The benefits of lavender in skincare that you probably didn’t know about

Written by Ava Welsing-Kitcher

Known for sending us to sleep, lavender is a favourite plant extract for many of us. But the purple plant hosts a myriad of skin benefits besides its heavenly smell.

Whether it’s a bag of dried buds in between your pillows, or a tiny bottle of essential oil, lavender is often a staple in every household.

Famed in the world of aromatherapy for its near-instant calming effect and ability to send us drifting off to sleep, it also has an impressive roster of powers when it comes to skin. 

What are the benefits of lavender for the skin?

Records of lavender being used botanically date back to 2,500 ago in the Mediterranean, Middle East, India, and also in Ancient Roman bathing practices to keep bacteria away. Soldiers in World War I carried the oil with them, to use as an antiseptic on wounds.

The healing powers of these purple buds was initially discovered by French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé in 1910, thanks to a lab explosion. Upon plunging his burned hand into a vat of lavender oil, he noted how well the skin healed with barely any scarring. Since then, lavender has been used as a tool for aiding skin recovery as well as providing relaxation with its soothing scent.

Along with the other benefits commonly found in botanical ingredients (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial), lavender is unique in its proven ability to boost blood circulation. This enables more brightening oxygen and nutrients to reach the skin’s surface. It can also protect and promote the skin’s natural barrier, plus balance its pH levels.

A word of warning: lavender essential oil is only safe to use in a carrier oil like jojoba or almond, and can cause irritation and minor burns to skin if used neat. Those pregnant or with sensitive skin should avoid using it, as goes the advice from health professionals.

Best lavender skincare products

  • Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil

    Best lavender skincare products: Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil

    Made with lavender, mandarin and neroli to uplift and soothe, this powerful oil blend sinks straight into skin instead of your pillow.

    Shop Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil at Space NK, £62

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  • Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask

    Best lavender skincare products: Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask

    This cooling, healing mask contains an antiseptic trifecta of rosemary, thyme and lavender. 

    Shop Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask at Feelunique, £36

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  • Irene Forte Balancing Lavender & Rosemary Face Cream

    Best lavender skincare products: Irene Forte Balancing Lavender & Rosemary Face Cream

    This lightweight cream is enriched with aloe vera, olive oil and vitamin E to nourish skin.

    Shop Irene Forte Balancing Lavender & Rosemary Face Cream at Irene Forte, £89

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  • Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist

    Best lavender skincare products: Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist

    Keep this marshmallow root-infused mist on your desk for when your psyche and skin start to stress out. 

    Shop Jurlique Lavender Hydrating Mist at lookfantastic, £26

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  • Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

    Best lavender skincare products: Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

    99.8% naturally-derived, this formula contains primrose and lavender oils with squalene (from olive) to give skin a healthy overnight drink.

    Shop Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate at Space NK, £41

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  • Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Rose + Lavender

    Best lavender skincare products: Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Rose + Lavender

    This floral twist on the cult cleanser uses Damascus rose petals and French high-altitude lavender for a fresh and indulgent scent.

    Shop Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser Rose + Lavender at Boots, £13.60

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  • MuLondon Lavender Foaming Cleanser

    Best lavender skincare products: MuLondon Lavender Foaming Cleanser

    This mild organic cleansing formula is free from sulphates but still satisfyingly foams up, leaving skin clean without that squeaky feeling.

    Shop MuLondon Lavender Foaming Cleanser at MuLondon, £18

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Main image: Paul Ijsendoorn/courtesy of brands

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