In recent years the term ‘superfood’ has become so commonly used, it’s easy to become sceptical about the latest new superfood fad. In the west we live in a virtual Garden of Eden when it comes to food choices, but many do not realise that the humble parsley, tomato, apple and almond are dense sources of valuable nutrients that easily meet the definition of a superfood. Our biggest health downfall is the over-consumption of animal fats, sugar, refined flour and processed foods. This kind of diet is the cause of most of our health problems and won’t be ‘cancelled out’ with a spoonful of powdered kale on our processed cereal each morning!
Is there ‘junk food’ in your skin care?
When it comes to skin care, the same principle applies. Virtually all skin care includes water - as much as 80%. The inclusion of water in skin care means that synthetic ingredients need to be added to stabilise it: preservatives, emulsifiers and thickeners are standard. And yes, this includes organic skin care when it contains water or aqueous ingredients like aloe vera juice, as well as that $500 jar of face cream. These synthetic additives are what we consider to be the equivalent of ‘junk food’ in skin care - the extras that offer no benefit to the skin, and in fact may cause a great deal of harm (read about preservatives here and emulsifiers here).
Getting back to pure nutrition
At Mokosh, we have created the equivalent of a pure, clean, whole food diet for your skin - we have ditched the ‘junk food’ by removing the water and all its accompanying synthetics. The result is 100% skin food - it’s that simple. The complexity of our range comes from choosing the right skin foods from the natural world, and presenting them in a form that will nourish your skin in the gentlest way, working with your body’s own healing and regenerative processes.
For skin, it has to be concentrated
When it comes to skin food, we have to be particular. We can’t keep applying products and expect it all to go into our skin. Our skin can’t ‘overeat’ because there is a limit to what it will absorb. For this reason, we believe that skin care has to be formulated with precision. A concentrated, potent dose will offer far greater benefits than a product diluted with 80% water.
Superfoods - our definition
To our minds, each and every ingredient we include in Mokosh products is a superfood, because each is chosen for its particular benefit to your skin. For example you will find baobab seed oil in many of our products because it contains high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which will help build the ceramides in your skin’s barrier (read more here). The common denominator of each Mokosh ingredient is that it is whole and unrefined, with all its micronutrients intact. This means that the baobab seed oil we use will be rich not only in omega-6 fatty acids, but also a broad array of other nutrients including vitamin E, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory sterols (read more here). Choosing Mokosh’s unrefined whole plant formulas means that your skin will benefit from the full, balanced and readily assimilated nutrients handed to us by nature in their natural, usable form.
8 of our favourite 'superfoods'
It’s about as easy to single out our favourite 8 ingredients as it is to decide whether it’s better to eat broccoli or walnuts! So we chose to create our list with a mix of both 'humble' and 'precious' ingredients - just to demonstrate how many of the foods we take for granted are really nutrient powerhouses.
Since ancient times, oatmeal has been used to soothe and heal skin problems, particularly itchy, inflamed skin. We now know that its powerful effect on irritated skin is due to its content of a class of antioxidants, the avenanthramides, which also have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It also contains beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that hydrates the skin, can stimulate collagen production and improves skin elasticity. In addition, it has significant amounts of the enzyme superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant that can help reduce the signs of ageing by protecting against free radical damage. What’s more, it contains natural saponins that allow oatmeal to act as a gentle cleansing agent. You can find it in our ever-popular Facial Cleanser, Exfoliator & Mask.
2. Rosemary leaf extract
Rosemary is another traditional medicinal plant that we now understand has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and possibly anti-cancer benefits. We make use of this herb in the form of a highly concentrated leaf extract. We add it in tiny quantities to many of our products, mainly for its antioxidant benefits - it prevents the oils from oxidising and enhances their shelf-life. At the same it time delivers its powerful antioxidant properties to your skin, counteracting the ageing effects of free radicals. You will find it in all our creams, serums and oils.
3. Pumpkin seed oil
We adore this oil - it is intensely dark green to brown, and extracted from the highly nutritious seeds of the humble pumpkin. Like pumpkin flesh, pumpkin seed oil is extremely rich in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. We now know that topically applied beta-carotene is readily absorbed and can be converted in the skin to the active form of vitamin A. Both beta-carotene and vitamin A have potent antioxidant activity, protecting the skin from free radical damage. Pumpkin seed oil also contains vitamin E, anti-inflammatory phytosterols and high levels of omega-6 fatty acid which is extremely beneficial for all skin types. You will find this in our Makeup Remover & Cleansing Oil and Elderberry & Chia Seed Beauty Serum.
4. Aloe vera
Aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia in many cultures, including by Nefertiti and Cleopatra as part of their beauty routines. Aloe vera became more mainstream in the west in the 1900’s when it was used to treat burns. The leaf of the aloe vera plant contains a broad range of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and is probably best known for its anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effects. It contains hormone-like substances that speed healing and stimulate collagen production, as well as mucopolysaccharides that act as humectants, plumping the skin. Aloe vera is one of nature’s most precious gifts to the skin - we include it in our Facial Cleanser, Exfoliator & Mask.
We are sneaking 2 of our ingredients into this category - we use whole powdered rose petals in our Facial Cleanser, Exfoliator & Mask and rose hydrosol, which is the steam distillation of rose petals, in our Pure Hydrosol Toner. Roses are valued as much for their medicinal properties as for their beauty. The petals are rich in antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, and can help regulate sebum production. They contain vitamins B and C and beta-carotene, and their scent has uplifting and antidepressant effects. Who could live without roses?
6. Matcha green tea
Green tea has been grown for millennia in China for its outstanding health benefits. Matcha green tea is like ‘supertea’ - it contains up to 10 times the levels of antioxidants found in green tea. Most of the antioxidants are in the form of polyphenols, and when applied to the skin they can protect from free radical damage caused by UV light, and will also protect against free radicals caused by pollutants, toxins and natural cell metabolism. Polyphenols also have known anti-inflammatory effects, and can help soothe irritated, inflamed skin. Green tea polyphenols may also be beneficial in acne, by inhibiting the growth of P. acnes, the bacteria thought to be involved in the development of acne. Matcha green tea also includes high levels of vitamin C, vitamins B and E, and zinc. You will find this in our Facial Cleanser, Exfoliator & Mask.
7. Pomegranate seed oil
The pomegranate has been cultivated for around 5000 years, and in ancient times, all parts of the plant were used. The oil is cold pressed from the seed, and is one of our most precious and highly valued oils. It is extremely rich in essential fatty acids, and includes an unusually high amount of punicic acid which is a very rare fatty acid in the natural world. The oil is resistant to oxidation because of its unusually high antioxidant content - in the form of polyphenols and vitamin E. It also contains abundant anti-inflammatory phytosterols. In studies, pomegranate seed oil was able to stimulate the growth of epidermal skin cells, promoting speedier and more effective healing. Another showed that it was able to inhibit the development of skin tumours, even at low concentrations. You will find pomegranate seed oil in our Raspberry & Pomegranate beauty Serum, Elderberry & Chia Seed Beauty Serum , Rich Face Cream and Baby Massage Oil.
8. Prickly Pear seed oil
With a name that might not inspire confidence when applied to skin care, you may change your mind when you read more about this highly nutritious and valuable oil. The prickly pear plant is a cactus native to Mexico, where it provides a valuable source of food and water in the harsh desert environment. Its fruit is highly nutritious, and its flesh contains many tiny seeds, from which this precious oil is extracted. Prickly pear seed oil is unusual for its high content of omega-6 fatty acids, which help build the ceramide component of the skin’s important barrier. It is also rich in phenolic antioxidants, and the anti-inflammatory sterols. It also contains vitamin K1 which can help reduce hyper-pigmentation in the skin. We include this wonderful ingredient in our Rich Face Cream.
Well, we are up to 8 ingredients already and haven’t even mentioned Raspberry Seed, Elderberry Seed, Chia Seed or Hemp seed oils. And Avocado and Macadamia have also had to take a back seat, as have other favourites like Borage, Black Cumin, Jojoba, Rosehip and Evening Primrose… the list goes on! Our next list of favourites will have to wait. Meanwhile, we wish you all the best in your choice of happy wholesome, and conscious eating - inside and out!