With the selling price of $4,000 per kg, saffron undoubtedly claims the topmost position in the list of the world’s most expensive spices. The enormous labor needed to grow saffron, huge cultivation cost, and low yield – all these factors combine to make it a very precious resource. It takes around 70,000 crocus flowers to produce a pound of this aromatic spice! The use of saffron for food flavoring and natural skin care dates back to 3,500 years when ancient beauties used it for a naturally glowing skin. Cleopatra (yes! the legendary Cleopatra) was known to use strands of saffron(Kesar) in her bath for youthful and glowing skin. It is widely used as a food enhancement agent in Indian, Spanish, and Mediterranean cuisines and makes a common ingredient in beauty products. There is a reason why saffron is one of the most sought after spices in various cultures. Apart from curing over 90 diseases, saffron makes an excellent skin and hair care ingredient because of its immense benefits ranging from moisturization and treating pimples to protecting from UV damage.
1. Excellent Moisturizer For Dry And Parched Skin
Many people face excessively drying skin, especially during autumn and winter seasons. There are times when you want to enjoy the wonderful windy weather, but dehydrated and rough skin is a constant irritant spoiling your mood. When applied topically on the skin, saffron deeply hydrates the skin tissues and works as an emollient.
For this, use the dry powder form of saffron or make a thick paste by grinding saffron strands soaked in water. To this paste, add a tbsp of honey and apply evenly to your face and neck. After 20-25 mins, wash with cold water. If your skin(or the weather) is particularly dry, add half a tsp of jojoba oil to this pack. Optionally, you can add 2-3 drops of lavender oil for added benefits.
2. Lightens The Skin Tone
Saffron is traditionally used in many cultures for a luminous glowing complexion. Pregnant women were given saffron with warm milk every night. It was believed, this would lighten the skin tone of her newborn. Even now, saffron is used in various skin lightening creams and face washes.
How to use saffron for skin lightening?
Soak 3-4 strands of saffron in warm milk for 2-3 hours. Massage your face and neck in gentle circular strokes with this milk for about 3-5 minutes. Leave for 15-20 mins and then wash with cold water. Do not use a face wash after this.
Drinking a glass of warm milk with 3-4 strands of saffron will also give you a radiant and naturally glowing skin complexion. Furthermore, it also promotes sleep and enhances brain health.
Some people are intolerant to milk and may experience indigestion on consumption and breakouts on topical application. If you are one of them, use almond milk.
3. Offers Radiant And Naturally Glowing Skin
Work pressure, chronic stress, dust, sunburn, environmental pollutants, chemical buildup from cosmetics, and lack of proper care combinedly make our skin dull and lifeless. Too much dependence on chemical-laden creams and lotions is counterproductive as they fail to provide proper hydration and clog pores.
How to use saffron for dull skin?
Incorporating saffron in your beauty regimen can remove sun tan naturally and repair damaged skin cells.
Mix 4-5 saffron strands and a tbsp of sandalwood powder in rose water and whisk well to form a uniform paste. Apply this pack twice or thrice a week. You can also replace rose water with fresh lemon juice for an exfoliating face mask.
4. Prevents Premature Aging Of The Skin
The active ingredient of saffron carotenoids is rich in antioxidants and has great anti-aging properties. If applied with face packs regularly, it can tighten the skin, improve the elasticity, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Combine these efficacious strands with other anti-aging ingredients and boost your confidence with forever young-looking skin.
How to use saffron for dark spots and anti-aging?
Grind 3-4 saffron strands with ripe papaya and make a smooth paste. Apply evenly on the face and leave it to dry for 25-30 mins. Wash with cold water. This face pack is very effective in removing dark circles under the eyes.
5. Prevents Breakouts And Reduces Pigmentation
Saffron has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which helps treat acne, pimples, and reduces pigmentation.
How to use saffron for acne, pimples and scar marks?
Soak 10-12 basil leaves and 5-6 saffron strands in water for 2 hours. Grind to make a thick paste and apply evenly on your face. After 20 mins, wash with cold water. Optionally, add 2-3 drops of frankincense or tea tree oil. Use this pack twice a week for flawless skin. The anti-inflammatory property of saffron soothes redness and swelling of the skin. It promotes faster regeneration of skin cells and reduces scar marks.
6. Rejuvenating Night Cream
For a deeply nourishing and rejuvenating night cream, mix 20 ml of argan oil with 10 ml of rosehip oil in an empty moisture-free bottle. Now, add 10-15 strands of saffron to this blend. Slowly, the goodness of Kesar will get infused with the oil. Apply this oil daily on your face and neck before bed.
If you like a buttery texture, melt the oils with grated beeswax in a double boiler. After all the ingredients are well-blended, add saffron and stir well for 3-4 mins while keeping the temperature low. At this stage, you can also add 10-12 drops of rose oil(optional). Rose oil possesses excellent anti-aging properties and is a deep pore moisturizer. Pour this liquid in a clean jar and let it cool down. Your luxurious smelling anti-aging cream is ready to use.
7. Natural Sunscreen Lotion
One of the most incredible qualities of saffron is its ability to protect the skin from UV ray damage. When applied topically, it works as a natural sunscreen offering mild SPF protection. For making your DIY sunscreen lotion, soak 10-15 saffron strands in a tbsp of warm sesame oil overnight. Now, add 6-8 tbsp of aloe vera gel and whisk vigorously until you get a uniform fluffy mixture. Apply daily on face and skin. You can leave it or wash it after 15-20 mins. Even if Kesar offers mild sun protection, it is not a substitute for commercial sunscreen, especially for a longer duration of sun exposure.
While saffron is undoubtedly a superfood for skin, it takes time to work its magic. Be patient and consistent, and this wonderful spice will reward you with a transformed and radiant complexion. However, be sure not to get duped by fake or adulterated ones. The best way to test its purity is to soak in water. Pure saffron always takes time to develop color, while the fake ones are quick and immediately leave their yellowish coloring.