Terrior. It’s the schmancy term used by wine experts to describe the environment — soil, climate, topography — a particular grape is grown in. Now, skin-care experts are using it to describe their hottest new ingredient: prized plums.
The rare Ente plum — used in Loli Beauty’s new Plum Elixir — is sourced from southwest France, a region prized for its stellar terroir. “The Ente plum even has its own museum,” notes Loli founder Tina Hedges. “It’s coveted by connoisseurs, and is considered as luxurious as foie gras and Armagnac [brandy].”
Seattle-based Kari Gran, whose eponymous organic skin-care line is a cult favorite, also swears by Gallic plums for her popular Three Sixty Five SPF 28 liquid sunscreen. “We use non-GMO French plum seed [oil] because of its ability to transform the surface of the skin and its relaxing almond and marzipan scent,” says Gran. “It’s high in oleic acid, which makes it a highly emollient, moisturizing oil.”
And then there’s the kakadu plum, native to Australia and a lead player in Dr. Roebuck’s Bondi Hydrating Mist. According to the company, the kakadu, which is chock full of vitamin C, is a champ at protecting against UV damage — a huge concern for anyone living in the sun-drenched Down Under.
Clearly, plums are surging in popularity, but what can they actually do for your complexion? Fans of the fruit claim quite a lot. Ingested, plums deliver calcium, soluble fiber, omega fatty acids and antioxidants, they say. And, topically, they’re a potent moisturizer and skin-care companies say they ward off free radicals, which can prematurely age the skin.
Typically pressed from the fruit seed into an oil, plum extract can be used as is, blended with other oil-soluble ingredients or emulsified into a lotion or cream formula. While those with mature or super-dry skin will benefit the most, plum oil is light enough for the blemish-prone, too.
Two Northern California companies are even having a bit of a “plum-off” with their homegrown formulations. Napa Organics’ range of plum-based beautifiers includes a cleansing gel, lotion, oil and balm. “Our ingredients list is small and plum oil features in most of our products,” says founder Hilary Glass. Meanwhile, the buzzy Le Prunier Plum Beauty Oil is crafted from a top-secret blend of plum “varietals” grown on a fourth-generation family farm just north of Sacramento. The patent-pending organic blend is said to brighten skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation.
Locks and scalps can similarly get a boost from a few drops of plum oil, according to Hedges. “It’s terrific for irritated, dry scalps, especially after chemical processing,” she says, “or for thinning, dull or frizzy hair.”
And for product formulators, plum is just a flat-out sweet ingredient to work with. “I love to utilize ingredients from the food world because they’re clean and can easily cross over to beauty,” says Gran. “Having said that, not all of those ingredients have a luxe feel and scent. Plum smells great, and feels amazing on the skin, too. I’m delighted it’s having a moment right now.”