Ingredient To Know: Pearl

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In Asia, pearl is no stranger to beauty products, used for its antioxidant, rebuilding, brightening, and firming properties. Some women even ingest it by mixing finely milled pearl powder with tea. Not ready to go that route? Here are some epidermal options.

Pearl products, like the semi-precious stone themselves, come in various grades suited for appropriate ages and price points. Find yourself on the youthful and broke side? Try Sephora Collection Pearl Mask. It comes in an iridescent, round pink package reminiscent of a shell, making the experience of opening the fiber mask parallel to the experience of shucking an oyster (it’s kind of slimy). Once on your face, you look like a ghostly Nacho Libre. It’s seriously refreshing, leaving a radiant, tingly feeling and noticeably even colored, supple skin. The Missha Pure Source Sheet Mask in Pearl is another commendable option—though potentially harder to find in the States.

For the more elevated set, Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder lathers into a nice yet gentle exfoliating cleanser with Hydrolyzed Conchiolin (Pearl) Protein. Pratima Rejuvenating Pearl Cream is best for very dry skin or your grandma since it’s very thick (we're also big fans of Pratima, the lady). Dipping your finger in the product leaves peaks perfect for Meringues. Once on the skin, it requires a few rub-ins for the cream to disappear—though you'll be subtly radiant after absorption.

U LUXURY Conditioner and Intense Mask are both made with crushed pearl, Hawaiian white honey, and pure argan oil. Selena Gomez (and Justin Bieber) use the products, perhaps explaining why their hair is so enviable. Sjal Pearl Enzyme Exfoliating Mask is made with not only pearl but also diamond, ruby, citrine, blue sapphire, and amethyst. It’s stupid expensive. Gently scrub around face then leave on skin for 10-15 minutes as an enzyme mask. Now, get out there and shine bright like a diamond, I mean, look as luminous as a pearl.

—Alexis Cheung

Photographed by Tom Newton.