Tuesday, November 12, 2013Ingredient of the month

Thyme, thymus and caetera

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Another cosmetic ingredient that is rarely found in commercial arguments, even if it is present in formulas where it renders great services. The extracts, essential oils or hydrolats of thyme (or rather thyms) have all the precious active ingredients for the face, body or hair!

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Since there is not only one thyme to eat or drink, there is more than one thymus to be used in cosmetics! Thymus capitatus (or Spanish oregano), Thymus citriodorus well perfumed, Thymus mastichina (or wild marjoram), Thymus quinquecostatus of Japanese origin, Thymus satureioides (or thyme with savory leaves), Thymus serpillum (or serpolet), Thymus zygis (or thyme from Spain)… all give their leaves or flowers that become active in our hygiene and care products. But the most used of them remains Thymus vulgaris, the vulgar thyme.

 1 thyme, 3 active ingredients

Classically, this thyme is used in cosmetics in three main forms.

- Leaf extract: Thymus vulgaris leaf extract It is mainly used in anti-aging products, but it is also found in some eye contours or slimming products. - Essential oil: Thymus vulgaris flower oil Deodorants, oily skin care and make-up removers are her favourite products. But some shampoos don't disdain it either. The essential oil extracted from the leaves is mainly used in perfumery. - Hydrolat: Thymus vulgaris leaf water It is not so rare to find it in shampoos and hair care products, or in oral hygiene products, where thyme water is an advantageous replacement for simple water.

And whatever the form used, they are always for the same properties, which are found in each of these ingredients.

Antiseptic and purifying

What it does inside, thyme does outside too! And it is for its antiseptic, antifungal (fungus and mould fighting) and antibacterial properties that this small aromatic branch integrates many formulas. In the deodorizers he fights against the bacteria responsible for the bad smell of perspiration… in addition to adding his own, much better. In the Oily skin and scalp care It also acts as a purifying agent and regulates sebum production. In the make-up remover, it adds a cleansing aspect to the epidermis. In the toothpastes and mouthwashes It purifies the environment and refreshes the breath, without disturbing the balance of the oral flora.

Tonifying and strengthening

Above all, it is the essential oil and thyme hydrolate which are known for their invigorating character. Their action is recognized on the scalp, and thyme derivatives thus participate in many shampoos for hair attacked (by colorings, for example) or tired, as"anti-fall" products. Hydrolat can be used for the same basic reasons as natural mouthwashes, but this time with the aim of toning and strengthening the gums.


This property is not yet very exploited in cosmetics but the thyme is really a powerful antioxidant . And antioxidants also mean the fight against free radicals and other oxidative phenomena, factors of premature skin aging. Some precursor formulators have understood this well and have already integrated thyme extracts in their anti-ageing care .

Microcirculation activator

Microcirculation plays an essential role in the skin (as in the whole body). Stimulating it speeds up the elimination processes of the metabolic waste for which it is responsible. Which, in cosmetics, can have some applications, notably on a eye contour a bit marked by pockets, or a silhouette a little overweight…

But also dermocaustic and allergenic

To this very beautiful picture, however, we must add a slightly less enthusiastic note. While no adverse effects associated with the use of thyme extract or thyme hydrosol are known, the same is not true for essential oil . Dermocaustic, it can be irritating (this is why it should never be used pure on the skin). And its linalol and limonene, which make part of its activity and its perfume, are also classified in the aromatic molecules whose declaration is obligatory on the cosmetic labels because of their allergenic potential.

But in a beautiful formula, well balanced and skilfully measured, thyme is all that is good!

The Observatory of Cosmetics
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