Beauty secrets of Asia: real pearls in skin care

pearl in shell

Asian women don’t age. Well, they do, but we cannot deny that many of them seem to age slower and maintain good skin well into old age. While the Asian beauty trends have taken off in the last few years, the art of skincare in Asia goes back thousands of years. Skincare was very important to women in societies where beauty is their most valuable asset. Thank God I live here in the US.

Empress Wu's daily pearl powder face masks

In China, women looked to Empress Wu, renowned for her beauty and agelessness. The Empress made special face masks with green tea, mung bean and pearl powder everyday and also practiced meditation to calm the mind and to promote a healthy body. She applied tsubaki oil made from the Asian tea plant (also known as the oil in Japan used by geishas). She looked very young even when she was 80 years old, so they say.

The earliest written data is from around 320 AD, when Chinese women started using ground pearl powder for skin rejuvenation. Aside from its detoxifying and medicinal effects, pearl powder was said to clear skin, remove wrinkles and liver spots, giving a more youthful appearance. It also reduces inflammation and calms minor skin irritations. 

Empress Dowager Cixi's sacks of pearls

The concubine-turned-Empress Dowager Cixi, was the one who popularized using Chinese pearl powder for its beauty benefits and we have the most information from her beauty rituals in the 19th century. She would have sacks of pearls ground into powder and use both in her bath, beauty oils and also as a face mineral face powder to promote brightening and anti-aging effects.

Today, we know that pearl powder contains an antioxidant that boosts the efficacy of superoxide dismutase, one of the strongest antioxidant enzymes in the body. Pearls contain more than 30 trace minerals and 18 amino acids, including 8 that cannot be made by the body. We are currently developing a serum with superoxide dismutase (SOD) and can’t wait to show you when it’s done.

We also know scientifically, that as an active ingredient (active means an ingredient that skin can use) it is easily absorbed and nourishing. We used to put pearl powder in our Rehydration Treatment Cream but due to popular demand, we removed it so that all of our products are now 100% vegan. 

xo, Jacci

Jacci Delaneau

Adventuress, animal activist and recovering cheese addict. Dreamer and doer. A patent holding serial entrepreneur, our founder Jacci, has traveled the world in search of bizarre beauty rituals, the planet’s most beautiful beaches, and the perfect pizza. She combines her background in Marine Biology and Organic Cosmetic Science to develop clean, high performance skin care using sustainable ocean based ingredients. Read more about Jacci.