A Skin-Perfecting Miracle Balm
Megan O’Neill is the senior beauty editor at goop. Which is another way of saying she has a passion for clean products, loves anything that reduces stress, and will happily guinea pig herself in the name of wellness.
A few months before my wedding, I over-multitasked. Already addled by monstrous amounts of work, I was FaceTiming with my best friend, who was deep in crisis with her dirty-dog then boyfriend, and searing salmon for dinner at the same time. As I distractedly flipped the fillet, scalding oil sizzled up and scorched my shoulder.
Despite cool water, cursing, and plastering manuka honey over the tender area, nothing assuaged the burn, though over the next few weeks, it gradually became less raw. But a scar set, scaly, raised, and obtrusive. No amount of lotion or body oil softened its rough texture or made it less pronounced. When I went wedding-dress shopping, even among all the sequins, sparkles, and plunging necklines (my dress inspiration was 1970s Cher), the dark, rough spot still bugged me.
Thankfully, my marked-up shoulder didn’t consume me as I thought it would: I floated down the aisle in a sexy, sparkly thigh-skimming number, and it was one of the best days (and nights) of my life.
But now, four years later, the crackly scar is still a thorn in my side, so to speak. And nothing has been able to smooth it.
Until I unwrapped a package from 8 Faces containing a giant jar of something called Boundless Solid Oil. The blend of nourishing botanicals felt so plush and comforting and smelled so fantastically herbaceous, I was on board immediately.
The miracle ingredient in the shea-, evening-primrose-, and jojoba-spiked formula is amla, a berry prized in Ayurvedic medicine for its beauty and health benefits. An excellent source of vitamin C (a crucial antioxidant that may help prevent photodamage), amla has been shown in studies to support collagen production and is also rich in carotene, which we need for cellular renewal. In southern India, where amla is cultivated, people slather it on their skin and work it into their scalp and hair. I rub it into my dry ends before braiding my hair up for bed, and the wild, wavy luster it gives me in the morning is almost as good as what the ocean does.
The balm has myriad uses—and you can be freewheeling: I layer it onto my cracked heels. I offer it up when my sister-in-law visits from Oakland with her two-year-old son and needs something hydrating and mild (and clean and nontoxic) to soothe dry patches on his tiny baby arms. And I’m in love with how it makes my face, hands, and body gleam, as if I exude the essence of summer. I even use it as a sort of makeup substitute: There’s nothing more low-key sexy than glossy eyelids.
Best of all, after about eight weeks of before-bed and first-thing-in-the-morning massaging, my scar has started improving: It’s kind of unbelievably soft—almost as soft and level as my normal skin, though the hyperpigmentation remains. (Dark-skinned people have a harder time getting rid of scars, and we scar more easily, since we have more melanin. Our melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells, kick into overdrive when there’s trauma to the skin, creating excess pigment and indelible dark spots.)
Without the rough, parched-looking aspect, the dark spot no longer bothers me; instead, it’s a good reminder that doing too much at once can literally scorch you.
These are the musings and opinions of Megan O’Neill based on her own personal experience. Individual responses can vary greatly.