From the limited knowledge I have gathered about skin- harsh UV rays, extreme temperature fluctuations in the Alps during the care, one thing is clear—including multi-benefit products with a hero ingredient makes a difference to skin health. The Body Shop, for one, has proved this over years through its varied ranges. When the brand decided through its multiple clinical tests—to bottle the power of the edelweiss flower, little did it know that it would reinvent the idea of daily skincare. Edelweiss is known as a resilient mountain flower with a powerful antioxidant which has been used in traditional medicines for centuries.
While visiting the edelweiss fields, I met Francois Paul, an edelweiss expert and a specialist in the cultivation of Alpine plant extracts, and Laura Keane, Global Brand Development Director at The Body Shop. I was keen to discover what went behind pioneering the use of the flower in skincare. With this vegan certified range, the brand has launched a complete routine with seven products that include Edelweiss Daily Serum Concentrate, Edelweiss Eye Serum Concentrate, Edelweiss Serum Concentrate Sheet Mask, Edelweiss Bouncy Jelly Mist, Edelweiss Liquid Peel, Edelweiss Cleansing Concentrate, and Edelweiss Intense Smoothing Cream.
THE POWER OF EDELWEISS IN COSMETICS
Edelweiss extract is claimed to be 43 per cent more potent than regular retinol. Which makes it incredible to see it being bottled only now, when the beauty industry is constantly on the lookout for new ingredients and innovative formulations. “Edelweiss was never cultivated—we started doing it 25 years ago,” Francois says. According to him, it took them almost two decades to understand and work with apt conditions to successfully cultivate edelweiss, which is now used for cosmetic purposes. “When we started studying the flower, we discovered that edelweiss has a potent antioxidant called leontopodic acid,” Francois adds. Leontopodic acid, in synergy with other ingredients like flavonoids and ferulic acid, delivers elevated results to the skin, improving signs of ageing, skin’s elasticity, hydration and strengthening its barrier.
Edelweiss thrives in the brutal Alpine conditions and has a tendency to repair itself—a property that led to the development of the Edelweiss range. It protects itself against three different stresses day, and loss of water due to strong winds that are common in higher altitudes. “The shape of this flower and the extract found in it give edelweiss its strength to fight against these stressors, a similar function that’s performed on the skin,” Francois explains. The velvet textured petals covering the flower play an important role in safeguarding it from harsh conditions; the petals not only form a protective barrier but also maintain the humidity levels in flowers to prevent dehydration.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Apart from the benefits, it’s interesting to know the process of harvesting edelweiss which ensures the stability of the extract. “As soon as the flower is harvested, it goes through a natural reaction and therefore, it’s imperative to transport it to the facility immediately to prevent instability of the active content,” Francois says. The flowers are then dried, crushed and processed to eliminate ethanol and derive the potent extract that’s used in the final product. “We also add glycerine and citric acid to maintain its pH suitable to the skin,” he adds.
THE EDELWEISS RANGE
While the range has already hit the South-Asian market and is touted to be the brand’s ultimate solution for all skin woes, the Indian consumer still requires extensive training and education on including active ingredients in a daily skincare routine. Laura explains, “This range is fitting for the Indian consumer who’s looking for effective solutions to fight against environmental aggressors which account for 80 per cent of the skin problems. While we understand that using actives can be confusing and may have detrimental effects if used incorrectly, the edelweiss range is (actually) entering the market to fill the very gap.” The new range is skin nourishing and developed to improve the condition of the compromised skin barrier by introducing the complete routine from a cleanser to a face cream.
The hero ingredient, leontopodic acid, is highly stable as compared to vitamin C and is recommended to be used even on the most sensitive skin that may otherwise repel actives. Using the flower power and demystifying the complexity around active ingredients in skincare, The Body Shop’s Edelweiss range has forayed into the Indian market ambitiously.
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