When it comes to beauty regimens, your Caribbean grandma knows best. New scientific research has discovered the power of old-school remedies, using natural ingredients found throughout the islands. Now many Caribbean companies are bringing these traditional beauty secrets to the 21st century, incorporating native extracts into their products. From skin irritation to fine lines and wrinkles, here are a few of the noteworthy superfoods that can alleviate your skin and hair challenges, and the island-proud brands that are harvesting their nutrient-rich power.
Coconut oil is a multi-purpose ingredient that can be easily incorporated into your skincare routine. Thanks to its high concentration of fatty acids, this natural lubricant locks in moisture, protecting against dryness and irritation. Coconut oil also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is packed with lauric acid—a nutrient found to help combat acne and reduce inflammation.
Based in Trinidad and Tobago, Cedros Bay Cosmetics has made 100 percent organic virgin coconut oil the star of their show. Taking a farm-to-skin approach to beauty, they use the Caribbean-made ingredient in all their products—like their detoxifying Charcoal Face Mask, which deeply cleanses and hydrates the skin.
Oh delicious, sweet mango! A staple treat in any Caribbean household, every part of this tropical fruit has healing properties. Extracts from mango flesh and peel are rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C, both powerhouse antioxidants that improve skin renewal, boost collagen, even out skin tone and reduce inflammation caused by acne. Mango seed butter is a non-comedogenic moisturizer—it melts into the skin without clogging pores. This makes it an ideal balm to soothe dryness or irritation caused by rashes, insect bites, and sunburns.
Itiba, a skincare line from St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has infused these extracts into their variety of skin serums and lotions. Their popular Mango soap, for example, features locally harvested mango pulp.
Keep your skin fresh and beautiful by adding a little moringa oil to your daily regime. Extracted from the seeds of the moringa tree, this special oil is high in vitamin E—an antioxidant known for its anti-bacterial and hydration properties. It’s also useful for protecting the skin from dry air, pollution, and other environmental irritants. It also contains healthy doses of vitamin C, which aids in collagen production to enhance that beautiful glow.
The oil is a key ingredient in the all-natural moringa soap handmade by Jazzy’s All Natural Vincy Products, based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Black Castor Oil
This ingredient is extremely popular among naturalists in the know. Extracted from castor seeds roasted to boost their nutrient value, black castor oil has become popular as a hair balm due to its rich emollient properties. Its multiple uses include treating irritated scalps and dandruff while smoothing frizz and adding shine. Black castor oil also contains high doses of ricinoleic acid. This nutrient helps lock in the moisture that’s essential for overall hair health and sustained growth.
For those trying to grow out their locks, try the Jamaican black castor oil products from Tropic Isle Living. The brand is most celebrated for its organic oil, made through the traditional roasting process. In addition, they also infuse the valuable extract throughout their hair care line of shampoos, conditioners, and deep treatment masks.