What I Learned From Eating $105 Worth of Skincare
I first heard of Four Sigmatic listening to one of my favorite podcasts. At the time, I was trying to quit coffee for good, and they were advertising various mushroom elixirs that could do everything from energize you to calm you down. Because I am a millennial who listens to her favorite podcasters’ suggestions and because mushrooms are super trendy, I acquired some. Surprisingly enough, I loved it.
Their ‘shroom-based products are natural and organic, they promote brain health, and let’s face it — they have really cute packaging. So when I saw that Four Sigmatic had recently released a line of edible skincare products, I knew I had to try it.
The Mushroom Face Mask and Tonic as well as the Superfood Serum are both topical and edible. The products are also cruelty-free and vegan, and the packaging is recyclable. The theory behind these products is: “If it’s not safe to eat, why put it on your skin?” Per this philosophy, the mask doubles as a nutrient-rich tonic and the serum is also a supplement for wellness support.
I’ll be frank with you, I am not accustomed to eating my skincare. I did drink lemon water for a week to see if it would improve my skin, but that’s as far as I’ve ever gone. I know that the beauty industry is moving away from 12-step chemical-filled K-beauty routines and toward more natural skincare lines, but I have yet to eat any of it — mainly because most aren’t marketed as being edible and my skin seems to love chemicals!
But also, these natural products are typically pretty darn expensive. And Four Sigmatic’s aren’t much cheaper. The mask will run you $50 and the serum is $55. That’s a mere drop in the bucket if you’re used to buying La Mer, but the real question, regardless of price, is: Would you ever actually consider tasting your skincare?
I decided to use the products on my face before ingesting them. That way if I didn’t like how they worked on my skin, I could enjoy them later as a snack.
When I opened the mushroom face mask, it smelled earthy and a little spicy like Four Sigmatic’s elixirs. I am a sucker for face masks as well as arts and crafts, and to make the face you had to mix a teaspoon of water with 1.5 teaspoons of the mask in a bowl and paint it on your face. The mask is charcoal in color, and as I brushed it on my face with my fingers (finger painting!) I noticed that it smelled like spice cake mix.
While it dried on my skin, I peeped the ingredients. The spicy smell was coming from the organic cinnamon bark powder, the organic nutmeg, ginger, and possibly the Panax ginseng root. The mask was also made with reishi mushrooms, which are typically used to chill you out, as well as chaga mushrooms which are used in Four Sigmatic’s wellness and immunity elixir, as well as charcoal, cacao, gotu kola root, citric acid, and salt.
In short, my skin loved it. It pulled all the gunk out of my pores and they even looked smaller. I followed it with a few pumps of the superfood serum, which is made with a bunch of plant-based oils, and when I woke up, my skin was glowing and looked, dare I say, healthier?
Then I tried eating it.
I knew what color the tonic was going to be. After all, the night before I had smeared it all over my face. However, after adding a teaspoon of the face mask to a mug of hot water and enhancing it “with your choice of nut milk” as directed (I used oat milk) it was kind of a sickly swamp water color.
It smelled like a diluted version of the face mask. Because I had already used it on my skin, when I raised it to my lips, my brain went “Stop!!!!!!!” Because you’re not supposed to eat your skincare! But I said “Shut up, brain!” and took a sip.
The flavor was pleasant, and vaguely chocolatey. However, it definitely needed sweetener. Without it, the drink was somewhat bland. I also found that it needed to be frequently mixed. The mask didn’t necessarily dissolve into the water; it was displaced. Four Sigmatic’s website says the tonic is meant to “calm stress from within” and while I didn’t feel stressed necessarily, I might feel less so if I were drinking actual hot chocolate.
I decided to move on to the serum. To eat the serum there really wasn’t much to do besides squirt it in to my mouth. I wanted to double check that I wasn’t squirting scary things down my throat, so I browsed the ingredients.
They included avocado oil, olive oil, reishi spore oil, camellia japonica seed oil, boswellia carterii oil, grapefruit peel oil, honeysuckle extract, tocopheryl (a type of Vitamin E), and jojoba seed oil. The directions said to drop four drops into your mouth for “wellness support.”
I delightedly squirted some in my mouth. It tasted like carrots and oranges. Then I was mildly horrified. “I JUST SQUIRTED A $55 SERUM INTO MY MOUTH” I texted my best friend in a panic. I guiltily noted that it went down smooth and left no bad after taste. The serum is meant to hydrate your skin and left mine super glow-y, so I hope it does something great for my insides. The website says it “boosts skin’s resilience to everyday stressors that cause breakouts, dryness and premature aging, from the outside in and the inside out.”
What I learned from this is: You should definitely not eat your skincare unless the product says it’s safe to do. Even then, you should scan the ingredients to make sure there isn’t something that you’re allergic to. However, eating your skincare is kind of nice — but I probably won’t be devouring much more of these products because I’m so eager to use the rest on my face.
This experience has made me want to subscribe to the idea that if it’s not safe to eat, I shouldn’t put it on my skin. Your skin absorbs products, so you probably should make it absorb things that are healthy and safe — and tasty. I found Four Sigmatic’s new skincare to truly be beauty from the inside out and I hope other brands follow suit. La Mer, are you listening?
If you’re looking to beautify beginning with your insides and don’t want to fork over a ton of cash, I recommend starting in your kitchen with these 18 food-based remedies for dry skin.
Lily Rose is The Daily Meal’s West Coast Editor. She has never met a matcha she didn’t like. You can follow her food adventures on Twitter and catch up with all of her content on The Daily Meal, here.
Products for review were provided by the producer at no cost to the writer.