Skincare is no stranger to ingredient flavours of the month (kale and coconut water we see you), but constant innovations in tech also mean that game-changing ingredients are constantly making their way into the stuff we put on our face. There’s natural retinol alternatives, acids for sensitive skins, and fermented extracts that calm and soothe. It’s the tail end of 2019, and time to take your skincare up a notch. See our favourite new and effective wonder ingredients below.


Dubbed a natural retinol, bakuchiol is derived from the seed of the babchi plant and has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine for years. It functions similarly to traditional retinol by speeding up cell turnover, thus treating lines, wrinkles, acne, and lacklustre skin tone. The real kicker is though, that because it’s natural, it’s great for those who find retinol products too strong or sensitising. Clean beauty brand Bybi Beauty do a bakuchiol booster that works really well at night for those who find normal retinol too strong. Just be sure to follow up with an SPF in the morning.

Bybi Beauty Bakuchiol Booster, $29. SHOP NOW


PHA, or polyhydroxy acid, is chemical exfoliant and humectant that brightens, decongests pores, and draws moisture into the skin. Its molecule size is larger than AHAs and BHAs, so it’s much more gentle, making it great for those who find ingredients like glycolic, salicylic, and lactic a little irritating. Use it if you’re after clearer, brighter skin. Glow Recipe uses PHA alongside honey and avocado to nourish and gently exfoliate while sleeping – it’s the definition of beauty sleep.

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask, $69. SHOP NOW


Only now is the beauty industry cottoning on to fermented skincare ingredients, but La Mer has known of their healing and restorative powers for years. The brand’s signature ingredient, Miracle Broth, is a fermented form of sea kelp that works to soothe, calm, and nourish the skin really effectively. Because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties, it’s also great for reducing redness, and healing blemished skin. Find it in the brand’s new Regenerating Serum in concentrated amounts. Almost immediately, you’ll notice skin that’s smoother and less irritated. Long-term, it will work on lines and wrinkles thanks to its ability to support healthy collagen production.

La Mer The Regenerating Serum, $490. SHOP NOW

Centella Asiatica

Centella is an ingredient that’s gone gangbusters thanks to the rise of cica creams: a k-beauty innovation designed to soothe and calm irritated, compromised skin. It’s known as a skin healer, so look to it if you’re trying to work on irritation, redness, itching, flakiness, sore blemishes, or even (in some instances) eczema. It comes in all varietals, but we like a fluid or lighter-than-air liquid formula. Mecca-stocked brand Elemis have recently released a Cica Calm Booster that you can integrate into your existing routine easily. Just shake, and pat in after cleansing.

Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Booster, $46. SHOP NOW

Feature image credit: Instagram/bettinalooney