Witch Hazel to Sea Kelp: 5 Unusual Ingredients in Beauty Products
16th September 2019
By Natalie Chui
From sea kelp to caffeine and charcoal, we breakdown the top unusual and effective ingredients in our beauty products and explain why they’re used.
Beauty is a playground for experimentation and with new formulas and products being rolled out every minute, there are certainly a few ingredients out there that have got us scratching our brain. We’re becoming increasingly interested in being aware of everything going into our products and previously, we complied together a [skincare glossary](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/daily-muse/beauty/skincare-glossary-a-guide-to-beauty-buzzwords/af289366-30fe-4419-af6e-04d5664756b4) to aid you while you're shopping. This time around, we’re taking a look at the most unusual ingredients used in our products and highlighting exactly why they’re there.
##### **Witch Hazel**
An age-old beauty ingredient, witch hazel is a botanica extract that’s derived from the plant, Hamamelis Virginiana, and it’s been used for years to treat acne, soothe irritated skin and reduce excess oil. Great for oily skin types, it’s mostly found in [toners](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/cleansers-and-toners), [face washes](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/cleansers-and-toners) and [creams](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/moisturisers), however, it can be drying if not mixed with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Formulated with soothing floral extracts of daisy and calendula, [Dr Hauschka’s Clarifying Toner](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/cleansers-and-toners/toners/clarifying-toner/2530000513777.html) utilises the ingredient to target imperfections and purify the face. [Kiehl’s](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/brands/kiehls) has also harnessed witch hazel in the [Astringent Herbal Lotion](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/cleansers-and-toners/toners/blue-astringent-herbal-lotion/2500000926068.html), a toner that helps soothe discomfort after shaving. Nourish your complexion with [Dr Haushka’s Revitalising Day Cream](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/moisturisers/day-creams/revitalising-day-cream/2530003249550.html), which uses the extract to balance dehydrated skin and boost radiance.
##### **EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor)**
The best example of scientific-powered skincare is the inclusion of EGF in products. With remarkable anti-aging properties, EGF is a natural skin cell protein that was developed to heal wounds by stimulating skin growth and collagen production. It was first introduced into skincare by Icelandic brand [BIOEFFECT](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/brands/bioeffect) with the [EGF serum](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/serums-and-oils/serums/egf-serum/2500004922240.html), a regenerative product that improves the skin’s appearance, and check out our [review of it here](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/daily-muse/article/?cid=33f3a611-10e3-416f-b40f-2314c8d65a4b). It’s also found in the brand’s [EGF Eye Mask Treatment](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/eye-care/treatments/egf-eye-mask-treatment/2500004922325.html) which works combined with hydrogel eye masks to reduce puffiness. The brand has also developed the [EGF +2A Daily Duo](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/serums-and-oils/serums/egf-2a-daily-duo/2500005756783.html), which is a two-step treatment that simultaneously protects the skin and increases radiance.
Although its intense black pigmentation may seem off-putting at first, activated charcoal is one of the best ingredients for your skin. Most often found in [face masks](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/treatments/masks), charcoal has been used for centuries to detoxify and purify the skin. Ideal to prevent and treat blemishes, [Charlotte Tilbury’s Goddess Cleansing Ritual](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/cleansers-and-toners/cleansers/goddess-cleansing-ritual/2530009154452.html) comes with a bamboo charcoal cleanser for a purified, soft appearance. Deep clean your complexion with [Clinique City Block Purifying™ Charcoal Clay Mask & Scrub](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/cleansers-and-toners/cleansers/city-block-purifying%E2%84%A2-charcoal-clay-mask-and-scrub/2500001748119.html), which removes pollutants, making it perfect for city dwellers. For something lighter, [MAC’s Mineralize Charged Water Charcoal Spray](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/cleansers-and-toners/toners/mineralize-charged-water-charcoal-spray/2530003730805.html) re-energises and replenishes the skin, leaving it dewy and hydrated.
##### **Fermented Sea Kelp**
We examined the history of [La Mer](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/brands/la-mer) [here](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/daily-muse/article/?cid=f66e8a7e-c87a-4450-ac07-8f178e78ecba), and the brand’s signature ‘Miracle Broth’ formula draws on fermented sea kelp, as its regenerative properties are extremely powerful. A hero product from the brand, [The Moisturizing Cream 30ml](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/moisturisers/day-creams/the-moisturizing-cream-30-ml/2500004027426.html) is a rich concoction that smooths lines and rejuvenates the complexion. It’s also incredibly detoxifying and [The Replenishing Oil Exfoliator](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/cleansers-and-toners/cleansers/the-replenishing-oil-exfoliator/2530005005369.html) uses sea kelp to cleanse the skin and draw out impurities. Potent in strength, [The Concentrate 50ml](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/serums-and-oils/serums/the-concentrate-50-ml/2530009320833.html) is a serum formulated with ‘Miracle Broth’ to calm redness, soothe skin, and comes in a kelp-inspired bottle.
Not only does it make the perfect morning cappuccino, caffeine is also a vital skincare ingredient and is used to perk up the skin as it’s a powerful antioxidant. Great to use during daytime, it also reduces puffiness and [Lancer Skincare](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/brands/lancer-skincare) has utilised it with the [Eye Contour Lifting Cream](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/eye-care/creams/eye-contour-lifting-cream/2500004900675.html), which treats under eye bags and wrinkles. Whereas, The [Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/eye-care/serums/caffeine-solution-5-egcg/2530007689598.html) is powered additionally with green tea extract and boosted with hyaluronic acid to immediately brighten the undereye. By contrast, [Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash](https://www.fenwick.co.uk/beauty/skincare/cleansers-and-toners/cleansers/facial-fuel-energizing-face-wash/2500001782755.html) uses caffeine and enriching vitamins to revitalise the entire complexion with a reinvigorating cleanse.