Pepper may be an unlikely ingredient for beauty and grooming products, but it has numerous health benefits too.
Many herbs and spices serve multiple purposes – being valued for their restorative qualities in beauty products, their unique fragrances in perfumes and for adding distinctive flavour when used in recipes. One of the best known and most widely available spices commonly associated with bringing out the flavour in meals can also be highly effective when used as an ingredient in beauty products – namely common pepper.
Check the ingredient lists of various hair and skin care products, perfumes and body washes, and it might not be too long until you spot one form of pepper featuring – typically cayenne or black pepper. This latter spice may now be commonly available worldwide, but in the past it was often the case that black pepper was prized even more than gold – leading to its frequent nickname of ‘black gold.’
As well as its culinary suitability, this high value was also due to black pepper’s healing properties and aromatherapy uses – you may never have considered that the sneeze-provoking scent of pepper could be a powerful mental and physical stimulant, but many people today still use the black pepper compound piperine as part of aromatherapy sessions, which can be particularly beneficial for the skin.
Black pepper can be found throughout the health and beauty industry, included in products as diverse as shampoo – in which it acts as a mild effervescent, to aid with the cleansing of hair without drying the scalp – and an award-winning shaving oil, ideal for dry and sensitive skin.
Mens grooming products in particular tend to experiment with black pepper, which can be highly effective as a detoxifier and antiseptic to cleanse the skin. Combining black pepper with other spices in shower gels, shampoos and conditioners creates a highly stimulating sensory experience, which many men report feeling invigorated by – perhaps the reason some products containing the spice feel compelled to include the warning ‘not for human consumption.’
That’s not to say black pepper is an exclusively masculine ingredient though, and it can also be found in women’s slimming and contouring products, acting in synergy with other oils and spices. When featuring in perfumes and aftershave, black pepper contributes a discernable ‘zest,’ and can be combined with other sharp ingredients to leave wearers feeling fresh and alive, or alternatively supplemented by other exotic fragrances to create a musky, woody effect – often leaving the impression of someone who has travelled the world and sampled its many delights.