Combing the Earth and Sea for Natural Ingredients

Beauty editor confession: I am obsessed with ingredients. I know my way around the back of a beauty product label like a chemist knows the periodic table. I love to share the most interesting, exotic and effective natural ingredients from time to time in my Beauty Ingredient 101 column.

But even I wasn't prepared for the new ingredients I would discover in the skin care line Tara Walker's Dream. The star product in the range, Rejuvenating Dream Serum +100 Concentrate, contains a whopping 109 of the best natural ingredients in existence. Some are so innovative (case in point: the first ingredient, watermelon seed oil, a rich source of omega 3,6,9- who knew?) that I needed to get more info from Tara on the creation of this amazing product- and the other five skin care products in her line.

Before I get too far ahead, here's what you should know about the line:

  • The products only contain natural preservatives that are approved for use in organic and natural products in Europe (generally recognize to have an even stricter standard than the US). No parabens, propylene glycol, or SLS, and no synthetic fragrance or color.
  • The unique packaging (multidose ampoules) keeps the natural products fresh in small batches and eliminates the need for extra preservatives. They're 100% recyclable. And they're a (TSA-approved) dream for travel.

In addition to the serum, the line offers a cleansing balm, a day cream, a brightening cream, a night cream, and an eye cream (which has a slippery feel akin to a serum). Each product is both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Of course Tara's favorite is  "The Rejuvenating Dream Serum +100 Concentrate, because I have been formulating, producing and using it (of course!) for over 20 years now," Tara told me in an interview.

A product is only as good as its ingredients, and with most conventional products out there, the ingredients subtract so much from the formula (by adding empty stuff like synthetic colors and fragrances, chemical preservatives and other questionable substances) that in my mind it's not a valuable investment for my skin or my body (even though it may carry a whopping price tag). At $72, the Rejuvenating Dream Serum is expensive, but not as pricey as it could be given its impressive concentration of active ingredients. And a little goes a long way, as this application guide demonstrates.

Of course I had to ask Tara: do you have a favorite ingredient in the list of 109 in your serum?

"It's hard to play favorites when it comes to my ingredients, because each is selected for a very specific reason. Some smell absolutely divine while others smell terrible, but the end result is not only a pleasure for the senses, but a powerful skin treatment as well. When I am making my serum and weighing out each of the 109 ingredients, I can't help but "oooh" and "aaah" over all of them," she says.

I can attest to the ideal balance that Tara has created; her products smell wonderful, do not irritate my sensitive skin, and give my complexion a healthy glow each time I use them. Add that to the safety of her ingredients and the convenience of packaging and this line is absolutely a winner.

Check out some of my favorite global ingredient finds in Tara's products:

  • Schisandra Fruit Extract (from China): an anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic oil, perfect for sensitive skin types.
  • Mongongo Seed Oil (from Germany): packed with vitamin E, linoleic and eleostearic acids that offer protection from UV damage and can actually help restructure the epidermis (top layer of skin).
  • Inca Inchi Oil (from Peru): this omega 3-rich oil has long been prized by the Incas and has the ability to soften and restore the lipid balance of skin.
  • Blue Lotus Oil (from Thailand): this oil contains the anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids quercetin and rutin to soothe and heal skin.
  • Ahnfeltiopsis Concinna Extract: this algae contains the same moisture-binding proteins found in skin (so it's a fabulous hydrator) and is an effective skin-smoother, thanks to naturally-occurring alpha hydroxy acids.
  • Brown Algae (from Hawaii): this algae boosts collagen production and has been shown to reduce DNA damage caused by sun exposure.

I could list dozens and dozens more...

Turns out that Tara is also a fan of eating for beauty, just like Beauty Is Wellness readers. Here's her own beauty food staple: "I'm a big believer in antioxidants, so I juice vegetables every morning. Nobody can ever guess how old I am, so it must be working."

Tara, I've got to agree.

Check out Tara Walker's Dream products at: