Cream De La Creme

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Beauty’s romance with luxury ingredients continues. Rare minerals, gemstones, even exotic flowers give your skin the royal treatment.
Dyuti Mishra finds out about the most precious ingredients making their way into beauty potions

Emerging from the technological revolution the beauty industry has witnessed over the past few years, a slew of luxe beauty and skin-care products have taken the market by storm. From diamond dust-infused serums to exotic plant extracts, these rare ingredients are in hot demand the world over. With international brands now targeting Indian shores to set their anchors, we hear the sirens calling. Back in 2006, four per cent of the then AED 878 million skin-care industry was dominated by the premium sector. Since then, the market has grown by an approximately AED 585 million. And continues to grow at a healthy 15 per cent every year, according to a report in The Economic Times. With claims ranging from skin renewal, cell regeneration to anti-ageing, and backed by million-dollar research, these products and services are keenly competitive.

METAL RUSH

Precious metals like gold and silver are probably the most common ones in this class. Mass retailers are saturated with skin-care options that claim to have 24-karat gold particles—these include the Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Cream, which has nano particles of 24-karat gold bound to silk microfi bre, and Forest Essentials’ Advanced Soundarya Age- Defying Facial Serum with pure gold is said to be an excellent antioxidant, can enhance radiance and is known to improve cell regeneration and suppleness of skin. There are options to suit every budget, making it the latest buzz in beauty town. A step up from this are creams infused with another raremetal, platinum—known to restore electrical charge on cells. Rejuvenating colloidal nano particles of this metal are found in La Prairie’s Cellular Cream Platinum Rare and DHC’s Platinum Silver Nano colloid cream, to name a few.

GEMSTRUCK

The Radiant Gemstone Creme from Prai is worthy of a mention here. A blend of amethyst, coral, pearl, tourmaline, ruby, amber and nephrite jade powders, it claims to reduce fine lines and wrinkles while lending the skin a soft, luminous glow. Other ingredients that have a similar effect are tourmaline and quartz, both of which have found their way to widespread use in face creams and serums. Diamonds are not far behind. While diamond dust-infused facial creams have been on the block for some time, the latest craze to have hit the beauty industry are black diamonds. They’re said to effect a non-surgical face lift, and their microderm abrasive qualities are coupled with antiageing properties to create potions and elixirs so potent they might just make the hunt for the fountain of youth redundant. One such product, Beauty Lab Black Diamond Energizing Serum, was in fact so coveted that it had a 4,000-strong waiting list as of last year in the UK.

FLORA EXOTICA

It’s not just the precious metals and gemstones the beauty world is after. Rare plants and floral extracts are vying for space equally. A big name in this contest is Crème de la Mer. Its rather hefty price tag (AED 1,000 approx) owes to its formula—a blend of sea kelp, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Lecithin, Iron, vitamins C, E and B12, oils of citrus, eucalyptus, wheat germ, alfalfa and sunflower. What’s interesting, though, is the process by which these ingredients are combined. Over a three- to four-month period, these ingredients are combined and allowed to undergo biofermentation. The resultant ‘miracle broth’ is suspended in a rich cream formula to create one of the most coveted skincare products in the world.

The popularity of rare floral extracts is undeniable. Skin-care brands are quick to tap into exotic ingredients like black orchids and blue lotuses to develop complete lines of products. Guerlain’s rchidée Impériale Longevity Concentrate is one such elixir. This serum boasts a high concentration of extracts from imperial orchids, which fights signs of ageing intensely and restores the skin’s elasticity and firmness.

CHEMISTRY 101

Another class of luxe ingredients is born in the lab. The result of intensive R&D, these serums, potions and creams are powered with hormones or enzymes found naturally within the human body. Take, for example, SK-II’s Ultimate Revival Serum. This rich treatment comes with a high concentration of Pitera—an ingredient unique to SK-II products. Specially developed by their scientists, this liquid contains a type of fermented yeast extract that prevents skin damage and makes it supple. Other products in this class use ingredients like Human Growth Factors (HGFs) and stem cells to renew skin and reverse ageing processes.

AYURVEDIC TALES

While most of these players have found their turf in the West, India is no stranger to luxury. Home to legendary beauties like Rani Padmini, this is where Ayurveda originated. In fact, the modern concept of anti-ageing processes finds its bearing within the ancient science of Ayurveda. Key principles of this process are explained as Vayasthapana (age-defying), Varnya (brighten skin), Sandhaniya (cell regeneration), Vranaropana (healing), Tvachya (nurturing), Shothahara (anti-infl ammatory), Tvachagnivardhani (strengthening skin metabolism) and Tvagrasayana (retarding ageing). All of these canbe combated and remedied using the right ingredients, or Rasayana. Herbs like Indian pennywort, Indian sarsaparilla, and madder are blessed with these characteristics.

Kama Ayurveda, an Indian luxury skin-care brand, is one of the few lines known to tap into the goodness of this ancient science. Its star products like Kumkumadi Miraculous Beauty Fluid and Rejuvenating & Brightening Ayurvedic Night cream contain extracts from these herbs to enhance your skin without any intensive methods. Forest Essentials, another key player in the game, uses the virtues of Ayurveda in its luxurious products. The Eternal Youth Formula Date & Litchi cream uses a formula developed in the 17th century by Ayurvedic physicians in the Himalayan valleys. Its key ingredients—dates and olive oil—eradicate free radicals that accelerate ageing, thereby restoring firmness and reducing wrinkles and lines.

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