Spotlight On: Buddleja Davidii Stems G

Old World Swallowtail on Buddleja davidii Fran...

Butterfly bushes attract beautiful butterflies, but they may be good for making you look beautiful with their skin-aiding properties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Butterfly bushes are known for being and attracting beauty — their conical clusters of white, pink, lilac, and violet-colored flowers that reel in the powder soft flitter of butterfly wings. But butterfly bushes may also be present in a recent skin care ingredient.

It’s one of the components (along with glycerine and xantham gum) of stem cell blend Buddleja davidii stems G, which its parent laboratory’s tests have suggested has photoprotective, antioxidant, and anti-imflammatory qualities.


Istituto di Ricerche Biotecnologiche (IRB) tested Buddleja davidii stems G as an antioxidant against DHHP and compared it to rutin and reversatrol. Buddleja davidii stems G was found to be far more effective than both of these natural molecules. That’s the only lab test of Buddleja davidii stems G, but others have been done of Buddleja davidii extract (Personal Care).

Verbascoside is the phenylpropanoid glycoside found in Buddleja davidii. It’s known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and has been shown to have these in cosmetic applications (Molecules). It’s been found to lessen oxidative stress and scavenge free radicals (Informational Health Care).

Photoprotective and Anti-Aging Qualities


Buddleja davidii stems G has been shown to have photoprotective effects. (Photo credit: huntz)

IRB’s study on ten volunteers found that a formula with 2% of the Buddleja davidii stems G offered significant sun protection — in particular against UVA irradiation (Personal Care). Because the sample size was so small, the ingredient had a monumental improvement, but larger studies would be required to confirm these results.

Verbascoside has been found to have photoprotective qualities as well (Molecules). In an experiment with guinea pigs it was found to be highly protective against cellular death cause by UV-B irradiation (Fitoterapia).


In addition to sun protection, IRB’s study found that it had anti-aging effects in that Buddleja davidii stems G could stifle collagenase, which causes degredation of collagen (Personal Health). Unfortunately, these are preliminary results — there aren’t many others to back it up. That’s not to say that this won’t be an excellent ingredient in terms of anti-aging — we just need more research to back the claim.

Bottom Line

Buddleja davidii stems G shows a lot of promise as an ingredient in skin care. Its components have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and photoprotective qualities that have been demonstrated in several studies. It’s important to note that a number of these studies were performed by one laboratory, particularly the anti-aging information. Hopefully more studies in the future will show whether this is an effective ingredient for stopping collagenase. Overall, we’d love to see more studies on all fronts to show efficacy.

If you want to try Buddleja davidii stems G, consider MyChelle All / Combination The Perfect C Serum ($44, with L-ascorbic acid and co-enzyme Q-10, it’s packed with skin-improving ingredients.

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How to Get the Maximum Benefit from Skin Oils

Argan oil is one of the oils that are acceptable for dry skin.

Oils are extremely popular on the market right now.  From cult favorite mixtures like Rodin Olio Lusso Skin Oil to 100% pure argan oil, large-scale and boutique beauty companies alike are each premiering their own natural or organic oil concoctions.

However, as with synthetic beauty products, not all natural oils are created equal.  Keep the following in mind:

1.)  Avoid Almond, Avocado, Olive, Sesame, Castor, and Apricot Oils if You Have Dry Skin.

A 1-liter glass bottle and bowl Bertolli brand...

If you have dry skin, keep the olive oil on your plate – not on your face. Olive oil will trap moisture into your skin as an occlusive agent, but if you don’t have much skin moisture to begin with, this doesn’t help. Of course, olive oil makes a great moisturizer for normal skin types.

There are two kinds of oils:  Occlusive agents and emollients.

It may sound counterintuitive, but some skin oils will not help dry skin.  This is because certain oils act as occlusive agents, which trap existing moisture into the skin, not adding moisture.  Dr. David E. Bank, M.D., the Director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York, explains it best:

“Dry skin is actually low in water, not in oil.  That’s why most moisturizers list water as the first ingredient in the label.  You need to realize that water, not oil, is the first ingredient you need to add moisture back into the skin.”

Oils that are occlusive agents and not great for dry skin include almond, apricot, avocado, sesame, and olive.  So if you’ve been using these alone on your dry skin, expecting hydrated skin, think again.

2.)  Use Argan, Coconut, Palm, and Pequi Instead for Dry Skin.

Emollients help to hold onto moisture as well, but they go one step further, increasing skin’s permeability (and therefore the amount of water skin can hold) (Skin Therapy Letters, 2001).

However, not all emollients are created equal.  For the really scientifically-minded, the best emollients have medium-to-long-chain hydrocarbons (Dermatitis, 1992), which include linoleic, linolenic, oleic, and lauric, which can be found in palm oil, coconut oil (Skin Therapy Letters, 2001), argan oil, and pequi oil.

Keep in mind that many oils have emollient and occlusive properties.  In fact, most emollients will have occlusive properties if you apply too much (Skin Therapy Letters, 2001).  However, when we analyze which are emollient and which are occlusive, we decide on the basis of a typical dose.

3.)  Don’t Try Mixing Oils at Home.

Oil tasting, BAIA October 2006 Wine Tasting, C...

Mixing oils at home can lead to comedogenicity (clogged pores) and irritation.

Over recent years, the oil cleansing method has become very popular on the internet.  Those with oily skin are advised to use 60-75% castor oil mixed with 25-40% extra virgin olive oil, but those with very dry skin are suggested to use 25-40% castor oil to 60-75% extra virgin olive oil.  [Read more:  Does the Oil Cleansing Method Work?]

There is admittedly some valid science here.  Castor oil has been shown to alleviate acne (Phytotherapy Research, 2002), while olive oil has protective antioxidant properties (Toxicology, 2003).  But you should NOT mix these oils yourself.

Just like doctors go through rigorous training to treat your body, cosmetic chemists undergo years of schooling to concoct formulas for your skin.  Many hold Ph.D’s and are doctors in their own right, while others learn the ropes through years of laboratory training.  But the point here is, just like you wouldn’t mix your own drugs, you should not mix your own skin care at home.  There are numerous reports of contact dermatitis and chelitis from castor oil exposure (Archives of Dermatology, 1961; Contact Dermatitis2000, to cite a few), as well as olive oil (Contact Dermatitis, 2006).

What’s more, a 2007 article in The New Yorker reported less than 40% of olive oil sold in U.S. stores contained the proper constituents.  So do yourself (and your skin) a favor, and trust the chemists/professionals.  For oil-based cleansers formulated by experts, I like Olivella Cleansing Wipes, the Amore Pacific Cleansing System, Eve Lom Cleanser, and the cleansing formulas from Love Renaissance.

4.)  Unless You Have Oily/Acne-Prone Skin, Apply Immediately After Showering.


To get the maximum benefit from skin oils, apply right after showering. This can also help all types of oils work better for those with dry skin.

As I said before, even emollient oils can become occlusive when you apply too much, so dry skin isn’t really benefiting very much.  (Trapping zero moisture under the skin leaves you with, well, zero moisture!)  On the other hand, applying oils after showering helps to seal the moisture into the skin.  It may be annoying if you shower in the morning – putting clothes on a still-wet self is not a vision you see in Vogue – but if you bathe in the evening, it is wonderful to apply oils after, especially if you put on a 100% cotton robe afterwards.

5.)  If You Have Oily/Acne-Prone Skin, Use Oils Only to Cleanse – Never to Treat.

Sammy washing face

Oil dissolves oil, so oily/acne-prone skin can benefit from small amounts of oil-based cleansers occasionally. Truth be told, cleansers with salicyclic acid are better. (Photo credit: danielcraig)

Oil-based cleansers are great because like dissolves like in chemistry.  So a oil-based cleanser can dissolve oils within your skin.  Tremendous.

But oil-based treatment products are not great for those with oily/acne prone skin because they only contribute to pores that are already filled with sebum, overproducing oil.  So do yourself a favor and nix this trend altogether if you have oily/acne-prone skin.

Bottom Line

A few take-home points:

  • Those with dry skin will not benefit much, if at all, from oils like almond, apricot, avocado, castor, and olive.  These oils are occlusive agents that trap existing moisture into the skin.  But if you don’t have much moisture in your skin to begin with, these won’t help much.
  • Those with dry skin are better suited to oils like palm, coconut, pequi, and argan.  These oils contain fatty acids with more medium-to-long chain hydrocarbons.  As a result, they function as emollients, which increase the amount of moisture skin is capable of holding while binding to water and oils within the skin.  Keep in mind, however, that applying too much of these oils makes them solely occlusive – so you’re just trapping moisture in, not allowing your skin to add any, even with its increased capacity to hold moisture.
  • Never mix your own skin care oil products at home.  The risk for comedogenicity and irritation is simply too high.
  • Apply oils immediately after showering.
  • If you have oily or acne-prone skin, skip oils altogether.

Hope this helps,



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Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Nylon Lip Tar

Though I was late to join the crowd, I now love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars. I was very excited when I saw on twitter that they would be sold in Sephora starting in September. I was even more excited to learn that to celebrate going big, OCC had partnered with Nylon Magazine, one of a few magazines that I have a subscription to because of their cool content, to make a new neon pink lip tar called Nylon.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Nylon Vegan Lip Tars


Nylon lip tar is only being sold at Sephora. If you’re unfamiliar with lip tars, they’re sort of like a liquid lipstick. They’re very concentrated! You only need the tiniest amount of product to cover your entire lips. Like, about half the size of the head of your lip brush, or smaller, should be enough to cover your entire lips.They’re moisturizing but dry down to a satiny matte finish.

While Lip Tars come in a wide variety of shades that can be worn individually, they can also be mixed to make your perfect signature color.

Lip Tars:

  • 100 % vegan and cruelty-free
  • Contain no silicone, petroleum or parabens
  • Hemp Oil: Rich in omega and gamma-lineolic essential fatty acids; extraordinarily moisturizing.
  • Peppermint Oil: A natural antibacterial and antimicrobial agent that allows OCC to create a product free of parabens and other synthetic preservatives.
  • Tocopherol Acetate: Rich in antioxidants; highly moisturizing.
I think Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Nylon Lip Tar is perfect on my skintone.
Additionally, I swatched it next to LE MAC Candy Yum Yum. The two colors are very close. Candy Yum Yum is the closest match that I have in my color collection. If you missed out on MAC Candy Yum Yum, you may want OCC Nylon.
I’m very happy that Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars will now be easy to purchase from Sephora. They’re a great product once you get the hang of them. I also love the special color Nylon! Collaborating with a cool magazine is a great way to celebrate an awesome vegan indie company making it into the mainstream market.
OCC Nylon Lip Tar is available for $16, only from
How do you feel about OCC Lip Tars? Do you like them?
Product purchased by me. All opinions are my own.