Honestly, my only association with edelweiss prior to working in the beauty industry was the dulcet lullaby sung by Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. The flower, as the song suggests, is a hearty plant that can thrives regardless of its surroundings. “Edelweiss is close to my heart, as it’s native to the high Alps I grew up hiking in every summer,” says celebrity makeup artist and founder and CEO of the eponymous brand Monika Blunder. “It’s an incredibly resilient plant, growing in very harsh conditions up to 3400 meters high. It’s a flower that represents rugged beauty and purity,” she adds. The Body Shop notes that edelweiss extract has 43 percent more antioxidant power than retinol. Blunder adds that its high antioxidant content is even more than vitamin C as well.
What is edelweiss?
Edelweiss is a small white flower native to the Alps and seen across other mountain ranges. It’s famous for its distinct appearance “featuring wooly, star-shaped petals and a downy covering that helps protect it from harsh alpine environments,” says celebrity facialist Lord Gavin McLeod-Valentine. Edelweiss can be found in skin care and herbal remedies. Cosmetic chemist for Stripes Jessica Kizovsk says the flower has “gained recognition due to its ability to flourish in challenging high-altitude environments.”
The benefits of edelweiss in skin care
As Kizovski pointed out, this plant can adapt to extreme temperatures and excels in self-preservation, making it an interesting prospect for skin care. “It enhances skin’s resistance against external stressors, improves skin barrier function and helps to reduce skin sensitives,” says Kizovski. “Edelweiss really offers its own unique benefits. It provides calming benefits to the skin and helps build resilience.”
Cosmetic chemist Ginger King says edelweiss also has antimicrobial and anti-aging properties, including hydration, skin firming and brightening benefits. “Edelweiss is often used in skincare products due to its potential restoring benefits. It contains antioxidants that can help protect the skin from environmental stressors, such as UV radiation and pollution, which may contribute to premature aging,” says McLeod-Valentine. “Edelweiss extract is also known to have soothing properties and may help with skin inflammation.”
Edelweiss and vitamin C
King says there is data showing that the antioxidant property in edelweiss is twice as high as vitamin C. However you don’t have to choose between one or the other—they actually exist symbiotically. “Some people have established sensitivity to vitamin A and C. Edelweiss can offset some of the sensitivity due to its nourishing effects and additionally address oxidative stress,” says McLeod-Valentine. “The perfect combination would include edelweiss alongside another active, such as vitamin C, to enhance performance and mitigate downtime.”
Skin-care products with edelweiss
“Edelweiss is used in various skin-care products, including moisturizers, serums, creams, and sunscreens. These products may promote the flower’s potential antioxidant and soothing properties,” says McLeod-Valentine. “When looking for skin-care products that include edelweiss, check the ingredient list on the product packaging. Edelweiss extract or edelweiss-derived compounds may be listed. Keep in mind that the concentration of edelweiss extract in the product can vary. The effectiveness of the product will depend on the formulation and the other ingredients included,” he notes. It may be listed as leontopodium alpinum. McLeod-Valentine recommends trying the iconic Augustinus Bader The Serum ($390) to experience the emerging ingredient.
Kizovski recommends Stripes The Cool Factor ($38), a refreshing, hydrating mist “to help reduce redness and impart a calming moment—even on the go.” The Body Shop has a line of products that feature edelweiss—so you can choose from a serum, cream, peel and essence. If you’re looking to pair edelweiss and vitamin C as McLeod-Valentine suggested, Ursa Major Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum ($51) is a great option. True Botanicals Renew Repair Nightly Treatment ($119) and Goldenfaden MD Radiance Repair Daily Renewal Serum ($95) are both great anti-aging formulas featuring edelweiss. You can even find edelweiss in some of our favorite hair products from Oribe, including Gold Lush Nourishing Hair Oil ($57).