Mushrooms Have Entered The Skincare Chat

by Lina Lecaro

EASTERN CULTURES HAVE known about the power of mushrooms for centuries, classifying them as a superior natural ingredient for wellness inside the body and out. But fungi are particularly beneficial for skin, aiding in everything from hydration to tightening and brightening—and many major beauty brands are recognizing the magic of mycelium.

Different types of mushrooms encompass different types of skin-related benefits. To help calm irritated skin and provide cellular support, the skincare brand Origins infuses its Mega-Mushroom line with a powerful combination of reishi, fermented chaga, and cordyceps mushrooms.  (No need to worry about any The Last of Us-esque effects with that last one, BTW). And Kiehl’s turns to sustainably grown chaga to help even out skin tone and boost radiance through its Super Multi-Corrective Cream. Meanwhile, BioRepublic, a Korean beauty–inspired skincare brand, uses snow mushrooms in its organic sheet masks. According to Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery and advisor to BioRepublic, snow mushrooms in particular “hydrate and have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to soothe the skin and reduce redness.”

While many established beauty brands are using mushrooms in their formulas along with other key plant-based ingredients, newer brands are putting the fungi front and center. Shroom Skincare blended four different mushroom extracts, including maitake, reishi, chaga, and cordyceps sinensis, into its Mycelium Glow: Vitamin C & Mushroom Brightening Serum to combat facial dullness, UV damage, and inflammation. Whereas the skincare brand Neon Hippie (clearly leaning into a more psychedelic theme with its moniker) uses a proprietary seven-mushroom complex made up of chaga, reishi, shiitake, tremella, trametes versicolor, cordyceps, and coprinus for its line of face creams, serums, and lip care.

So will the hype around the fancy fungi last? The research on them is pretty convincing. And, as Dr. Garshick points out, mushrooms work well when combined with other ingredients and are overall easy to tolerate, which is great news for sensitive-skin types. “They also have antioxidant benefits, protect against free radical damage, and can help to support the skin barrier,” she adds. As skincare obsessives continue to seek out conscious brands with science-enhanced, natural ingredients, new innovations for mushrooms in beauty are likely to keep sprouting with no end in sight. —lina lecaro

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