Diversity is essential to life, on many levels. We repeatedly talk about the importance and high value of cultural diversity: Different traditions, different languages, different skills – coming together to learn from each other. Another crucial diversity on this planet is biodiversity: the variety of life forms including genes, species and ecosystems. I was amazed to read that Latin America and the Caribbeans contain over half of the entire biodiversity on our planet! Rainforest, coral reefs, mangroves, wetlands… It does not come as a surprise that the biodiversity in Latin America offers a wealth of choice when it comes to natural beauty ingredients!
It is probably also no surprise that amazonian women have some of the most beautiful skin in the world – in fact they live in the middle of a beauty haven making use of natural beauty ingredients on a daily basis. Many cosmetic brands worldwide have understood the magic of organic, natural beauty that is available on planet earth and are adding some of the Latino ingredients to their formulas. Let’s take a look at four of these…
Natural Beauty Ingredients from Latin America: Jojoba
Jojoba is a shrub that grows in the Southwest of the US as well as in dry regions of northern Mexico and parts of South America. The jojoba seeds are where the magic is extracted from. Jojoba is mainly used in the form of oil or wax and used for medical purposes as well as in the beauty industry. For the local wildlife, Jojoba also serves its purpose as food even though the wax of the nut is generally indigestible. Nevertheless it also goes by the name deer nut, goat nut or pignut.
What is unique about Jojoba is that it closely resembles a substance that is produced by our own skin glands, so it can act as a natural skin conditioner and works as a replacement of animal fats in skin lotions. More and more cosmetic brands use the ingredient for their formulas of shampoos, lipsticks, make-up, cleansing products or lotions. Due to its amazing qualities of moisturising, soothing, acne control and control of hair loss, natural beauty brands such as Dr. Hauschka make use of Jojoba in some of their hair products or their skin products.
Natural Beauty Ingredients from Latin America: Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is extracted from cocoa beans, which grow on the cocoa tree native to Latin America. Apart from cocoa butter having amazing beauty benefits, it is also the main ingredient in most chocolates and adds the creamy, smooth, irresistible texture: One more reason to love it! Many Latinas in Ecuador for example have been using cocoa butter all over their body since they are little because of its outstanding features of moisturising and softening the skin. What is more, cocoa butter is known to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks, prevent skin ageing, help to remove scars and reduce inflammation of the skin, which is why it is contained in many beauty lotions and creams. In its processed form, as cacao, it can be used in various DIY recipes for delicious and healthy beauty cures!
Natural Beauty Ingredients from Latin America: Sunflower Oil
I love sunflowers! Sometimes I feel a little like one myself – always moving to be facing the sun. Not easy in this part of the world, but in Mexico and Peru for example, sunflowers grow very well. Most people might associate sunflower oil with healthy cooking. Guess what – sunflowers are also wonderful friends of beauty companies as the extracted oil has outstanding beauty benefits. When directly applied to the skin, it is known to be effective on the skin against acne, eczema, scarring, ageing, redness and irritation. Dr. Hauschka is once again a great example of an organic cosmetic company that uses sunflower seed oil in their formulas, for example in bath essences or body oils.
Natural Beauty Ingredients from Latin America: Yucca (Ecuador, Peru)
Yucca is a tropical root vegetable that can be found in Latin America, for example in Peru or Ecuador. Native American tribes have already used the leaves of the yucca for treating various conditions, such as dandruff, hair loss, skin sores and inflammation. Nowadays the ingredient can be found in many beauty products including soaps, shampoos and even dental floss. The great percentage of vitamin C, B, and A makes yucca a real power booster, especially for the hair. It is known to prevent hair loss and boost shine, and even protect against UV sun rays!
The list of ingredients could go on and on – in fact it seems that a large share of all beauty ingredients comes from Latin America! I mean, it is the place that holds over half of the entire biodiversity on our planet after all.