It’s the key ingredient in Sunday Riley’s popular Luna Sleeping Night Oil. The Los Angeles-based May Lindstrom uses it in her multi-tasking The Blue Cocoon beauty balm, while the socially conscious Kahina Giving Beauty from New York adds it to its Lip & Face Balm.
All three products are part of a growing niche of artisanal beauty offerings that have popped up in recent years, extolling the benefits of blue tansy. All have also received rave industry reviews and a cult following – never mind that the ingredient tends to leave an Avatar-ish tinge on skin (which explains why it’s usually in products meant for night use). Blue tansy – a relative of the common tansy flower – looks set to be the next superfood of the beauty world. But what exactly makes it super?
Even though it’s not from the camomile family, the bloom also goes by the name of Moroccan camomile, and has traditionally been steam distilled into an essential oil and used in aromatherapy. With a rich, aromatic and herbaceous scent, it’s known to be antibacterial, an anti-histamine, and a relief for headaches and anxiety. It’s also high in the chemical compound chamazulene, which besides having anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties, also gives the oil its intense blue hue.
Says Lindstrom: “Blue tansy releases heat, reducing redness and inflammation, and targets super hard to treat issues such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea and acne. It’s a total powerhouse.”
By adding the essential oil into her The Blue Cocoon balm, Lindstrom has created a formula that can be used to soothe inflamed skin and eczema blisters on the face and body. The pale aqua blue serum, which also contains shea butter, camellia, and rose and marula oils, doubles as a lip and eye treatment too. Meant to be massaged into skin after cleansing, it is said to have a calming effect.
Meanwhile, Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil is a blend of blue tansy essential oil and retinoic acid in a base of cold-pressed avocado oil. By tapping on blue tansy’s soothing properties, it encourages skin’s regenerative process, promising smaller pores, less obvious wrinkles and firmer skin with nightly use. Despite being an oil, it’s suitable for all skin types and leaves no greasy residue, only a glowing (and non-blue) complexion in the AM.
The least blue of the lot is Kahina’s Lip & Face Balm that boasts a neutral colour, and is infused with other super soothers like calendula, beeswax and ultra-nourishing coconut, carrot seed and argan oils. The result: a rich restorative treatment perfect for extremely dry climates.
Those interested to use the essential oil neat (beauty website Into The Gloss, for example, recommends mixing some into shampoo to soothe an itchy scalp) should be careful though. Online articles warn of suppliers labelling common tansy oil – which comes from the yellow tansy – as blue tansy. While it’s also known to be anti-inflammatory, it’s more popularly used in insecticides and is high in thujones, a neurotoxin found in absinthe. So how to tell the real deal apart from the poison? The blue’s a clue.