From vitamin C to turmeric, we're all ears when it comes to beauty's next wunderkind ingredient. Our latest fix? Moringa. Often referred to as the 'miracle tree', moringa is native to north India but can now be found throughout the tropics and Africa, too.
The seed's leaf, which tastes peppery like rocket and often comes in powder form, sits in the same family as kale and broccoli. Boasting inflammation- and free radical-fighting properties, it's long been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine, and for good reason. According to Imane Laasri, The Body Shop's global marketing director for Bath & Body, moringa is one of the most nutrient-rich plants in the world, its leaves made up of more protein than soy, more vitamin C than oranges, and more potassium than bananas.
However, it's not the dietary benefits of the tree we're focusing on here but rather the seed's antioxidant and youth-boosting qualities, found in many of our new favourite beauty products. Rich in vitamins A, B and C, moringa is a fantastic ingredient to look for if you're after a glowing complexion, and thanks to its omegas 3 and 6, it's full of fatty acids which retain skin's moisture – perfect for the dehydrated among us. Finally, it's a natural antioxidant, anti-pollutant and fights skin ageing, which explains its 'miraculous' reputation.
While the seed and its extracted oil are set to become trending ingredients across both food and beauty this year, some brands have long been advocates of the plant. Emma Hardie's Moringa Cleansing Balm has a cult following thanks to its heavenly scent (from orange, neroli and mandarin oils) and nourishing texture. Packed with moringa seed extract, alongside wild sea fennel and vitamin E, the balm-to-oil cleanser is all you need to turn your rented bathroom into a spa.
Kypris' Body Elixir is an indulgent treat for your skin but has gained fanfare among mothers thanks to its ability to reduce the colour of stretch marks during or post-pregnancy. Moringa seed oil is combined with prickly pear and bitter orange blossom for a richly hydrating serum-cum-oil formula. To make it go further, we put a teaspoonful in a hot bath to hydrate every inch of skin.
Thanks to the plant's anti-ageing properties, products for your hands also benefit from containing moringa. Look to The Body Shop's affordable, and most importantly, non-greasy Moringa Hand Cream, which is also infused with the scent of the moringa flower. Another cleanser that we rate highly is Farmacy's Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm. The brand's farm-to-face ethos means you'll find no nasties in this heavy-duty but lightweight cleanser, in which moringa sits nicely alongside sunflower and ginger root oils to boost skin's glow. It also removes the most waterproof of mascaras while nourishing weak lashes.
Finally, those with parched skin will want Odacité's Mo+P Very Dry Skin Serum Concentrate on their bathroom shelf, stat. With cold-pressed virgin moringa seed combined with neroli, lemon and rose oils, it's a highly potent formula where a little goes a long way. A few drops in your favourite night cream and you'll soon notice the hydrating effect on cracked or scaly skin.
People have been reaping the skincare benefits of moringa for hundreds of years; it certainly isn't a new beauty ingredient, although it's far from widespread. We can't wait for it to catch on industry-wide and for more products to include every aspect of the miracle tree, from plant to pod to seed.