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June 3, 2011 10:07 pm

Volcanic value

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One man’s disaster is another man’s boon. When the Grimsvötn volcano erupted last month in Iceland, the airline and tourist industries wrung their hands – but perhaps the beauty industry, or at least a small chunk of it, celebrated. For making exfoliators and moisturising products out of lava is the latest skincare thing.

An exfoliator called the Cell Dynamic Bio-Electric Buff, from luxury skincare brand NuBo, for example, contains rhyolite, a fine powder processed from the lava stones of the Strombolian volcanoes.

Volcanic products have been around for years. Solidified lava – or pumice – is one of the best-known examples, and is used to remove dead cells and soften skin. Similarly, volcanic ash clay – formed when the dust from an eruption mixes with water – is a mineral-rich substance with numerous exfoliating and anti-bacterial qualities. Last summer, these properties were key to the creation of cosmetic company MAC’s Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask and Volcanic Ash Exfoliator. The limited edition products (no longer available) proved extremely popular.

Mineral-rich mud, black sand and ash go into the Lava Masque from Japanese grooming brand Kyoku for Men. As its London-based founder, Asim Akhtar, explains: “The benefits are the host of essential minerals as well as a magnetic charge, which can remove oil and dirt. It is a great product for oily or blackhead-prone skin.”

Award-winning skincare brand Tengen, the brainchild of former beautician Kayoko Matano, has developed a line of cosmetics available in Singapore and Japan that contains a type of volcanic ash known as Shirasu. Found on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu it exfoliates without being abrasive and helps to regenerate skin cells.

volcanic hairbrush

Volcanic residue has also been applied to a hairbrush. British manufacturer Kent has launched Airhedz Glo brushes, containing volcanic Andosite quartz crystals. Marcia Cosby, the company’s marketing director, explains that the “crystals emit negative ions that have a safe natural energy. It works because the [hair’s] capillary vessels become stimulated and the cuticle layer is tightened, which seals in natural oils.”

www.kentbrushes.com

www.kingokingo.co.jp/en/ (for Tengen cosmetics)

www.kyokuformen.com

www.maccosmetics.co.uk

www.nubobeauty.com

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