Berries for Beauty

Natural benefits for the daily routine.

Katie Walker December 20, 2012

It’s no secret that berries are important for good health. They can reduce cholesterol, help prevent diabetes and cancer, and are great sources of immunity-boosting vitamin C. And beauty companies are finding that the same nutrients making our internal selves run better can also make our skin glow—no berry pie or smoothie required.

Many beauty products use chemicals to ease wrinkles, sun damage, and age spots, but natural product companies are using berries to get the job done. Ido Leffler, cofounder of the Yes To brand, lauds the use of berries. “Berries are inherently full of nutrient-rich building blocks such as antioxidants, phytochemicals, flavanoids, carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals,” he says. “It’s these components of berries that are known to be beneficial to the skin, most often used for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Plus they smell delicious.” Karen Behnke, founding partner of Juice Beauty, points out another bonus of berries: “They provide rich colors for our lipsticks, lip glosses, and cheek colors.”

Some of the nutrients beauty companies are harnessing:

Anthocyanin. The pigment responsible for the deep red, purple, and blue colors in many plants, including berries. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps mitigate damage from free radicals on the skin. Found in blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Ellagic acid. An antioxidant that protects skin from sun damage and hinders the formation of an enzyme that breaks down elastin and collagen in the skin. This combination creates a one–two punch against wrinkles. Found in blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Essential fatty acids. A crucial element for general health, they can improve skin’s hydration and smoothness, and reduce inflammation. Found in açaí berries, and the seed oils of blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries.

Vitamin C. A strong antioxidant that protects skin from free radicals. It hydrates the skin and increases collagen and elastin levels. Found in blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, elderberries, goji berries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Krysia Boinis, cofounder and CEO of Vapour Organic Beauty, puts it simply: “Berries beautify skin.” With so many organic berry beauty options out there, why choose anything else?

 

Do-It-Yourself

If you’re strapped for time or cash, you don’t have to go to the department store for berry beauty. Try these three DIY treatments to get the great skin benefits of berries at home. Just be sure to use organic ingredients.

  • Anti-aging mask: Mash up a handful of raspberries with a spoonful of honey and apply the mask to clean skin for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
     
  • Cranberry face scrub: In a bowl, blend 1⁄4 cup cornmeal, 2 tablespoons freshly crushed cranberries, 1 tablespoon buttermilk, and 2 teaspoons honey with a fork. Massage onto your face and neck for 2 or 3 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. Apply to clean, damp skin once or twice a week.
     
  • Three-berry antioxidant hand and foot mask: Mix 3⁄4 cup each of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries with 1⁄2 cup kefir in a blender. Apply to your hands and feet. Wash off after 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Berry Product Picks

Kiehl’s Organic Açaí Facial Products. The foaming cleanser, toning mist, and moisturizer use açaí berry to repair damage and make skin look younger. Use the full line for best results. Damage-Protecting Toning Mist, $26; Damage-Minimizing Cleanser, $25; Damage-Correcting Moisturizer, $45

Juice Beauty Refining Finishing Powder. Add a light veil of coverage with this nutrient-rich finishing powder. Certified organic with açaí and goji berry, and blueberry, cranberry, strawberry, and red raspberry seed oils. $22

The Body Deli Blueberry Fusion Scrub. A natural alternative to the popular microdermabrasion skin treatment. Organic blueberries and açaí berries nourish the skin while natural citric and malic acids gently remove dead skin cells for a brighter complexion. $36

100% Pure Raspberry Nourishing Body Cream. This hydrating body cream has the natural scent of raspberry, not chemical perfumes. Contains organic raspberry, blackberry, açaí, and goji berry. $15

Yes To Blueberries Brightening Eye Roller. Blueberry, horse chestnut, and bearberry are the secret ingredients used to reduce dark circles and create a refreshed, glowing look around the eyes. $20

Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer. Choose from 12 different shades that all use strawberry seed oil to smooth lips, and elderberry seed oil to soften and moisturize. $5

Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Instant Skin Perfector. The smooth cream stick reflects light to make skin look flawless. Elderberries help to power this moisturizer, primer, and foundation in one. $44

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