Ever hoped for a houseplant that thrives on neglect? Ever wondered how it is that desert plants bloom after months of rain deprivation? Ever marveled at how dried mushrooms can spend half an hour in a bowl of water and look as though they've just been dug up. Even if such musings are not for you, trehalose is worth getting to know. It is the component in some plants, such as the resurrection plant pictured above, that enables them to transform from a shriveled ball (left) to verdant splendor (right). It is also one of the active ingredients in Bare Escentuals' Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer ($32).

Trehalose is made up of sugars that form a gel as cells start to dehydrate. This stops the cells from falling apart so that they perk back into shape as soon as they are rehydrated. Furthermore, trehalose is an antioxidant (as such it used as preservative by the food industry) and supposedly helpful in preventing degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Similarly, myrothamnus flabellifolia is an African tree that also 'resurrects' itself by using protective lipid films. It has been widely researched and is used in traditional African medicines. This is also one of the moisture retention ingredients in Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer.

It also seems that trehalose helps other ingredients penetrate cells. A good thing, since there are other worthwhile ingredients in Bare Escentual's moisturizer. These include vitamin C-rich pomegranate and antioxidant oat kernal and soybean. I was especially intrigued to see honeysuckle flower extract. This contains saponins that synthesise hyaluronans for water retention. Soy also contains saponins and I read somewhere that they can increase hyaluronan synthesis by over 200%.

The only ingredient of concern is dehydroacetic acid, a preservative that has been shown to be toxic if absorbed orally in animal studies and the European Union warns that it should not be used near the lips. But other than that, Bare Escentuals' new moisturizer seems well worth checking out.

Ingredients in Bare Escentuals Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer

Water (Aqua), Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Cocoglycerides, Jojoba Esters, Behenyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Soil Minerals, Propanediol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Lecithin, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Linoleic Acid, Phospholipids, Honey, Panthenol, Sucrose Cocoate, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Punica Granatum Sterols (pomegranate), Tamarindus Indica Seed Polysaccharide, Trehalose, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acacia Dealbata Flower/Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matracaria) Flower Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Myrothamnus Flabellifolia Leaf/Stem Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopherol, Benzyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Carbomer, Dehydroacetic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum.