Mints are part of the botanical family Lamiaceae like rosemary, sage or thyme. Peppermint and spearmint are two species that can provide benefits to the skin, in the form of essential oil and hydrosol. What botanical differences exist between these two varieties? In which cases should one or the other be used in cosmetics?
Spearmint and Peppermint, Botanical Characteristics.
Spearmint has the botanical name Mentha spicata L. It is characterized mainly by its light green, ribbed leaves. Unlike peppermint leaves, these are devoid of petiole (narrowed part of some leaves towards the stem). Spearmint has a milder and more subtle fragrance than peppermint. It is characterized by its richness in carvone.
Peppermint is identified under the botanical name Mentha piperita L. It is a hybrid species, which comes from the cross between water mint and spearmint. It is higher than the spearmint, its height can reach up to 80 cm. Its leaves are darker, they usually take a beautiful dark green color. Peppermint contains more menthol than spearmint, hence its characteristically stronger smell.
Peppermint and spearmint have a common geographical origin: India and more particularly the province of Uttar Pradesh.
Peppermint in Cosmetics.
This species of mint can be used in three main forms in skin and hair care.
Peppermint essential oil (INCI name: Mentha Piperita Leaf Oil)
This essential oil limits imperfections; it is recommended for oily skin as well as for skin with acneic tendencies. This oil has purifying and astringent properties.
Its purifying properties also work on the scalp. The essential oil of peppermint activates the microcirculation of the scalp and strengthens the hair follicles to stimulate hair growth. In addition, it helps fight dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis problems. Because of these benefits, you can find it in the scalp scrub with 5% PHA + jojoba pearls. This pre-shampoo exfoliating gel gently removes dead skin cells for a healthy, rebalanced scalp. Peppermint essential oil is also used in our purifying scalp treatment with Zinc PCA 4% + nettle extract. This treatment regulates sebum production and purifies the scalp to prevent it from re-greasing too quickly.
Peppermint hydrolate (INCI name: Mentha Piperita Flower/Leaf/Stem Water)
Due to its acidic pH, peppermint hydrosol visibly tightens pores. Thanks to its purifying properties, it is also recommended for acne-prone skin. Our peppermint hydrolate is obtained by distillation from peppermint leaves from organic farming, grown and harvested in France. This care is suitable for mixed to oily skins and dilated pores. Apply morning and evening, after cleansing, with a cotton pad or directly with your fingers.
To note! The advantage of floral water compared to peppermint essential oil is that it is not allergenic and normally, can be used by all skin types, as well as by pregnant and breastfeeding women and children.
Peppermint oil macerate (INCI name: Mentha Piperita Leaf Extract)
To obtain this ingredient, fresh peppermint leaves are macerated in virgin sunflower oil. Soothing and refreshing, the peppermint macerate brings a fresh feeling to the application and a minty taste to the lip care. It is present in our tinted lip and cheek balm.
Spearmint in Skin Care.
In cosmetics, spearmint is present in the following two forms.
Spearmint essential oil (INCI name: Mentha Spicata Leaf Oil)
The carvone present in majority in this essential oil helps to heal by promoting the reconstruction of the skin after an injury. This substance is thus suitable for all skin types but particularly for skin with skin marks such as acne scars. Because of this property, spearmint essential oil is present in our nettle rebalancing cleanser. This purifying face and body cleanser is suitable for all skin types, especially combination to oily skin prone to imperfections.
Be careful, this essential oil is not recommended for babies, children, epileptics, pregnant and breastfeeding women because it contains significant quantities of carvone (ketone). This molecule is potentially neurotoxic and abortive in high doses. Thus, the IFRA 49th Amendment declaration indicates that this essential oil might be used without particular toxicological risk up to a concentration of 0.24% for rinsed products due to the presence of carvone.
Spearmint hydrolate (INCI name: Mentha piperita Leaf Water)
Like peppermint hydrosol, spearmint hydrosol is also astringent and purifying. It cleanses the skins with imperfections, calms the inflamed buttons and tightens the pores. By its refreshing action, it will also act on the venous and lymphatic micro-circulation.
FAUCON M. "Traité d'aromathérapie scientifique et médicale, les hydrolats" (2018).