My momma told me people in the Ozark Mountains grow ginseng in secret forest groves, as a 5-year-old plant commands insane prices the world over (think hundreds of dollars per pound). Since I live in Chinatown, the stuff is basically everywhere, from chewing gum to face masks, so it was high time I tried it.
Ginseng is a beauty boost for sure, and western scientists are really getting on board to figure out what makes it tick. Its efficacy is being tested in many different lights for more in-depth scientific info (like here on PubMed), making it officially time for us to shine a light on it!
Ginseng In Hair Products
Added to hair products, ginseng helps increase blood flow to the scalp and protects tissues from free radicals.
I was a big fan of Aussie's 3-Minute Miracle growing up, and the modern offering is just as good as I remember, but with a slightly different scent. There are a few options, so I tried the smoothing treatment, which left my hair soft and manageable with no coating or grossness. Also not to be overlooked, Aussie Hair Insurance is a must have for curly gals; using it to air-dry gives lightweight bounce without loss of body.
Aubrey Organics Ginseng Biotin Shampoo is marketed to men, but it's to die for no matter your gender. It reminds me of the Colloidal Silver Shampoo from Heritage Store: it cleanses thoroughly while leaving a light, minty scent and infusing the scalp with biotin.
Ginseng In Skin Care
Skin care and ginseng go together like peas and carrots, and formulations have been a part of Asian skin care for centuries. Studies show it has antioxidant properties that prevent collagen breakdown.
Origins has a whole line dedicated to ginseng! The GinZing series is rad, smells great, and the eye cream is an xoFavorite. I love its light shimmer to wake up dark circles in the A.M., as well as the caffeine present in both the cleanser and eye cream.
All of the Sulwhasoo products I've tried have this amazing, earthy ginseng scent, and contain one of the more coveted roots that are over 5-years-old and fermented for peak performance. This Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum is really great--it hydrates which not many do, and mixes wonderfully with liquid foundation to dew it up.
It’s hard to find mineral-only sunscreens and even harder to find ones that have active ingredients and no scent. Sunday Riley's Cashmere SPF 30+ is perfect as a morning moisturizer and can be patted on throughout the day for extra protection.
Last but not least, Mario Badescu Ginseng Moist Cream is a dewy skin must-have. It smells like Banana Boat sunscreen (a plus in my book) and plumps like a dream, making your skin ready to accept primer with a bit more cushion.
Ginseng In Makeup
Not to be outdone by skin care, many makeup companies know that ginseng is as buzzy as it is backed up, and though it might not have dramatic effects, IMHO every bit adds up.
I got so many compliments on my skin when I wore Jouer's Luminizing Moisture Tint. It gives a glow and light shimmer without being ridiculous. And the brand's Anti-Aging Moisture Primer is among the most skin care-like primers I've tried. Sans silicones, it helps makeup adhere with ginseng, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and argan oil.
Origins makes a fab mascara (with a sick brush shape) that's infused with ginseng. I like it as much as I like the idea of getting ginseng up in my eyelashes, which is a lot.
Next time you browse the aisles at a beauty supply or drugstore and see Palladio Herbal Lip Gloss, get in there and pick your favorite shade, because they have over 30, and each one is five dollars. It definitely earns its moniker of Herbal Lip Gloss, as it contains ginseng, aloe, chamomile, green tea, and ginko biloba, all helpful in boosting moisture, collagen, and free radical scavenging.
- Is anyone else freakishly obsessed with the scent of ginseng?
- Any GinZing devotees out there?
Photos: Darnell Scott