What is marshmallow root extract?
Sadly, the ingredient has nothing to do with the cloud-like sweet that comes to mind but is simply a plant with ‘marshmallow’ as its name (kind of like the DJ, no?).
“In fact, it’s botanical name ‘Althaea officinalis’ is from the Greek word altho meaning 'to heal'," says Lyon. “The plant has been used since ancient Egyptian times and is a herbaceous perennial that grows up to 120cm tall, with vertical branches and dainty white and lilac flowers that form in summer.”
But it’s the root of the plant where the magic truly comes from, as it “possesses intensive hydrating, softening and balancing properties.”
How does marshmallow root extract work?
Not dissimilar to hyaluronic acid, marshmallow root extract works by attracting hydration.
“At Jurlique the roots are harvested in winter when all the active ingredient qualities have moved from the lush growing tops to the potent root system”, explains Lyon.
“This root is rich in a thick gel-like syrup called mucilage which is a humectant plant carbohydrate; this means that it can attract and hold water.”
What are the benefits of marshmallow root extract?
When applied to the skin, marshmallow root provides instant hydration and also continuously works to improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture. It’s also been said to have anti-inflammatory benefits, which can be helpful for those with rosacea or eczema.
“This provides long-lasting hydration to the skin and helps form a protective barrier to rebalance dryness in the skin and prevent moisture loss,” Lyon tells Marie Claire. “This leaves skin feeling soft and smooth and promotes overall flexibility, resilience and health of the skin.”
Who is marshmallow root extract best suited for?
Considering hydration is hardly ever a bad thing, the ingredient is suited to all skin types.
“Of course it is most helpful to dry and dehydrated skin types,” says Lyon. “Even a sensitive skin should find marshmallow root assists in comforting and replenishing their skin, gently.”
What kind of products use marshmallow root extract?
“At Jurlique we love marshmallow root,” says Lyon. “It is the main active ingredient in our best-selling Activating Water Essence [and] features too in our Moisture Plus Rare Rose range, Nutri-Define Supreme anti-ageing range, and even our world-famous Rosewater Balancing Mist.”
It’s an ingredient that can be added into any step of a routine where hydration may be lacking.
The best marshmallow root extract products to try
Jurlique Activating Water Essence, $75 at jurlique.com.au
Susanne Kaufmann Cleansing Milk, $71 at mecca.com.au
Dr Hauschka Daily Hydrating Eye Cream, $85 at drhauschka.com.au
Maaemo Purifying Gel Cleanser, $49.95 at adorebeauty.com.au