The latest advances in “natural” beauty products have a crazy vibe

You’re probably familiar with the concept of freeze-drying in the food industry (bites of mangoes, strawberries, and other snacks that melt in your mouth). Now, that same technology is entering beauty products. Well, maybe “dripping” is the wrong word because the purpose of freeze drying is to remove water. “It’s basically low-temperature dehydration,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a dermatologist in Boston.

Take aloe, a botanist known for its ability to soothe the skin: instead of heating the plant’s juice to vaporize the water and concentrate the extract, the manufacturers vacuum-freeze the ingredient, causing the water to sublime. (vaporize without passing through the liquid phase). The resulting solid is then crushed into a powder, explains Krupa Koestline, a Florida-based cosmetic biochemist who uses freeze-dried aloe in skincare (including Chantecaille 300 Face and Body Cream and Kopari Tropical Glow Cleanser) for its action anti-inflammatory effects.

Kopari Beauty Tropical Glow Cleansing Gel

closed green tray of Chantecaille 300 face and body cream on a white background

Chantecaille 300 Face and Body Cream

The freeze-dried ingredients require no preservatives (no water means no bacteria can grow) and this may be better for people whose skin may be sensitive to certain preservatives, says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. Powdered botanicals are also more concentrated. “If you have to use a typical 1 percent botanical extract [to see a result]you may need to use only 0.1 percent of the powder version, ”says King. Because they’re dehydrated, they can be used in powdered makeup and, the latest skincare trend, in waterless formulas.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of freeze drying is its potential benefit to the environment. “You have a longer shelf life, fewer preservatives, less weight,” says Dr. Hirsch. Lighter products mean fewer greenhouse gas emissions during transport – a good thing, since CO2 emissions from global freight transport are expected to quadruple by 2050, according to an environmental report from the International Transport Forum. “Reducing the carbon footprint makes freeze drying environmentally friendly. This is the big seller with this one [trend]”adds Dr. Hirsch.

wellage Real HA Cica Calming One Day Kit on white background

Wellage Real Cica Calming One Day Kit

juice beauty stem cell phone instant eye lift mask on white background

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Instant Eye Lift Mask

Freeze drying is already popular in the Korean beauty industry, according to King and Dr. Hirsch. Korean brand Wellage makes a Real HA Cica Calming One Day Kit with a lyophilized gotu kola extract capsule, a botanist known for its skin-soothing benefits (it is sold with a solution that dissolves the capsule for application). You can find it at K-beauty retailers like Olive Young, and we’ll likely see more freeze-dried botanicals in the US soon: Juice Beauty already sells a Stem Cellular Instant Eye Lift Mask, a pair of under-eye patches made with freeze dried seaweed that has antioxidants and acts as a moisturizer.

unopened pack of Humanrace rice powder detergent on white background

Humanrace Rice Powder Cleaner

external and internal packaging of the acaderma starlight corrector on a light blue background

Acaderma Star Light Spot Corrector

There is also a chance that freeze dried botanicals retain their increased potency in traditional water or oil based skincare. “Freeze-drying is intended to decrease the molecular weight of an ingredient, so it has been proposed that this can help with an increase [skin] penetration, “says Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD, a dermatologist in New York. Humanrace’s Rice Powder Cleanser contains a freeze-dried snow mushroom extract, a powerful moisturizer. And Acaderma uses freeze-dried mulberry root in its spot corrector The plant extract contains mulberroside F, an organic compound that inhibits the increased production of melanin that can cause hyperpigmentation. Says Anar Mikailov, MD, a dermatologist in Burlington, Massachusetts, “I’d be thrilled to see how freeze-dried mulberry root helps melasma “.

High-powered fermented products

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