Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) is a perennial plant which is part of the Malvaceae family, and native to Europe. Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is a vine belonging to the Orchidaceae family, and found mostly in tropical climates. We use marshmallow root for its soothing, anti-inflammatory action on the skin, and vanilla for its beautiful scent.
The root of the marshmallow plant is useful when applied topically to chapped or irritated skin, and can be used in poultices to treat irritation. When used on the skin, marshmallow forms a protective barrier and can help to reduce inflammation. This makes it a soothing and sweetly fragranced ingredient in our products.
Vanilla pods (beans) are the dried, unripe fruits of the plant and must be pollinated by hand. Each blossom produces a single bean (or ‘pod’) that is typically harvested after nine months and dried slowly in the sun for three to four months. At night, the pods are taken inside, which allows the chemical process to take place. The beans shrivel, become flexible and turn very dark in colour. Then we simmer the pods in boiling water before adding them into our fresh, handmade cosmetics.
Vanilla pods are made up of sugars which act as humectants, and bind moisture into the body and hair. The humectant action forms a barrier on the skin to prevent the loss of liquid, making it a beautifully moisturising ingredient for us to use.