Flowers, Plants and Cannabis: Are There Skincare Benefits to Botanicals?
At MANTLE, we believe in the power of natural skincare- which is why our premium skincare line is infused with organic, carefully chosen plant-derived extracts such as carrot oil, bisabolol, bakuchiol, buckthorn, vitamin E, shea butter, and, of course, CBD itself. We believe that balanced skincare is an extension of a centred lifestyle, and this is reflected in our products, which range from: The Dream Mask (a sleep mask for your nighttime skincare needs), The Calm Balm (a protective occlusive to protect your skin) and The Glow Serum (a silky, lightweight day-serum containing only the most soothing ingredients at the right ratios to suit any skin-type).
Now, you may be thinking: why botanicals?
Here’s why: we believe that botanicals have the potential to soothe and balance a range of skin types- because skincare should never be exclusive to a select group of people. Whether your skin is dry, sensitive, or oily, our products, infused with the handpicked gems of nature’s very best, can satisfy your skin. And, since we’re a Scandinavian company, this means that our skincare products are specialised to help your skin withstand even the harshest winter climates (trust us, it can get chilly over here!)- so, naturally, our products are designed to be gentle, protective, and hydrating for even the most dehydrated and sensitive skin. We’ve found that our botanicals are gentle yet versatile enough to penetrate, hydrate and truly balance any skin type in any weather- so, whether you need moisture and protection against icy winds, or something light and antioxidant-rich to keep your skin thriving in the sun, our CBD skincare range, infused with nutrient-rich botanicals, have got you covered.
What Are Botanicals?
Simply defined, botanicals are compounds that are plant-derived or plant-extracted- often in the form of herbs and flowers, and used in skincare. You could say that botanicals are vegan, natural agents, often used in holistic practices to help nourish and balance parts of the body. In skincare, they’ve been making their mark on the cosmetics world as the market has opened itself up to more vegan, cruelty-free, and natural alternatives. An example of this is the botanical extract, derived from the psoralea corylifolia plant plant, bakuchiol, which has made a name for itself as a gentle, vegan version of retinol.
Found traditionally in China in previous years, bakuchiol is now paving a name for itself in the West. Essentially, bakuchiol does what any good retinol does- it increases and improves cell turnover, ensuring that the skin refreshes its various layers at a quicker rate, making it a perfect skincare addition for those who might be prone to acne, hyperpigmentation, or unwanted skin textures. Retinol tends to act as a sort of exfoliating agent, meaning it can definitely irritate extremely sensitive skin (often, sensitive skin is a symptom of a damaged skincare barrier- where the lipid layer meant to protect the skin from losing too much water from its surface is a little less strong or not as ‘glued together’ as a balanced barrier should be, making the skin cells more susceptible to irritants, free radicals, and rapid water loss). Traditional sources of retinol act as an antioxidant, which helps the cells to turnover quickly. So, when used properly, in the right concentration, it can be a lot gentler than some exfoliants. Often these traditional retinols tend to be derived from animal sources. Bakuchiol, with all the qualities and none of the drawbacks of traditional retinol, is safe for vegans and other conscientious citizens, and is just as nutrient-rich and full of antioxidants as its non-vegan counterpart.
The Balance of Botanicals
Since ancient times, from Egypt to India, people have been using botanicals and plants to soothe and balance their skin- and while we don’t always endorse everything the ancients did, they likely knew a thing or two when it comes to natural skincare. From the Egyptians using floral and spice-infused oils to protect and nourish the skin to the Vedic principles of using natural plant-derived herbs such as neem, basil, saffron, and even turmeric to soften and nutrify the skin, the Ancients had a basic, nourishing, and effective skincare system which utilised all that nature had to offer.
And, with the use of botanicals for the skin, the Ancients clearly knew something about utilising, and giving back, to the natural world. It’s now been proven that plant-extracted skincare is often rich in antioxidants, promotes skin hydration, and can protect the skin’s moisture barrier in more ways than one.
MANTLE’s Favourite Botanicals
Some other examples of the ‘hero’ botanicals we use in our skincare range, which keep our products nourishing, balanced, and packed with natural antioxidants are the following:
Also known as cannabidiol, our premium CBD is organic, derived from Swiss hemp and full of antioxidants. In fact, CBD is so full of antioxidants, that it’s been hailed as a breakthrough skincare product, perfect to pile on a fresh, glowy morning serum or in the form of a thick, protective mask before bedtime. Free radicals, which tend to build up uncontrollably as we go about our days, are everywhere. From our cleaning products, to the air pollution caused by car exhaust engines, trains, and tubes, not to mention the unstable particles caused by UV rays and found in our homes. Letting free radicals build-up, without piling on as many antioxidants as we can find (within our diet, in our skincare, and even in the beverages we drink- seriously, they have to be everywhere!) can severely damage the skin, causing something known as oxidative stress. This happens when free radicals damage the DNA of the skin cells (they just want to stabilise, since they tend to have unpaired electrons which react with pretty much anything), causing issues like premature signs of ageing. You can imagine, then, that it’s so important to impact the build-up of free radicals with as many products filled with antioxidants as we can- and luckily for us, CBD skincare is packed full of the most antioxidant-rich ingredients out there.
What does shea butter do? Extracted from the nuts of the shea tree, shea butter has become quite popular in the skincare world as a thick occlusive. You’ll find shea butter present within The Calm Balm- a product that uses all the principles of balancing and moisturising dry, sensitive skin to leave you with a lovely glow. Shea butter is extremely useful in strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier, as it contains some essential fatty acids which may restore the skin’s health to protect and preserve moisture. Some of shea’s fatty acids include linoleic, oleic, and stearic acids (among others), which may sound complicated, but really serve an essential purpose- these fatty acids are quickly absorbed by the skin and serve to strengthen that protective moisture barrier on the outer layer of the skin. Since the skin’s moisture barrier is made up of fatty lipids, which keep skin cells together, any fatty acids which can make the skin’s barrier of cells more cohesive (often with more glutinous lipids) is essential. Since a strong lipid barrier keeps away intruders and maintains optimum hydration, a healthy barrier is vital for smooth, glowing skin.
Alongside this, shea butter serves a hydrating function, which makes it perfect for skin that tends to get dry quickly- since shea is thick and sits on the surface of the skin, it can act as an occlusive (especially when it’s in the form of a thick urgent, like how we’ve constructed The Calm Balm) making it even more essential to avoiding moisture loss from the skin. Since preserving the skin’s hydration levels is one of the most important ways to keep our skin cells healthy, any ingredient which works to keep the skin juicy and moisturised is essential. Shea butter not only provides the skin with delicious fatty lipids and acids, it serves to artificially protect the skin from trans-epidermal water loss (which is when the skin loses water from its surface by evaporation- this happens when the outside temperatures are particularly cold or windy, offsetting that balance between the moisture content within and outside of the skin… water loss can also happen at an alarming rate when the skin’s moisture barrier is weak and the skin is left unprotected, without a sealant or occlusive to prevent water evaporation). Shea’s thick, protective properties make it an extremely important ingredient in our botanical collection, since it acts as both a protective and nourishing product to provide your skin with a host of hydrating properties. Aesthetically, shea butter sits beautifully on the skin, providing the skin cells with that rich glow that makes the skin look and feel fresh, hydrated, and plump.
Present in all three of MANTLE’s premium CBD skincare products, vitamin E is another extremely powerful antioxidant, helping to combat the free radical damage which UV rays tend to bring about in the skin. As a result, vitamin E is also essential in smoothing out fine lines, evening out skin texture, and promoting that youthfulness we all want in our skin. Paired with bakuchiol, which increases the turnover in skin cells, vitamin E soothes and hydrates the skin. Since vitamin E tends to come in a thicker form, it acts as an occlusive which seals the skin and protects from moisture loss.
Carrot Seed Oil
Present in The Glow Serum, carrot seed oil is an essential, yet often underrated, oil if you want your skin stay hydrated and healthy- which you definitely do. Perfect for providing those vital balancing properties on the top layer of the skin where our pores reside (since most cases of acne or breakouts tend to be due to bacteria and fungus getting blocked in by sebum in the pores, you don’t actually need a product to absorb into the skin to have it be particularly beneficial in preventing breakouts). Since carrot seed oil is, yet again, a thick occlusive, it acts like another hydration-seal for the skin. However, unlike the other ingredients, because carrot oil is an oil, it can’t penetrate the surface beyond the stratum corneum, also known as the first layer of the skin, and not do we want it to. Yet, because carrot seed oil sits on the stratum corneum, experience tells us its lipids and fatty acids do help strengthen our natural moisture barrier. For the most part, this oil is particularly beneficial because it sits on the skin, acting like another protective lipid layer to preserve moisture within the deeper layers of the epidermis. Carrot seed oil works to help the skin’s natural moisture barrier by providing the skin with an extra protective layer of balancing fatty acids.
Present within The Dream Mask (our hydrating sleep mask, perfect for waking up with smooth, nourished skin) and The Calm Balm (another protective, hydrating layer for any extra-sensitive and dry areas which may need special attention) buckthorn is full of vitamins, phytochemicals, and fatty acids, in the only way a natural plant-derived botanical can be. Our extract of sea buckthorn provides a great range of unique effects for the skin- from strengthening the moisture barrier and helping to hydrate the skin, to providing the skin with brightening, evening vitamin C (essential for those who have hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone). Pretty much indispensable in any skincare product which purports to improve smoothness and provide the skin cells with a range of nutrients, buckthorn has you covered with its potential to balance, brighten, and hydrate the skin.
Botanicals: A Better Way To Glow
At MANTLE, we’ve taken the idea of using vegan products which not only keep the skin irritation-free, but promote our cruelty-free ethos. At MANTLE, we value self-care and wellbeing, which means we take each ingredient that goes into our products pretty seriously. With something as important as keeping our word to consumers, ensuring that each of our products contains ingredients that are cruelty-free and organically derived from the natural world just skims the bottom of the barrel. We work to ensure that each one of our products reflects our principles- because, as we have built ourselves upon the basis of supporting our self-care practices, compassion, and kindness, we certainly want to mimic this within each one of our products. This means that each product we make is just as much a reflection of our ethical responsibility as it is a fantastic skincare product, rich with nourishment and balance.