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Ingredient Spotlight: Using Hibiscus (Bunga Raya) In Cosmetics In Malaysia

Hi all. so this week i would like to talk about the hibiscus extract and what is it commanly used for in cosmetics. As you know; this is our National flower and i just got so curious as to why they choose Hibiscus as our National flower that i had to google and read few blogs about it.

So apparently; back in 1958; we had to find our national flower that represents Malaysia and at that point of time; Ministry of Agriculture had to choose between 7 flowers; Rose, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Lotus, Hibiscus, Frangipani. and bunga tanjung.

There were torn between jasmine and hibiscus and finally the choose hibiscus for various reasons such as its easy to grow, low maintenance, and most importantly coz its striking and big. Now isnt she a real beauty just like how Malaysia is :)

So anyways; when it comes to the medicinal use of hibiscus apparently its the best when you use it for blood pressure reductions (Jamaica & Mexico), To treat hair loss (India), to heal wound (South Africa), and for digestion (in Phillipines). 

Looking at all these awesome benefits; i decided to review the phytochemistry and its functions to see what its best for when it comes to making cosmetic products like haircare, body care and skincare.

The Common Chemical Constituents of Hibiscus

The hibiscus just like all the other herbal extracts have thousands of constituents in it but the ones thats most abundantly found are : tannins, anthraquinones, quinines, phenols, flavanoides, alkaloids, terpenoids, and steroids

Lets look at what it does individually:


Tannins are one of the main constituents found in hibiscus and it works like an anti-inflammatory and anti oxidants. When it comes to cosmetics; it would work for reducing redness and reduce scars. Due to this; hibiscus extracts would be perfect if you were to make something for people with eczema; and acne.

Anthtraquinones/ quinenes

Anthraquinones and quinines are used more as anti viral, antibacterial properties and its mostly an iritant therefore its suitable for digesting. This is why its commonly used for digestion in south africa and phllipenes where hibiscus tea is commanly drank to get a good digestion and laxative effect. 


Phenols are mostly used for its anti bacterial and whitening effect on skin. This constituent is perfect to be used on hair scalp, as well as skincare to give a brightening effect.


Flavanoids are generally anti oxidants and its usually used to treat rashes as well as marks. However; interestingly for hibiscus; this component is shown to be effective in treating alopecia/ androgen related hair loss! Theres also few mice studies on this where they induced alopecia on mice and treated it with hibiscus extract and guess what! around a month or so there was a significant difference vs those mice that were not treated with the extracts! So now we know why it works for hair loss!


alkaloids are usually studied for its anti cancer activity. However; im not sure if this constituents is high enough in hibiscus extract to be a sole treatment. therefore i wouldnt recoomend it.


mostly for scent and aromatherapy.


Plant steroid/sterols that works just like regular steroid do reduce inflammation, redness, itchiness etc.

How Can We Use Hibiscus Extract In Our Cosmetics?

Now after looking at all the consitituents and what it does; how do we use them in our skincare?

Easy peasy; get the information from your supplier on whats the usage like; add them into your skincare/ haircare/ bodycare. Try it for a few weeks and if it works; yeay! if not; try again.

As ive mentioned few times before; herbal extracts have got so many constituents and therefore it all depends on the extract you are using itself. Some extracts are stable, some are not. Some have higher dose, some does not, some have filers, some are very pure. So again it all depends on your suppliers therefore always ask! Even for us after being 7 years in this market we still do these tests because different batches gives different variation so really; do find out first before using them.

Also; dont expect herbal extracts to work like pharmaceuticals or cosmeceuticals. Again these herbal extracts have got lots of consitituents therefore what you are getting is a 'diluted' version of the consitituents. unlike cosmeceutical is only one constituent/ ingredients so we know for sure that if we use certain dosage we will get results while if we use higher amount there is side effect and so on.

So again; try and test it!

So now back to this. If you were to get the extracts from SoapLab Malaysia; we recommend using 0.5% of our extracts in your bases. like example if you wanted to make shampoo for hair loss, use 5g of Hibiscus extract in your 1000g of shampoo base. Just add it in and mix and put whatever scent you want and done!

Let me know what you think and if you have tried it ya.



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