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Blue Tansy Is the Good-for-Sensitive-Skin Ingredient You Didn’t Know You Needed


The color blue rarely appears in nature. Think about it. Blue whales? Kind of a grey color. Blue herons? Not that vivid. Even blueberries have a subtle purple-ish skin with a sad beige interior. Turns out, the rare instances of blue color we see in nature are mostly due to the way those specific molecules reflect light, not really the pigment itself. Blue tansy, a hot new natural ingredient in skincare, is the exception.

This potent extract is a deep blue hue, turning any formula it’s added into the same eye-catching color. But the benefits of blue tansy for your skin don’t end with the color. In fact, when you get down to the science of it, the color of blue tansy is one of the least impressive characteristics of the potent ingredient. Want to know the benefits of blue tansy for skin and if you should add it into your routine (hint: you 100 percent should!), keep scrolling.

About the Experts:

Jordana Mattioli is a licensed medical esthetician based in New York City.
Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in Westport, CT.

What is blue tansy?

Yes, the ingredient does have the word blue in its name, but it doesn’t start out that way. Blue tansy actually comes from a yellow flowering plant in the chamomile family typically found in Morocco, says medical esthetician Jordana Mattioli. This familial relation explains the shared properties of the two (more on those later).

So how does a yellow flower become a bold blue extract? In short, through the steam distillation process. “The blue chemical constituent, known as chamazulene, is formed when the blue tansy essential oil components released from the plant material are exposed to heat,” explains Mattioli. And it’s this chamazulene that we want. This component holds most of blue tansy’s skin-soothing power.

What are the benefits of blue tansy for skin?

If you feel like you’re seeing this buzzy ingredient popping up in all your skincare products, you’re not imagining things. “With a growing momentum behind ‘clean beauty,’ many skincare companies are integrating buzz worthy essential oils and plant-based ingredients into their formulations to appeal to this segment of shoppers,” says dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD. On a side note, blue tansy is not the same thing as tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), adds Mattioli. To get all the benefits, make sure you’re looking for blue tansy (or it’s scientific name Tanacetum annuum on your ingredient lists.

So what does blue tansy actually do for your skin? Repeat after us, the four As of blue tansy’s skincare superpowers are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal. You can thank chamazulene, the same chemical component that gives blue tansy its color, for the first two. “It has free-radical scavenging and powerful anti-inflammatory properties on the skin,” says Mattioli. Combined, these have an overall calming and healing effect. “By lowering inflammation and histamine (which can trigger inflammation), blue tansy can improve conditions with inflammatory associations, like acne breakouts, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis,” says Dr. Robinson. As for the antimicrobial and antifungal properties, those can be attributed to another chemical component found in blue tansy: sabinene.

Blue Tansy Beauty Products We Love:

1. HERBIVORE Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil

HERBIVORE Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil

Forget what you’ve heard. Using a face oil, especially this one from HERBIVORE, on your blemish-prone, combo, or oily skin is a total yes. The clarifying formula uses a blend of blue tansy, kukui oil, and jojoba oil to balance oil production and soothes redness without drying you out.

2. SUNDAY RILEY Luna Sleeping Night Oil

SUNDAY RILEY Luna Sleeping Night Oil

This retinol is anything but basic. The innovative oil formula rewinds the clock while you sleep—but without any of the irritating side effects (thanks blue tansy!). Retinol works on a cellular level to increase collagen and elastin production—two proteins that keep skin soft, plump, and firm.

3. ACURE Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Night Oil

ACURE Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Night Oil
Courtesy of ACURE

Dull, dry skin has nothing on this hydrating, soothing oil. It’s packed with nourishing ingredients, like argan and kukui oil, and topped off with a big dose of calming blue tansy. We love this in place of our nighttime moisturizer, especially after an exfoliating session when our skin could use a little extra TLC.

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Article Last Updated July 28, 2021 12:00 AM