Over the centuries tulips have aroused passions so deep that they have been the ultimate status symbol, inspired authors and artists, were traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, started multi-generational family wars, mirrored economic highs and lows, and been a barometer for social upheavals.
At one point in history, a single tulip bulb could even buy you the most luxurious house in Amsterdam and fashionable French ladies wore them instead of their glittering jewels. Yes, tulips were that expensive.
Possibly the only thing this exotic flower has not done till now is to have been part of a beauty routine – unlike other flowers like roses and jasmine. And Bloomeffects is trying to change just that, one tulip-based beauty product at a time.
But what makes the tulip a terrific beauty ingredient?
First, let’s first talk about the flowers themselves, since it’s important to understand the ‘Bloomeffects Proprietary Dutch Tulip Complex’ that forms the cornerstone of this entire brand.
When Kim Jensen, co-founder of Bloomeffects, moved to Amsterdam after marrying Hein van Haaster, a fourth generation tulip farmer from Amsterdam, she found a city so covered in tulips that it looked like a rainbow checkerboard.
But what she also found was that almost 1.7 billion tulip flowers are crushed and composted every year, since tulip farmers are more invested in the bulb than the flowers. And for the bulbs to be viable, they need to be harvested before the flowers have reached Instagram- or bouquet-potential.
Having been a beauty executive in New York, Kim’s thoughts naturally took the turn towards sustainable skincare and off went truckloads of discarded tulip flowers to Netherland’s Leiden University to study their chemical makeup.
Where they found four factors that made tulips perfect for a beauty brand to emerge:
- A tulip can hold its entire weight in water, thereby acting as a natural humectant
- Tulips are one of the only flowers that continue to grow up to an inch after being cut, thanks to high levels of growth factors that can boost skin cell activity in humans (buh-bye wrinkles and fine lines)
- These exotic flowers have up to seven times more DNA than humans
- And they are rich in collagen-building amino acids
So surprising were these hitherto-unknown beauty benefits that Jensen even got two grants from the Dutch government – which is a world leader in sustainability and circular farming – to study the flowers.
The result? A beauty brand that distilled all this goodness into a complex of amino acids, antioxidants and humectants to plump, hydrate and calm the skin, protect against environmental damage, brighten away hyperpigmentation, and sort out any dullness.
The Bloomeffects Royal Tulip Nectar: An honest assessment
Though there are currently four products in the range, for me the most intriguing has been the Bloomeffects Royal Tulip Nectar. It’s a honey-like salve that is described as a “healing ointment-to-serum, quench-it-all hydrator that soothes, nourishes and helps repair the skin’s barrier.”
And so I ordered a jar.
To be honest, it wasn’t love at first sight. The pale blue glass jar turned out to be beautiful but the product itself looked like gooey orange marmalade. And with skin that clogs at the mere sight of anything heavy or sticky, this didn’t feel like a good idea.
It sat on my table for close to a week before my curiosity and absolute love for tulips (I spent a major part of my childhood in Amsterdam) overcame the hesitation.
It was as gooey and ointment-like as I had suspected but transformed into a smooth, silky texture when it met my skin. And it sort of heated up as I massaged it in – in a nice, comforting kind of way.
Several reviewers say that it converts into a serum on contact with skin but I found it far too heavy for that nomenclature. It’s more like glycerin mixed into an oil (glycerin is actually the first ingredient listed on the label).
The first time I treated it like a normal moisturiser and came away with a pillow streaked with goo. This is not a product that absorbs quickly into skin. It took me a few tries to perfect the amount (a pea-sized blob) but even with the bare minimum, it takes a good couple of hours to sink in completely. And yes, it feels greasy.
Which is actually a good thing according to the research I am reading, as this helps it create a moisture barrier across the skin to help seal in all the antioxidants, humectants, natural enzymes amino acids and Vitamin C.
Given that it wasn’t exactly lightweight, I scheduled to test it out two weeks before my facial so that I could quickly expel any potential congestion. So, it was interesting to note that it did not break me out into any bumps and my facialist actually thought my skin my skin looked brighter, clearer and less dehydrated than usual.
The start of winter normally creates some terribly dry patches across my face but I seem to have escaped that completely this time. And since the only major change I have made in the past month was adding in the Royal Tulip Nectar, my skin seems to be loving it!
The Bloomeffects Royal Tulip Nectar: The bottomline
I would definitely not use the Royal Tulip Nectar as a moisturiser – it’s far too heavy for that. I also wish it sank into skin faster. And I wouldn’t recommend it for someone with super-oily skin.
BUT it works beautifully as a sleeping mask, which is how I use it about twice a week now – adding on days when my skin feels super-dry or needs some extra cocooning (like after using an acid-based mask or peel). And the next morning, my skin feels smoother, plumper and has a glow that defeats all the nights of junk food and lack of sleep that the Holiday season brings in its wake.
It’s a great product to calm down sun damaged, wind chapped, sensitised (terrific to layer over retinol) or stressed skin. Informed beauty blogger friends tell me that it works really well for their eczema.
And I love that it’s free of any fragrance (tulips don’t have much of a scent and the Royal Tulip Nectar smells a bit like two-day-old flower pulp), parabens, sulphates, phthalates and synthetic dyes.
It’s also got great environmental cred. Firstly, it helps put all those discarded tulip flowers to good use. Additionally, everything is plastic-free (products come in fully recyclable glass jars), and packed in 100% recycled cardboard and FSA-certified paper, with soy-based inks for printing. I like a brand that goes into the smallest details where sustainability is concerned.
So, in short, would I buy it again? YES. It’s totally worth the $65 price tag.