Hibiscus Blossoms in Skin Formulas

Hibiscus, rich in AHAs and amino acids, is demonstrating its versatility in cosmetic product launches. According to the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) Cosmetic Research, hibiscus is prevalent in new organic brands as well as established cosmetic and "doctor" brands. Whether derived from the flowers or seeds of this tropical plant, the extract has antioxidant and exfoliating powers. It is also used to complement hydrating, antiaging and oil-control actions in a variety of products ranging from face and eye care to anti-cellulite and self-tanning products.

Nude Skincare, launched in the UK’s first Whole Foods Market in London in June 2007, is a range of face and body products free from parabens, sulphates, PEGs or mineral oil. It was created by Bryan Meehan, the founder of Fresh and Wild, the first organic grocer in London. After selling his organic food business in 2004, Meehan reportedly decided to turn his attention to organic skin care; his goal was to create a "credible natural alternative for women that looks beautiful but most importantly works."

The range’s Miracle Mask is an AHA-based exfoliating and stimulating mask that contains Hibiscus esculentus extract and mandarin extract, as well as red ginseng. The oligopeptides from the hibiscus seed pods (okra) have been shown to have wrinkle-smoothing and radiance-inducing properties.

Green People Organic Fruitful Nights Skin Repair is another organic face care product that uses hibiscus. This night cream contains Hibiscus sabdariffa (from the flower), jojoba and rose hip. It is free from perfume, alcohol and parabens, and claims to be suitable for vegans.

Two recent anti-aging eye care launches in the United Sstates also feature hibiscus. Liftfusion M-Tox Soin Liftant Contour des Yeux promises smooth, bright, wrinkle-free eyes. The patented M-Tox formula contains peptides from hibiscus esculentus extract, as well as ginseng root and centella asiatica and other plant extracts. Together they are said to relax wrinkles, tighten skin and reduce dark circles and puffiness.

Cornelia Essentials Line Refining Eye Complex is a firming and toning product for the eye area available in salon/spa distribution. The antioxidant combination of mineral-rich Romanian mud, hydrolyzed hibiscus esculentus extract, soy protein and myrrh claims to “diminish the appearance of wrinkles and lines and de-age the skin for a more refined, radiant look.”

Hibiscus flower is said to have a toning effect. It is included in the new Carita Progressif Anti-Age Corps Sérum Sculpteur, an antiaging, anti-cellulite body product. In addition to caffeine, it contains hibiscus sabdariffa, rose tea extract and soy proteins that claim to leave skin smoother, more toned and firmer.

The toning action also translates to facial care formulas, as seen in the Clarins Truly Matte range. The Pore Minimizing Serum uses hibiscus flower extract combined with salicylic acid to unclog pores by eliminating dead skin cells that can block oil glands. Interestingly the product is not just positioned for oily and combination skin, since age and loss of firmness can cause pores to dilate, change shape and become more visible in all skin types.

Hibiscus also features in some recent self-tan launches, notably M10 Pour Homme Face Tanner and Designer Skin’s Get Down Brown Ultimate Dark Tanning Formula, a DHA-free tanning splash tonic. In these products it is the flower petal’s emollient action that is highlighted.

—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 www.gnpd.com or call Mintel International at 1-312-932-0600.

More in Anti-aging/Face