Why we use mint in our soaps - a guide to this very useful herb

Why we use mint in our soaps

If you asked someone to play a word association game and gave them 'mint', the chances are they'd come up with companions like 'fresh', 'cool' and 'invigorating' - that's what comes of a lifetime of associating the herb with toothpaste and chewing gum.

However, mint has some very beneficial properties for the skin aside from its ability to revitalise, which is why we make very good use of it here at Heyland & Whittle. Let's take a look at its advantages and why you might consider incorporating it into your skincare regime.

History of mint use

People have been using mint since time immemorial, so we can't say precisely when someone picked it and thought it might be nice to chew or rub on their body.

However, bear in mind that the word comes from the Greek minthe and you can see just how far back humans have been relying on it. In Greek mythology, the nymph Minthe was turned into a mint plant as a punishment by the goddess Persephone, while the mortals of that country used it in their bathwater.

The Romans used mint in sauces, to aid digestion and to freshen their breath, while the people of Britain in the Middle Ages added it to drinking water as a purification agent.

It's thought that the Pilgrims took mint to what is now the USA - and today, the herb grows in temperate regions all over Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.

Why is mint good for the skin?

Just to clarify, there are more than 30 different species of plant in the mint family, but the most commonly used are Mentha piperita (peppermint) and Menthe spicata (spearmint).

We already know that it creates a tingling, refreshing feeling on the surface of the skin, but the effects actually run much deeper than this.

Mint is a very useful ingredient in terms of the benefits it can offer to the skin, so find out more about why we use it here at H&W.

Firstly, it can act as an antipruritic agent, which means it soothes and calms itchy skin. For this reason, mint is added to ointments and products including shampoos for problematic skin, such as that experiencing dandruff, insect bites or stings.

Secondly, mint naturally contains high levels of salicylic acid, which loosens dead skin cells and encourages them to be shed. This can reduce pore blockages and prevent spot breakouts, making mint a good homeopathic astringent and cleanser. And since it also contains vitamin A, this could also make skin less prone to oiliness in the future.

Don't forget mint's beneficial properties for the inside of the body either - studies have shown it could reduce inflammation, while its advantages in battling complaints like nausea, heartburn and bloating by stimulating the production of saliva and consequently boosting digestion are well-known.

Finally, while it is acting on your skin and inside your body, mint is also likely to be having a positive effect on your mind and energising you out of any sluggish ruts you might have slipped into.

What is mint like to use on the skin?

The most obvious thing you'll notice when using mint-based products is the pleasant tingling, almost fizzing sensation it creates on your skin as it cleanses, which is enough to keep most people coming back for more.

Another is the clean and lasting scent - don't worry, it's not like washing yourself in toothpaste at all. Actually, it's much lighter and simply smells fresh all day long. This is something Morag, one of our customers in Surrey, has referred to in a recent review, commenting that our mint soap "smells divine and not over-powering".

Incidentally, she also pointed out that it matches her marble-topped vanity units, which we think is always a bonus when it comes to bathroom products!

We combine our mint with rosemary to create a beautiful individual soap bar, but you can also purchase it in a big block and effectively get nearly 15 bars for the price of ten.

Do try it and see if mint can become your go-to herb to wake you up in the mornings.