the buzz: The kakadu plum has been both food and medicine to Australian Aborigines for centuries. And for good reason: The kakadu has the highest concentration of vitamin C than any other food source on the planet—about 50 times more than a typical orange. Vitamin C is a key antioxidant for skin, as it aids in the growth and repair of tissues, helps generate collagen and blocks damage by free radicals. Due to its incredibly high nutritional content, kakadu may take the title of “superfruit” from the goji berry in 2009. But supplies should remain steady: The kakadu is sustainably harvested from a flowering bush native to Australia, just outside Kakadu National Park.
the benefits: The antioxidant punch protects and refreshes skin, improving cellular turnover for a brighter complexion. It’s particularly suitable for aging, dull or photodamaged skin.
the biz: Glow Skin Spa in New York City offers a 75-minute Kakadu Plum Skin Brightening Anti-Aging Facial for $150 that incorporates Plantogen’s Skin Brightening Complex containing kakadu plum. The treatment promises to balance uneven skin tone, improve hydration and promote radiant skin.
4. mushroom extract
the buzz: Since ancient times, Eastern cultures have benefited from the healing properties mushrooms offer. Though many types of mushrooms are salubrious, including oyster and enoki, the shiitake mushroom has played an integral role in Asian medicinal treatments. This prehistoric fungi has proven in very recent studies that it can boost immunity response, lower cholesterol and even fight breast cancer cells. The mushroom can also turn back the clock on your skin by encouraging cell renewal, blocking aging proteins and evening skin tone. Perhaps that’s why mushroom extract is now being implemented in everything from specialized serums to daily moisturizers and cellulite treatments.
the benefits: Mushroom extract contains kojic acid, a natural lightening alternative to hydroquinone, which makes it ideal for those with acne scars or sun damage. However, anyone with a mushroom allergy should avoid these products.
the biz: Actifirm Mushroom Mask is a gentle, healing post-op treatment designed to calm irritated or inflamed skin. It can also be used after dermabrasion or a chemical peel.
5. organic herbs
the buzz: With the green movement evolving into a daily lifestyle, concerned consumers are questioning what they put on their skin and frequently turning to natural and organic ingredients. Though organic natural ingredients may not provide the same dramatic results as a high-tech tool, the amount of effective, natural beauty enhancers found in nature is astounding—and more discoveries are being made each day. Witness the amazing array of organic fruits, teas, vegetables and herbs turning up in everything from pimple cream to foot lotion.
the benefits: Organic plants and herbs have properties that inhibit bacterial growth, hydrate, soothe, cleanse and protect. Organic harvesting practices help maintain a healthy environment, too.
the biz: Sothys’ Beauty Garden line has almost 100-percent natural ingredients, grown and harvested with organic methods from its own garden in France. The line’s moisturizing complex is derived from three plants (cherry trees, angelica and hawthorn) and combined with plant glycerin to help hydrate and improve the barrier function of the skin.