Anyone remember the trend of DIY skincare recipes back in the day? That’s when the use of spices — particularly turmeric — came into light as a miracle at-home acne solution. While I love the idea of making my own formulations with natural ingredients, alas I am but a lazy bum. 

I found out (the hard way) how tedious it is to make DIY skincare — they require extra time off my day and need to be made frequently. While all-natural, that also means they go bad very quickly. And personally, my paranoid self is just slightly worried about using non-clinically tested concoctions on my delicate facial area. 

Luckily for us (or just me), the skincare market has long been harnessing the benefits of spices in their tested formulations. Not only do you save yourself a lot of time, these products also have a longer shelf life and are proven to not potentially burn my face off. 

But regardless of whether it is for DIY or in mass-market skincare, it is important to know why certain ingredients work our skin. So here’s why topical spices work and the products that utilise them: 

Cardamom

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If you have troubled skin, this spice might be a new skincare ingredient to look out for. Carrying with it antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, these seeds help fight acne and heal breakouts. Cardamom is also a powerhouse of vitamins: 

  • Packed with Vit C, they help to lighten blemishes and brighten the overall complexion. 
  • They also contain Vitamin A, which helps with slowing the ageing process by boosting the production of collagen. 

These pods also contain a good dose of antioxidants, helping to fight free radicals (they damage the cells in your body) and reduce fine lines.

CLARINS SANTAL FACE TREATMENT OIL, 30ML
S$59

Facial oils are skincare game-changers that nourish your skin barrier. This Santal Face Treatment Oil contains 100% natural plant goodness (including the all-star cardamom) to soothe and decongest dry and irritated skin. With just 2-3 drops, your skin will feel softer and well-protected from dehydration.

Cloves

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Despite their woody appearance, cloves are actually flower buds of an evergreen tree. But do not be fooled by their unassuming exterior — these dried buds are powerful anti-ageing workers for your skin. This is attributed to the substance eugenol, which is a natural antioxidant five times better at fighting free radicals than Vitamin E. Eugenol, coupled with cloves’ antimicrobial content, purifies the skin as well as treat acne. 

They are also great for revealing glowy skin; it has a stimulating quality that promotes blood flow to your epidermis (that’s the top layer of your skin!) to rejuvenate radiance. This effect is boosted by cloves’ ability to remove dead skin cells as well — what I’m trying to say is that cloves are great for having skin that looks like a baby’s butt! 

LUXE BOTANICS KIGELIA CORRECTIVE SERUM, 30ML
S$145

Organic and vegan, this serum provides a solution for problematic skin. Its potent formulation is an enriching mix of vitamin C niacinamide, along with botanical ingredients such as Kigelia africana (rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits) and clove bud oil. This creates a purifying concentration that addresses skin blemishes while supporting cell regeneration to restore the skin’s vitality.

Cinnamon

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Aside from being a sweet spice reminiscent of Christmas, cinnamon has surprisingly varied benefits for various skin types. 

For those struggling with acne or oily skin concerns, cinnamon’s anti-trinity has got you covered. Packed with antifungal, antioxidant and antibacterial properties, cinnamon is a great ally against your fight with acne and skin blemishes. They are effective in drying out these problem spots. 

This autumn-representative spice also works its magic to help the skin with anti-ageing. Similar to cardamom, it can help boost collagen levels in your skin. Collagen is what gives your skin that youthful bounce, but can be depleted as we age (thus the sagging skin). 

ESSANO SUPERFOODS CINNAMON PURIFYING GEL CLEANSER, 100ML
S$24.95

This vegan cleanser is friendly to animals, but not-so-friendly to your impurities. Created to be a daily skin detox, this soap-free gel formulation is a combination of cinnamon and pumpkin goodness. The cinnamon helps to purify the skin from dirt and bacteria, while the pumpkin works in tandem to reduce redness and pigmentation.

Ginger

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We’ve all heard from our parents that ginger is good for us, but is it really? 100% yes, especially for the skin. With an outstanding reputation as a healing medicine, the same applies when it is used in skincare. Its toning and antioxidant properties can aid in healing the skin and fading scars. This includes hypopigmentation scars, which are discolourations much lighter than your skin tone. 

As with most of the spices that we mentioned, it is also great for anti-ageing. With forty different antioxidants… By now, you should already know what we are going to say: it defends against free radicals, evens skin tone, improves elasticity and helps you maintain your overall youth. 

That’s not all — ginger also helps heal inflammation, soothes your skin and is also good for sun damage spots. Our parents were right: ginger really is a miracle spice for all problems. 

GINGER HONEY AMPOULE SKIN, 200ML
S$16.36

As per many Innisfree products, this toner consists of ingredients from Jeju island — specifically, ginger. Harnessing ginger’s ability to protect the skin, this highly-enriched formulation also utilises Jeju canola honey to create a nourishing mixture. Best used for relieving skin dryness, this product can be used as a toner or layered on as an ampoule.

Turmeric

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As mentioned in our intro, turmeric has earned itself a name in the acne community as a miracle spice. This is mostly due to curcumin found in turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties. This helps to calm the skin and reduce the likelihood of breakouts. 

On the flip side, those with dehydrated skin can also try including turmeric in their routine: they relieve the skin of dryness and flaking. The antioxidants within also help to provide a glow and lustre to your face by maintaining your skin’s elasticity and suppleness. 

However, one of the downsides of turmeric is the yellow stains — they get all over your fingers and sometimes on your face too! That’s why I prefer to use this ingredient in professional skincare formulations. They typically have no transfers and are easy to work with. One example would be: 

SUNDAY RILEY C.E.O GLOW VITAMIN C + TURMERIC FACE OIL, 15ML
S$56

This facial oil is designed to give you a radiant complexion that exudes confidence. They do so by blending together the benefits of Vitamin C and golden turmeric, creating a concoction that boosts antioxidant defence. The oil's spicy scent (similar to ginger) is not intrusive and goes away when it is applied. Despite its initial thick consistency, the oil spreads nicely on my face. Only a small amount is needed for my skin to feel noticeably supple and hydrated.

There you have it — 5 spices that work wonders on your skin packaged in efficient bottles saves you time and mess. You may have noticed that many of their benefits overlap: that’s actually a good thing! It means you have a diversified spice list to experiment with to see which ones reap the most benefit for your skin. One’s skincare journey differs from the next, so be sure to check your allergies and what you are sensitive to before foraying into the spices side of skincare. 

With love,
Cheyenne 

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