Most Singaporeans will remember having herbal soup, pills or mini bottles of essences made of cordyceps, or “dong chong xia cao”, a more familiar term for some. You may even remember squirming at the worm-like appearance of this parasitic fungus (always thought it looked like a maggot, but that’s just me). Cordyceps mainly feed off insects and for some, on other fungi.
Grossness aside, this traditional Chinese herb is rich in proteins, amino acids, and vitamins. It is believed to strengthen the immune system and boost energy levels. Some cancer patients are also said to take this medicinal mushroom to aid in the recovery process.
Talbot Runhof Paris Spring 15
Now, cosmetic companies are using cordyceps in formulations of makeup and skincare. Be it in a foundation, cream or serum, this ingredient is said to encourage cell repair by replenishing skin cells with the energy they need to optimally function.
Here are two skincare and makeup products that contain cordyceps, and we're completely obsessed with them.
#1 Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation SPF40
$85, for 30ml
Bobbi Brown's Intensive Skin Serum Foundation SPF40 applies almost like an emulsion on the skin - light and moisturising at the same time. You get ample coverage with just a tiny bit of this serum foundation, which keeps the skin feeling soft and comfortable throughout the day. The finish is a natural dewy – great for achieving that healthy K-Beauty look.
If you're sensitive to herbal scents, this smells nothing like an herbal brew. Instead, there's a soothing lavender oil fragrance.
On top of cordyceps, bamboo grass and fruit extracts have been added to the formula for their supposed brightening effects. It is said to minimise pores over time, too.
#2 Dr Andrew Weil for Origins, Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum
Trial set available on www.luxola.com at $39
The cordyceps in Dr Andrew Weil for Origins, Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum, is used in combination with reishi and chaga mushrooms to soothe irritated skin. So it’s best used by those with redness and sensitivity in the skin.
The milky white serum is rich in antioxidants, which help to strengthen the skin’s barrier and protect it from environmental damage. It is said to make stressed skin healthier and more radiant with continual use.