Some ingredients out there get raved about daily as if they were the Ariana of the skincare world. Vitamin C, retinol, antioxidants, ceramides, and collagen are just a handful of examples. Honestly, these are legit ingredients that really do belong in shelfies and on faces, but there are unsung skincare heroes out there that deserve a shout out of their own. Today we’re focusing on silica, which is a rarely hyped ingredient that’s found in a surprising number of products (including ones you already own.)
Wait, what is silica?
“Silica’s a colorless compound that’s found in minerals, rocks, and as parts of plants and animals,” says Dr. Parvaneh Rafaeloff, a cosmetic surgeon and founder of Le Jolie Medi Spa. “It comes in different forms, though it’s mostly used in powder form in skincare products,” it’s also found in foods like oats, grains, or veggies like avocado and asparagus. We’re actually born with high levels of silica, but as we age it’s deposited through our pores (bummer, we know). The fine powder is what you’ll usually see in cosmetics and creams, and the rougher silica powder is what you’ll find in scrubs and exfoliators as it improves the way a product applies, spreads, and feels on your skin, though that’s not all it does…
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The benefits of silica
“We see silica in cosmetics because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory and helps relieve certain skin conditions. It’s also amazing for the hair and nails,” says Dr. Rafaeloff, as it encourages collagen production. She adds, “Silica is great for sensitive skin, and it gives you a glow because it carries oxygen.” When used in skincare products, silica ranges from silky fine powder to slightly rougher in consistency. If you’ve ever applied a beauty product and thought to yourself, “Ugh… this formula is so cakey and terrible!” then said product probably could have benefited from a little silica action.
Word to the wise – not all silica is created equally. Dr. Rafaeloff says that ‘crystalline silica’ is linked to a variety of health hazards, but this form isn’t found in skincare or cosmetics. Silica that’s specifically formulated for beauty products is safe and can deliver the benefits we talked about above.
How to add silica to your beauty regime
In review, silica improves the overall formulation of skincare products, which is why it’s such a commonly used ingredient. It also creates a mega smooth, fresh, and glowy complexion. Check the ingredient label on some of your favorite products to see if it’s low-key included and if you want to try another product that puts silica in the spotlight then opt for one of these:
HydroPeptide’s Active Body Scrub, $48: This scrub contains luxe, fine Tahitian black sand, which is super high in silica. It’s a really gentle formulation that won’t leave you red and raw, but will leave you with silky soft skin that’s super receptive to whatever oils or creams you apply after stepping out of the shower or tub.
Blue Lagoon Iceland Silica Mud Mask, $115: This mask costs a pretty penny, but that’s because it comes straight from Iceland’s Insta-famous Blue Lagoon. If you’ve ever been — or if you’ve looked at pics — you’ve probably seen people wearing a white mask on their face. This is that same stuff, and you can have it delivered straight to your house. It deep cleans your skin, gently polishes, and makes your pores super tiny.
Tarte Cosmetics Water Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $39: Reap the silky power of silica via Tartes water foundation which comes in 30 different shades. It delivers medium coverage without feeling cakey or heavy (thanks, silica!) and is also packed with antioxidant-rich plant extracts and built-in SPF.
Charlotte Tilbury’s Genius Under Eye & Face Magic Powder, $45: Double down on the silica action with this loose powder that features silica front and center along with bio-mimetic silky mica. The result is a blurred, photo-finish effect, a radiant complexion, makeup that stays put, and reduced shine all day.
Milk Makeup’s Kush Mascara, $24: Yup, even mascaras sneak in this ingredient, this mascara delivers the silkiest, softest, fluffiest doll-eye lashes, and that’s in part to silica. It’s also made with cannabis oil, which helps condition your lashes, and little heart-shaped fibers (we die!) that thicken and lengthen at the same time.
Let us know what you’d like us to write about next in the comments below.