At the Ayr Skin Care lab, we love researching plants and minerals to find new skin care benefits that can improve our formulations or even lead to entirely new products. That’s the story behind imperata cylindrica, a natural moisturizer and one of the star ingredients in our brand new Restore Replenishing Night Cream.
Join us in the Ayr Blog this week as we look at this remarkable, tall grass.
A Tall, Prolific Grass
Imperata cylindrica is a perennial grass native to warm regions in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Mediterranean. It has since spread throughout most of the rest of the world and is even listed as an invasive weed in some areas.
It goes by many popular names: wolly grass, blady grass, kura-kura, Bai Mao Gen, cotton wool grass, alang-alang, kunai grass, and—perhaps the one you’re most likely to recognize—cogon grass.
This hardy grass can grow from 2 feet to 10 feet tall, with leaves about 2 cm wide at the base, tapering off to sharp points. The edges of the leaves can be quite sharp indeed, as they are embedded with silica crystals. It is most commonly found in sandy soil and does well in dry, saline environments.
An Abundance of Historical and Modern Uses
As this grass has spread throughout the world, people have found countless uses for it. We think of it in skin care as a natural moisturizer that offers a great alternative to synthetics, but that’s just the tip of the grass blade. Due to its long root systems that go as deep as 4 feet, imperata cylindrica has been used for soil stabilization in hillsides and along roadways. In Southeast Asia, many communities use it as a material to thatch the roofs of their homes. Fibers from the leaves of imperata cylindrica can be woven into mats and bags, and can even be used to make paper.
In India, this plant is known as darbha or kusha grass, and has a long history and religious importance. Buddha is said to have made a seat out of cogon grass for meditation. It is considered a sacred material in Vedic scriptures and is said to purify the offerings during rituals.
Imperata Cylindrica in Medicine
Many cultures have found uses for the flowers and roots this herb in medicinal preparations as well. Imperata cylindrica is naturally antibacterial and has astringent properties, so it has been used to treat skin ailments and wounds. When ingested, it also has diuretic properties. Ayurvedic medicine in India and traditional Chinese medicine both use it to treat gastrointestinal and urinary tract issues as well.
Imperata Cylindrica in Skin Care
As we mentioned, in modern skin care imperata cylindrica root extracts are natural moisturizers that are quickly emerging as popular ingredients. They are used to help provide skin with hydration and are most commonly used for dry skin and scalp treatments. They are also included in some makeup formulations where moisture is key, like hydrating foundations.
Imperata cylindrica is especially popular in organic and natural skin care formulations. The usual choice for hydration in traditional skin care lines is to use petroleum derivatives or glycerin, as they are cheaper ingredients, but some of the more progressive natural skin care companies are now experimenting with imperata cylindrica instead, due to its incredible potential as a natural source of moisture.
Active Ingredients & the Art of Natural Moisturizers
But what makes it so good for your skin? New research is coming out all the time about this wonderful grass, but we do know that it is rich in 3-dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and potassium, which may aid in intercellular osmosis, drawing water into the skin cells for excellent hydration.
It helps store and retain this moisture as well—even in dry weather conditions and through skin-drying activities like showers and baths. That’s what makes it such a potent and natural moisturizer. The increased hydration effects are still present even after 24 hours, and may in turn help to ease cellular metabolism and enhance collagen synthesis.
The powerful combination of these benefits helps create a completely satisfying natural moisturizer without heavy or unnatural ingredients “weighing down” the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and leaving one feeling healthier and more vibrant.
Imperata Cylindrica Extract in Our New Restore Replenishing Night Cream
At Ayr Skin Care, we chose imperata cylindrica extract as a key ingredient in our new Restore Replenishing Night Cream specifically because the powerful moisturizing qualities of this plant, combined with other powerful plant-based active ingredients, blend to form a lovely natural moisturizer that goes on light, and penetrates with moisture, but packs a punch, providing deep, lasting hydration.
Restore utilizes the best of Ayr Skin Care’s new vegan approach to effective skin care, with hours of moisture from natural ingredients like cogon grass. Why use synthetic moisturizers, when the beauty of nature is available and ready to provide the hydration that your skin needs. This amazing cream just launched, so make sure you grab your jar before they are sold out!