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Ingredient in focus: Mushrooms

More than an asset to any risotto, {mushrooms} mean great things for {skin} and {wellbeing}. Potent antioxidants, they act like a sponge for free radicals — mopping up ‘bad guys’ to shield from the harmful effects of the sun and pollution — and they’re brimming with immunity-boosting vitamin D and skin-brightening kojic acid... In fact, their list of accolades is as extensive as their myriad varieties — so read on to find out how mushroom they need in your beauty routine... 

What do mushrooms do for skin? 

Rich in polysaccharides, mushrooms are a natural humectant (snow mushrooms retain up to 5000 times their molecular weight in water!) — drawing water into skin to tackle dehydration and promote a dewy plumpness — while mushroom-derived kojic acid is a boon for those looking to dial up the brightness; targeting dark spots to gradually unify skin tone and counteract visible signs of sun damage.  

Packed with free radical-fighting antioxidants to bolster skin’s defences and protect against the everyday environmental onslaught, they also boast vitamin D which is great for supporting the skin’s immune system (think: soothing sensitivity and minimising side-effects of stress) and some varieties — such as reishi and maitake — have adaptogenic benefits, which help us to cope with the pressures of modern existence (they’re commonly found in a supplement format).  

Healing, hydrating, fortifying, brightening and protective — it’s quicker to ask why you shouldn’t add some fungi to your daily skin care menu... 

Are mushrooms good for dry skin? 

Arguably most beneficial for those with dry, dehydrated or compromised complexions, mushrooms’ soothing, anti-inflammatory properties are great for calming blemishes and breakouts. With effects that straddle most skin types and concerns, they’re brilliant for those whose skin is suffering (they rush to the rescue and quickly quell any discomfort), as well as for supporting flaky, irritated skin (they’re helpful if you’re prone to eczema or rosacea). 

Which mushrooms are best in skin care? 

Snow mushrooms have earned a status similar to hyaluronic acid in the skin-hydrating stakes. With a comparable molecular structure to its water-retaining ally, snow mushroom is powerfully penetrative as well as being brilliantly brightening — plumping and promoting dewiness while fading pigmentation and post-blemish scars. 

Shiitake mushrooms are another strong contender on the skin care stage — rich in anti-inflammatory vitamin D, selenium and the gentle kojic acid which refines and gradually retexturises skin that’s lost its lustre. 

And let’s not neglect reishi — the adaptogenic powerhouse that’s found in both topical treatments and dietary supplements. Helping to tackle adrenal fatigue by stablising stress hormones, consider reishi (and its fungi friends) a longer-term investment in your overall health and wellbeing — a slow beauty staple that steers you towards a more measured (less jittery!) state. 

Keen to add mushrooms to your beauty routine? 

There's an ever-growing number of mushroom-laced lotions and potions to target the swathe of concerns — from {sensitive skin} solutions to stress-centric {supplements} — which means it’s easy to weave these into your existing ritual. We’ve foraged the site for our favourites... (they’re magic). 

Beauty giant {Laura Mercier} uses the snow mushroom in their {Flawless Lumiere Radiance Perfecting Foundation}, which (thanks to the snow mushroom) promises to give you fifteen hours of hydration, as well as boost your natural radiance over time, so that you can go make-up-free with confidence. 

Niod’s {RE: Pigment} addresses hyperpigmentation and uneven tone with the help of white shiitake ferment – a purified bio-derivative that targets the appearance of dark spots within a week of use. 

Shiseido’s {Ultimune Power Infusing Eye Concentrate} uses reishi mushrooms. These are bursting with beta-glucans, which are sugars that can deeply penetrate the skin to relieve dryness and itchiness. They also contain polysaccharides – giving a friendly nudge to the skin’s natural ability to retain moisture. 





Verity Douglas
Verity Douglas Writer and expert
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...

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