Skin care and makeup used to be two separate entities.

However, technology and nature are working in sync to create beauty products that creators say make skin look better and protect it from aging elements.

Barbara Green, who heads up specialty beauty research and development, as well as clinical research for NeoStrata (the company also makes Exuviance products), told Healthline that anti-aging makeup is formulated to deliver cosmetic anti-aging benefits and pigment coverage.

It often includes SPF protection as well.

“Anti-aging makeup commonly targets a specific type of benefit such as pigment evening, reduced appearance of fine lines, smoother texture and/or reduced appearance of pore size,” Green noted.

Read more: Get the facts on healthy cosmetics »

Superpower ingredients

Polyhydroxy and bionic acids are “proven powerhouses in anti-aging” that her company is using, Green said.

Retinol, peptides, antioxidants, botanical brighteners, stem cell extracts, collagen, and other surface modifiers give the skin instant radiance and smoothing.

Other ingredients trending in skin care provide targeted benefits based on a novel mechanism of action, including specific peptides or amino acid compounds.

Another area emerging in anti-aging makeup aims to influence the natural microbiome, which is the natural occurrence of bacterial flora that normally populates the skin.

Shoppers will see more products with prebiotics and probiotic lysates entering the market. 

“There is an increase in customization of skin care and makeup to meet individual needs of consumers by building regimens or enhancing products with boosters,” Green added. “Expect color to become more customizable and to offer extended benefits beyond traditional protection from UV sunlight and anti-aging effects.”

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Back to nature

Leah Kirpalani, a certified holistic health coach, clean beauty expert, and founder of the online beauty hub Good Life, said there are more products that use plant-based ingredients in anti-aging skin care and makeup products.

This is positive since many of the chemicals found in our beauty products are what’s actually causing the drying and wear-and-tear of our skin in the first place,” she told Healthline. “Many formulas are turning to plants as a potent form of skin replenishment and age-prevention.”

Green tea and arnica are ingredients known to decrease skin inflammation, fight free radicals, and rejuvenate cells. Coconut oil, for instance, is showing up in lipsticks and foundations because it provides better hydration while lessening the occurrence of fine lines and wrinkles. 

“Using products for function to cover fine lines, wrinkles, and blemishes can oftentimes be the culprit of the skin damage in the first place due to its chemical-based ingredients,” Kirpalani said.

Skin can be inundated with toxic fragrances, allergens, and synthetic preservatives when people use coverage products. That causes clogged pores and long-term exposure to chemicals in the body.

“Luckily, innovative beauty companies are entering the market with a mindfulness about what ingredients they include — focusing on healing vs. drying and harming,” Kirpalani added.

More people are also embracing clean eating, which supports healthy skin and eliminates the need for heavy coverage products.

Christina Daigneault and Amy Galper, who wrote “Plant-Powered Beauty” coming out next year, agreed that nut and seed oils are gaining traction. Tomato seed, pomegranate seed oil, prickly pear seed oil, sea buckthorn oil, red raspberry seed oil, and butters from Brazil like cupuacu and murumuru are emerging ingredients in skin care and makeup.

Vegetable-based butters and oils that are rich in naturally occurring antioxidants are also emerging as more popular ingredients. These include cocoa butter, mango butter, shea butter, and nutrient-rich oils like avocado, pumpkin seed, and black cumin seed, chia, and hemp seed. 

Daigneault and Galper say these ingredients are naturally rich in essential fatty acids to support cellular health and strength, and nourish skin so it stays supple and protected.

Essential oils — frankincense, carrot seed, lavender, rose, sandalwood, and helichrysum — promote tissue regeneration and combat inflammation, and consumers may see more of that when combing beauty product labels.

Read more: Get the facts on beauty and skin care »

Challenges of beauty and function

Green said that developing coloring products can be challenging because the anti-aging ingredients have to be able to work with the pigments.

Some benefit ingredients have pH or other limitations that complicate the formulation approach for color products, she said.

While “multi-tasking makeup” or “makeup as skin care” products are becoming staples, Kirpalani said there is a catch to ensuring these products are actually improving skin health. 

“Watch out for packaging and marketing that claims to be healing or anti-aging,” she said.

Kirpalani encourages consumers to look for ingredients they can pronounce and plant-derived sources. Avocado oil, grapeseed oil, vitamin E, and neem are skin healers that can also do double duty within lotion and foundation formulas — both healing the skin and providing results-oriented functionality.

“One of the biggest challenges of making functional products is that you don’t want to overload a formula or make an unstable formula,” Helen Knaggs, PhD, vice president of research and development for Nu Skin, told Healthline. “When formulating, you have to find ingredients that work well together and that happily coexist. Also, loading a formula with a lot of key ingredients is not always a good thing and could be too much for an individual’s skin.”

As for what’s next in the industry, it will be products that combine antipollution and anti-aging ingredients for long-term benefits and instant aesthetics.

Knaggs predicts more focus on skin care regimens and systems to accentuate the benefits of the makeup. This can include cleansers, cleaning devices, and products that offer multiple advantages.

Expect more long-wear cosmetics to emerge as well, she noted.

“It would be wonderful to have products that were easy to apply, looked great right after application, offered protection from pollution, as well as longer term anti-aging benefits. Double duty is already out there. In the future we will see more of a demand for triple duty,” she added.