Wildcrafted ingredients, as the name suggests, grow in nature without, or with very little, human intervention. These plants are very resilient as they survive to many environmental stressors such as variations in sunlight, availability of water, competing plants, insects, and disease. Foraging for botanical is a centuries-old practice and used to mainly serve for food or medicinal purposes. It has now made its way into the beauty industry with many brands, mostly clean beauty brands, harnessing the power of wild plants to formulate potent products.
While they are often used for their resilient superpower, offering the skin preservation, protection, and strength, they are also very appealing for the ‘return to Nature’ message they share. Indeed, being close to nature and aiming to lead a simpler life is a strong society trend even for the younger generations. Countless tutorials and user-generated contents give recipes and DIY tips to create beauty products with herbs, plants and other wild ingredients that people love to hand-pick themselves in nature.
Consumers are also, now more than ever, looking to find clean, sustainable options for their consumption needs. Wildcrafted ingredients come as a perfect option as they are, most of the time, locally sourced. Beauty brands using wild plants as ingredients are very mindful about they way these ingredients are harvested and tend to produce in small batches, only taking what is necessary and of season. Not only is it more sustainable for the soil, but it also helps the surrounding economy and has an impact on a social level too (such as employing local workforce or encouraging and preserving indigenous botany).
If wildcrafted ingredients have great qualities in terms of skin benefits and sustainability records, natural is not always better and some plants can be dangerous, irritating (like poison ivy, oak, and sumac) or lose their efficiency if dealt with incorrectly. Some wild ingredients may require special formulations to allow them to remain stable. A right combination of natural and chemical ingredients is sometimes best to offer safe and potent products. This is an evolution we observe more broadly in the clean beauty segment as well. To achieve safety and efficiency, products need to incorporate the best of both worlds.
The appeal for wild herbs and plants as ingredients seems very practical, because these botanical are easy to use for DIY recipes, they have great properties for the skin and they can be harvested in a sustainable way. But what is maybe the most desirable in this trend is its limited supply. Indeed, with such ingredients, mass-production can difficulty be achieved and is not desired. Each batch of products requires patience and trust in nature’s cycles, and consumers understanding this process only find it even more enticing, because they know that what is inside the product is rare.
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