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April 24 2014

styledotcom .@marinalarroude rounds up the best black & gold finds from Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs & more: stylem.ag/1jBvRO9 pic.twitter.com/FjB5WLZ2nI

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Get the Skinny on the Beauty-Boosting Benefits of Indigo

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denim

With it being denim week at Style.com, we thought of no better time to delve into the beautifying properties of indigo, or Indigofera tinctoria (the original and natural source of blue dye). Here, we break down its benefits:

INDIGO (in-di-goh)/ (n.)/ 1./ Grown mainly in tropical and temperate parts of Asia and Africa, this plant (known scientifically as Indigofera tinctoria) was traditionally cultivated to be used as a coloring agent. The dye is crafted through a process that includes soaking the shrub’s leaves in water, fermenting them, mixing the resulting solution with sodium hydroxide, and pressing it into cakes to dry. / 2./ India was the major supplier and center for indigo in the Old World, often exporting it throughout the globe to locations like Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Peru, and Iran—where it was valued as a luxury product and often referred to as Blue Gold. / 3./ During the Edo Period in Japan when silk was outlawed, samurai wore indigo-dyed cotton underneath their armor to help heal injuries. / 4./ Farmers also rotate this legume through their fields to improve the soil. / 5./ Applied topically, this botanical contains two actives—tryptanthrin and indirubin—which can help relieve sensitive, inflamed, and dry skin; e.g., “Brighten your blue jeans or soothe a cranky complexion with indigo.”

Try it: Tatcha Indigo Soothing Renewal Treatment, $98, tatcha.com; or in scent form via Nest Indigo Eau de Parfum Spray (a blend of Moroccan tea, Kashmir wood, black cardamom, and bergamot), $65, sephora.com

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Photo: Tommy Ton; Courtesy of Tatcha and Nest

SK-II Harnesses the Power of the Artichoke

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sk-ii-essential-oilARTICHOKE EXTRACT (ar-tee-choke ex-tract)/ (n.)/ 1./ Also known as Cynara scolymus, it is extracted from the leaves of the nutrient- and mineral-rich perennial thistle vegetable. / 2./ Native to North America, Europe, and the Mediterranean, the artichoke is one of the oldest cultivated edible plants, its use dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. / 3./ As a stimulant of bile secretion due to a high concentration of cynarin, the leaf extract has cholesterol-lowering properties and a restorative impact on the liver. / 4./ Research has shown that cynaropicrin, a bioactive compound found within the extract, inhibits free-radical formation and inflammation, preventing UVB-induced skin damage. / 5./ Known for its potency as a natural aphrodisiac, the artichoke was reserved solely for male consumption in the 16th century; e.g., “Boost a dull complexion or a dreary love life with artichoke extract.”

Try it: SK-II Essential Power Essence Serum, $185; saks.com

Éminence’s Head Is in the Clouds

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eminence

CLOUDBERRY (kloud-ber-ee)/ (n.)/ 1./ Scientific name rubus chameaermorus, and sometimes referred to as a knotberry or salmonberry, the herb that produces a golden-colored fruit grows wild in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe’s Nordic countries and northern parts of the United States and Canada. / 2./ Often found in mountainous areas, the plant is able to withstand extreme cold but suffers in very dry conditions. / 3./ Rich in vitamin C (four times more than an orange offers), they are an ancient natural remedy for protecting against scurvy and for treating urinary tract infections. / 4./ Their immune-boosting properties make cloudberries efficient wound healers, and they have also been found to help anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and cardiovascular and kidney issues. / 5./ When ripe, the berries have a sweet flavor and are used in many traditional jams and other delicacies, as in Finland where leipajuusto sees them served warm with local cheese, cream, and sugar, or in lakkalikoori, a strong and sugary liqueur. / 6./ Packed with antioxidants, omegas, carotene, and vitamins, cloudberries are hugely beneficial for the skin, helping to nourish, strengthen, and combat the signs of aging; e.g., “Slather your cloudberries on buttered toast for a sweet fix or on your complexion for a radiance boost.”

Try it: Éminence Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System, $130, eminenceorganics.com

Verso Says Out Damn Spot

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verso-dark-spot-fixCURCUMA LONGA (kur-kyoo-muh lohng-ga)/ (n.)/ 1./ Commonly known as turmeric and originating in southeast India, the plant’s Sanskrit name is haridra, meaning “yellow wood.” / 2./ The herbaceous perennial plant is part of the ginger family Zingiberaceae, and its sunshine-colored powder is utilized frequently in South Asian cuisine. / 3./ Relied on by Ayurvedic and Chinese doctors for thousands of years, it is used to address issues of the liver, stomach, and digestive organs, aiding metabolism and nutrient absorption. / 4./ Traditional healers utilize it to reduce menstrual cramps, combine it with neem leaves to address ringworm, or cook the root with milk to treat asthma. / 5./ Considered by some to have magical properties, turmeric is thought to help boost fertility and can also be worn as a protection charm. / 6./ The most active component in turmeric is curcumin, a potent antioxidant that is being studied as a potential cancer preventive and gives the plant strong anti-inflammatory properties both when ingested orally and applied topically; e.g., “Reduce cholesterol levels, treat digestive ailments, and brighten and protect the skin from free radicals with Curcuma longa.”

Try it: Verso Dark Spot Fix, $150, beautyhabit.com, Sephora, and Barneys New York locations.

Darphin’s Heart of the Ocean

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darphin SEA EMERALD (sea em-er-uhld) / n./ 1. Binomially known as caulerpa lentillifera, this edible algae is found throughout tropical areas of the Indian and Pacific oceans. / 2./ Because of its tiny spherical beads and caviar-like texture, it is sometimes called green caviar, sea grapes, or umi-budo and is considered a delicacy in places like the Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. / 3./ In traditional medicine, it is used to treat muscular rheumatism and high blood pressure. / 4./ Part of the Caulerpaceae family, this rare species of seaweed cannot be massively cultivated and grows only at temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. / 5./ Rich in iodine, fatty acids, and vitamins A and C, this ocean botanical activates an essential skin adherence protein and speeds up collagen production to firm and smooth the face; e.g., “Sprinkle sea emerald over a salad in the East, or massage it into your complexion in the West.”

Try it: Darphin Stimulskin Reshaping Divine Serum, $310; darphin.com