Leafology products range from having very few ingredients (e.g the Naked Baby Balm or Eye & Lip Make Up Remover) to having MANY (e.g. the Shine Elixir Hair Food, a silicone-free serum which contains oils from the seeds/flowers of seventeen different plants, or the Himalayan Herbal Body Scrub which contains an array of twenty-two different herbs, salts and fruits).
When I create each product, I am very conscious of the properties of every component and they’re very carefully chosen, so I thought it would be fun to write about 3 lesser-known ingredients – what they do and why I use them…
On one of my trips to Bali, I attended a very hand-on workshop where we experimented with local plants, chopping things up and combining to make body scrubs, face masks and a gentle sun cream, and hibiscus was such a joy to play with.
Hibiscus is a much-adored plant in the Asian beauty world, not least because of its reputation to help boost the elasticity of the skin (which makes things look a bit more fresh and youthful). It’s also mildly exfoliating (due to its natural, gentle acids) and contains antioxidants, which help protect against external/environmental damage. Its naturally high mucilage content (which helps the plant store water and food) is nourishing and moisturising for skin and hair.
Apparently, some people refer to hibiscus as ‘the botox plant’. It is said to boost the function of elastin in skin, firming and lifting.
The use of the hibiscus flower has been associated strongly with hair growth and stimulation of dormant follicules. It is rich in vitamin C, which boosts collagen (the amino acid chain that gives your hair its strength) production, strengthening roots and keeping hair lustrous.
I personally absolutely love using cardamom pods for cooking – I love using them in slightly surprising settings to give a unique spicy sweetness to curries or stir-fries or (my favourite) macaroons I customised from an Indian-inspired recipe given to me by the English wife of a photographer I modelled for once in France!
It can help purify and even out skin tone, and being a sweet and slightly cooling spice, is very refreshing and attractive. It is used to freshen breath in cultures where it is traditionally native, and can help fight oral bacteria and therefore help prevent cavities.
I loved visiting spice plantations in India and squeezing in my fingertips these fragrant pods, which to me, are culinary (and cosmetic) royalty!
Black seed oil (nigella sativa or ‘black cumin’) comes from a small plant with pale purple, blue, or white flowers that grows in Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and the Middle East.
The oil from the seeds is traditionally used to promote hair growth. It’s naturally anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial; perfect prevention/help for skin conditions.
I love using black seed oil as it has an absolutely beautiful smell; it is a beautifully seductive spicy scent, subtle but definitely there; it makes an amazing base for all three recipes in which I include it, which focus on its renowned benefits for hair.
A snippet of plant-knowledge wisdom from the muslim faith: ‘Use the Black Seed for indeed, it is a cure for all diseases except death.’