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What Are Botanical Extract? A Beginner’s Guide

What Are Botanical Extract? A Beginner’s Guide

by Natasha Burton

The demand for natural products has steadily increased over the last decade. Consumers asked, and brands are actively rising to the occasion. A study in 2018 found that the natural personal care market experienced its strongest growth in the previous five years (1). In 2020, its estimated value in the U.S. was $12.7 Billion, and it’s projected to reach $23.6 Billion by 2027. As a result of the growing demand and as more of us have begun to care deeply about what we put in, and on, our bodies, most products do in fact contain more plant-derived ingredients. Botanical extracts now make up the largest portion of cosmeceutical additives.

But what are botanical extracts, exactly? They’re clearly popular with savvy consumers because they sound good — after all, when given the choice between harsh chemicals and plant-made ingredients, plants have a clean and clear advantage. But they can also be really effective. Here’s what to know about botanical extracts and why they’re increasingly popular today. 

What Are Botanical Extracts?

Botanical extracts are distilled from various plant parts, including leaves, bark, flowers and fruit and can provide multi-functional benefits when included in body and home care products. Botanical extracts usually come in liquid or powder form and they’re highly concentrated, meaning you get a maximum benefit from just a small amount. 

How Are Botanical Extracts Created?

There are a number of different techniques for creating botanical extracts (2). Each uses a specific solvent, or base ingredient, that dissolves and absorbs the scent and essence of a given plant.

For example, alcohol tinctures, which use alcohol or a combination of alcohol and water for extraction, are often used in water-based or cream-based products (2). Using glycerin solvent (or a glycerin-water mixture) is another method for creating botanical extracts, and the resulting extract also can act as a  humectant (otherwise known as ingredients that attract moisture) because of its glycerin base. Carbon dioxide extraction is beneficial for creating oil-based extracts (like sea buckthorn), making these somewhat similar to essential oils. Finally, water can also be a solvent for a few specific plants, particularly cucumber, aloe and green tea. 

The Many Benefits of Botanical Extracts

They often smell heavenly and offer a plant-derived alternative to some fragrance ingredients. But they’re more than just a pleasant scent; these extracts can also be very functional and versatile. 

Botanical extracts can have incredible effects. They can be anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antimicrobial (4), so depending on the specific plant the extract was created from, they can ensure skincare and cleaning products are effective for their intended use. There also is growing research that some plant extracts can protect against sun damage and promote skin rejuvenation (4).

How to Spot Botanical Extracts on a Product Label

When you read a product’s ingredient list, look for the words “juice” or “extract” (like aloe vera juice or lemongrass extract). Remember: Botanicals aren’t plants (necessarily) — they’re the concentrated distillation of the plant. So you want to look for the word “extract” in particular on the label. Once you’ve double-checked the formulation, you’re ready to reap the many potential benefits of these incredible ingredients.

The Cleanyst system empower you to easily customize the scent and aromatherapy profile of your Free & Clear body and home care products using our collection of Natural Aromatic Extracts. 

These multifunctional botanical extracts add vitamins, minerals and aromatherapy benefits to any Cleanyst Free and Clear product.


  1. Investopedia - New Generation of Consumers Increase Demand for Natural Products
  2. School of Natural Skincare - 5 Types of Botanical Extracts That Will Take Your Skincare Products to the Next Level
  3. Savvy Homemade - A Complete Guide to Botanicals, Extracts & Organic Herbs
  4. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research - Benefits of Herbal Extracts in Cosmetics: A Review
  5. Market Report - Global Natural and Organic Personal Care Products Industry 
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