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21 posts tagged "Ingredients Deciphered"

An Instant Pick-Me-Up for Parched Summer Skin


glamglow-powermud-dualcleanse-treatmentVELVET PLANT (vel-vit plant) /n. / 1. A biennial flowering herb native to Europe and the Mediterranean, Verbascum thapsus (commonly referred to as mullein, and nicknamed velvet plant, lady’s foxglove, and donkey’s ears) was introduced to North America in the 1700s. /2. / With the potential to reach heights of 10 feet, the sturdy stalk was dipped into animal fat and used as a torch by ancient Romans and during the California Gold Rush. The soft, feltlike leaves have also earned it the sobriquet of “cowboy toilet paper” in the Western U.S. /3. / This botanical is rich in amino acids that replenish and build the skin’s lipid layer to defend against external irritants. Some native tribes apply a powder of the root to soothe rashes, sores, and skin irritations. /4. / Because of velvet plant’s innate emollient properties, traditional medicine practitioners used the dried flowers in teas or syrups to alleviate a sore throat or bronchitis—e.g., “Nix a bothersome cough or soothe an irritated complexion with velvet plant.”

Try it: Glamglow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment, $69;

Eat Your Greens—and Slather Them on Your Skin


perriconeCHLOROPHYLL (klor-uh-fil) / n./ 1./ A pigment that gives plants and algae their green color and is used during photosynthesis to trap energy from the sun. / 2./ Rich in enzymes and amino acids, this biomolecule is found in green produce such as kale, parsley, sprouts, wheat grass, and seaweed. / 3./ Research has found that chlorophyll acts as a blocking agent against carcinogens and protects cells from DNA damage. / 4./ Because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, it has been used therapeutically to soothe wounds. / 5./ A trendy water additive, chlorophyll extract is thought to hike up energy levels by increasing oxygen in the blood. / 6./ Topically, the pigment helps pull impurities from skin and boosts radiance—e.g., “Beat fatigue and perk up your complexion with chlorophyll.”

Try It: Perricone MD Chloro Plasma, $75;

Get the Skinny on the Beauty-Boosting Benefits of Indigo



With it being denim week at, 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,; or in scent form via Nest Indigo Eau de Parfum Spray (a blend of Moroccan tea, Kashmir wood, black cardamom, and bergamot), $65,


Photo: Tommy Ton; Courtesy of Tatcha and Nest

SK-II Harnesses the Power of the Artichoke


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;

Éminence’s Head Is in the Clouds



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,