When you read the ingredients list on a natural skincare product, it’s important to realise that ingredients are listed in order of concentration, and that there’s a 2% threshold (ingredients that are less than 2% don’t have to be listed).
To be sure you’re getting a natural skincare product that will actually make a difference, you want to see potent ingredients at the front of the list. Four to look for are macadamia nut oil, apricot kernel oil, berry extract and cold-pressed avocado oil.
Macadamia nut oil
In the natural beauty care world, macadamia nut oil is an A-lister. It’s rich in essential fatty acids and has a chemical profile similar to sebum, which is the emollient your body makes to keep your skin supple and protected.
When we were choosing ingredients for the Okana skincare range, macadamia oil stood out because it has the highest content of palmitoleic and linoleic acid of any natural oil. This is important because, as we age, the amount of palmitoleic acid that occurs naturally in our skin diminishes. Skin becomes less supple and starts to droop. Experts say this high level of palmitoleic acid is why macadamia oil can penetrate human skin more easily, taking nutrients deeper into the dermal layers to maintain the skin’s barrier function. Keeping your skin barrier in good working order is the key to preventing moisture loss.
Macadamia oil is also prized as an ingredient for reducing age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. On top of all these benefits, macadamia oil is stable – it has a shelf life of up to two years. You can enjoy the benefits of macadamia oil skincare with our Radiant Skin Sorbet Cleanser.
Cold-pressed, unrefined avocado oil
New Zealand produces excellent avocados. They’re fantastic smashed on toast and they’re also great smooshed into your skin. Avocado oil contains vitamin E, potassium, lecithin and several other nutrients that are relevant to skincare.
If you have problems with eczema or psoriasis, avocado oil is a treatment that may help to soothe and heal flare ups. It’s also sometimes used as an acne treatment. This may seem counterintuitive, because acne usually comes with oily skin, but avocado oil is an anti-inflammatory that reduces redness and inflammation. 
Avocado oil can also help with wound healing, because it’s rich in essential fatty acids that promote collagen synthesis. And if you’re ever slack about sunscreen application, you can ease sunburn with avocado oil. According to a 2011 review, the vitamin E, beta carotene, vitamin D, protein, lecithin, and essential fatty acids in avocado oil can support healing and soothe the skin.
Avocados can also work for you from the inside out. There are studies that show how consuming healthful fats, such as those found in avocados, can help the skin to retain its elasticity. Get some avocado on with our amazing Wholesome Nourish Body Butter.
Apricot kernel oil
There’s strong research to support apricot kernel oil as a skincare ingredient. It has antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also comes with an interesting story:
In the 1930s Major Sir Robert McCarrison wrote about a people called the Hunzas who lived in a remote valley near Northern Pakistan. They were a hardy community and seemed to enjoy near-perfect health. Some lived to be over 135 years old and none of them suffered from diabetes, obesity, heart disease or cancer. The Hunzas’ diet included dairy products, meat, fresh grains and vegetables. But the stand-out feature of their eating plan was the consumption of massive quantities of apricot kernels.
Apricot kernel oil contains high levels of vitamin B17, which is used as a holistic treatment for cancer patients. It’s also packed with vitamins A, C and E, as well as numerous valuable fatty acids. Give your skin a daily hit of apricot kernel oil goodness with our High Antioxidant Day Moisturiser.
The natural health world is just buzzing about the special properties of berries. Nature-loving scientists are getting into it too. Berries are emerging as a treatment for respiratory problems, heart disease and digestive tract conditions.
All berries are packed with antioxidants, which help to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Blueberries have a special super power; they are vascular constructors, so they help to reduce redness in sensitive skins. And strawberries have been shown to support production of collagen fibres, to keep your skin looking young.
The potency of berries as a skincare ingredient comes from substances called anthocyanins, which give berries their red, blue and purple colouring. Anthocyanins are antioxidants, substances that stop unstable molecules from creating inflammation and damaging skin cells.  To give your skin the benefit of berry power, try our scrumptious Intense Repair Night Moisturiser.
 USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 2011 [Online], U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. http://www.nal. usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp [accessed Feb 2014].