Turmeric is experiencing a big surge in popularity. The traditional Indian spice, which you may have only seen in your takeout tikka masala, is being used to treat skin issues like acne and dullness. DIY recipes containing it have made the rounds online. Some people are even using the ingredient to whiten their teeth, and golden milk (a blend of turmeric and nut milk) is a latte stand-in.
But writing the spice off as a fad is a disservice to the years it's been used in South Asian medicine and cooking. In fact, according to Mary Schook, licensed aesthetician and founder of M.S. Apothecary, it's a profoundly effective medicinal herb in Ayurveda, a system of holistic medicine that originated in India.
"Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory," says Schook. "It's also antibacterial, which is why you can even find it in toothpaste in India." Stateside, the orangey powder is used in everything from masks to serums to brighten the skin, clear the complexion, and even treat wounds.
The only downside? Raw turmeric has a vibrant marigold hue, which means it can stain your clothes, bedsheets, and even your skin (lookin' at you, Daisy Ridley). That's why Schook prefers investing in skin-care products infused with turmeric. We've rounded up the best, ahead.
Those of you with easily irritated skin will love this gentle, creamy cleanser. It contains two types of mushrooms, plus ginger, basil, licorice extract and -- you guessed it -- turmeric, which work together to soothe and calm the skin without drying it out. (It also sounds like the makings of a great curry.)
Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Cleanser, $30, available at Origins.
Consider this mask a blessing for acne-prone skin. The formula (which contains a blend of turmeric root, calendula flower, neem leaf, and clays) absorbs oil, calms irritation, and eliminates harmful bacteria. Just mix the dry powder with two teaspoons of water to create a thick, muddy cream. Slather all over your face and sit tight for 15 to 20 minutes as the mask dries. Then, rinse for your voilà: calm, happy, and balanced skin.
Root Science Detox Facial Mask, $60, available at Root Science.
This super-emollient face cream doesn't contain any chemical nasties like parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, or artificial fragrances -- all of which could irritate your skin. Instead, it contains a host of skin-lovers like jojoba oil, vitamin E, and, of course, turmeric extract to hydrate and clear problematic complexions.
Passport to Organics Clear Face Turmeric Cream, $28, available at Passport to Organics.
This mask (which doubles as an exfoliant thanks to the addition of nubby cranberry seeds) is a foolproof way to use turmeric without temporarily dyeing your face yellow. You'll also notice that your skin is brighter, clearer, and softer.
Kiehl's Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque, $32, available at Kiehl's.
A blend of luxurious oils and turmeric extract makes this facial oil intensely hydrating, soothing, and brightening. (And contrary to what many of us have been told about oils, it's actually an A+ product for acne-prone skin.)
Juara Radiance Vitality Oil, $65, available at Birchbox.
This lightweight serum contains a host of antioxidants (turmeric and vitamin C) and hydrators (hyaluronic acid and rosehip oil) that fight free-radical damage and keep flaky skin at bay.
Andalou Naturals Turmeric + C Enlighten Serum, $19.99, available at Vitacost.
When it comes to turmeric skin-care products, this fella is the real deal. Our writer Kelsey Miller described the cream in full detail here. But in short, it cleared up her complexion in just a few uses and didn't irritate her sensitive skin. Schook agrees that it's one in a million. "I sometimes use the cream as a mask," she says.
Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream, $5.79, available at Amazon.
By Mi-Anne Chan.