Ingredient To Know: Fern


There are two things that come to mind when I think about ferns: Kate Hudson’s “love fern' with Matthew McConaughey in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and the modern masterpiece FernGully: The Last Rainforest, which taught me the dangers of deforestation at a young age.

So I didn’t know quite what to expect when Dr. Timm Golueke emailed me out of the blue when he was visiting New York (he’s based in Munich with his own dermatology clinic) to introduce his recently debuted line, Royal Fern. Perhaps it was in homage to some little known German-monarchical line. (Probably not, but a girl can dream, can’t she?)

Not selling an intriguing story of crowns nor conquest, instead Dr. Golueke came by to make sure we were aware of the anti-aging properties locked inside the unassuming fern plant. We were not, so this was useful. The story of his product line goes as such: While reading various medical journals, Golueke noticed that fern and menthol extracts were credited as antioxidant, anticancer, and antibacterial agents, in no small part due to the plant's superior environmental adaptability. It's also a combination that's safe for sensitive skin and resistant to UV rays. Predictably, this all sounded intriguing to Golueke, who screens for skin cancer in his practice, so he and his team got to work developing a line revolving around ferns when looked at through the lens of skincare. On a side note, have you ever noticed that while ferns are more than 400 million years old, they still look pretty good for their age?

After four years of research, Royal Fern was born (it launched at Bergdorf Goodman in January) and it is genuinely great—beyond the fact that fern skincare is a fun novelty that's intriguing in and of itself. There are three products— an anti-aging face cream, an eye cream, and a serum—all which promise the phytoactive elements of the fern along with hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and Acerola cherry for hydrating products with a firming, lifting kick. The serum, when applied at night, will make you look like your skin's been having dreams of laying on a sandy beach (even if your real dreams are stress dreams about a project at work, but hey, in this dream Johnny Depp is your boss). It dries quickly and matte—allowing other SPFs and whatnot to be layered on top without feeling greasy. Similarly, the two creams are light enough to use all year 'round and disappear into skin quickly—and you'll be tempted to continuously reapply, mostly because it feels so good and that matte white packaging is the hardest to resist.

And while one skincare line does not a trend make, we've got a feeling about this one. Keep a lookout—fern is about to get big.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton. For other Ingredients To Know like copper, click here.