Mediterranean Menu Inspires Skin Care

Article from

The obsession for natural and organic beauty products with ingredients sourced from popular tourist hotspots is taking a new direction. Instead of selecting ingredients from other continents, European brands are now looking to their own hills and coastlines. Premium and mass-market brands alike are introducing products formulated with traditional plants from the region surrounding the Mediterranean. The regional sourcing of the ingredients has an added eco-friendly benefit of reducing air miles for those in Europe and close by. 

Olive oil is a popular Mediterranean beauty ingredient, as it has long been featured in skin and hair care products. Similarly, pomegranate, a fixture of the Mediterranean landscape, has appeared in more than 250 new beauty products in 2008 alone, according to Mintel GNPD. Some lesser-known, appetizing Mediterranean ingredients also are feeding innovation in recent skin care launches:

Prickly Pear Cactus
French natural brand Terre d’Oc was one of first personal care companies to formulate with Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear) in its introduction of Mousse de Fruits Démaquillant Visage in October 2006. Recently, the brand launched Terre d'Oc Beauté du Monde Elixir Visage, a serum formulated with argan and prickly pear fruit oils that are reportedly rich in carotenes. The product also contains date extract, known for antiaging and firming properties. This product claims to be made with 100% natural and 96% organic ingredients.

Another brand that uses prickly pear oil is MarocMaroc, launched at Le Bon Marche in Paris. L'Or et l'Argan Huile Sublimante Corps is a shimmery body oil that is formulated with argan to nourish and wheat germ and prickly pear oils to form a soft film. This noncomedogenic product is hypoallergenic and free from silicon and mineral oil.

Spanish brand Natura Bissé uses the prickly pear cactus’ flower extract in its GlycoLine Glyco Extreme Peel. This product combines chemical, biotechnological and pro-enzymatic exfoliating activities. It claims to restore the skin's natural exfoliating capabilities with 60% active ingredients. It contains a bio-engineered peptide called Exfoliactyl Mimetic Peptide (EMP) that was specifically designed to eliminate rough skin. Prickly pear flower extract is said to stimulate the exfoliation process by activating the enzymes involved in natural skin renewal.

Maria Galland HelioSoin After Sun for Face and Body is formulated with multi-active caper bud extract said to soothe hypersensitive skin from UV rays and thermal stress. It claims to maintain the lipid barrier, reduce cell aging, soothe skin and provide lipid repair and moisture.

Another caper-based sun care product is Deborah Bioetyc Gold Sparkling Tan Enhancer Gel. This almond-scented tanning gel contains a Mediterranean sun care complex derived from prickly pear, caper plant and olive oil. It has bronze and golden micro-pearls to add sparkle to tanned skin.

Angelo Caroli Skincare was a new range launched at Cosmoprof this spring. It is based on traditional medical herbs and plants harvested in Florence and around the Parco Nazionale degli Abruzzi. The Anti-Ageing Lifting Serum 37 contains caper, prickly pear and mandelic acid. It is free from preservatives and claims to "illuminate mature skin."

Figs and Honey
Dí Palomo Wild Fig and Grape Enriching Dry Oil is a blend of fruit oils and vitamin E for the body. The product can also be used on hair as an intensive leave-in conditioner. The creators reportedly were intrigued by the exotic fragrance of wild fig and grape; thus a fig leaf hangs from the bottle to authenticate the experience.

Fig bud extract is also claimed to be an active for slimming and improving circulation. It is featured as part of a complex in OmniSens Ligne de Bien-Être Body Sculpt Care. This dermatologically-tested product contains fig bud extract to improve the "orange peel" appearance of skin. In addition, it contains active mountain ash and green tea extract. All products do not contain parabens, silicone, mineral oils or raw materials from animals. They have also not been tested on animals. 

LVMH-owned Italian luxury fragrance Acqua di Parma looked to “indigenous vegetation of the Mediterranean coasts, known as the ‘macchina Mediterranea’" for its first face and body range. The Blu Mediterraneo Italian Resort products claim to evoke the relaxing sensations of a day spent on the Mediterranean coast. Each formula is based on a "Mediterranean Oxygenating Complex," formulated with a blend of active extracts from the Mediterranean plants fig, maquis and Spanish broom. The line includes a face cream, eye cream, body scrub, body lotion and a face and body concentrate.

On the eastern side of the Mediterranean, Greek skin care brand Apivita formulates with Greek plants, propolis (from honey) and essential oils. At Cosmoprof, the brand launched two new ranges, Queen Bee and First Line. Queen Bee is designed for mature skin and includes a supplement and six skin care products. First Line is a preventive antiaging range. The Day & Night Emulsion is a fine line-reducer formulated with myrtle extract, reportedly to reduce wrinkles, and jasmine essential oil for toning effects. The product is promoted as paraben-, silicone- and propylene glycol-free.

For carbon-footprint conscious consumers, beauty brands that feature local, ethically sourced ingredients will have the edge in influencing their purchasing decisions.

-Nica Lewis, Mintel

The Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. The Mintel Cosmetic Research Database tracks mass-market and luxury cosmetic innovations in France and the United States. For additional information regarding either Mintel GNPD or Mintel Cosmetic Research, visit or call Mintel International at 1-312-932-0600.

More in Ingredients