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8 emerging cosmetics ingredients to watch for at Natural Products Expo West 2018

The nontoxic beauty industry is exploring topical applications for healthy pantry staples and emerging botanicals, bringing innovation to the skin and hair care categories.

Jessica Rubino, Vice President, Content

February 23, 2018

4 Min Read
8 emerging cosmetics ingredients to watch for at Natural Products Expo West 2018

What’s the recipe for natural beauty success? It starts with right ingredients. The nontoxic cosmetics industry is becoming increasingly innovative, exploring topical applications for both healthy pantry staples and emerging botanicals to prove that superfoods aren’t just for, well, food.

We tapped our NEXT Trend database to discover which ingredients are being used to blend up the beauty products you’ll spot in Anaheim. We compared the number of personal care products featuring these ingredients at Natural Products Expo West 2015 and at Natural Products Expo West 2017, to identify these up-and-comers bound to make a big splash this year. 

Hemp seed

You can’t ignore the hype around hemp in foods and supplements, and guess what? It’s a booming cosmetics ingredient, too. The U.S. hemp industry is estimated to reach $1.8 billion by 2020, which includes products such as skin lotions, creams and oils. You’ll see it listed on labels as hemp oil, hempseed oil or even CBD (trying to navigate it in topical products might give you less of a headache—but still be sure to scrutinize labels and claims to ensure the products are compliant). Topically, the ingredient is thought to help alleviate muscle soreness, promote skin cell renewal (to aid healthy aging) and quell skin irritation.

Related:Delicious Living's 2018 Beauty & Body Award winners

Check out: ShiKai CBD Cream


Ancient grains are hot across categories, with quinoa (technically a seed) still leading the pack. This nutrient-packed powerhouse isn’t just for cooking, as beauty companies are leveraging the protein for a range of beauty goals. In hair care, it’s thought to strengthen and style (Aubrey Organics has been using quinoa and chia in its hair spray for several years) and skin care for its skin-replenishing vitamins.

Check out: EO Everyone Style Hair Gel

Goat’s milk

Got goat’s milk? More and more natural beauty brands do. You’ll find it in yogurt, ice cream and face cream, too, throughout the aisles of Expo West. Recently gaining steam in the dairy market thanks to its easier digestibility and higher nutrient content, according to Modern Farmer, the fatty acid-rich milk is also thought to be easily absorbed by the skin. It also contains skin-healthy vitamin A and lactic acid, which can help brighten the complexion. 

Check out: Zum Bar Goat’s Milk Soap Lime-Basil


We started to pay attention to this antioxidant-rich ingredient when mission-driven food company Kuli Kuli brought it to the food industry with a mission-backed story and a unique product. Now we’re seeing it not only in more nutritional products such as bars and beauty products—thanks to its protein, fatty acid, and vitamin and mineral content—but also in skin and hair care oils. Cold-pressed and simple is the way to go for superior purity.

Check out: Grenera Moringa Oil


A departure from many of the food-based ingredients on this list, here’s an ingredient that has a stronghold on supplements but is now becoming increasingly relevant to the beauty category thanks to its healthy aging prowess. Research has shown that topical application of CoQ10 can help fend off free radicals, so it’s an excellent ingredient to look for in antiaging creams and serums.  

Check out: Derma e CoQ10 Super Repair

Noni oil

For those looking to diversify their global ingredient portfolio, we’re eyeing this replenishing oil from the Indian mulberry fruit. Botanically derived oils are increasing in popularity but often are rooted in ancient wisdom, and one of the latest to experience a resurrection is noni seed oil, which Polynesians have long used to moisturize without clogging pores or making already oily skin seem greasy. It’s also used in hair and lip care for its quenching properties.

Check out: Puna Noni Pineapple Lip Balm

Murumuru butter

Brazilian ingredients are still popular in a range of natural products; this Amazonian moisturizer that hails from a Brazilian palm tree is being used in skin and hair products because of its lauric and oleic acids, vitamins A and C, and high content of omega fatty acids 3, 6 and 9. Since you probably consider various skin types when stocking skin care, do the same for the hair care category and look for murumuru in products that are geared toward curly, frizzy and/or damaged locks.

Check out: Surya Brasil Amazonia Preciosa Murumuru Conditioner


While customers may be turning to caffeine alternatives (such as B vitamins) for energy, don't write it off for your HABA department; this ingredient could very well be the solution customers need in their nontoxic skin care. Caffeine is touted for its ability to help reduce redness and under eye circles, support circulation and even help manage cellulite. Great for those who feel their skin needs an energy boost. 

Check out: Mellisa B Naturally Pack Your Bags Eye Cream

About the Author(s)

Jessica Rubino

Vice President, Content, New Hope Network

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