Trending: superfood beauty

How your skin and hair can benefit from prickly pear, inulin, and more

"There's an increasing trend towards recognizing the interplay between inner and outer health," says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist. "We are seeing more emphasis on ingestible ways to achieve outward beauty and innovative ingredients from the nutrition space added to formulas."

Consuming these nutrients is always a good choice, but using them topically as well, whether in a thermal protectant, makeup primer or face cream, increases the prospect of healthier hair and younger-looking skin. Here, Engelman weighs in on six products worth trying.

ingredient: inulin

This prebiotic (found in asparagus, leeks, and onions) feeds healthy gut bacteria. Here, it works synergistically with probiotics to keep skin bacteria nourished and balanced. Bonus: Ren’s inulin is sourced from the agave tequilana plant and has a line-filling effect that makes it a perfect pre-makeup treatment step.
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ingredient: kakadu plum

This plant is native to Australia and tastes similar to a gooseberry. It's also packed with vitamin C (more than 100 times the amount found in oranges), which is why brands are incorporating it into their beauty products. “Superfoods like these are packed with antioxidants that help combat free radical damage, whether ingested or applied to the skin,” notes Engelman.
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ingredient: prickly pear

The sweet cactus “pear” (try it raw, grilled, or blended) boasts more vitamin E than argan oil. In this spray, it helps protect hair from high temps when using a flatiron or blow drier, while also adding shine and taming frizz.
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ingredient: stevia

Most widely used as an alternative sweetener, stevia contains antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. But topical application of stevioside (extracted from stevia) may actually relax your wrinkles. “It prevents the involuntary contractions that induce them, while hydrating the skin and enhancing its collagen production,” says Engelman. Sio combines a silicone décolleté smoothing pad (the first of its kind) with a stevia-laced serum.
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ingredient: bitter greens

The phytochemicals in cruciferous veggies are hard to beat for their cancer-fighting, detoxifying properties. This toner hydrates skin while including extracts from broccoli, wheat sprouts, kale, celery, and cabbage to help fight environmental contaminants that can lead to breakouts.
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ingredient: chia

Chia is known as a superfood thanks to its heart-healthy omega 3s and high fiber content. But it also excels at thickening hair and adding volume, which is why this spray (made with an extract of the seed) is a great option for use in-between shampoos.
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