Is succulent beauty the next big thing?

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Jacqueline Kilikita
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They may be tiny, but succulents are taking the beauty industry by storm, promising the smooth, plump and radiant skin you’ve always wanted. Here’s what you need to know.

Thanks to a surge in natural beauty, we’ve seen more and more brands kicking synthetic ingredients to the kerb in favour of plant-based elements like argan oil, turmeric and avocado, which have come to be staples in our skincare rituals. But, it looks like there might be a new type of greenery on the block for 2018…

Enter the succulent. There’s likely to be a member of the Instagrammable plant family (which includes yucca, aloe vera, cactus and prickly pear, to name but a few) sitting pretty on your desk right now, and they are fast becoming a skincare essential, especially in Korea (the beauty trend forecasting capital)– just take a look at picture-perfect new beauty brand, Huxley

Why? Well, there isn’t much succulents can’t do.

Extracts from the fleshy leaves and oil-laden seeds of succulents like yucca and prickly pear are packed with antioxidant vitamin E, which acts like a shield against environmental aggressors such as pollution. That’s before we’ve touched on how intensely moisturising it is. “Vitamin E is known for its ability to soften even the driest of skins,” says Lorraine Scrivener, skin expert and founder of Eden Skin Clinics. Take that, scaly winter face. 

And that’s not all. The clear gel inside aloe vera leaves has been used to soothe skin irritation like sunburn and to help heal wounds for centuries, which is why all manner of big name brands – from Kiehl’s to Skin 79 – are formulating products with the wonder ingredient. Cactus flower extracts are big news too, and can shuttle lost moisture back into the skin and keep it on lockdown for longer.

Here are the best skincare products brimming with succulent goodness:

HUXLEY Essence Grab Water, £27.68,

It was the sleek, minimal brand aesthetic which caught our attention first but the results have completely swayed us. With 85% Sahara cactus extract, this jelly-like essence floods the skin’s surface with moisture, smoothing any rough, parched patches. It makes a brilliant make-up primer, too.

Kiehl’s Cactus Flower Mist, £19, 

Central heating and harsh winter winds pose a double threat on skin, sapping it of moisture fast, which makes this mist a must-have. A mix of cactus flower, ginseng and rosemary essential oils make rough, slack skin feel supple in seconds. Veil all over immediately after cleansing to counteract tightness or spritz on throughout the day to stop your foundation from collecting in any dry spots. 

Skin Design London Hydrating H20 Intense LUXE, £105, 

If it feels like your face might crack after cleansing, you’ll want to stockpile this serum. Moisture magnets hyaluronic acid and cactus pear attract water and keep it on lock-down in the skin to banish that uncomfortable, taut feeling. The added aloe works wonders to bring down redness.  

BYBI Supercharge Serum, £32, 

Don’t let the colour put you off - this is supercharged with succulent nourishment. Prickly pear seed oil is the star ingredient thanks to the high vitamin E content, which skin experts rate for its ultra-moisturising properties (hello, smooth skin) and its ability to fend off pollution. 

HUXLEY Mask Oil & Extract, £17.93, 

This barely-there mask adheres tightly to the face (sans the suffocating feeling) so you can go about your daily business without the fear of it slipping off. All you need to do is fold the liquid pouch over the mask itself and squeeze until it is drenched completely. Thanks to a duo of prickly pear seed oil and cactus extract, the results are pretty much akin to a facial – plump, nourished, glowing skin. 

Skin 79 Jeju Sandorong Jelly Mask Aloe, £4.90, 

Redness and inflammation don’t stand a chance against this satisfying jelly mask thanks to the aloe vera. It cools, refreshes and hydrates instantly. 

Images: iStock/Joshua Harris