I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
It makes perfect sense that a flower known for calming the mind and body for sleep — chamomile — would produce a chemical known as azulene that does the same for your skin.
You probably remember azulene if you've ever tried the abomination that is an at-home wax kit. The little blue bottle was filled with "azulene oil," which magically took away the sting of each rip. It was likely diluted in mineral oil, and still got the job done.
Brands seeking antimicrobial, anti-acne, but non-irritating ingredients have started to employ this blue baby in their formulas, and they're awesome!
Despite the gendered marketing, I can see why grooming brands incorporate azulene and chamomile into their shaving and facial-care products: it helps with razor burn and irritation.
We all chatted on my K-Beau beauty story about how masculinity (regardless of gender) can scoff at skincare, throwing some self-care out the window altogether. If you're gonna market products to masculine people, taking into account that they, too, experience irritation and putting it right into a face wash or face balm is pretty brilliant.
Art of Shaving Overnight Balm smells like a clove cigarette, and I want to rub it all over myself. Azulene calms post-shave skin, and I love to throw a tiny dot of this on my post-shave pits.
This blue-colored and algae-spiked Anthony Algae Face Cleanser is quite the ticket for faces that need cleansing but not stripping. I like to use it to shave, dousing my legs with azulene right away. My legs, specifically the hair follicles, normally burn when I put on pants, and that didn't happen this time!
Renee Rouleau's chamomile and azulene offerings are really tailored to reactive skin. Taking the exact concerns of active-ingredient and travel dryness into account, the Bio-Calm Repair Masque and Pro-Remedy Oil are essentially a kevlar vest for airplane (or retinol) dryness.
The mask is an oatmeal-based gel that goes on clear. Though you can rinse after 20, I keep it on for hours to really let everything go to work. A quick wipe with a washcloth and skin is ready for makeup/bed/just about anything. The cleanser is OK but I like a bit more muscle. If you need gentle cleansers, it's an excellent choice.
The superstar of Renee Rouleau's chamomile offerings is this Pro-Remedy Oil. It's got alllll of the best exotic oils, including black seed oil, raspberry seed oil, evening primrose, and fat soluble vitamin C. This 12 oil blend is absolutely incredible for dryness. It has that dry down that using some of these oils by themselves wouldn't give, so your skin feels really supple without being greasy. Azulene derivatives calm on a micro level, and you can use this from breakouts to eczema with few problems.
Slapping away at a keyboard gives me a crick in my shoulder, and when it arrives, it lasts for weeks. Pevonia is a spa brand who uses azulene in two products to help calm mind and body. The Tension Relief Gel is what I rub into that shoulder when it's really bad. A tiny dab has enough minty menthol and calming azulene to rub out an ache without leaving me smelling like an Icy Hot Bandit.
On the other side of calming, Vitaminic Concentrate harnesses vitamins A and E along with azulene and squalane to help penetrate and allow gentle exfoliation over time.
I don't think I have to tell you how cute these bottles are. I do have to tell you how fab the products inside actually are. The easy thing to say about Sunday Riley is that the products work and also look stylish. The more in-depth discussion is that they put much more thought into the entire process start to finish than most companies.
Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm I've used nightly since it hit my mailbox. It actually rinses completely clean with water, unlike almost any other balm or oil I've tried. You don't need to double-cleanse this time around. That's insane, frankly. It's a genius product because of the balm-to-oil texture that you can really massage in to bust down makeup, as well as the quick fix mask of leaving on the balm for 20 minutes. It feels nice, looks nice, and a small amount actually goes far. It smells like all-natural flowery bubble gum, as citrus and vanilla extracts mingle with the flower scent of mimosa wax and chamomile oil. It's a dream, really.
The Luna Oil is a retinol oil-based serum, and I really can't tell you how much I love it. It was made for oily people like me who need omega-3-rich bases like chia and the clinical performance of retinol. Being blue isn't for show — it's the high content of blue tansy oil and azulene from chamomile, which don't just calm redness during wear, but the entire next day too.
Our affordable and performance-tested friend Mario Badescu has options with azulene. of course. They are no stranger to the ingredient and incorporate it into a calming body wash as well as a mask.
The Azulene Body Soap has a pleasant, barely-there scent and a rich lather that doesn't strip or dry. Fabulous with a loofah or again for built-in shave protection.
Azulene Calming Mask is a really fab option for peeps with sensitive skin who also want to draw out oil and impurities. It's a hybrid of a moisturizing mask and a clay mask, with a lipid-rich base using castor oil, beeswax, evening primrose oil and kaolin clay and zinc oxide. It does the job of two masks in one and is gentle and non-drying for sensitive-skin compatibility. Azulene helps decrease redness and ache from an irritated breakout or patch.
How lovely that you can get the flower power of azulene in so many different products! Now you can use it for anything that ails your skin, at a nice variety of price points, too. Smart products incorporate it with actives to give you aggressive and nourishing treatment in a single shot. Not just for those with redness, azulene and soothing products are great for all skin types.
Photos: Maria Penaloza