Have you ever had a delicious slice of pie and asked, “What’s the secret ingredient?” Without that one special something, the pie wouldn’t be as memorable. And the same goes for beauty products; it’s the hero ingredient that really makes it. “A hero ingredient is the most important and effective active ingredient in a skincare product,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades. “It’s a signature ingredient that sets it apart from other products.”
You’ve likely heard of tea tree or rose oil, but we’re highlighting the lesser-known ingredients you need to try. They’re unique—shiso leaves, pili oil, or scorpion venom(!)—and will elevate your skincare routine. All of these products are from cutting-edge brands that should be on your radar.
Ingredient 1: Neem
Aavrani Glow Activating Exfoliator, $29
Neem is a tree native to India and most countries in Africa and it has high levels of antioxidants. “In our exfoliator, neem is combined with turmeric and honey to brighten skin and clear blemishes,” explains Rooshy Roy, cofounder and CEO of Aavrani.
Ingredient 2: Blue Scorpion Venom
MRVL Skin Solutions Anti-Aging Firming Serum, $195
Scientists discovered a peptide contained in scorpion venom that can have anti-aging effects on the skin. This firming serum harnesses the power of the venom to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Ingredient 3: Shiso Leaves
DamDam Mochi Mochi Luminous Face Cream, $48
Shiso is a Japanese herb in the mint family known for its antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. It gives you a “mochi’’complexion, aka skin that’s bouncy and smooth like the dessert.
Ingredient 4: Amethyst
Herbivore Amethyst Body Polish, $44
Amethyst is a gemstone known for balancing emotions and revitalizing energy. When it’s crushed, the fine grounds act as an exfoliant that gently buffs and polishes skin.
Ingredient 5: Tulips
Bloom Effects Tulip Dew Drops, $55
Tulips are one of the only flowers that grows even after it's cut. Tulip extract has growth factors that stimulate cells to strengthen the skin’s foundation, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles
Ingredient 6: Pili Oil
Pili Ani Self-Care Night Recovery Oil, $40
“Pili oil comes from the pulp of the pili fruit, found only in the Philippines,” explain Mary Jane Tan-Ong and Rosalina Tan, cofounders of Pili Ani. “It’s rich in essential fatty acids that absorb easily to moisturize your skin.
Header collage by Michaela Macpherson
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2022 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!