Can natural skincare really deliver? EMMA STRENNER explains when to opt for au naturel and when only high-tech will do

    What is the best natural skincare? As a beauty editor, it's a much-asked question, and it's an area in which global beauty consumers are taking a growing interest. But does following a natural approach mean compromising on results?


    Recent advances in biotechnology mean natural formulas can now

    rival some of the most high-tech anti-aging skincare brands. "There are some great new technologies, such as flash chromatography [separating components to extract the most active ingredients in their highest concentration] and ultrasonic extraction [using sound waves to extract the most active molecules] being applied to extract plant ingredients," says Pauline Hili, founder of Nourish Skin Range. “These preserve their active enzymes and improve the performance on the skin.”

    Simultaneously, delivery systems – how ingredients respond to skin on contact – are evolving to ensure the products maintain their most useful form. “To feed the skin with an optimum concentration formula, the ingredients need to mimic the composition of skin cells – 70 percent water and 30 percent oil,” says Nathalie Issachar, head of research and development at Clarins. “But oil and water are not compatible and that is challenge.” Clarins has pioneered the separation of plant extracts, mimicking the skin's makeup to

    The Edit

    Photograph: Christophe Meimoon

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