One of the reasons we prefer-all natural skincare products is because we like knowing exactly what we’re putting on our face and body. Too many products these days are made with chemical ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, let alone understand what they are. The Ila Spa Body Wash in the Winter Yuzen Box has an unpronounceable ingredient in it, too, but it’s not because it’s a nasty chemical—it’s just not that common or well-known… yet. Quillaja, also known as the soapbark tree, is an evergreen that’s native to central Chile. Quillaja has been used for centuries as a body cleanser; the inner bark is reduced to a powder, then mixed with water. It suds up all nice and lathery without the use of chemical lathering agents like those found in many soaps and body washes today. Ila Spa’s luxurious body wash, which cleanses, tightens, moisturizes all skin types, also contains the purest natural oils of apricot and vetiver.
We love trees, and we’re happy when we can use products (and eat foods) that contain tree-derived ingredients but don’t require destroying the tree. Here are some other products that come from trees:
- Oil from tea tree plants is used widely in skincare products to help reduce acne, dry skin, itchiness, and cold sores, and it can also be used as an insect repellent and a natural deodorant.
- We wouldn’t have chewing gum without the Aztecs and the Maya, who chewed chicle to ward off hunger, freshen their breath and keep their teeth clean. It was also used to fill cavities. Chicle is a wild-harvested tree sap that grows naturally in Mexico and Central America, and the sap is cultivated without harm to the tree. Much of the gum on the shelves these days is made from synthetic and chemical alternatives, but there are still some all-natural brands out there that use chicle or other all-natural ingredients that are similar to chicle.
- The leaves of the henna tree are pounded to make dyes, which have been used for centuries to color hair and decorate the body.
- Cinnamon tastes delicious—what would we do without ooey, gooey cinnamon rolls or a sprinkling of the spice on our latte? Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum, which grow in places like Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, and Indonesia. Cinnamon has a number of proven health benefits; it’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial, and it has been shown to help boost immunity. You can even make an anti-acne face mask right at home: Just mix 3 tablespoons of honey with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, whip into a thick paste, and smooth onto your face.Relax for about 10 minutes, then wash off and pat face dry.
- And who can forget chocolate? It comes from the cacao tree, native to the Amazon.