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MECCALIFE is our August campaign, encouraging us all to take a closer look at our beauty choices and values. Think: plant-derived ingredients, vegan-friendly formulations, sustainable and recyclable packaging, conservation and more.
Plant-derived skincare: it’s the oat milk of your beauty routine. It looks like milk. It foams like milk. It tastes like milk… and for many people, goes down with a little less irritation. The latest in skinnovation, plant-derived ingredients are shaking up our skincare routines by taking traditional actives and offering gentler, more bio-available alternatives.
In the same way we’d never judge an oat latte regular for devouring a quattro formaggi at dinner, plant-derived skincare ingredients pair perfectly with their traditionalists (think retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C and the like) to create harmonious formulas that offer greater, more noticeable results with a much lower risk of irritation (or going overboard).
Pronounced buh-koo-chy-ol (say it aloud for cheap thrills), bakuchiol is an active derived from the seeds and leaves of the babchi plant native to Eastern Asia. The increasingly popular ingredient delivers on retinol-like results – softened lines and wrinkles, improved firmness, even skin tone and an all-over glow – but with a more gentle, hydrating, sensitive-skin-friendly approach than its vitamin A-derived counterpart. Bakuchiol works by helping to stimulate the production of collagen, while down-regulating the activity of collagen-digesting enzymes. It’s less sensitive to the sun too, making it a great inclusion to your skincare routine at either end of the day.
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In close succession to the rise of bakuchiol (of which we started seeing more and more of from about 2018 onwards) comes bidens pilosa, another highly effective ‘bio-retinol’. The plant itself is a fast-growing weed, whose extract is known to help firm the skin, regulate sebum production (in turn, helping to clear acne), and fade hyperpigmentation – all while calming and illuminating. In many cases, bidens pilosa is used in conjunction with retinol in certain formulas to boost the results of retinol without the risk of sensitisation. It is also considered to be a great pregnancy-safe alternative for retinol-devotees during their trimesters and when breastfeeding.
Alongside our favourite pastas, breakfast sides and soups, the use of mushroom in skincare is nothing new – in fact, fungi have played a lead role in the health and wellness formulas of Asian cultures for centuries. Hydrating, calming and packed with antioxidants, many of the world’s more than 14,000 mushroom species are classified as adaptogens – which means that they may help your skin to return to its calm, natural state when exposed to physical, chemical or biological stress. When formulated onto a delivery system that allows them to effectively penetrate the skin, mushrooms can help to reduce visible redness, soothe irritation and brighten your complexion. Turns out the humble ’shroom can give your skin a little va-va-voom!
First discovered in the Northern Territory’s Kakadu National Park – a place of great ecological and biological diversity – by First Nations peoples, Kakadu plums contain the world’s richest natural source of vitamin C, a result of the fruit developing an impressive self-defence system required to survive constant and extreme exposure to the sun. This makes the ingredient an unparalleled skincare inclusion for its free-radical fighting, hyperpigmentation-fading, and ultra-brightening benefits. In addition to its vitamin C potency, Kakadu plum contains gallic and ellagic acids; the former, an antioxidant known to inhibit melanogenesis (the process of hyperpigmentation), and the latter, an ingredient that helps to negate the visible effects of long-term UV exposure. Pair a Kakadu plum-powered product with an Australian-made SPF in your morning routine, and you’re good as a Golden Gaytime.
Are you a K-beauty fan (who isn’t!)? Then you’ve no doubt got a ‘cica cream’ (or three) in your skincare wardrobe. The hero ingredient of these heavy-hitting hydrators is none other than Centella asiatica. Also known as tiger grass, Indian pennywort or Brahmi, this super herb has long been lauded for its ability to help heal wounds – and it’s recently become a popular skincare ingredient for its calming properties. This adaptogenic multitasker contains a cocktail of amino acids, fatty acids and beta-carotene, all of which can help soothe, hydrate and soothe stressed skin (think redness, dryness, flaking, texture issues). If you suffer from irritation, keep a lookout for Centella asiatica when selecting your skincare products.
Want to know more about plant-derived products at MECCA? Join us in the Skin Lab this month where we’ll show you all about the brands that hero plant-derived ingredients.