LIQUID BOTANICAL EXTRACTS: INNOVATE, ENRICH, AND BEAUTIFY
- The use of Liquid Botanical Extracts for medicinal and cosmetic purposes can be traced back thousands of years to regions including ancient Egypt, the Middle East, China, and Europe. Some of these traditional methods, such as the daily infusion of tea leaves for ingestion, are practiced to this day around the world.
- In cosmetics, Liquid Botanical Extracts offer a special convenience over powdered extracts, as they can be added directly to formulations without the need of prior dissolving.
- Liquid Botanical Extracts allow cosmetic and personal care brands to embrace non-synthetic ingredients while incorporating naturally-occurring colors in their products. They also enhance and enrich formulations with unique plant-derived benefits for the skin, hair, and body.
- Standardization protocols in the preparation of Liquid Botanical Extracts offer formulators and cosmetic manufacturers product consistency, as the concentration of specific active constituents is guaranteed.
- Liquid Extracts may be added to original formulations or incorporated into various cosmetic bases (a percentage of 0.1-3% is recommended). NDA Liquid Extracts are also water-soluble and do not require heating.
HISTORY OF LIQUID BOTANICAL EXTRACTS
Chemical compounds originating from natural sources have been used to enhance our quality of life for hundreds of years. Traditional medicine and beauty remedies relied on organic substances, including botanical extracts, to solve a variety of cosmetic and health concerns, as well as to improve our general physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In each case, the making of a botanical extract was for the purpose of isolating desired constituents of the plant that are believed to bring about some kind of cosmetic or therapeutic benefit. The enduring tradition of steeping coffee grounds or tea leaves as a morning ritual represents a simple example of this process.
Early botanical extracts were popular in liquid form and were relatively uncomplicated. Traditional Ayurvedic medicine, for example, featured herbal decoctions (known as 'Kasayam') made by carefully boiling off powdered mixtures of plant parts until desired concentrations are achieved. Infusions of plant parts in water, fluid extracts, and tinctures were also used extensively in ancient Egypt, Middle East, and Europe to remedy not only a variety of common ailments, but also in significant medicinal treatments and practices. In ancient China, plant decoctions formed the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), where individual raw herbs or herbal mixtures of leaves, berries, seeds, roots, or bark were boiled off in alcohol or water under specific timed conditions, then strained and packaged for ingestion. As these liquids were often bitter and strong-tasting, some decoctions would be diluted or sweetened with honey to ease consumption. To this day, liquid decoctions remain the most frequently-used technique for the preparation of herbal medicines in China.
Today, botanical extracts remain as popular as ever, not only in natural and mainstream cosmetics, but also in the areas of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals as well. These latter sectors, in particular, have sparked a renewed interest in driving medicinal research related to herbal extracts, including phytomedicinal treatment and delivery.
Within the cosmetics sector in particular, there are now a range of Liquid Botanical Extracts available on the market; these are manufactured for the purpose of being incorporated into cosmetic and personal care product formulations, including body lotions, creams and moisturizers, face masks, serums and oils, soaps, body washes and shower gels, hair products, and makeup.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE LIQUID BOTANICAL EXTRACTS?
A botanical extract, in simple terms, is a substance packaged in dried, liquid, or semi-solid form that contains the desired proportion of targeted phytochemicals. In botanical extraction, the plant (or various plant parts such as the leaves, seeds, twigs, berries, or roots) are placed within a specific solvent that has the ability to dissolve the required constituents. The resulting mixture can then be isolated or processed further to obtain the final extract.
There are many different varieties of botanical extracts available on the market that serve a multitude of purposes. These include essential oils, tinctures, glycerites, supercritical extracts, powdered extracts, and hydrosols. There are now also many traditional and cutting-edge technologies available depending on the desired nature of the extract and manufacturing variables; popular techniques include cold pressing, CO2 extraction, maceration, percolation, solvent extraction, or steam distillation.
Botanical extracts in liquid form may be derived using water, glycerin, alcohol, a mix of alcohol and water, or solvents such as Propanediol. The solvent is selected based on, among other factors, its ability to dissolve the desired components of the plant. Methanol and ethanol, for example, will dissolve a range of alcohol-soluble components, while water will extract the water-soluble components only, such as sugar or enzymes. Each solvent also has its own characteristic strengths and weaknesses that relate to factors such as cost, viscosity, toxicity, reactivity, and the need for preservatives.
In cosmetics, Liquid Botanical Extracts offer a unique convenience for formulators in place of powdered extracts as they do not require prior dissolving. They are a great fit for brands that seek to embody non-synthetic ingredients, reflect naturally-occurring colors in their products, and have enriched formulations designed to improve the properties of the skin, hair, and body.
NDA's Liquid Botanical Extracts are 100% natural, made in Canada, and are easily solubilized to give a clean, non-turbid end product. They are also standardized, preservative-free, alcohol-free, and sustainable, with each botanical fingerprint identified using state of the art UV-Vis and HPLC analytical techniques.
BENEFITS OF LIQUID BOTANICAL EXTRACTS
In recent years, the use of botanical extracts in cosmetics and cosmeceutical products have been experiencing an upward trend. A number of factors have driven this renewed attention towards the use of natural, plant-based extracts in cosmetic formulations. One is consumer demand and preferences; increasingly, customers are beginning to care deeply about the ingredients behind the beauty products they are applying on their skin, and synthetic additives are perceived to be less safe and unappealing for long-term use.
At the same time, botanical extracts offer naturally potent skin-enhancing and skin-protective properties such as flavonoids, polyphenols, polysaccharides, and vitamins. For example, Grapefruit and Bilberry extracts are known for their natural antioxidant properties, Blueberry and Cranberry extracts offer skin-brightening benefits, Green Tea and Olive Leaf extracts are reputed for being helpful for sun-damaged skin, and Asparagus extracts are known to contribute to skin suppleness and elasticity. Multiple benefits often occur simultaneously within a single extract, which provides an immense added value over synthetic ingredients.
The inclusion of Liquid Botanical Extracts, in particular, can offer the following advantages for cosmetic manufacturers:
- Convenience and ease of use for formulators – powdered botanical extracts need to dissolve appropriately, while liquid extracts are ready-to-use.
- Improved marketing and sales – the addition of single or multiple botanical extracts in a formulation makes it possible to produce a unique and innovative end-product that is easy to market and drive sales.
- Enhances aesthetic appeal – natural botanical extracts provide a superior alternative to synthetic ingredients to infuse pleasant, rich, and earthy colors to a product.
- Cost-effective – for commercial cosmetic purposes, small quantities are generally sufficient.
- Can provide many additional beneficial properties – Liquid Botanical Extracts contain specific bioactive compounds that can offer unique skin-enhancing benefits for streamlined cosmetics. For instance, extracts with reputed antioxidant properties are useful to incorporate in both antiaging and suncare products.
- Standardization guarantees quality – The use of the quality assurance protocol of standardization guarantees the composition of the liquid extract in terms of its active constituents.
- Incredible choice – there is now an endless range of Liquid Botanical Extracts available for cosmetic chemists and formulators to choose from, to inspire unparalleled creativity in formulations.
THE IMPORTANCE OF STANDARDIZATION
Broadly speaking, natural botanical extracts, along with their desired active constituents, can vary from batch to batch (this is true for both liquid and powdered extracts). The reason for this is that crop conditions, such as local weather patterns, moisture levels, and sun exposure, as well as the techniques used for processing or extraction, can differ based on the supplier and/or harvest.
Working with unreliable compositions in liquid extracts can be problematic as the end product may now vary in appearance and performance. To overcome this issue, reputed suppliers introduce standardization methods to ensure the concentration of specific plant compounds stays consistent from batch to batch.
When purchasing a Liquid Botanical Extract, ensure you inspect the label or product description for a reference to standardization. This will typically be mentioned as a ratio or percentage. For example, NDA's Asparagus Liquid Extract is standardized for Polysaccharides (12.5%); this means that in each extract you purchase, you can be certain that 12.5% of the solution consists of the compound Polysaccharide obtained from Asparagus. Similarly, NDA's Grapefruit Liquid Extract is standardized for Naringin (8.8%), which represents the fact that each time it is used, 8.8% of the solution is guaranteed to contain the flavonoid Naringin. The percentage listed is also an indicator of potency: the greater the number, the more concentrated the liquid extract will be in terms of the standardized constituent.
The standardization of liquid extracts is a gold standard for quality. It not only helps ensure that the listed compound is present at that exact proportion, but it also generally ensures that the extract contains enough of other related compounds that may give rise to desired effects. Indeed, for some extracts, standardization takes place for only such 'marker compounds', if the active constituent is tricky to quantify.
HOW TO USE LIQUID BOTANICAL EXTRACTS
Liquid Botanical Extracts may be used to enhance a wide range of skincare, hair care, and personal care products, including creams and lotions, face masks, toners, scrubs, cleansers, shower gels, shampoos, hair conditioners, and suncare products. They can be added to original formulations or incorporated into various cosmetic bases (a percentage of 0.1-3% is recommended).
NDA Liquid Extracts are water-soluble and do not require heating, making them an excellent option for products such as cold process soaps and shampoos. To maintain the integrity of the extract, we recommend combining Liquid Extracts only when the formulation cools down to below 40°C.
Liquid Extracts, particularly those with deep and intense colors such as Bilberry, can be used to tinge cosmetic products with beautiful, natural colors. Take care to test the formulation as these colors may modify depending on the processing, pH level, and other factors. Multiple Liquid Extracts can also be combined together for further customization and creativity in your formulations.
Here are some simple recipes to inspire you.
Hydrating Natural Shampoo With Shiitake Liquid Extract
This DIY shampoo incorporates the unique benefits of Shiitake-based Polysaccharides to help deeply moisturize the scalp and hair strands. The addition of Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil works to purify the scalp and get rid of flaky skin and dandruff.
|Shampoo Base||100 mL|
|Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil||2 mL|
|Shiitake Liquid Extract||1 mL|
Instructions: Add the Shampoo Base, Shiitake Liquid Extract, and Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil into a shampoo dispenser bottle. Close the bottle before shaking vigorously to combine all the ingredients.
Soothing Facial Moisturizer With Green Tea Liquid Extract
This simple, nourishing moisturizer will help cool and comfort the skin while making your complexion glow.
|Carrier Oil||60 g|
|Distilled Water||230 g|
|Emulsifying Wax||28 g|
|Green Tea Liquid Extract||1.5 g|
|Broad-spectrum preservative||1.7 g|
Instructions: Combine a Carrier Oil of your choice with the Emulsifying Wax in a heat-resistant container. In another heat-resistant container, pour in the distilled water. Heat both containers (you may use a double boiler or water bath) until the waxes and oils have thoroughly melted, and the water phase reaches its boiling point. Heat for about 20 minutes. Next, pour the water phase into the carrier oil and melted wax, and blend well. Keep blending or stirring until the formulation has cooled. Once cooled down, you may add in your Green Tea Liquid Extract and preservative. Mix well.
Brightening Body Lotion With Grapefruit Liquid Extract
This Grapefruit-inspired body lotion features Coconut Oil and Cocoa Butter to promote protected, renewed, and super soft skin.
|Carrier Oil||30 g|
|Coconut Oil||15 g|
|Cocoa Butter||15 g|
|Emulsifying Wax||28 g|
|Distilled Water||250 g|
|Grapefruit Liquid Extract||5 g|
|Broad-spectrum preservative||2 g|
Instructions: Combine a Carrier Oil of your choice with the Emulsifying Wax, Coconut Oil, and Cocoa Butter in a heat-resistant container. In another heat-resistant container, pour in the distilled water. Heat both containers (you may use a double boiler or water bath) until the waxes, butter, and oils have thoroughly melted, and the water phase reaches its boiling point. Heat for about 20 minutes. Next, pour the water phase into the oils, butter, and melted wax, and blend well. Keep blending or stirring until the formulation has cooled. Once cooled down, you may add in your Grapefruit Liquid Extract and preservative. Mix well.
Refreshing Facial Toner With Milk Thistle Liquid Extract
Use this Lavender and Milk Thistle toner as a light and refreshing alternative for harsher toners. It is particularly suited for skin that is sensitive or easily irritated.
|Floral Water||100 mL|
|Lavender Essential Oil||2 drops|
|Solubilizer (Polysorbate 20)||2 drops|
|Milk Thistle Liquid Extract||0.5 tsp|
Instructions: Combine the above ingredients in a 100 ml spray bottle. Close the bottle before shaking the contents vigorously and spritz lightly on the face and neck.
A GUIDE TO LIQUID EXTRACTS & THEIR BENEFITS
NDA's current range includes the following Liquid Extracts. Each extract consists of a liquid blend with Propanediol and is standardized for selected active constituents.
Propanediol is an NPA-approved solvent and humectant that is sustainably derived from corn, and functions as an excellent substitute to petroleum-based Glycols. It is exceptionally skin-friendly, being non-irritating and non-sensitizing, and boosts the performance and feel of cosmetic products through its colorless, non-greasy, emollient, viscosity-enhancing, and clarity-improving characteristics.
ASPARAGUS LIQUID EXTRACT
Standardization: 12.5% Polysaccharide
INCI name: Asparagus Officinalis Extract and Propanediol
Color: Light Brown to Dark Brown
- Improve the look and feel of the skin through its firming, smoothing, and plumping properties.
- Support collagen density and elasticity of the skin.
BILBERRY LIQUID EXTRACT
Standardization: 7.3% Anthocyanin
INCI name: Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract and Propanediol
Color: Dark Maroon to Dark Purple
- Support the strength of collagen fibers in the skin, helping to reduce the look of fine lines and sagging.
- Exhibit strong antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
- Enhance the appearance of products with naturally deep and vibrant hues and colors.
GRAPEFRUIT LIQUID EXTRACT
Standardization: 8.8% Naringin
INCI name: Citrus Paradisi Extract and Propanediol
Color: Light Brown to Dark Brown
- Have strong antioxidant properties, helping to protect skin and reduce the look of aging.
- Brighten skin complexion while leaving a fresh, clean feel.
- Clarify the scalp and make hair strands look healthier and more radiant.
- Help limit oil production on the skin and scalp.
GRAPESEED LIQUID EXTRACT
Standardization: 12% Proanthocyanidins
INCI name: Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract and Propanediol
Color: Dark Red to Dark Brown
- Exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, promoting a more youthful-looking complexion while diminishing the appearance of scars, fine lines, and wrinkles.
- Enhance skin hydration while soothing it against environmental irritants.
GREEN TEA LIQUID EXTRACT
Standardization: 17.6% Polyphenols
INCI name: Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract and Propanediol
Color: Dark Olive to Dark Brown
- Help cool and soothe irritated, dry, or sensitive skin.
- Be a rich source of antioxidants, helping to reduce the signs of aging and sun damage.
- Help cleanse, purify, and exfoliate the skin and scalp.
- Minimize oil production in the skin and scalp.
- Promote the shine and growth of hair strands through its stimulating and protective properties.
MILK THISTLE LIQUID EXTRACT
Standardization: 12.5% Silymarin
INCI name: Silybum Marianum Seed Extract and Propanediol
Color: Light Brown to Dark Brown
- Be anti-inflammatory, helping to soothe skin ailments such as itching, flakiness, and irritation.
- Have anti-aging benefits, possibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging.
- Have sun-protection benefits, slowing down the appearance of sun damage.
- Help the skin look and feel smooth, supple, and hydrated.
OLIVE LEAF LIQUID EXTRACT
Standardization: 7.5% Oleuropein
INCI name: Olea Europaea Leaf Extract and Propanediol
Color: Dark Olive to Dark Brown
- Have nourishing skin-protective and skin-healing properties.
- Help strengthen the skin's defense against UV radiation.
- Boost moisture and hydration levels of the skin and hair.
- Help the skin look firmer, smoother, and tighter.
SHIITAKE LIQUID EXTRACT
Standardization: 14.2% Polysaccharides
INCI name: Lentinus Edodes Extract and Propanediol
Color: Brown to Dark Brown
- Have strong detoxifying properties, helping the skin look clearer and more refreshed.
- Moisturizes and smoothes out the skin and hair strands.
- Brighten and clarify the skin complexion.
- Have firming and lifting properties by strengthening collagen fibers.
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR LIQUID BOTANICAL EXTRACTS
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, Liquid Botanical Extracts are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using these products for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Liquid Botanical Extracts without the medical advice of a physician, as they may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. These products should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.
Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, skin disorders, bleeding disorders, hormone-related ailments, and conditions of the heart, liver, or kidney. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.
Prior to using Liquid Botanical Extracts, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting a preferred extract to 1% and applying to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Due to their water-solubility, Liquid Botanical Extracts will not dissolve in oil. For information about incorporating these extracts into cosmetic formulations, click here.
Liquid Botanical Extracts must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Liquid Botanical Extracts include skin irritation or discoloration, rash, hives, swelling or tenderness on the mouth, lips, or cheeks, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nerve damage, fever, chills, nasal congestion, wheezing, breathing difficulties, chest pain, throat irritation, increased thirst, nausea, heightened or lowered blood sugar levels, bloody nose, irregular heartbeat, vomiting, gas, indigestion, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, excess menstrual flow, and frequent urination.
Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat these products as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue the use of these products and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
Curious about powdered extracts? To learn more about the history, uses, and benefits of Powder Fruit Extracts, click here.
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