Precious Tears of Boswellia Trees (Ingredient Alchemy Lab #10)

…AKA frankincense. This edible aromatic resin, the healing properties of which are being studied, makes for cooling beauty products that are splendid in summer.

Frankincense Facts!

1. Frankincense is a scent that divides (at least in my experience)

You see, other than with patchouli or jasmine or tuberose, I’ve never seen reactions of “I love it” and “I hate it”. In fact, I have never yet met anybody who said they disliked it. Here, the watershed is in the notions: for some, it’s beneficial and pleasant – and period, for others, it’s a pleasant scent as such but is seen as something deeply religious (which people then value good or bad, depending on their life and context).

2. Frankincense comes in many varieties, like any natural product

Frankincense resin is won by cutting Boswellia trees, letting the liquid resin bleed and harden – the opaque white drops are called tears. This harvesting process takes about two weeks and can be executed only twice a year.
To produce essential oil, the resin is steam-distilled.

3. Frankincense, sometimes referred to as Olibanum, is not only used to make, well, insense, but also big in perfume business 

Adding an elegant, cool, slightly citrusy and yet distinctly woody note to fragrances, it’s particulary valued by niche and luxury brands.

4. Skincare containing frankincense often rises claims that it would reduce redness, inflammation and the appearance of scars, heal acne, ease pain, and obviously calm the spirit

Whereas such claims are yet to be finally proven once and for all, at least frankincense has little to no known side effects. As always, individual sensitivities can occur anytime (also: pregnant women and small babies means extra caution).

5. Recent research suggests that particular compounds of frankincense are able to relieve depression and anxiety as well as destroy cancer cells

I’m thrilled to see the research being published, but as of today, I will show you my recent beauty obsession, a frankincense-based cleansing balm and a facial tonic.balm-balm-frankincense-japanese-frankincensefrankincense-cooling

Balm Balm 100% Organic Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm

A little while ago I’ve left removing make-up with oil behind me and embraced the fancy lifestyle of removing make-up with what I call a melt (even though Pai Skincare dubbed their cleanser – that I’ve reviewed here – differently, to me it has indisputably melting qualities, hence, a melt).balm-balm-frankincense-deep-cleansing-balmWhile I still love my Pai Skincare cleanser, and it’s more than enough for my daily make-up removal routine, I felt that with highly pigmented lipsticks or lip tints as well as with pure pigment eye shadows, particularly the green ones, I needed something more powerful. Enter Balm Balm.

I use this balm to take off particularly “clingy” bits of make-up, and here is a comparison with my daily used Pai cleanser for you using three highly pigmented products (left to right, with links to my reviews, where applies) the rich creamy red ‘Raspberry’ by Paul Penders, a Hiro pure pigment eye shadow, and the rms beauty Lip Shine in ‘Sacred’:makeup-removal-comparison-balmbalm-pai-step1Now with the cleansers applied (top Balm Balm, bottom Pai):makeup-removal-comparison-balmbalm-pai-step2As you can see, with just one swipe, most pigment above the line is gone. makeup-removal-comparison-balmbalm-pai-step3The Deep Cleansing Balm is certified organic and Leaping Bunny certified, and comes in brown glass jars, 30ml/€9.95. Of course, here the main ingredient is not the frankincense but rather a beautiful blend of oils.

The product itself is an opaque, white, pleasantly melting balm made of all organically grown ingredients (full disclosure): sunflower oil, shea butter, cera alba/beeswax, jojoba oil, calendula flower extract, Boswellia neglecta (frankincense) oil, grapefruit peel oil, citral, limonene, linalool.
It’s obviously not vegan and could possibly trigger allergic reactions.
I chose it for it does not contain my personal worst offenders – along with petrochemicals and Co., my no-go list also includes wheat extracts, palm oil, and specific comedogenic ingredients.

Balm Balm 100% Natural Organic Frankincense Hydrosol

No, this is not a typo with “100% natural organic”.
The product is 100% natural because it’s main ingredient is – key word hydrosol – water. Water is a natural product. However, the hydrosol is made from 100% organic Boswellia carterii frankincense.balm-balm-frankincense-hydrosolThe hydrosol (30ml/€9.95) is a great, refreshing, soothing skin tonic, particularly beneficial during hot summer days, when you want to cool down your skin both in terms of temperature and irritations or inflammations.

I spray it on top of my make-up to refresh the skin; or after cleansing + instead of a night cream.
Gentlemen, you can use it as a very soothing, light, luxuriously fragrant and non-irritant after-shave treatment.”

The Organic Frankincense Hydrosol is both vegan and Leaping Bunny certified.

More ideas for hot summer days? Yes, please!

>>> Efficient Mattifying Products (for ladies and gentlemen)
>>> Oily, Acne-Prone Adult Skin: Skincare to Balance (equally for everyone; discusses comedogenic versus non-comedogenic oils)
>>> Staying Hydrated: What To Drink & What To Avoid
>>> A frankincense-scented, Japanese summer fan

Have a splendid summertime, Adventurers!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

7 Responses

  1. BLYSS chocolate

    Wow wow wow. Sign me up. I love that picture you made of showing how the cleansing action works. That absolutely spoke to me. thank you!

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