Unless you are a botanist, the name blue tansy might conjure images of Wonka’s Laffy Taffy or a tribe out of the movie Avatar. Thankfully, its effects on your health have nothing to do with psychoactive agents and newfound vitality, except when it relates to your skin’s healthy, vibrant glow.
Blue tansy, not to be confused with simple tansy, is a flowering plant from northern Africa, also known as “Moroccan chamomile.” The oil extracted from its vibrant yellow flowers is a striking shade of blue due to its high levels of chamazulene, an aromatic chemical compound responsible for giving it its essential oil name. It is traditionally used for its anti-inflammatory properties, which is the holy grail for radiant, calm skin: It relieves redness, reduces heat (it is perfect for sun-burned skin) and alleviates troubled skin.
People with psoriasis and eczema stand to benefit greatly from its anti-inflammatory properties, since both are skin problems rooted in inflammation. “It’s incredibly calming, soothing and moisturizing,” says Shamara Bondaroff, esthetician and founder of SB SKIN in New York City. “It can help calm down all types of inflammation — from breakouts to rosacea.” People with psoriasis and eczema will benefit from blue tansy oil, too.
Additionally, the oil is also known for its great antibacterial effect, which means that it is a common ingredient in products targeted to consumers with acne. Because it is potent, the oil should always be diluted if applied topically. Try dabbing small amount on cuts and scrapes, and it is also helpful for open acne wounds. “It’s an amazing barrier to protect skin from extreme weather and soothe any dryness or irritation. It’s also amazing around the nose if you’ve gotten especially red from a cold. [Because of its antimicrobial properties], it’s especially useful if you’re sick.”
And we can’t talk about essential oils without addressing their aroma-therapeutic benefits. Its sweet, herbaceous scent has also been known to help clear the sinuses and function as an anti-histamine that relaxes the nervous system and helps regulate the endocrine system. And that’s not at all, it can help you achieve a good night’s sleep free of congestion when you diffuse it or inhale it directly.
One thing to note is to always do a spot check — no matter which product with blue tansy you are using —if you suffer from hay fever or allergic reactions to chamomile, or ragweed. Consumption is not recommended because the flowers can be poisonous when consumed in large quantities.
“I prefer to use a product that will sit on the skin for a while, like an oil or serum,” says Bondaroff. “That gives blue tansy the ability to work its magic over time, as well as protect the skin from further irritation.”
To expel the blues and rock that tansy shade of blue, pick beauty products with blue tansy’s botanical name, Tanacetum annuum, listed on the ingredients list. Because it’s so potent, a little goes a long way, just like Wonka’s Laffy Taffy.