nourish the skin, along with tan accelerators to create a "spectacular dark color." The edelweiss contributes to the product’s Fade Defying formula, which is claimed to fight oxidative stress and free radical damage.

—Nica Lewis, Mintel

The Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. The Mintel Cosmetic Research Database tracks mass market and luxury cosmetic innovations in France and the United States. For additional information regarding either Mintel GNPD or Mintel Cosmetic Research, visit or call Mintel International at 1-312-932-0600.

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