Unless you’re a student of Ayurvedic medicine or have been to India or Bangladesh, you’ve likely never heard of neem – don’t worry, we’ve just recently become familiar with this secret of the East, and oh how glad we are to be in on the secret (and let you in too)! Considered one of the most under-utilized skincare ingredients in the West, this wonder oil is a must-have in skincare going forward!
Pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree, an evergreen widespread in the Indian subcontinent, neem oil has been used for thousands of years as a part of Ayurvedic medicine and is commonly used in skin and hair care products in both India and Bangladesh (and is often sited as the reason for those long, luscious locks popular in Bollywood). Touted for its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-parasitic properties, neem oil can soothe irritated skin, fade scars, lighten hyper-pigmentation, moisturize dry and cracked skin, restore damaged hair, control oil production, eliminate acne and heal eczema and psoriasis as well.
While the smell of the neem extract has often prevented Westerners from incorporating it into our skincare regimens, with the addition of essential oils, the pungent smell is beautifully concealed. So, don’t let the odor be a turn-off. Instead, check out these 3 easy beauty recipes from Kayla Fioravanti, a top skincare expert and the founder of Essential Wholesale, and bring the benefits of neem to your beauty routine! (Christy Turlington has and we’ll do anything, well almost anything, for skin like hers!)
Neem has long been used in shampoo in India. You can make your own by adding neem oil to your favorite unscented shampoo or to an already scented aromatherapy shampoo. Mix 1/8 teaspoon of neem oil with 8 ounces of shampoo and 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint essential oil, if desired for aroma. Shampoo as usual to revive tired tresses and heal damaged locks!
Neem Hair Masque
Mix 1 cup mayonnaise with ½ teaspoon of neem oil and ¼ teaspoon tea tree essential oil. Massage the mixture into dry hair and scalp and leave on for up to an hour before washing out.
Neem Salt Scrub
Mix 1 cup fine sea salt with ¼ teaspoon neem oil, 2 tablespoons jojoba oil and ½ teaspoon of grapefruit essential oil for an all over body scrub designed to exfoliate and heal.
Not into DIY? Or still need more convincing? Neem is an essential part of supermodel Christy Turlington’s skincare line, Sundari. Try Sundari’s Neem Night Cream ($58), one of our top picks!