We demand a lot from our beauty products. Of course, a product needs to do its job, but it also has to look, smell, and feel good while getting to work in our complexions. It’s rare to find a single ingredient that has figured out how to do all three at once, but bergamot—which you’ll find just as frequently in your skin-care formulas as you will in your fragrances—has somehow managed to fill that tall order.
Bergamot is a fruit that looks like the result of a love affair between a lime and an orange, and gives off a sweet-yet-bitter (and sorta-kinda spicy) citrus scent that has a number of benefits. “Emotionally it’s thought to help calm stress and nervous tension, and spiritually it’s often spoken of as a supporter of self. Overall bergamot is a wonderful balancer that helps encourage healing in combination with our own rhythm,” says ONDA Beauty founder Larissa Thomson. Studies have shown that bergamot essential oil can decrease stress and anxiety, making it great for sniffing at your desk during the day or dripping a few drops into a diffuser while you sleep. It’s frequently used as a top note in fragrances (like Tom Ford Neroli Portfino, $150, which happens to be one of my favorites), and pairs well with florals and spices.
But bergamot’s calming scent isn’t the only thing the ingredient is lauded for: It’s got antibacterial and astringent properties, which means it can be used to unclog pores and balance sebum levels. It also works as an anti-inflammatory, which means pimples don’t stand a chance against it. “[Bergamot] can be even be effective to spot treat blemishes, acne, and painful cysts and pimples due to its analgesic qualities,” says Matthew Milèo, founder of MILÈO, though he warns that the ingredient can be too aggressive for dry and sensitive skin types. It also may cause photosensitivity to skin, so if you are planning on integrating bergamot into your routine Milèo suggests looking for a product that says “furocoumarin free” on the label to avoid that issue (also slather on the SPF following, just in case). Whether you’re looking to spritz it on yourself or slather it on your face (or at least, on your pimples), bergamot is one do-it-all ingredient worth adding to your arsenal.
Keep scrolling to check out the bergamot skin benefits
Thomson worked with famed esthetician Tammy Fender to create this scrub, which combines bergamot with vetiver, coffee, and a slew of natural oils for a product that serves as an anti-inflammatory cleanser and will leave your skin shining.
Unlike many toners on the market, this one’s got a “gel-liquid” formula that hydrates and balances skin instead of drying it out (the way toners tend to get a bad rap for doing). It’s also got sage in it, which acts as an antioxidant and helps lock in moisture.
Perfect for oily skin, Origins’ bergamot-infused face wash lathers away imperfections from your pores. It’s made with an energizing Sri Lankan gemstone called Tourmaline, which helps with brightening and detoxifying skin.
This cleanser is like a bouquet in a bottle. It combines geranium, bergamot and rose-bud (plus chamomile, willow bark, and aloe vera) into a foaming formula, and reviewers can’t stop raving about how magical it smells.
If you can’t get outside for the sake of forest bathing, douse yourself in this body oil instead. It’s made with a diverse mix of natural oils including pine, lemongrass, and evergreen, and topped with bergamot to calm you down and “lift your spirits.”
Say goodbye to dead skin with this exfoliating lotion, which pairs bergamot with AHAs and BHAs to reduce bacteria and prevent acne. The result? Clearer, healthier-looking skin.
The blend of bergamot, grapefruit and orange essential oils in this body oil is meant to make you feel revitalized and uplifted at first inhale, and the nourishing oils that make up this oil (Jojoba! Grape seed! Marula!) plus antioxidants protect against environmental factors.
“Blue beauty,” plucked straight from the ocean, has also been taking over our skin-care cabinets of late—here’s why. And consider this the only guide you’ll ever need for choosing an antioxidant for your skin.
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