Cactus might not be the obvious ingredient that jumps to mind when you think skincare, but if you start to consider how a cactus stays alive in a hot, dry desert, it all makes sense. More than just a cute decoration for your dressing table, cactii are actually full of vitamins and hydrators which have multiple benefits for your skin. Move over argan and coconut oils, there’s a new ingredient in town and you’re about to see it everywhere.
What's in it?
If you spot cactus in an ingredient list, it’s probably derived from prickly pear cactus seed oil – one of nature’s most powerful (but relatively unknown) oils. Rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K (it actually contains 150% more vitamin E than argan oil and is more sustainable), nourishing fatty acids, antioxidants, omegas, amino acids, and of course, water.
How does it work?
To survive in the desert, cactii must store mass amounts of water, and they pass on these skin-storing properties to our skin. Cactus not only helps to draw moisture into skin but improves skin’s ability to retain it by strengthening the skin’s barrier function to prevent moisture loss. Clever, huh? On top of that, vitamins E and K help to smooth and soften skin texture, fatty acids calm inflammation, and antioxidants help to prevent environmental damage that triggers early signs of aging.
Why should I use it?
Because pretty much everyone can benefit from adding cactus to their routine – it’s great for all skin types and is an ideal ingredient for those who want to start using preventative anti-aging – with the added bonus of immediate skin-softening and hydrating effects, and serious glow.
Beauty Editor's Favourites
In addition to gentle exfoliant lactic acid and antioxidant-rich kelp extract, this refreshing toner also contains cactus flower extract to help skin to maintain balance and prevent moisture loss. Apply with a cotton round after cleansing and before hydrating.
Grace says: “There are loads of great glycolic acid toners out there, but very few make the most of lactic acid – it’s a slightly gentler form of AHA so is ideal for daily use or for sensitive skintypes who find glycolic acid too strong.”
Prickly pear seed, almond, apricot, marula seed, and raspberry oils all work together to drench skin in a hydrating cocktail of vitamins, acids, and anti-inflammatories, which firm, tone, and boost collagen and elastin production. Massage into skin before moisturising.
Grace says: “I normally hate face oils because they’re typically thick and greasy but this has a thin, dry texture which absorbs instantly. So well, in fact, that I’ve even been able to wear it under makeup.”
Cactus takes centre stage in Starskin’s new Orglamic range, where it’s used in a satisfyingly high concentration – thanks to a combination of prickly pear cactus, pure cactus fruit, and cactus stem extracts. Wear overnight or apply in the morning as your final step before makeup.
Grace says: “My favourite from the range because (true to its name) this moisturiser has a thick, pudding-like texture which feels so, so luxe. It leaves skin super smooth and soft – the perfect base for makeup.”