You’ve been rubbing acids on your face, pricking your pores with microneedling devices, and following extensive 10-step Korean beauty regimens daily—yet your skin still isn’t where you want it to be. But, instead of looking to Kendall or Kylie’s #sponsored beauty advice, try taking a page out of another beauty icon’s book: Marilyn Monroe.
Obviously, we all know who Monroe is, and we all know her skin was pretty amazing. Known for her obscure takes on beauty, Monroe invented the white eyeliner trick, used Vaseline to create her iconic glow, and, to keep her pores clear, she rubbed strawberries on her face.
Yes, Marilyn Monroe would take these red berries, mash ‘em up, and cleanse her pores with them. And it seemed to have worked, because Grace Kelly was known for using this trick, too.
So, what’s in these strawberries that can gave women such clear skin? According to Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, board-certified dermatologist and author of Beyond Soap, strawberries are filled with an abundance of nutrients that can benefit your complexion. “They are very anti-inflammatory for the gut, brain, heart, and skin,” she says. “Plants, and in particular, fruits, have a very advanced way of protecting themselves from aging, which has developed over time. They are chock-full of antioxidant chemicals that do this.”
Dr. Skotnicki also notes that strawberries get their bright red hue from a certain compound called anthocyanin, which acts as an antioxidant that nurtures your skin. “In clinical studies, these chemicals exert a very strong effect against oxidative stress and UVA-induced skin damage,” she says. As if strawberries couldn’t get any better, she also says that they contain more vitamin C than oranges.
Not only are strawberries packed with antioxidants, but they’re also great exfoliants. “Strawberry Seed Oil has a high level of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid,” says Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu, the cosmetic chemist duo behind Chemist Confessions. “You can also use the strawberry seed as a mechanical exfoliant.” Dr. Skotnicki notes that strawberries contain salicylic acid and ellagic acid, two chemical exfoliants that help decrease hyperpigmentation and acne. And though the Chemist Confessions duo advises eating strawberries to get the most out of their antioxidant power, Dr. Skotnicki says the best route for your skin is to rub them in, and suggests making a face mask with honey or milk.
If you’re allergic to strawberries, then obviously you should avoid rubbing them on your face. Sensitive skin types should also stay cautious before incorporating them into their skincare regimens: According to Dr. Skotnicki, the abundance of acids in strawberries could burn or sting irritated and sensitive skin types. Fu and Lu suggest patch testing first.
If you want to give your pores all of the delicious benefits of these berries, check out our favorite strawberry-infused products below.
Volition Strawberry-C Brightening Serum
Of course a serum would be one of the best ways to harness the benefits of strawberries. “Traditionally, serums are meant to sit on your skin and provide more long-term benefits,” says Varika, the innovator behind Volition’s latest serum. “So when I think about enzymes, I think that they work both immediately and over-time, which is why a serum fit better.”
Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser
This clean beauty face wash is packed with antioxidants from strawberries and another vitamin C-rich fruit we love: tomatoes (yes, they’re a fruit). Plus, it doubles as an exfoliating mask for days when you’re skin is feeling lackluster.
Fresh Sugar Face Polish
Give your face the ultimate exfoliating experience with this scrub. It’s packed with wild strawberry for brightening your skin, while brown sugar granules gently slough off any dead skin and flakiness. The result? Baby-smooth texture and a radiant complexion.
BYBI Beauty Strawberry Booster
If you’re a purist with your skincare routine, grab this pick. It’s exactly what you want: 100% cold-pressed strawberry seed oil, and nothing else.