22 Skincare Products With Cutting-Edge Ingredients to Enhance Your 2022 Wellness Routine

If better skin and wellness is important to you, consider incorporating some of these new skincare products, supplements and teas into your health and beauty routines. Many of these contain probiotics, botanicals, ingredients sourced from ancient folk medicine, and high-tech delivery systems to help you gain a clearer, brighter complexion.

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January 05, 2022
A Black woman applies skincare product to her face

Black Seed Oil Can Clear Up Acne

Black seed oil can help clear up acne and troubled skin, but you may not get the best results by just applying it directly to your face—Dr. Jenelle recommends seeking out skincare products that list black seed oil as an ingredient. “True herbal medicine comes in formulation,” Dr. Jenelle says. “You can have one ingredient, but when you [add] others, it creates a formula that your body can absorb that much better.”

Photo by: Shutterstock / Rido

Shutterstock / Rido

By now we’ve grown accustomed to the botanicals that elevate ordinary skincare into a rich wellness experience: rosehip oil, aloe vera, almond and lemongrass. Brands like Tata Harper, True Botanicals and Herbivore have made clean beauty an industry buzzword, with plant-based formulations and “all-natural” ingredients top of mind for many consumers.

Photo by: Edoardo Marino

Edoardo Marino

But thanks to the rapid growth of the wellness industry, a whole host of new botanicals and cutting-edge ingredients — peptides and adaptogens, turmeric, tiger grass, elderberry, baobab, papaya, pomegranate, mushroom, marula oil, Bakuchiol (a plant extract that is said to have the same skin care properties as retinols) — are finding their way into skin-care routines. Ingredients sourced from centuries-old indigenous health practices, like kakadu plum used by Australian aborigines and sea buckthorn long used in Russia, are now being introduced into skin-care products. The Norwegian company Norwex produces a line of natural cleaning products, but also skin-care products such as its Lysere Illuminating Oil, which uses Nordic super-foods like bilberry, red algae, black oat and Arctic cloudberry to brighten your skin.

“Innovation has always been an aspect of the beauty landscape,” says Sephora beauty director David Razzano. “Personally, I find this aspect of beauty to be so exciting.”

Skin care experts and brands, from well-known Sephora to smaller organic beauty companies (such as Phoenix-based Mo Mi, a vegan, sustainable wellbeing and beauty brand) are bringing wellness, clean beauty and whole body skin care even more into focus. Multi-tasking products and innovative delivery systems are also trending, with new products like teas that you can drink and also use as a hair rinse, or skin-enhancing products that you can ingest as a probiotic or herbal tonic. Many of these products show the growing recognition that what we put into our bodies can be as important as the lotions and oils we put on them.

The sensual, self-care side of skin care is also coming to the fore, with herbacious, citrus and fresh scents that smell clean and light often replacing artifical lab-created fragrances. Balms and foams, whips and formulations that make skin care a treat for the senses are also transforming what is simply routine into a delightful self-care ritual.

With the spread of Korean and Japanese beauty routines to other regions, key ingredients like rice, green tea and centella asiatica (aka gotu kola, a parsley-like herb long used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine) have also become popular as customers strive to achieve the regions’ reputation for flawless complexions, and mimic traditions of nature-based and self-care rituals.

In addition, Indian beauty rituals based on ancient herbal Ayurvedic medicine have been trending in skin wellness, especially when it comes to oils that support skin and hair health.

Shivangi Tripathi, a holistic practitioner and founder of Mata Ayurveda, which makes hair oils rooted in Indian traditions, describes Ayurveda as “a holistic medicine very similar to Chinese medicine."

"It’s a whole medical system about how to take care of yourself through plant-based [ingredients]” she says, but it is also rooted in self-care rituals.

“I remember growing up in India, and one of the things I saw was these women on Sundays on the roof, and they would oil and massage their hair."

For Shivangi, that process of oiling and massaging hair yielded visible results including silkier, healthier hair but was also a soothing, self-care ritual with its own advantages.

“I saw amazing results. It’s almost like a fertilizer for your scalp. Food for your scalp,” she says. And in the process of the massage, “you are releasing serantonins and calming yourself by using this oil.”

We tend to think of skin care related to the face, but a number of companies are looking at whole-body products and creating formulations for overlooked areas of skin care, such as the scalp, as well as internal wellness supplements. Organic beauty company Mo Mi offers a Scalp Essence using sake (a Japanese rice wine), white tea, fermented rice water, peppermint, lavender, clary sage, juniper berry and hyaluronic acid to cleanse the scalp and boost hair health and shine. Mo Mi recommends leaving the essence on if your scalp is dry to help calm and cool the scalp, or use before washing to help cleanse the scalp. The Mo Mi Hair and Nail Serum is another more-bang-for-your-buck product you can use in multiple ways, as a great treatment for cuticles and to smooth dry hair ends (I loved the way it smoothed my hair and imparted a delicious licorice scent), and as a deep conditioning hair treatment before shampooing.

Read on for more great skin-care products offering the latest and greatest in wellness ingredients.

$16

The known cleansing properties of charcoal are supercharged with calming rose flower oil and Centella asiatica (or Gotu kola) an herb in the parsley family long used in China and India as a medicinal herb. Centella asiatica may increase collagen production and decrease swelling and is useful in hydrating the skin. Though Lumin products are geared toward men, these are gender neutral amazing and affordable to boot. The charcoal cleanser makes your skin feel squeaky clean and bright. It's now my go-to when I want that extra clean feel without drying. The company's minimalist black packaging adds to the appeal.

Editor's note: Lumin products are 20 percent cheaper when you sign up for a subscription.

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$16

Note the use of the word "rub" rather than scrub here. This pitch black potion is ultra gentle with no coarse grains, which means it is extra kind to your skin. Rosemary leaf extract removes impurities and has antiseptic properties for the acne-prone while green tea extract delivers antioxidants and helps with dirt and oil buildup and relieves dryness and dullness. I admit I love the cool black color and how smooth this ultra gentle rub left my skin.

Editor's note: Lumin products are 20 percent cheaper when you sign up for a subscription.

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When it comes to wellness skincare, the scalp is fresh, unexplored territory, though not in Indian beauty rituals, where scalp and hair oiling are an ancient art. Maya Ayurveda hair oil, created by a hairdresser in keeping with the Indian rituals of her childhood, is meant to nourish the scalp with a blend of brahmi, sesame and amalaki oils along with organic rose, hibiscus and alma, and add glow and silkiness to hair. After just two uses — allowing the oil to soak in before washing — my hair was undeniably shinier. And because it's rinsed out, the oil didn't weigh my hair down.

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The innovative Grow Gorgeous line focuses on nutrient-rich products designed to boost hair health and fullness and features a number of Scalp Care formulas applied directly to the scalp and loaded with ingredients including niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, prebiotics, pomegranate enzymes and grapefruit extract among other naturally sourced ingredients. The nourishing scalp serum I tried contains antioxidant-rich vitamin C, prebiotics sourced from chicory roots and is formulated without sulphates, silicones, phthalates or mineral oil. All I know is using this nightly left my hair visibly thicker, shinier and healthier looking and only reminded me of how essential not just washing and conditioning your hair is, but making sure your scalp is also part of your skincare equation.

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We've learned of the value of hyaluronic, glycolic, ascorbic, salicylic and a number of acids in helping slough off dead skin and create a glowing complexion for our faces. But now companies are looking to those same ingredients for the body. OUI the People's cleverly named Cheat Sheet uses glycolic acid for exfoliation and to unclog pores, texture smoothing lactic acid and then throws in some hydrating Atlantic sea kelp to finish things off. I can attest that rough spots tended to fade away with regular application and without the need for heavy duty scrubbing. Just be forewarned, that it's not to be used post-shaving or on broken skin to avoid the sting.

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$9.90

This cleansing oil geared toward those with sensitive skin tends to sell out quickly, so get it while you can. An ultra gentle cleanser from the Japanese brand Muji, this one is perfect for those who like a good double cleanse. Though it uses olive oil as the main ingredient, it washes off clean without a residue to leave your skin feeling silky and nourished. The Sensitive Care Collection is a skincare series that uses natural water from Kamaishi, Japan as well as natural grapefruit extract and extract from the purslane plant.

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Described as "a smoothie for the skin," this nutrient-dense, creamy, vegetable-inspired clay mask is packed with vitamins and natural ingredients like broccoli seed oil, spirulina and extracts of kale and spinach that leave your skin feeling clean and fresh.

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$49.99

The Norwegian company Norwex is known for using clean ingredients in both cleaning products and skin care. Their line of skin-care products includes this Illuminating Oil, which features Nordic super foods like bilberry, red algae, black oat and Arctic cloudberry, and really sinks into the skin.

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Talk about a multi-tasker. This herbal tea can also be used as a facial steamer, a floral water and as a hair rinse. Celestial Sun Brew features rose buds, rose hips, lemon peel and adaptogenic holy basil (tulsi). Better still, you can compost the empty packaging for the ultimate in sustainability. Ingested as a healthy herbal tea, Celestrial Sun can soothe inflammation and de-stress. When used as a facial steam or floral water, antioxidants and vitamin C are delivered to the skin. As a hair rinse, the tea cleanses and nourishes the scalp.

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This light, refreshing facial serum is meant to lock in the hydrating power of your moisturizer while offering a mood-enhancing aromatherapy blend of botanical scents, including rose, frankincense and neroli. An easy introduction to any beauty routine, you simply spritz on this mist that features the Asian beauty standard of collagen-stimulating and antioxidant-rich gotu kola, along with rose and bamboo waters. The mist's purple hue comes from butterfly pea flower, which also features antioxidant and anti-glycation (used to treat skin damage) properties.

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Formulated with detoxifying clays, colloidal silver, aloe vera and nine reparative herbs, this herbacious mask sources its key ingredient — wild neem flower honey — from wild bees. In the Indian alternative medicine practice of Ayurveda, neem is considered one of the most healing herbs and has been used for acne, eczema and more. Though the strong scent takes some getting used to, this mask feels nourishing, detoxifying and leaves skin soft and glowy. It's a great weekly ritual to make your skin feel pampered.

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Chinese medicinal herbs designed for centuries to brighten and heal skin give this supplement, which you can add to water or a smoothie, its herbaceous taste with notes of celery. I loved the daily habit of adding this refreshing tonic to water. Skin Glow is part of the new skincare trend for beauty from the inside out. Herbs like the traditional Chinese herb Mai Men Dong are also said to help with sleep. Because you take Skin Glow internally rather than applying it to your skin, you don't necessarily see visible results right away, but I did feel good about making this tonic a part of my skin-care supplement routine.

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A gentle, ultra creamy cleanser with a fresh citrus smell that melts away makeup, this cleanser is rooted in Chinese herbal medicine designed to balance and regulate the skin. Exceedingly moisturizing, it doesn't strip the skin or disrupt its natural pH. Innovative ingredients include white tea, poria mushroom, chrysanthemum, peony root and Bai zhu root that are wildcrafted, meaning they are foraged from their natural environment.

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Though the heavy scent derived from botanicals like rose, sandalwood and frankincense may take some getting used to, this rich face oil feels luxurious. It gets raves on Amazon, is gentle on the skin and does seem to promote smooth, glowing skin. Cruelty free, organic and vegan, this facial oil features trending wellness ingredients like pomegranate and neroli oil — to promote vitamin C absorption — as well as antioxidants, to help with absorption of the ingredients. Though great for dry skin, my combination skin soaked up this oil quickly and it helped to diminish redness.

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There's a reason this deliciously fragrant cleanser comes with a warning not to eat it. The zesty citrus smell and soothing gel-like texture that changes from a balm to an oil of this super refreshing cleanser is certifiably yummy and wonderful for sensitive skin. A bracing wake-up in the morning, this combo of ginger and the oil of the Japanese yuzu fruit starts the day off right and leaves your skin feeling super clean. This cleansing sorbet also includes ingredients like pomegranate and seabuckthorn, as well as a number of other skin-pleasing nutrients.

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One-time use of this transformative mask may make you a convert for life. The brightening and softening effect is evident even after just one 30-minute application. Inspired by traditional Chinese medicine, the mask contains holistic herbs and adaptogens such as gotu kola, Job's tears, orchid root and skin-plumping peptides, as well as skin-soothing botanicals including white peony root, cucumber root and ginseng. The bio-cellulose in this mask is bio-compatible with your skin, meaning it is great for hydration. My skin felt plump and glowy post-application.

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I used this serum for the first time at night and the next day my skin was smooth and glowing and more even than the night before. Was it just a great night's sleep or was it this botanical-loaded serum? I am confident this rich, easily absorbed serum is the reason, and that it will become an integral part of my skin-care routine. Sourced in Siberia, this serum is loaded with both organic and wildcrafted plant oils that are rich in omega 3, 6, 9, and vitamins A, C, B, E including Siberian cedar nut oil, rose hip, argan, borage, pumpkin seed and sea buckthorn. Sample several of the Malaya Organics products in their Discovery Kit, which contains smaller sizes of the rejuvenating face serum, herbal facial polish, advanced repair mask, hydrating mist and cleansing oil.

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I've never been a fan of hand creams that feel greasy and heavy. This one is different. A deliciously herbal, silky balm, this nourishing hand cream melts into skin and leaves a soft glow behind, but no greasiness. I don't know if I should feel happy or sad to have a new step in my skin-care routine.

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This 4-in-1 small-batch oil can be used for the body, hair, bath and as a superlight fragrance that incorporates tuberose, ylang ylang, sweet orange, amber and petitgrain. It's super-absorbent, so you won't even need a tissue to wipe off any residue from your hands once you apply. It did a great job for me as an after-shave oil for my legs, and helped tame flyaways without weighing down my hair. The organic sunflower seed, apricot kernel and meadowfoam oils used in this formula are vitamin-rich and good for sensitive skin.

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Be careful opening up this exfoliating powder, which may not be what you expect. The superfine combination of oat, brown rice powder, hibiscus flower and clay works as a very gentle exfoliator that refreshes and resurfaces even the most sensitive skin.

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$15.99

This one is a game changer, a 70 SPF mineral sunscreen that feels weightless and leaves a matte finish. Anyone who has ever recoiled from the idea of a mineral suncreen because of how it feels should try this lightweight, affordable sunscreen loaded with good-for-you ingredients like kakadu plum (which offers a high vitamin C content and has been used by Australian indigenous people for centuries), eucalyptus and red algae.

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All you double cleansers out there take note! This oil cleanser is a great first step to remove mineral sunscreen and makeup, and to clean skin without stripping it, thanks to an oil that turns into a lovely milky emulsion. A base of nourishing organic oils (including apricot kernel, sweet almond, safflower, jojoba and olive) and a fragrant blend of lavender, chamomile and Bulgarian rose make this a lovely addition to your wellness skin-care routine.

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