When the words “kakadu plum” began showing up in my inbox with greater and greater frequency, I got excited for three main reasons: One, it’s really fun to say. Two, kakadu plum for skincare is said to rival traditional vitamin C products in terms of brightening capabilities. And three, it’s a natural ingredient that just so happens to be pretty darn powerful. You know how some people (understandably) complain that natural skincare isn’t as effective as the man-made stuff? Yeah, that’s not what’s happening here — and dermatologists agree.
“The kakadu plum is believed to be the most concentrated natural source of vitamin C on earth,” Dr. Audrey Kunin, a board certified dermatologist and the founder of DERMAdoctor, tells The Zoe Report. “Ounce per ounce, it contains on average 55 times the vitamin C of Florida oranges.” As such, the superfruit — which is only found in the remote bush of the northwest territory of Australia — provides all of the benefits of vitamin C products and then some.
“Kakadu plum brightens the complexion, reduces hyperpigmentation, and protects from harsh environmental aggressors, such as pollution,” Andreas Abellana, the Creative Director for Australian skincare brand Generation Clay, tells TZR. It also makes for a firmer, plumper face by “helping to form proline, an amino acid that makes collagen,” he says.
While that’s all par for the course for vitamin C skincare, kakadu plums essentially take these properties to the next level. “They have superior antioxidant abilities with an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) value five times that of blueberries,” Dr. Kunin says. “Kakadu plums contain both water and fat-soluble antioxidant compounds that together may provide more comprehensive protection against oxidative stress.” In layman’s terms, the ingredient is like a mega-forcefield that keeps pollution from harming your skin — while actively healing past environmental damage.
The skincare wonder from Down Under has above-average antiseptic properties, too, which makes it “useful to clear pimple-causing bacteria,” Abellana says. “Kakadu also contains two other fantastic acids,” Angela Kim, a natural K-beauty expert and the founder of Savor Beauty, tells TZR. “Gallic acid that naturally kills bacteria, which is great news for acne-prone skin; and ellagic acid, which reduces inflammation.” This combination makes kakadu plum a multitasking must-have, able to treat everything from post-winter dullness to pimple emergencies.
As for where to find kakadu plum products, the A-beauty space — that’s Australian beauty, natch — is a good place to start. “A-beauty is a laid back, simplified approach to beauty: more benefits, less worries,” Bree Johnson, the co-founder and director of Frank Body, tells The Zoe Report. “Our ingredient philosophy is about using naturally effective products so you don't have to work so hard.” And naturally, the brand calls on kakadu plum to work its magic in the A-Beauty Scrub, meant for all-over body exfoliation and “designed to target pigmentations, scars, and marks,” Johnson says. Other A-beauty finds include Generation Clay Urban Defence Purifying Pink Australian Clay Mask, Mukti Blemish Control, and Dr. Roebuck’s Daintree AHA Brightening Mask.
Considering the sheer power behind this plum, there are some risks to consider. If you have sensitive skin, it’s recommended to do a small patch test before slathering kakadu products all over your precious face. “Those with very dry or sensitive skin may wish to layer kakadu plum products with a hyaluronic acid serum, such as DERMAdoctor Wrinkle Revenge Ultimate Hyaluronic Acid Serum, to reduce potential stinging,” Dr. Kunin suggests.
Ahead, experience the sweetness of kakadu plum skincare with 12 brightening, tightening, and blemish-fighting products.
Shop Kakadu Plum Skincare
Yuzu Lemonade Peel
“Slather your face with this fancy plum along with Yuzu, another vitamin C-packed fruit, for double the skin power,” Kim says of Savor Beauty's Yuzu Lemonade Peel, launching Apr. 4. “Along with a potent cocktail of two percent salicylic acid and gluconolactone-polyhydroxy-acid (PHA), this vitamin C peel unclogs pores, brightens the complexion, and revitalizes skin.”
“To introduce A-Beauty to the world, we’ve created our first Australiana Scrub, rich in native Australian ingredients including kakadu plum, eucalyptus, and finger lime,” Johnson says.
Kakadu C ™ Serum
“Our formulation contains not only a clinically high percentage of vitamin C (20 percent), but also vitamin E and ferulic acid, known to be vitamin C boosters,” Dr. Kunin tells TZR.
Urban Defence Purifying Pink Australian Clay Mask
“Due to its lightening properties, you can also use the mask as a spot-treatment, to lighten troublesome hyperpigmentation and acne scars,” Abellana says.
“Kakadu plum is so whizz bang phantasmagorical that it's in just about all of our facial care range,” Aussie skincare brand Mukti says on its site. That's some (hilariously) high praise — but the Blemish Control lives up to it.
Kakadu Plum Hand Balm
Your face shouldn’t get all the attention. This balm is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants to keep your hands looking young and bright.
Strawberry-C Brightening Serum
Volition Beauty’s latest release relies on on strawberry extract and kakadu plum — both of which are packed with vitamin C — to brighten and hydrate.
Daintree AHA Brightening Mask
Natural Australian ingredients like kakadu plum, AHA-rich caviar lime, and purifying kaolin clay come together to prove that naturals can be just as effective — if not more — as their man-made counterparts.
Art of Noir Essence Noir Cleanser
NANNETTE DE GASPÉ
This cleanser combines kakadu with pore-clearing clay and pollution-fighting raspberry seed oil. It’s the perfect way to start the day.
Redness Relief Serum
In addition to your daily dose of vitamin C, Marie Veronique’s serum delivers potent probiotics, too, which serve to strengthen your skin’s barrier.
Australian Kakadu Plum Gummy Facial Cleanser
The unique gummy-to-oily texture of this cleanser serves a deeper purpose: It initially grabs onto dirt and impurities, then gently rinses off when hit with warm water.
Prism Natural Fruit Acid 5% Exfoliating Glow Potion
Herbivore’s Glow Potion is a two-for-one: Fruit enzymes from kakadu plum and apple exfoliate, while hydrating ingredients like aloe and rose water keep skin moisturized.