This Skin-Care Brand Is Turning Wasted Bananas Into Luxurious Face Oils and Creams

Thanks to some truly bananas technology, Kadalys is helping smooth and brighten skin-care lovers' complexions all while bettering the environment.

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Photo: Courtesy of Merchant

As the phrase goes, you are what you eat — and what you eat may have a negative effect on your complexion, potentially provoking stubborn breakouts or igniting inflammation, according to research. Butfood doesn't always wreak havoc on your skin. And for the last decade, skin-care brand Kadalys has been proving that one nutritious food can actually help smooth, brighten, and fend off skin damage when applied topically.

The fruit in question? Bananas.

The innovative skin-care company is the brainchild of Shirley Billot, a self-described beauty addict and native of Martinique. Growing up on the Caribbean island, which is known for its banana production, Billot learned from her mother about the healing, medicinal powers of plants, specifically the banana tree, she tells Shape. "It's a very amazing plant to heal," she explains. "For example, if you have skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, or acne, you can use some part of the tree [to treat it]."

Flash-forward to the late 2000s, Martinique was experiencing an economic crisis, and Billot was digging into the science behind the banana tree's and fruit's skin-nurturing properties. By 2012, Billot had dreamed upa way to support the farmers in her home country and spotlight bananas' complexion-boosting powers:Kadalys, a beauty and biotech company that transformed Martinique-grown bananas that would otherwise be thrown away into impressive skin-care ingredients. "When I decided to found my company at the beginning, it was really to make a better world in Martinique," she says. "It was, for me, the best idea to promote the powerful ingredients that we developed with our science…to share and to talk about the benefits of the banana tree."

Kadalys Founder Shirley Billot 5
Courtesy of Kadalys

Rather than buy perfectly ripe, ready-to-eat fruits, Kadalys seeks out organic "ugly" and single bananas — bananas that are typically thrown out because they're scuffed, bruised, misshapen, or not part of a bunch, according to the brand's website. Tossing out imperfect produce may seem like NBD, but global food loss and waste are responsible for roughly 8 percent of human-created greenhouse gas emissions — which contribute to global warming — annually. Specifically, waste generated during agricultural production accounts for about 15 percent of those global food waste emissions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Translation: Preventing unwanted 'naners from decaying in landfills is one small step toward tackling climate change. (ICYDK, banana blossom makes for an incredible vegan, eco-friendly fish alternative.)

All this typically wasted fruit — including in yellow, green, and pink (yes, pink) varieties — is sourced solely from growers in Martinique, all of whom are shareholders in the company, says Billot. Then, Kadalys uses chemistry magic to extract its beneficial compounds (e.g. vitamin E, polyphenols, and fatty acids) from the skin and pulp and create potent skin-care ingredients, patented by the company as Banana Bio-Actives, says Billot.

And each one has unique benefits for your complexion. The green bio-active (found in face oils, exfoliants, and cleansing gels) helps balance the skin barrier and smooth skin, while the yellow bio-active (used in nourishing creams and face oils) helps minimize dark spots and signs of aging, according to the brand's website. And the pink bio-active, featured in limited edition cleansers and face masks, soothes, evens skin tone, and defends against free radicals with its high antioxidant content, according to the brand's website.

It's not just a bunch of hubbub, either: Kadalys' own research, which is performed by independent labs in France and supervised by a dermatologist, shows that the green bio-active boasts high concentrations of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage caused by UV light and pollution and moisturizes parched skin. The yellow variety helps stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, proteins in the skin that make it strong and flexible, while the pink bio-active boasts antioxidants, which fend off free radical damage and ease inflammation, and omega-6 fatty acids, which help support skin barrier function.

Each of these bio-actives is infused into certified vegan, cruelty-free, organic skin-care products, including the Nutritive Precious Oil (Buy It, $40, us.kadalys.com), a non-comedogenic face oil that was the first product launched by the company. The nourishing face oil — infused with green banana bio-actives, green tea oil, and avocado oil — has been shown to leave skin smoother, brighter, and with less noticeable pores after just 21 days of use, according to a small, brand-led study. The best-selling, dryness-erasing product has such noticeable results, one of the 50 rave reviewers writesthe lightweight oil "is a true gift to my face."

For Billot, however, the can't-live-without Kadalys product is the Radiance Precious Oil (Buy It, $40, us.kadalys.com), which contains the yellow banana bio-active and annatto seed, pomegranate, and macadamia oils. "I use the oil morning and night," she says. "For me, it's an amazing oil to [enhance] glow, to unify skin, and to plump." To minimize the appearance of fine lines and hydrate skin, she turns to the Musalift Day Cream (Buy It, $76, us.kadalys.com), an anti-aging product packed with yellow banana bio-actives and hyaluronic acid. Thanks to this tried-and-true routine, "I am 48 years old, but I don't have wrinkles," says Billot. "For me, the whole process is to have glowy skin." (Related: This TikTok Exposes a Big Skin-Care Mistake Regarding Hyaluronic Acid)

Kadalys Oils and Face Creams
Courtesy of Merchant

Now that Kadalys is a decade old and the science behind its banana-infused skin-care products has been nailed down, Billot has her sights set on tackling agro-waste in other industries on the island and creating new complexion-boosting ingredients, she says. "We are currently working…to produce raw materials and become a supplier of raw materials for other brands," she explains. "I want to create more jobs in Martinique, and our target is to have zero agricultural waste in Martinique."

All in all, Kadalys isn't just a beauty brand — it's a company dead-set on changing the way growers and the environment are considered in the creation of new skin-care products, says Billot. "We try to create an ecosystem around us to work together," says Billot. "We are more than a cosmetic brand — it's more deep. It's a vision of a new way to do a business and to produce raw materials and beauty products at the same time." (Next Up: This Beauty Exec Created a Skin-Care Brand That Does Good for People and the Planet)

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