We are all getting into the Christmas mood so it is simply natural for a cosmetic formulator to fantasise about a cosmetic formulation with Gold Frankincense and Myrrh.  The product would have to be a cream for the high end market with no expenses spare.. The key ingredients are obviously: gold frankincense and myrrh.

Gold (INCI name CI 77480): I have to say that as a green chemist I m not so keen on this ingredient because Mercury is used for its extraction and it is not from renewable sources. I know it is of great impact, but I shall use golden jojoba oil instead (INCI name Simmonsdia chinensis seed oil), it is indeed expensive (it takes 9 years for the plant to start producing a crop), from renewable sources and very beneficial for the skin. If the “client” still wants the gold sparkles, I shall add some gold glitter (no real gold).

Frankincense (INCI name Boswellia carterii): its oil has a very characteristic resinous smell. I m not sure if I would use it as an oil, I would probably go for a good extract with anti-inflammatory properties. There is also scientific research showing it boost skin elasticity of photo-damaged skin and improves skin smoothness. A real gem for the skin.

Myrrh (INCI name Commiphora mirrha): my favourite one scent wise, so I would use its oil as a fragrant ingredient. It is also present in the Herbal Pharmacopoeia for its antiseptic properties and there is evidence about antioxidant properties. Another gem from the wise men.

The wise men did not have the scientific evidence we have today and lived at a time of no environmental concern, so we can forgive them about the gold. However we can appreciate their extraordinary foresight in choosing plant ingredients that are suitable for the skin of generations to come and very renewable. In fact frankincense and myrrh are very sustainable cosmetic ingredients because they are from the resinous part of the plant and grow in very harsh conditions. No need to cut any forest down to grow myrrh and frankincense.