Experts Weigh in on the Trendiest Beauty Ingredients of 2018

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We’ve already established that CBD influence has long surpassed your hemp-infused facial oil to your daily morning latte, but what about all of the other buzzy beauty ingredients of 2018? Surely, you’ve spotted a rose quartz or jade face roller on your Instagram feed by now and have at least one friend of a friend raving about the benefits of rosehip oil. So how does a beauty ingredient become trendy in the first place? Dr. Leslie Baumann, a dermatologist, research, and author believes that it’s all in the great marketing: „[Something] becomes trendy, because the company that has the ingredient in it or the ingredient suppliers try to hype it up,“ she says.

Here, CR had three dermatologists and skin experts weigh in (and in some instances, completely debunk) the most popular skin-saving ingredients of the year, from pearl sheet masks to night creams infused with plant stem cells.


The increasing legalization of marijuana and various dispensaries springing up across the country has led to another burgeoning industry: the rise of CBD beauty. Heralded as a hero ingredient for its health and anti-inflammatory properties, scientists have yet to fully explore the medical benefits of cannabinoids, but CBD is set to become one of the US’s fastest growing industries.

„I think we’ll continue to see more and more product lines that have CBD ingredients in them in 2019 and they’re going to be trying to use them to target certain skin conditions,“ says Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and founder of Renée Rouleau Skincare. „Whether or not they will be effective remains to be seen as it appears that more research needs to be done, but I think behind-the-scenes in skincare labs there’s really a lot of focus there.

Baumann concurs that we should still hold out for more research. „At this point no studies have been done because the U.S. government did not allow research using cannabis until very recently,“ she says. „However, we know CBD and THC have anti-inflammatory properties. I believe there will be a role in the future in acne, eczema, and rosacea but right now consumers should wait until we know more about which CBD/HC ratios are best and what formulations penetrate best. This is an area to watch!“

Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil began trending this year when it was reported Duchess Kate Middleton started using Trilogy’s Rosehip Oil when she was pregnant with Princess Charlotte. Eventually, it became so popular with the masses that one bottle is sold every 20 seconds.

The oil is packed with plenty of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, making it an ideal ingredient for skin hydration and encouraging collagen production. „[It has] anti-inflammatory, skin lightening effects and high levels of fatty acids, making it a useful ingredient to hydrate dry skin,“ says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

„Rosehip seed oil is a wonderful, emollient ingredient that helps repair the moisture barrier, resulting in less redness and irritation for those with sensitive skin or who are experiencing sensitivity,“ Rouleau says. „It’s one of the ingredients in my Pro Remedy Oil. It’s rich in vitamins A, C, and antioxidants to promote a youthful appearance.“

However, there have been few clinical studies on the skincare benefits of rosehip oil and Baumann prefers to use other oils instead. „[Rosehip] has linoleic acid which is anti-inflammatory and vitamin A that can help acne. However, [there are] no good studies. I personally prefer using Argan Oil for my patients because it does not cause acne and is very soothing. Paorr Argan Oil is my favorite brand because it is very pure.“


Although now most commonly found in South Asian kitchens, the spice has been used for thousands of years for its various medicinal benefits. Turmeric also has plenty of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could help improve skin and can be found in the forms of brightening creams, serums, and soaps. The secret is in the compound curcumin, which studies have shown can help decrease UV damage and even combat acne. „It is rich in antioxidants to help calm inflammation, support healthy collagen production, and help to brighten the skin,“ Zeichner says.

„Turmeric at high doses has been shown to change gut flora, and investigators believe this may help control acne breakouts and impact facial redness,“ says Dr. Rebecca Kleinerman, a dermatologist with her own practice in New York.

Unfortunately for the skincare saver, its rich yellow coloring also has the potential to stain the complexion. „Turmeric is known to heal acne flare ups, boost healing, and offer a radiant glow to the complexion. The only drawback to using turmeric in it’s natural state is it can leave behind a bright yellow or orange tint on the skin and stain nail polish or other materials it touches,“ Rouleau says.

Baumann believes that ingesting turmeric is still the best method to utilize its benefits: „The problem is that it smells bad and gives off a yucky yellow color,“ she says. „I think it’s best at this point to take it orally in a capsule or in food.“

[pullquote align=’center‘]“[Something] becomes trendy, because the company that has the ingredient in it or the ingredient suppliers try to hype it up.“[/pullquote]

Plant Stem Cells

While scientists have already been exploring the benefits of using stem cells to target fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage, beauty brands have begun incorporating a vegan alternative into their products: plant stem cells. Derived from fruits and other leafy plants, brands claim that the cells, when infused into face creams and serums, have amazing anti-aging benefits for the skin.

„Plant cells contain high levels of antioxidants and the benefits can vary depending on what plant they are derived from,“ Rouleau says. „Added to a skin cream, plant cells can deliver strong anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits and stimulate cell turnover. It’s a good addition to an anti-aging skin care regimen.“

The majority of plant stem cell products don’t contain the actual cells themselves, according to Kleinerman. „They in fact contain ’stem cell extracts‘ and not the live cell. They usually sit on the surface of the skin and serve as an antioxidant, which may improve skin appearance over time,“ she says.

Although the idea of a vegan option certainly seems enticing, the jury is definitely still out on their effectiveness when it comes to research and clinical studies. Baumann herself isn’t a fan: „Total waste of money,“ she says. „Plant cells cannot affect human cells at all. This is really kind of a scam. Save your money.“

Jade/Rose Quartz Facial Rollers

This year saw the crystal boom in full effect, as jade and rose quartz rollers became a bonafide social media sensation. As more beauty brands continue to tout the tool’s reported amazing skincare benefits, the rollers have become a popular alternative to costly facial massages in order to move lymph fluid around and age gracefully without any invasive treatments or needles.

„Rollers help remove excess fluid and enhance circulation,“ Zeichner says. „They’re commonly used under the eyes and along the jawline, but can be used along the entire face as well.“

While the stone rollers may have a plumping, de-puffing effect on the complexion, don’t expect them to actually work any magic on the skin’s texture or uneven tone: „They work to move lymph fluid like a massage would, but do not have any special properties that help the skin,“ Baumann says.

Ultimately, Rouleau believes that like all trends, the facial roller craze will eventually come and go. „I’m a big believer in boosting blood flow to the face, especially as you get older. That’s why I do this three-minute trick every night and recommend my clients do the same,“ she says. „Although jade and quartz rollers are very trendy right now and look great on Instagram, I think it will fade just like so many other skincare trends. It’s just like the fashion industry. We all like new things but what is once new will eventually be old.“


The rise of Korean and Asian beauty has already introduced the widely popular snail gel to Western beauty consumers, but the latest trend to take over Sephora shelves is using pearl. Creams containing crushed pearl particles and sheet masks containing pearl have taken center stage this year, as skincare savant claim that the ingredient can help brighten the skin. „Finely milled pearl powder may provide a manual exfoliation benefit,“ Zeichner says.

„Regularly used in skin care products in Latin America, Europe and Asia, pearls are revered for their ability to rejuvenate and brighten the skin,“ Rouleau says. „Pearls contain a variety of amino acids and minerals that strengthen the skin and offer luminous, brightening and anti-inflammatory properties.“

Baumann, however, warns against using gems in your skincare routine.“Nothing in pearls, gold, or diamonds is good for the skin. In fact, gold can cause a skin allergy,“ she says. „Pearls are not dangerous, but are not effective either on the skin“


Last but certainly not least, collagen has swept the beauty industry this year in the form of facial creams, powders you mix in with your morning protein shake, to travel-friendly drinks. Skincare enthusiasts are always looking for new ways to rebuild collagen and rightly so: the protein found in our tissues and organs is essential to keep our skin looking young and firm. Because the body begins to slow down collagen production as early as your early 20s, treatments including resurfacing lasers, microneedling facials, and chemical peels are available to aid in looking youthful for longer.

More accessible (and less costly) options in the form of drinkable and topical collagen has gained more popularity this year, but do they actually help rebuild the coveted protein? According to Zeichner, it’s unlikely your night cream infused with collagen will actually do anything. „Being a large molecule, it is unlikely that the collagen contained in topical creams actually penetrate through the skin,“ he says. „However, it may provide a moisturizing benefit. Ingestible collagen is broken down in our gastrointestinal tracts into its component amino acids, which help provide our bodies with the building blocks for healthy functioning, similar to the way that eating protein will.“

Naysayers believe that slathering collagen creams onto your face won’t yield any results, and that consuming them won’t do much either. „Collagen powder drinks are a trend doesn’t make much physiologic sense, as acids dissolve the collagen when it enters the stomach,“ Kleinerman says. „Collagen sitting on the surface of the skin doesn’t make much sense either. We used to inject bovine or porcine collagen into the skin to improve wrinkles but this injectable did not have good longevity and was largely replaced by hyaluronic acid fillers.“

However, drinking collagen in your coffee or mixed in with water seems to be more promising, according to Rouleau. „Collagen provides elasticity to the skin, essential for a healthy looking complexion,“ she says. „As we age, natural collagen production declines and leaves skin dry, wrinkled, and crepey-looking. A promising study from 2014 indicates that taking collagen orally can actually help increase skin elasticity.“

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