Obsessed with Indigo: Why You Want it in Your Skincare
Not many moons ago, the beauty blogosphere was abuzz with “blue” skincare products filled with hero ingredients such as Blue Tansy and Azulene, which lend their natural marine hue to the creams and oils they imbue. I’m a huge fan of such products, and I still use Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil every night, and Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil when I travel. But recently, rather than just going for any-and-all “blue” products, I find myself drawn to — and benefiting from — skincare that contains a very specific ingredient: Indigo. This discovery of mine in the past two months has definitely played a part in getting (and keeping) my skin in tip-top shape.
What is Indigo?
There are multiple types of Indigo plant, several of the species are known for their use in pain alleviation. Indigo plants are generally regarded as an analgesic with anti-inflammatory properties, helping to soothe and calm irritation. The Indigo plant contains two key actives: Tryptanthrin, a compound known for its anti-microbial properties, that aids in detoxification; and Indirubin, which inhibits irritation-causing proteins and can strengthen the skin’s barrier function, promoting healing. In Edo Japan, clothes and household items were commonly dyed with Indigo, which was revered as a remedy for skin ailments and troubles, and also for repelling insects. Samurai wore aizome — Indigo-dyed clothes — beneath their armor to help heal injuries. The following skin care products marry Indigo with a host of other key ingredients to bring balance, healing, and rejuvenation to your skin.
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream, $135 for 50 ml
I love what the Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream has been doing for me these past months. I’ve had no less than 3 eczema outbreaks and each time, this cream has helped to obliterate the redness, irritation and bumps within days. This is especially important and helpful to me because I don’t want to rely on hydrocortisone creams for the rest of my life, or end up developing steroid-resistant, super, banshee-level eczema. According to Tatcha’s founder, Vicky Tsai, a formula containing Indigo that ended up morphing into this Soothing Triple Recovery Cream really helped to clear up her own steroid-resistant eczema for the first time in years. As icing on the cake, this cream also received a seal of acceptance from the National Association of Eczema, which aims to educate people with eczema and other severe sensitive skin conditions on what is suitable for use.
Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream also contains Colloidal Oatmeal and Sophora Japonica, both of which work with Indigo to further bring balance to skin and restore its compromised moisture barrier. Currently I am dealing with yet another eczema outbreak from testing a product-which-shall-not-be-named, and instinctively, I grabbed at this cream to soothe my inflamed cheeks.
I also just found out that Tatcha has an Indigo Soothing Renewal Treatment (a stronger version of the Soothing Triple Recovery Cream) which I am now dying to try. Too bad it is currently sold out — if anyone has any ideas where I can get my hands on some please do share!
I bought my current Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream from Sephora for $135 when they had 4X points for VIB Rouge members. The first time I bought this cream, I got it from Tatcha — each order gets you 3 complimentary samples and free US shipping. If you’re a first-time buyer from Tatcha, you’ll also receive a complimentary travel size Rice Enzyme Powder.
Mahalo Skin Care The Rare Indigo, $110 for 30 ml
Mahalo Skin Care The Rare Indigo started out as an unassuming sample I got from Integrity Botanicals. I took it (and a few other new products) with me to Yosemite for a weekend, anticipating that my skin would feel all sorts of stress from the hot sun and dry heat, so I could test whether it would help bring balance back. In fact, I applied the Rare Indigo on the left side of my face the first night and May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon on the right — the next morning, the left side of my face was refreshed and plump while the right side had sprouted two little zits! Needless to say, I stuffed the Blue Cocoon back into my carry-on, and used the Rare Indigo for the next two days to find that it cleared my spots up completely.
Over the course of a month I’ve used Mahalo Skin Care The Rare Indigo beauty balm on parts of my face and body that are hyper-sensitive, or inflamed from eczema; even when some of my prescription medication couldn't come through (read: that dreaded eczema patch on my left wrist that refuses to go away!) the Rare Indigo did for me. Crafted with 29 high-performance integrity ingredients, such as collagen-fostering vitamin C ester, antioxidants, essential fatty-acids, rare Indigo extract and chamazulene-rich actives, this nourishing supercharged beauty balm makes balancing my skin a treat every day. The blend of Indigo, therapeutic oils and murumuru butter, which contains high amounts of beneficial oleic acid (found in olive oil), emits a rather indulgent, spicy, vanilla-floral scent. I like taking ⅓ of a pea-sized bit and dabbing it under my eyes as an eye balm as well — it helps to soothe puffiness and keep dark eye circles at bay!
Together with Tatcha Indigo Soothing Triple Recovery Cream, the Rare Indigo Balm has helped to massively alleviate the eczema outbreak I’m currently going through. In just 6 hours most of the redness is gone. I’ll post an update on the situation in a couple of days so you can check in on my progress!
I have to say that while the bamboo encasement was beautiful and every bit eco-luxurious, it did crack rather quickly. I suspect that storing the balm in the fridge and then taking it out whenever I need to use it proved too much of a heat gradient for the bamboo to take. The glass container inside is intact, though, so it’s just an aesthetic issue for now.
I bought my full size Mahalo Skin Care The Rare Indigo from Mahalo for $110. You can also get it from Integrity Botanicals — there is a 10% discount for first time buyers, as well as 3 free samples with every order.
Key To Radiance is not affiliated or sponsored by Tatcha, Mahalo, Sephora, or Integrity Botanicals in any way.
Edit: Update (October 3, 2016)
My skin had basically bounced back to normal with the use of these two products within about 24-30 hours. No more eczema (the redness you see in the before pic) — just freckles — thanks to the miracle of Indigo! Check out the before and after unretouched photos of my bare skin below.