If you don’t know much about saffron in skin care, the 411 is that it’s brimming with beauty benefits. “Saffron has long been used in Ayurvedic beauty treatments due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties,” says Toronto-based board-certified dermatologist Geeta Yadav, MD. Beyond this, Dr. Yadav notes that the ingredient is incredibly gentle — making it safe for all skin types — and a comparable skin-rejuvenating alternative to often irritating skin-care ingredients (retinol, we’re looking at you). The Resurfacing Saffron Masque is meant to transform dull, dehydrated complexions (me, in a nutshell) into gloriously soft, unmistakably glowing skin. And it does so in less than five minutes.
Aside from saffron, the mask uses other key ingredients that complement the spice’s skin-brightening properties — for one, papaya. “Papaya, which has a natural concentration of papin, is an enzymatic exfoliant that works similarly to chemical exfoliants,” explains Dr. Yadav. “It works to ‘eat away’ at the bonds that adhere dead cells to the skin’s surface, revealing a more radiant, smooth, and even complexion.” (Side note: Though papaya is one of the gentler exfoliants available, Dr. Yadav recommends conducting a patch test for any papaya-containing product if you’re prone to irritation or are severely sensitive.)
You’ll also find turmeric, another sought-after ingredient in Ayurveda and Middle Eastern tradition, which contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities that may target facial pores and calm the skin, helping to clear up acne breakouts, Florida-based, board-certified dermatologist De Anne Harris Collier, MD, previously told Allure.
But here’s the kicker: This product also contains an unexpected ingredient that bodes well for those looking to target fine lines and wrinkles: lotus seed. Dr. Yadav explains that lotus seed is an antioxidant-rich ingredient that’s naturally rich in amino acids, which means it helps strengthen the skin barrier. When the skin barrier is healthy, it’s better able to keep the good things in (e.g. moisture for soft, supple skin) and the bad things out — say, too much sun or wind and moisture loss that can lead to those aforementioned fine lines and wrinkles.
I find that Ranavat has expertly married these efficacious ingredients — papaya, lotus seed, turmeric — in a way that still allows saffron to be the star of the show.