For decades, cosmetic products have been produced with artificial ingredients which can leave harsh, toxic chemicals on the skin. The current global climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic has fueled consumer awareness of the link between physical beauty, internal and external well-being, and has shifted consumer focus towards better-for-you ingredients.

Now, consumers are seeking “green cosmetics” – sustainably-made, natural skincare and makeup products — with the hopes of avoiding exposure to harmful toxins while also reducing pollution. One of the natural ingredients used in a variety of cosmetic products, from face lotion to eyeshadow, is soy.

Benefits of Soy-Derived Cosmetics

Soy is a cleaner, more sustainable ingredient compared to those hard-to-pronounce toxins commonly found on your cosmetic’s ingredient list. Choosing products made with plant-based ingredients, like soy, supports sustainable ingredient sourcing. It also contributes less harmful toxins to the environment when the time comes to throw the product away.

In addition to being a sustainable alternative ingredient, soy may also increase the overall performance of cosmetic products. Together, soy’s isoflavones, fatty acids and proteins provide soy cosmetic users with the following benefits: repaired skin barrier, reduced appearance of aging and increased collagen production.

Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soybean Glycerides and Soy Acid are just a few of the ingredients obtained from soybeans that you may find on the labels of your face cleansing products, sunscreen, eye makeup and more. Let’s take a look at how soy ingredients impact the results of everyday skincare and makeup products.

Soy in Skincare

The antioxidant and anticarcinogenic activities of soy and its isoflavones have made it a popular ingredient in a variety of skincare products, including face cream, face wash and sunscreen.

According to a study in the Journal of Molecular Sciences, plant oil application can act as an occlusive, allowing the skin to retain moisture. Topical application of soy has also been proven to reduce hyperpigmentation, strengthen the skin’s connective tissue to improve the elasticity, and help to control oil production. Given its ability to selectively moisture dry areas while reducing oil production in others, soy has been deemed an effective moisturizer. SkinCeuticals Face Cream and Fresh Soy pH-Balanced Hydrating Face Wash are just two skincare products with soy ingredients that can help you to achieve a moisturized glow.

Skincare with soy ingredients also holds many anti-aging benefits. The estrogen-type and antioxidant effects of its metabolites allows soy to decrease photoaging of the skin and prevent skin cancers. It’s worth noting that soy does not exert any hormonal effects or affect the body internally. Its potent isoflavones have been shown to promote collagen synthesis and increase skin thickness while smoothing fine lines to reverse the signs of anti-aging and fade dark spots, giving skin a natural radiance.

Sunscreen, considered by many to be the most important step in your skincare routine, also benefits from soy-based ingredients. Antiaging sunscreens and facial moisturizers with soy contain genistein, an isoflavone that may reduce UV-induced oxidative DNA damage. Aveeno’s Positively Radiant® Daily Face Moisturizer With SPF 30 is just one way you can multi-task moisturizing your skin and protecting your skin barrier from the sun. Its “spotlight ingredient,” soy, serves the purpose of transforming dull and uneven skin into more radiant skin with a glow.  

Plus, soy’s skincare benefits go beyond just topical application. When ingested, research has shown that even small amounts of soy isoflavones positively affect a number of skin parameters.

Soy in Makeup

When it comes to makeup, soy shines there too. Unlike makeup products with harsh ingredients that dry out the skin, soybean oil products moisturize and repair your skin barrier when applied. Soy makeup products may also allow for smoother application of the formula, making them “blend-friendly” when applied with your other makeup products.

Soybean oil is an ingredient that can be found in an array of makeup products, from Westman Atelier Vital Skincare Complexion Drops, to Huda Beauty Silk Balm Hydrating and Nourishing Lip Balm, Burt’s Bees Eye Shadow Trio and beyond.

World-renowned makeup brand Huda Beauty launched a lip gloss with soybean oil in 2020. An independent consumer testing panel was conducted with 20 participants over seven days to measure the performance of the lip gloss.

The results included:

  • 95% or more of the volunteers agreed that their lips felt silky smooth.
  • 95% or more of the volunteers agreed that their lips looked smoother.
  • 95% or more of the volunteers agreed that the product felt balmy on their lips.
  • 100% or more of the volunteers agreed that the product was easy to apply.
  • 95% or more of the volunteers agreed that their lips felt restored.
  • 100% or more of the volunteers agreed that their lips felt more nourished

Natural cosmetics, including those derived from soy, enhance the existing beauty of our skin and keep us protected from harmful factors in our external environments, all while contributing to a more sustainable planet.

Ready to start building your soy cosmetics shopping list? Check out Soy Products page for some ideas.