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Seattle Beauty® Tip: Moisturizing and Skin Brightening Herbs

By cwan | September 22nd, 2017

In today’s blog, let’s look at the following top ranked moisturizing and skin brightening herbs from Chinese herbal medicine. All of these herbs have been extensively used in China both for medicinal applications and as everyday food items. You should be able to find these herbs in your local Asian grocery stores or a number of online stores. Just copy-paste the herb name into you Google search engine.

Here are a few general rules for incorporating herbs into your skincare and dietary routines:

  • use the whole herb, chunks or slices for tea or soup
  • use rough powder for tea or facial scrub
  • use fine powder as face wash or mask
  • You can also use herb tea as an ingredient for face toner, hair wash, or hair conditioner.

For tea or skin toner use, simmer herb slices in hot water for 5-10 min. Strain the water out.  Drink as a tea. Or, cool and use as a skin toner or hair conditioner. I would recommend infuse the tea with other herbal ingredient for skin toner use.

For face wash or facial mask use, mix herb power with a grain powder such as oat or barley flower. Add a little agar or gelatin powder to increase the adhesion. Mix the powder with water, milk, or diluted honey to make a soft paste.  Sometimes, you might want to microwave a few seconds to assist the softening of agar or gelatin.  Use as a facial mask. You can also add other ingredient as desired.

Here are two top ranked moisturizing and skin brightening herbs from Chinese medicine.

Poria (Fuling)

Poria is a fungas, from Polyporaceae family, similar to mushroom. The herb was termed as “God’s medicine” by ancient Chinese. The herb is very versatile and can be mixed with many other herbs for various indications. In general, the herb is known to be calming, diuretic, and strengthen immune system. For skincare use, the herb is used to smooth and refresh the skin, improve elasticity, moisture and texture. It is often used in recipes for treating dry skin or damage skin. The herb is especially good for mature skins and is known to be the favorite skincare and anti-aging herb of Empress Cixi. Nowadays, Poria is often used as an essential ingredient in anti-aging supplements in China.

Poria can be found in the dried food sections in any Chinese grocery store. I often use them in soup or porridge. For skincare application, Poria powder can be used in face wash or facial mask.

Pearl (Zhenshu, Margarita)

Pearl powder has long being used for moisturizing and brightening the skin and strengthening and whitening the teeth. For example, ancient performers in the Chinese palace preferred pearl powder as a cosmetic make-up. Pearl contains calcium carbonate, organics, amino acids, peptides, and minerals. The herb is known to promote cell regeneration, inhibit lipofucsin (an aging substance), stimulate cell activity and prolong the lifespan of cells.

To incorporate earl powder into your skincare regime, you can try a mixture of pearl powder and silk powder at a 3/1 ratio as a daily facial powder. The mixture is very good at control oil especially in the T-zone. If the weather is too dry, you can try mixing pearl powder into your favorite day or night lotion or skin toner to give those a super nutritious boost.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Connie Wan