“What’s that, mommy?”
“It’s a resin with a smokey and balsamic, sometimes bitter, scent. It’s used as a fragrance or to heal wounds.”
“Well, because it has anti-septic….”
“No, mummy! I mean, why would you give that to a baby?! Why not a teddy bear?”
“Er… cos he was a king, hun. You give luxury presents to a king.”
“Being a king sucks then. I’m pretty sure he would have preferred the teddy bear.”
“Me too, hun. Me too.”
Little me didn’t think the three Wise Men were very wise for bringing myrrh, frankincense and gold to baby Jesus. Yep, all pretty stuff, no doubt, but for a baby? I still can’t wrap my head around it.
But myrrh was always the gift that intrigued me the most. We all know what gold and frankincense are. But, myrrh? Who the heck had heard of it before?
What The Heck Is Myrrh?
Myrrh is a resin that comes from the Commiphora myrrha tree, which grows in the deserts of Africa and the Middle East. You’ll recognize it as soon as you see it. It’s that unique.
It has white flowers, few leaves and a knotted, twisted shape that cries. Well, not real tears obviously. But you have to cut the trunk to release the myrrh and then wait for it to dry. So, it looks like the tree is crying. Maybe it’s not happy we’re robbing it?
The yellowish orange oil extracted from the resin sometimes ends up in your lotions and potions. Especially perfumes and other fragrances. But, it has other uses, too.
What Does Myrrh Do For The Skin?
Good question. Turns out myrrh hasn’t been studied all that much. Wonder why that is? Anyway, here’s what I’ve uncovered so far:
1. Myrrh Has Antioxidant Properties
Ok, this study was done on rabbits, so it’s not the most reliable. But, it seems that myrrh is a powerful antioxidant that can fight oxidative damage (you know, the one that causes wrinkles).
I think there’s some truth in here because pretty much all plants have antioxidants, so why should poor myrrh be the exception? But, I don’t think it’s the best antioxidant out there or that you absolutely need it.
But, if you’re already using myrrh, it’s good to know it may help keep your skin looking young, right?
2. Myrrh Has Soothing Properties
Irritated skin? Myrrh can soothe it. I heard it’s particularly good to soothe chapped and cracked lips, but I haven’t tried that myself, yet.
3. Myrrh Has Antibacterial Properties
Myrrh has been used for centuries to heal wounds and prevent infections. And now science has confirmed what ancient wisdom already knew: the resin has antibacterial properties.
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Myrrh?
Well, there really aren’t that many (gosh, it’s so hard to get in the Christmas mood these days, isn’t it?), but here are some that have caught my eye:
Darphin Myrrh Aromatic Care ($70.00)
Made up of a few oils and vitamin E, this face oil is a godsend for dry skin. It soothes and moisturizes, keeping skin in top shape even during the harsh and dry winter months. Available at Bluemercury.
Crabtree & Evelyn Moroccan Myrrh Hair & Body Wash (£15.00)
Ok, this is for men, but who cares? It washes you clean and makes you smell like myrrh, cardamom and bergamot. Doesn’t that sound delicious? I may get it for Mr BWB just so I can steal it from him. 😉 Available at Feel Unique.
Serge Lutens La Myrrhe ($310.00)
If you want to smell myrrh in all its glory, you’d better save up for a bottle of this marvel. The balsamic resin is sprinkled with mandarin orange, which makes it sparkle and fizz like champagne. Available at Serge Lutens.
The Bottom Line
Myrrh ain’t the most popular ingredients out there and I can’t see it becoming one soon. But, if you want to add a little festive cheer to your beauty routine, tis’ the season to indulge in it.
Have you ever used any beauty products with myrrh?