Kiehl’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Masque is one of the first products I’ve seen on the market to introduce turmeric, an incredible superfood, into skin care. Loaded with turmeric and vitamin C, this masque promises to brighten dull, fatigued skin and to restore skin’s healthy, rosy appearance over time.
Here is my analysis:
Turmeric is New to Skin Care and Holds Great Promise in Preliminary Studies
For decades, turmeric has consistently ranked at the top of the nutrient list amongst compounds that have been proven to alleviate inflammation and eradicate cancer tumor formation (Anticancer: A New Way of Life).
However, most of these studies were conducted with turmeric as a food, not as a topical ingredient. And, as all FutureDerm readers know, food is not skin care!
However, in early research, skincare with turmeric and/or its active compound, tetrahydrocurcumin, has shown tremendous promise. Two double-blind, well-controlled studies using turmeric in particular stand out.
In the first study, 89 patients aged 40-60 were treated on one side of their face with a cream with 4% niacinamide (similar to Olay Regenerist) for 4 weeks, while the other half of their face was treated with a cream with 4% niacinamide and 0.5% tetrahydrocurcumin. After 8 weeks, experts found a 50% decrease in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in patients who used 0.5% tetrahydrocurcumin plus niacinamide, compared to 20% with niacinamide alone.
In the second study, 186 women aged 40-65 were split into three groups. The first group used a regimen consisting of a basic cleanser and one daytime moisturizer containing 0.5% turmeric and 6% niacinamide; the second used 0.5% turmeric, 6% niacinamide, and SPF 15; and the third were subjected to a control. Over the course of 4 weeks, 72% of the women using the turmeric and niacinamide noticed a measurable improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, compared to negligible amounts of the controls.
Turmeric also has been proven to have potent antioxidant activity, as has been shown in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, amongst numerous other sources. It has also been suggested by Dr. Nicholas Perricone, M.D., amongst others, that turmeric may boost the skin’s sun protection when applied under sunscreen, but this suggestion has not (to the best of my knowledge) yet been substantiated in any published, peer-reviewed research as of yet. Still, given that other potent antioxidants have been shown to have this effect, like vitamins C & E and pomegranate, it is certainly possible turmeric can join this elite group.
Why Hasn’t Turmeric Been Used Before Kiehl’s?
Turmeric has not previously been included in skin care formulations because of its intense color, strong odor, and limited stability.
However, in the past decade, scientists have been able to use purification and enrichment methods to extract tetrahydrocurcumin, the active component of turmeric, without that characteristic rust-orange color. (All I can say is “yay!”) The technology is super neat, and I’m excited that turmeric can be used now without staining the skin or having a terrible odor while you use it!
Cranberry is a Potent Antioxidant with Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids
When given a choice of good news or bad news, I always take the bad news first. As business expert Brian Tracy always says, “Eat the frog!” Get bad stuff over with!
In the case of cranberry, the truth of the matter is, there aren’t all that many studies that support the use of cranberry for the skin.
However, cranberry has some very promising compounds that generally benefit skin.
For example, cranberry has a particularly high antioxidant content (Natural Product Radiance). Cranberry has been shown to be a free radical scavenger with anthrocyanins that help to inhibit lipoprotein oxidation in lab tests (Asian Pacific Journal of Nursing). In fact, the antioxidants in some of the cranberry-containing compounds have been found to be equal or superior to those in Vitamin E (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).
Cranberry is known for possibly being the only fruit seed extract that has a perfect 1:1 ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It’s also got a healthy dose of Omega 9. And while your skin cannot retain all of the fatty acids that you put on it, your skin can retain some, and it will help your skin look more plump, moisturized, and healthy after its use.
Personal Use and Opinions
Kiehl’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Masque is a bit yellow when you put it on, owing to the turmeric, but it should not stain the skin. It dries clear and feels a bit “tight” on the skin before it is time to rinse it off.
Surprisingly for a masque, Kiehl’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Masque contains little granules that actually turn out to be small bits of cranberry seed. I’m not sure that I like this aspect of the product — I’m a traditionalist at heart and like a scrub to be a scrub and a masque to be a masque — but the seeds are not obtrusive enough to bother the skin while the formulation dries as a masque, and they do exfoliate the skin somewhat while you rinse it off.
I was a little worried when I first discovered Kiehl’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Masque. Let’s face it: So much of the skin care industry is becoming natural or organic and turning away from true dermatological skin care, with concentrated ingredients and advanced delivery systems. You can only imagine how pleased I was to learn that Kiehl’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Masque has enough turmeric (and hence tetrahydrocurcumin) to make it fairly groundbreaking — and to keep Kiehl’s with an A+ grade in my book!
Very happy with this product, and excited to see what Kiehl’s comes up with next!
Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Kaolin, Sorbitol, Bentonite, Butylene Glycol, Silica, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed, Pentylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil/Jojoba Seed Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 60, Polyacrylamide, CI 77492/Iron Oxides, Glycerin, C13-14, Isoparaffin, Curcuma Longa Extract/Turmeric Root Extract, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Laureth-7, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita Extract/Peppermint Leaf Extract, Menthol, Epilobium Angustifolium Extract-Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Aminomethyl Propanol, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Fmla 942012 F.L.L. Code D176277/1