Rice Extract

No, you haven’t accidentally made your way to a cookery website – rice extract is the next big thing in skin and hair care. With its popularity spanning Asia and more recently brought to fame by the popularity of Japanese beauty regimes, rice extract is quickly gaining a following in Europe and America. In fact, the new must-have ingredient has even become viral on TikTok thanks to the #RiceWaterChallenge and has celebrity endorsements, including Kim Kardashian and Alexa Chung.

But what exactly is rice extract? How does it work? And is it right for you?

What Is Rice Extract?

Rice (Oryza Sativa) has been a Japanese beauty tool for centuries, with women embracing “nuka biji”, or “beautiful by the rice”, as their secret weapon for hydrating and protecting their hair. Traditionally, rice and water were combined and sometimes boiled to release the rice’s starches; the liquid was then strained to create “rice water”. Women have been using this water to wash their hair since 1185 BC, enjoying faster-growing hair that is deep in colour and effortlessly healthy.

And it isn’t only hair that can benefit from rice water. Skincare brands like Shiseido also include the extract in their products for its brightening properties – as well as its ability to reduce irritation.

No longer a beauty secret handed down through generations, rice extract is being infused into a wide range of products in combination with other beneficial ingredients, revolutionising the practice of nuka biji for a modern audience.

How Does It Work?

Rice extract restores strength and treats damaged hair without weighing it down. How? It’s rich in amino acids and other beneficial minerals which work together to encourage healthy hair:

• Amino acids – to strengthen and repair damage
• Folic acid – increases the thickness of each strand of hair
• Magnesium – stimulates growth and new cell production
• Selenium – encourages hair growth and eliminates dandruff
• Niacin – high in B3, which strengthens hair and increases shine

Who Can Benefit From Using Rice Extract?

Rice extract can be used on all hair types to encourage growth and reverse the signs of damage. Thanks to its protein content, rice extract enriches each strand of hair, leaving it stronger, smoother and healthier. With its weightless consistency, hair products infused with rice extract are particularly well-suited to fine, thin, damaged and curly hair.

When it comes to skincare, rice extract is suitable for all skin types, though it’s particularly useful for dull or sensitive skin. Some evidence suggests that rice extract can offset irritation caused by sodium lauryl sulfate, making it an excellent choice for those using skincare with SLS as an ingredient.

What Products Contain Rice Extract?

A growing number of brands include rice extract in their formulations, but one of the most popular is the Japanese brand, Shu Uemura, which became part of the L’Oreal family in 2004. Shu Uemura’s Ultimate Reset range is enriched with Japanese-sourced rice extract and is particularly popular for boosting hydration and health of dry, damaged or frizzy hair. In particular, we love the Extreme Repair Masque, which fortifies and nourishes your locks.

When it comes to skincare, Dermalogica, Shiseido & Erborian are just some of the brands that have included rice extract in product formulations to help cleanse, exfoliate and brighten. Shop our edit to find a full range of products that contain Oryza Sativa (Rice Extract).


It’s pretty likely you’ve come across moringa before, but you wouldn’t be alone if you admitted to having no idea what it is. The name conjures up pictures of exotic tropical fruit, something lush and juicy hanging from a tree. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

In actual fact, moringa is a drought-resistant tree (also known as the drumstick or horseradish tree!) that grows across the Asian continent and beyond. So, what makes this unsuspecting bush a must-have beauty ingredient? Well, they don’t call it “the tree of life” for nothing.

What Is Moringa?

Featuring prominently in body butter, moisturisers and hair care, moringa is such a key ingredient that it often gets promoted from the ingredients list right into the product name. Yet, most of us wouldn’t have a clue where it comes from.

The moringa tree (which produces the Moringa oleifera seed) is amazingly resilient, thriving in even the most arid of conditions. To unlock the benefits of the plant, the seeds pods are harvested, and oil is extracted from the soft seeds. Cosmetic scientists can then add this oil into beauty products, where the benefits speak for themselves.

How Does It Work?

Moringa oil is rich in healthy compounds, including:

● Vit A
● Vit B1
● Vit C
● B2
● B3
● B6
● Folate
● Calcium
● Potassium
● Iron
● Magnesium
● Phosphorus
● Zinc

Together, these elements make this beauty ingredient great at fighting skin-ageing free radicals – and give the oil antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. Not only does the oil have these innate healing benefits, but it’s also supremely hydrating thanks to its genetic ability to survive in dry climates and during times of drought. Now that’s the kind of ingredient we all want in our skincare!

Who Can Benefit From Using Moringa?

Moringa oil is one of the few ingredients that can genuinely benefit all skin and hair types. Whether you suffer from dry, dehydrated skin, or oily, blemish-prone skin, it could be the ingredient you’ve been waiting for.

Mature Skin

The antioxidant properties of moringa oil give it great benefits for mature skin types, as it helps to fight free radicals, which contribute to ageing. Through a combination of age, diet and environmental factors, free radicals increase within our bodies, damaging our healthy cells. Moringa oil may help to neutralise these free radicals, preventing further damage.

Dry/Dehydrated Skin

It will come as no surprise that this oil is fantastic for dry or dehydrated skin. After all, any plant that knows how to survive even without water can teach our skin cells a thing or two about retaining moisture. By using a moisturiser that contains moringa seed oil, you’ll give your skin an added boost of hydration, along with added nutrients and antioxidant protection.

Oily/Blemish-Prone Skin

With its antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, moringa oil can be an ideal addition to blemish-prone skin routines. The powerful combination of properties allows moringa oil to reduce the risk of infection and encourage the skin to heal. These benefits, along with the hydrating element of moringa oil, may even help reduce the appearance of scars.

Normal/Combination Skin

As this oil is well-tolerated by all skin types, it can be used on normal or combination skin for an added boost of moisture over the winter months or to reduce the risk of breakouts in your t-zone. With such varied benefits, a quality skin care product that contains moringa oil is ideal to have at hand when your skin needs that little something extra.

What Products Contain Moringa?

A growing number of brands are beginning to include moringa oil among their active ingredients, but a few, in particular, are leading the way. The Emma Hardie Amazing Face range boasts many skin products infused with the oil, as does the Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ range.

For hair, nourish your tresses with the Shu Uemura Urban Moisture range, which uses moringa oil and red algae to deeply hydrate, or CHI Argan Oil Plus Moringa Oil for a dual-oil treatment.

Chinese Beauty

With a rich history of glamour, China’s C-Beauty secrets include a collection of stunning make-up looks and an intriguing DIY hair product.

With a population of 1,408,526,449 people, China is the world’s most populated country, so unsurprisingly, they have a wonderfully diverse approach to beauty. With inspiration ranging from centuries-old Chinese opera to glamorous modern styles, there’s something for everyone. But when it comes to skincare, there’s one overriding goal, a flawless, milky complexion.

Chinese Skincare

In C-Beauty, the priority above all else is to maintain pale, unblemished skin. In a country that has long, hot summers and high levels of pollution, this is no easy task! Investing in high-end skincare, women in China turn slow the signs of ageing, with C-Beauty favourites including luxury ranges like Elizabeth Arden Prevage, Shiseido Ultimune, Elizabeth Arden Ceramide and of course, Valmont.

Chinese women take sun defence seriously, wearing an SPF not only in the summer months, but during winter, and even when staying indoors. Most women opt for an SPF50 cream which is applied separately from their other skincare products, which ensures the best level of sun protection. But the efforts to protect their skin from the sun doesn’t end there, when the sun is out, wide-brimmed hats, large sunglasses and Parasols are all par for the course for Chinese women who don’t want to risk premature ageing and sun damage. 

Daily skincare is very similar to K-Beauty, and is practised in the evening before bed. It first involves a two-step cleansing routine using an oil-based cleanser and a lighter cleanser. This removes all traces of dirt and grime from your face, leaving it ready to absorb the beneficial ingredients that follow. During the cleansing process, a Jade Roller or traditional Chinese beauty tool called a “Gua Sha” can be used to massage the muscles and improve circulation. 

Next comes a sheet mask to hydrate and soothe the skin, while this may be a weekly treat for us in the UK, in China it’s an everyday part of skincare. Following the sheet mask, pat on some eye cream to keep that delicate area of skin in good condition, and follow with a whitening lotion to any areas of the face that are suffering from pigmentation. A serum and night cream are up next, favouring natural ingredients and deep hydration. Finally, lip balm completes the routine, making sure that you have the perfect pout. 

Phew! No wonder C-Beauty skincare is usually done before bed, you’ll be ready to collapse after all of that!


Herbal medicine is an important part of daily life in China, and that extends to beauty. Natural ingredients are used for their skin and hair improving properties, with many Chinese skincare brands also including them in their formulations. Here are just a few of the ingredients used in C-Beauty, and how they can help up your beauty game.

Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it ideal for healthy skin and overall wellbeing.

Turmeric is a superfood and is often used as a DIY face-mask, combined with milk and honey. It is hydrating as well as exfoliating. 

Mung beans are a core part of the Chinese diet but are also used in face masks and creams for their astringent and antioxidant properties, helping with acne and rashes.

He Shou Wu is a herbal blend that can be added to smoothies and tea for brighter skin and longer, thicker hair.

Red Dates/Goji Berries are eaten as they are, or infused in tea for their benefits to glowing skin.

C-Beauty Makeup Looks

Makeup, and particularly lipstick, are a staple of C-Beauty, with most women owning a large collection of high-end shades. While fashions and trends change, there are currently four core looks that are popular in Chinese makeup in 2020, listed below:


With black eyeliner and a blood-red lip, this is a look that has been popular in China for decades. The focus is on luxury, choosing shades of lipstick in red and blood orange by big beauty names such as Givenchy, Guerlain and Dior. Not to be mistaken with the European glamour-look, C-beauty Glamour is more understated, with the lip taking centre stage. 

Bold Eyeshadow

Taking inspiration from traditional makeup used in the Chinese opera, bold eyeshadow is applied under the eyes and up toward the temple. Against a pale complexion, the warm tonal colours of red, maroon and copper are perfectly matched. Try the look with this Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Coral from Huda Beauty.

No Makeup

The “no makeup, makeup” look is popular everywhere you go, but with C-Beauty’s emphasis on a flawless complexion, it is even easier to achieve. A natural foundation is lightly applied, free of contouring but with a small amount of blush. The eyes simply get a little nude eyeshadow and eyebrows are defined, while gloss is applied to the lip.

Baby Doll

A toned-down version of Japanese “Kawaii”, the Baby Doll look is huge in China right now. Big eyes – exaggerated with false lashes and white liner under the lower lid – are the centrepiece, with pale pink blush and pink lipstick rounding out the cherubic look.

With so many variations of C-Beauty to try, there really is something for everyone. Why not experiment with your skin and beauty routine and find out firsthand what all the fuss is about?

Avena Sativa

A simple ingredient with a not-so-simple name, Avena sativa is better known as the humble oat. Used in everything from haircare to hand cream, Avena sativa packs a punch when it comes to nourishing dry and irritated skin. 

The chances are, if you suffer from the dreaded itch that comes with dry, sensitive skin, you’ll have already come across a product that lists Avena sativa amongst its active ingredients, but how does adding oats to skincare work, and does it live up to the hype?
Let’s find out.

What Is Avena Sativa

Avena sativa is the Latin name for a species of grass known as common oat. When the plant matures, its seeds become the oats that you buy from the supermarket, but if it is harvested while the plant is still green, its leaves and stem can be used to create oat straw extract. The extract is naturally high in iron, zinc, manganese and antioxidants, as well as having a number of reported health benefits. 

Avena sativa is available as a tincture, powder or capsule, and is often added into moisturisers for its soothing effect on the skin. The mature oats can also be used in skincare, being ground down to create a fine powder known as colloidal oatmeal.

How Does It Work?

It’s believed that oat straw extract may have a range of benefits to the body, including improving blood flow, boosting brain function and even stabilising mood. But while those aspects are still being studied, what we do know is that Avena sativa works wonders for dry and itchy skin. 

Oat straw extract contains a particular group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which have been found to reduce inflammation both internally and on the surface of the skin. In addition, many skincare products combine the extract with colloidal oatmeal, which has its own skin-benefits. 

Colloidal oatmeal creates a barrier on the skin to protect it against irritants and also contains water-binding polysaccharides and hydrocolloids which bind moisture to the skin and offer emollient properties. This moisturises dry skin and helps to maintain the skin’s natural pH balance.

Who Can Benefit From Using Avena Sativa?

As Avena sativa is a gentle, natural product which is well-tolerated, it can be used safely for all skin types. However, anyone who suffers from dry, itchy skin, and particularly those who struggle with eczema, will find Avena sativa particularly beneficial. 

While there are many products that fight the inflammation of dry and sensitive skin, not many can relieve the accompanying itch. With some moisturisers gentle enough for use on infants, a cream that combines colloidal oatmeal and oat straw extract is a lifesaver for soothing itchy skin, even during a flare. 

What Products Contain Avena Sativa?

Avena sativa can come under a range of names, depending on the type of product used. When searching for it in your ingredient list, look for oat straw (stem) or oat kernel (seeds). Here are just a few of the products you’ll find Avena sativa in:

For Hair

With its moisture-locking properties, its no surprise that oats make a fantastic ingredient for hair care, as in this Weleda Oat Replenishing Shampoo. Nourishing the delicate skin on the scalp and bringing hydration to dry, brittle hair, this shampoo strengthens hair from root to tip.

Hair Care Oat Replenishing Shampoo 190ml

For Body

Is there anything worse than the feeling of razor burn? With oat kernel extract, Lab Series Razor Burn Relief Ultra soothes irritated skin and calms redness, while aiding the skins natural healing process. Best of all, it’s fragrance-free so it can be used by anyone unlucky enough to be dealing with razor induced itching.

Razor Burn Relief Ultra Fragrance-Free 100ml

For Face

Keep skin calm and hydrated with Balance Me Rose Otto Face Oil – a 100% natural, skin-strengthening rose oil for the face, which works hard to protect sensitive and red complexions.

Balance Me
Sensitive Rose Otto Face Oil

Was this helpful? If so, you can view all of our Avena Sativa products and read similar articles at allbeauty.com/Ingredients


Retinol is the darling of the beauty world, featured in the line-up of all of the best known cosmetic products. If you’ve not yet delved into the world of this must-have skincare ingredient, allow us to give you an overview. Here’s everything you need to know about retinol.  

What Is Retinol?

Often referred to by those in dermatology as the only proven anti-ageing ingredient, retinol boasts a wealth of skin-improving properties. 

Retinol is another name for Vitamin A1, which is the vitamin known for promoting collagen production and skin renewal. The stimulating effect that retinol has on collagen production is one of its most valuable functions. Why? Because our collagen production naturally slows from around the age of 30, leading to an increase in those fine lines and wrinkles synonymous with old age. 

Not only that, but retinol is also a great exfoliator, so it encourages the release of old skin cells while stimulating the production of newer, thicker skin. You won’t be surprised to hear that this is making it one of the hottest ingredients in anti-ageing skincare.

How Does It Work?

Retinol works by prompting weak and discoloured cells on the skin’s outermost layer to slough off, revealing fresh skin beneath. While this turnover can cause redness and mild peeling, after around six weeks the skin adjusts and looks more radiant, smoother, and even. 

Who Can Benefit From Using Retinol?

Retinol is best used on the skin from the age of 30+, as this is the time that collagen levels begin to fall. In this group, the results speak for themselves, with tens of thousands of people around the world swearing by it for its anti-ageing properties. If you have younger skin you may choose to use retinol too, particularly as a preventative solution, though you may not find the visible effects quite as noticeable. 

Because retinol breaks down dead skin cells and unclogs pores, it’s also been found to be particularly useful for people who aren’t getting results from their current acne treatment. If over-the-counter options aren’t having an effect on your acne, it may be worth consulting with a dermatologist to discuss retinol treatments. 

All that being said, there are some people who should steer clear of retinol. If you have eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, it’s best to avoid retinol because your skin’s already weakened moisture barrier will allow retinol to penetrate deeper than it should, resulting in more inflammation. 

What Products Contain Retinol?

The number of products which contain retinol are increasing by the day, but there are a few which our customers swear by. Here are three of the best retinol products, as voted by allbeauty customers. 

The Organic Pharmacy Repair Retinol Night Serum

This powerfully smoothing Retinol Night Serum with 2.5% Lecithin encapsulated Retinol boosts collagen, refines pores and corrects pigmentation. Encapsulating Retinol supports its delivery and skin penetration and this expert formula has been clinically proven to reduce surface wrinkles.

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Eye Cream

Reap the benefits of retinol as well as vitamins C and E with this eye cream by Peter Thomas Roth. The slow-release formula gets to work as you sleep, so you can wake to a brighter, smoother complexion. 

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules x 30

“Love this – have been using the capsules for a week and can see and feel the difference.” – 5* review by Sue

Winner of a 2018 Grazia Beauty Award, these attractive pink capsules provide targeted treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, conveniently pre-measured to reduce product waste.

To view all of our Ingredients and read the full articles go to allbeauty.com