Beauty glossary

What Is Willow Bark Extract? 

Derived from the bark of willow trees, willow bark extract has been touted as a “cure-all” for centuries. While there are a number of willow species (like over 400), it’s usually white willow (also known as Salix Alba), which is used in skincare.

What Does Willowbark Do? 

The good news is willow bark extract is pretty versatile, and absolutely teeming with skin-enhancing vitamins and minerals. To start with, since it contains Salicin (where salicylic acid comes from), this dynamic ingredient is a powerhouse anti-inflammatory – amazing for clearing up acne and soothing irritation. It’s also a natural exfoliant – making easy work of blocked pores, it penetrates them and obliterates the gluey mix of sebum and dead skin cells. Once spotless (get it?), willow bark also tightens pores, making them look smaller and way less noticeable.

If anti-aging is on your agenda, then don’t look away now. This botanical extract works some seriously impressive wrinkle-busting wonders. A natural remedy, it stimulates cell renewal, minimizes lines and evens out skin tone, for a more youthful, lit-from-within complexion.

And, since willow bark contains a healthy dose of flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins (three powerful antioxidants), it also protects against free radical damage and environmental stress, which prematurely ages skin. Surprisingly, the list doesn’t end there. The polyphenols in willow bark also help retain moisture, keeping thirsty skin happy and hydrated.

Who Should Use Willow Bark Extract? 

This all-round all-star is generally gentle and non-irritating, making it safe for nearly all skin types. But, allergic reactions, no matter how rare, can happen – so always do a patch test. 

How To Use Willow Bark Extract In Your Routine

Whether used in a toner, exfoliator or serum, we believe you reap what you sow – and to enjoy the full benefits of willow bark, it’s best to apply daily.

Our Fave Willow Bark Skincare Products: 

willow bark extract Source: Burt’s Bees

Burt’s Bees Peach & Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub, $15: This all-natural scrub is seriously satisfying – not only does it slough off dead cells with ease, but it leaves skin so smooth, we won’t blame you for bragging.

willow bark extract Source: January Labs

January Labs Pure & Gentle Cleansing Gel, $32: Infused with willow bark, this gentle gel might give you a deep clean, but it leaves all of your essential oils intact. Brimming with good-for-you ingredients (spoiler alert: aloe and vitamin E), it hydrates, soothes and conditions in equal measure.

willow bark extractSource: Cosrx

COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad, $23: Combining convenience and cleansing, these pre-soaked pads are fierce acne fighters, thanks to their heady combo of willow bark extract and tea tree leaf oil.

For more juicy deets on the best skincare ingredients on the shelves, check out our Beauty Glossary.