The Cream Of The Strawberry Crop

7th September 2012

Of all the berry superfoods, strawberries are pretty much overlooked. And yet, this staple of our English season (remember what that is?!) punches above its weight when you look at what they do, not just in a jug of Pimms, but for health and beauty from the inside out. You can keep that strawberry summer feeling going all year round without actually needing to eat the pale imitations imported through the winter.

One look at the wonderful colour should be a clue as to its goodness. It’s rich in Vitamin C, A and D (potent antioxidants that boost immunity, help prevent oxidation in the body at a cellular level and work to support cell renewal), skin friendly vitamins B5 and B6, plus a wide variety of phytonutrients and trace minerals, such as potassium and magnesium as well as omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. This truly is a super fruit!

Karen Gilbert, author of A Green Guide to Natural Beauty and an expert in aromatherapy, fragrance and natural beauty, explains that strawberry seed oil is cold pressed from the strawberry pips and is a by-product from the fruit juice and jam making industry; given that it would otherwise be going to waste this makes products that use it super-ethical. “The oil provides omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that help to repair the moisture barrier of the skin, thus helping to restore moisture, smoothness and suppleness. It also absorbs well and will effectively moisturise, protect and nourish skin and hair. Its high vitamin A and C content mean strawberry seed oil is an ideal ingredient for inclusion in anti-aging formulations and products intended for dry or damaged skin.”

While I love the smell of fresh strawbs, though, I can’t say I am a fan of the fruit as a fragrance in body creams and shower gels. According to Karen, “Strawberry fragrance is often used in teen bath and shower products as it is sweet, fruity and very familiar… Some fragrances have used strawberry as a key note such as the Strawberries & Champagne line by Victoria's Secret, Pleasures Delight by Estée Lauder and Kylie Minogue’s Showtime.” As far as I can see, Karen concludes, “these are all fragrances marketed to a very young audience and so it would suggest that the strawberry note has limited appeal to grown ups!” I’m not alone.

But what about strawberry in skincare? Usually, and to my great relief, if it’s in a skin care formulation, the fragrance is pretty well masked. Several prestige and very reputable brands are including strawberry in the form of seed oil in new launches. Elemental Herbology is one of them. This rather brilliant brand from Australia has some of the most exquisite formulations for face, hair and body, and it uses only the best quality ingredients, so everything about their products is a pleasure – doubly so, since their effects are pretty much up there with the best of them. The Aromatherapy Associates brand is another. Again, proof in the (fruit) pudding that quality of ingredients really count if you are looking for results from your skin care.

Aromatherapy Associates Rich Repair Overnight Repair Mask (£48)

This divinely scented intensive treatment smoothes and firms, plumps and revitalises as you sleep, when the body’s own repair processes are working their hardest. Millet seed is responsible for restoring firmness and strawberry seed oil for plumping and helping retain moisture; palmitoyl oligopeptide stimulates collagen production; rose and geranium essential oils both stimulate circulation and cell renewal. Use twice a week to see a difference but if you feel your skin needs extra reconditioning, you can apply Aromatherapy Associates Intensive Skin Treatment Oil first and then top off with the Repair Mask and leave overnight.

Elemental Herbology Beach Prep Radiance Body Polisher (£21)

Strawberry fruit is often used in home made face masks or scrubs for oily skin as it is very astringent and contains salicylic acid which exfoliates and brightens the skin, so it’s perfect for this amazing body scrub, a powerful 3-in-1: papaya and sea salt exfoliate; buriti and macadamia nut oil nourish and hydrate; kombuchka and strawberry brighten and tone. It might say Beach Prep on the front, but this works on the skin all year round.

As for the more teenage offerings, L’Occitane has strawberry fruit juice in its gentle Immortelle Brightening Cleansing Foam (£18.50) and it’s no surprise that Body Shop uses strawberries in its product ranges. As well as the best-selling Strawberry Body Butter (£12.50) they have Born Lippy Lip Balm, Strawberry Soap and an antibacterial Strawberry Hand Cleanse Gel to carry around in your bag.

Stockists & moreinformation:
Aromatherapy Associates: Liberty, Fortnum & Mason,
or aromatherapyassociates.com
Elemental Herbology – Space NK or visit www.elementalherbology.com
Body Shop & L’Occitane – stores nationwide
Karen Gilbert – www.karengilbert.com

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