Can crystal beauty products really improve our skin and mood?

Crystals have made the transition from decidedly "woo woo" to legitimate alternative wellbeing tool.

If you haven’t heard celebrities like Miranda Kerr or Victoria Beckham gushing about their healing and energising powers, or spied crystals “charging” on a window sill near you, you’re most certainly guilty of living under a very large quartz rock.

Want crystal beauty products to boost your glow and energy? Then you’d better believe they will first.

Want crystal beauty products to boost your glow and energy? Then you’d better believe they will first.Credit:Shutterstock

Now the craze has slipped into our bathroom cabinets, with beauty brands creating skincare products that incorporate crystals to supposedly improve both our complexion and our emotional, physical and spiritual energy.

It’s not altogether rare to spot quartz, gold, silver, tourmaline and amethysts on the ingredient lists of moisturisers, serums, elixirs and even some colour cosmetics.

Charlotte Devereux is the co-founder of New Zealand skincare brand Girl Undiscovered that uses crystals in its offering. She says growth in the crystal skincare sector shows that women are increasingly seeking out “comforting and energising” products that do more than just make their skin glow.

“We’re so busy in our everyday lives that having a natural element to help slow us down is very important for our state of mind – and people are becoming more aware and open to this,” she explains.

Want a side of enlightenment with your night cream?

There are a host of brands that say they can help, with products that feature ground crystals (that exfoliate skin) or have been “charged” with their energy.

According to Kora Organics, founded by Miranda Kerr, the Clear Quartz Luminizer will pass “vibrations of harmony, calmness and clarity” onto you. Girl Undiscovered’s Stars Aligning Crystals promise to both “brighten skin” and help to “emanate a balanced, relaxed energy”.

Gemstone Organics’ Organic Jade face crème purports to “balance emotions and bring harmony into your life”.

While crystals in products could help skin to look better (for example, gold has been used to successfully treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis) is there any scientific evidence to prove that they’ll make you feel better, too?

Not really, according to associate professor and dermatologist at Central Sydney Dermatology, Dr Stephen Shumack.

“There’s no evidence at all that I could find … there’s no harm in giving these products a try if you’ve got the budget but I’d suggest using them with a degree of scepticism,” explains the former President of the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

The healing and mood-boosting benefits of crystals in skincare are hard to grasp, but the glowing results and rave reviews from consumers are much clearer cut.

Journalist Augusta Statz wrote for Bustle that while it didn’t change her life, crystal skincare had a “calming effect… for both for my skin, which lost some of its redness, and for myself in that I slept like a baby the whole week”.

There are hundreds of five-star reviews and testimonials sprinkled across the internet that concur these products are the “beauty equivalent of feng shui” and can bring about “life changing” results.

So how can we explain this huge chasm between the rather sceptical science and the glowing anecdotal evidence? A 2001 study carried out by academics from Goldsmiths College at the University of London may give an insight into this discord.

Researchers gave 80 volunteers either a real quartz crystal or a fake crystal made of glass and asked them to meditate with it for five minutes. Afterwards, the group was questioned and the results were puzzling.

“We found that lots of people claimed that they could feel odd sensations while holding the crystals, such as tingling, heat and vibrations, if we’d told them in advance that this is what might happen …

"In other words, the effects reported were a result of the power of suggestion, not the power of the crystals,” said Christopher French, a professor of psychology who carried out the experiment.

It’s true, this power of suggestion – or placebo effect, as it’s more commonly known – can work. In fact, up to one in three people who take placebo medication experience an improvement of their symptoms.

So why couldn’t this positive outcome extend to crystal beauty products and our moods, too?

“If there’s a claim mentioned on these products, people are going to read that claim and a percentage of them are going to feel these benefits simply because it’s been stated by the company,” explains Dr Shumack.

“It happens with expensive products, too, people feel that it’s going to work better because of the price, even though there’s no evidence to prove it.”

Kristin Petrovich, the co-founder of US crystal skincare and treatment company Själ Skincare, says regardless of whether their healing powers are believed, crystals in skincare are great way to help consumers “relax and rebalance” in a fast-paced world.

“We have no expectations of their belief in ‘do these really work?’, we just want to create a positive and beneficial experience that goes above your typical facial or massage as most people come into a treatment often stressed and in need of some level of healing and nurturing,” Petrovich explains.

Want crystal beauty products to boost your glow and energy? Then you’d better believe they will first.

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