The legend says that it was Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, who gave a very special drink to Hernàn Cortès, the great Spanish conqueror. This drink, called food of the gods by the Aztec people, was served in beautiful gold cups to Cortès, it was dark and emanated a celestial scent as well as having an enveloping taste, so fascinating that it aroused Cortès' curiosity. Although Montezuma did everything to protect the secret of the drink, Cortès discovered that it was chocolate flavored with a berry obtained from an orchid, vanilla! Thus it was that Cortès brought vanilla with him to Spain, and from there to neighboring countries where it was considered a fundamental ingredient for all high-level desserts. But vanilla is not just an aroma to add to culinary preparations, it is in fact a beauty ally. So, let's close our eyes and enter an era of conquerors and emperors, capable of inspiring extraordinary legends, creating simple and beneficial cosmetics by ourselves ... with vanilla! But first let's try to understand the cosmetic properties of vanilla demonstrated by scientific studies.
Vanilla, beauty properties
Vanilla is rich in antioxidants and counteracts skin aging (Bacqueville et al, Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol, 2020 - Shyamala et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2007). Not only that, vanilla, thanks to its active ingredient, vanillin, is also antibacterial and healing (Bilcu et al, Molecules, 2014). In addition, vanilla contains B vitamins, especially niacin, which nourishes the skin, makes it smoother and more elastic with a powerful anti-wrinkle action and is useful to reduce skin blemishes (Bissett et al, Dermatol Surg , 2005). Finally, vanilla, again thanks to its niacin content, can also help make hair softer. In fact, niacin is used in various products such as conditioners and shampoos (Int J Toxicol, 2005).
Vanilla oil is therefore a fantastic beauty ally. You can add a drop of this essential oil to a teaspoon of argan oil and massage onto the lip contour area, especially in case of fine lines around the mouth. But you can also massage the product all over the face, neck and décolleté as an anti-aging treatment. But vanilla oil is also useful as a beneficial ingredient in hair masks. Mix one tablespoon of coconut oil and two tablespoons of jojoba oil in a bowl. Add two drops of vanilla essential oil and apply on damp skin and then on the lengths, leave on for ten minutes, then rinse with shampoo. Vanilla oil will also help in case of itching and dermatitis of the scalp while coconut oil can act by nourishing the hair deeply and repairing it. In fact, coconut oil is particularly effective in preventing and combating hair protein loss (Rele et al, J Cosmet Sci, 2003).
Vanilla essential oil, warnings
Be careful to use vanilla essential oil only in the evening as it can cause skin photosensitization problems.