Skin Care Ingredients that have stood the test of time

Skincare has come a long way since the days of Queen Nefertiti, the famous originator of the smoky eye using actual khol for her eyeliner. In ancient Egypt, if you were the Queen or were wealthy, you could afford the precious oils and makeup made from semi-precious stones to look your best – the average girl couldn’t. 

Modern skin care products became a popular and more affordable standard around the turn of the 20th Century when companies like Maybelline and Max Factor came into existence. The 1000’s of products available to us today have come a long way- the result of the constant discovery of new ingredients along with the ever-evolving technology that makes them work. But as evolved as skin care products have become over the last 100 + years, just like fashion, what was old is new again. 

Some of the most popular superhero ingredients in the days of Cleopatra have remained essentials in the world of modern skincare. Sourced from both land and sea, these nutrients have gone from chemically reproduced to naturally derived and our faces are scoring the benefits. The gold standard of ingredients whose benefits were known centuries ago, are the precious oils that are still used today, such as Jojoba, Avocado, Coconut, and Grapeseed and are major players in the beauty industry today, but in reality, they have been for many centuries. 

The Origins of Oil in Skincare

Oils in skincare have an origin story fit for a Queen, because well, they were favorites of so many. Cleopatra herself was known to favor Olive Oil and Sesame Oils to help combat damage from sun and sand. In fact, ancient Egyptians were so fond of oils records suggest that they may have been used as a form of payment for labor. The aboriginal tribes of Australia moisturized with Emu Oil for over 40,000 years while the Dominican monks in Italy created a night oil (a mix of Avocado Oil and Macadamia Oils) still sold today. However, it was Greek physician Galen who is credited with adding oil into a cream as the world’s first cold cream comprised of olive oil, beeswax, and rosewater. 

While oils took a back seat to creams in the middle ages, Japanese brand Shu Uemura introduced cleansing oil in the late 60’s, starting the resurgence of oils in skin care. Since then, new brands have surfaced centering on key players like argon oils and coconut oils but it was the rise of grocery chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and the beauty aisles containing bottles of pure oil that have sparked curiosity again. While it is safe to use pure oils like jojoba oil and olive oil as skin care, doing so can sometimes cause dryness and irritation. Our skin requires both oil and water, which is why skin care like serums, facial oils, and moisturizers are formulated to deliver these two ingredients in a powerful way. Without water, oil will not penetrate the skin to produce maximum results but instead act as a barrier. For a power-packed, effective use of oil and other multi-targeting ingredients, try 3 Graces Facial Oil. 


The biggest obstacle for some of these timeless ingredients like oils has been sustainability in sourcing. Take squalane for example, this super moisturizing oil was originally harvested from shark liver. Yes, you heard that right we’ll give you a moment... welcome back, you don’t have to throw out all of your skin care immediately because this process was quickly banned across the EU in the 1950’s. In fact, skin care companies evolved to source squalane from plant-based sources such as olives and sugarcane. While olives can be irregular and not always environmentally sustainable, Brazilian sugarcane is not only more sustainable but also extremely high quality and stable. Sugarcane melts into the skin, to produce a more sensitive exfoliating experience while infusing the skin with moisture. Find out more about the benefits of sugarcane squalane here. (Link to 3 steps to the perfect pout blog)

It’s all about reinventing the way we use these ingredients in skin care. Let’s look at the essential Vitamin C. This one magic eraser repairs and protects skin from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure. Read more about the essential benefits of Vitamin C here (link to Vitamin C 101 blog). While vitamin C has been an essential skin care ingredient for decades, it has traditionally been biologically produced as L-Ascorbic Acid. As trends in the beauty industry have evolved, so has the sourcing of this ingredient. In fact, 3 Graces Beauty sources Vitamin C from Kakadu Plum (the first to do so), which contains about 100 times more of the essential nutrient than oranges. 

The Classic Ingredients:

  • Jojoba Oil – This moisture filled magic is a multi-acting superhero that is safe for all types of skin. Because of its makeup as a wax ester with properties similar to our own skin’s sebum, it can penetrate deeply, bringing moisture and nourishment beneath the outermost layer of the skin. It can be used all over the body, even on the lips, for that kissable hydration we crave. Try out the benefits of this moisture-packed nutrient in 3 Graces Beauty Lip Savior

  • Squalane Oil – Originally harvested from sharks as squalene, it was hydrogenated into squalane, a molecule that mimicked what’s already in the skin. Now derived from Brazilian sugarcane as a stable and sustainable ingredient, it is one of the most potent forms of hydration found in skincare. We packed our Radiant Serum with its magic because it softens and repairs without producing irritation or clogging pores. 

  • Rosehip Oil – Pressed from the fruit and seeds of the rose plant, it has been prized since ancient times for its healing benefits. Packed with vitamins and fatty acids, it hydrates and boosts collagen while providing antioxidants to help protect against sun damage. 

  • Grapeseed Oil - This antioxidant powerhouse is full of amino acids and fatty acids that can moisturize even the most dehydrated skin. Its makeup of linoleic acid contains vitamins A and D, which help stimulate cell turn over that can smooth fine lines and rough texture. Derived from the tiny seeds of grapes with a silky texture and a light yellow-green color, studies have linked the compounds found in grapeseed oil to the prevention of skin cancer

  • Avocado Oil –If you’ve ever looked up a DIY face or hair mask, chances are the main ingredient is avocado. The benefits of this fruit extend from making an excellent appetizer to moisturizer and should be a main staple not only in your diet but your skincare. Avocado Oil has been shown to increase the cell reproduction in your skin, maintain hydration, and minimize damage (hello antioxidants). Perhaps the most exciting benefit, avocado oil may help increase collagen production in skin.  

  • Sea Lavender Algae – This ultra-nourishing marine magic is a global and anti-aging active ingredient extracted from a unique marine plant off the coast of Northern Brittany, France. With a combination of anti-inflammatory, firming (collagen), and plumping benefits, it makes a great natural solution for slowing down the signs of aging. Read more about the anti-aging benefits of marine ingredients here (link to ocean beauty blog) and try the Radiant Facial Balm to experience Sea Lavender Algae. 

  • Coconut Oil – While its moment in the spotlight has come and gone, the controversy surrounding coconut oil is more about how to use it than the benefits of doing so. Coconut oil has been a part of skincare for centuries and used as a remedy for skin, hair, diet, and everything in between. It has powerful antimicrobial properties and high levels of linoleic acid. These properties reduce inflammation, exfoliate, and smooth the skin. At 3 Graces Beauty, we’ve packed our Radiant Cleanser with this dynamo ingredient because it attracts dirt and buildup and exfoliates the outer layer of dead skin cells. The result, smooth, clean, and moisturized skin.