Pulling beauty and grooming ingredients from the pantry is a tried-and-true trick: cooking staples like olive oil and apple cider vinegar have long been components of effective routines. But recently, a new knockout spice has infiltrated the industry: black pepper.
There are already several great products that have integrated the seasoning for a little added zest.
Our Best Smeller Body Wash, $22, groominglounge.com.
Take the Our Best Smeller Body Wash, by Grooming Lounge. "We tested different versions early on," says founder Mike Gilman, "[And realized that black pepper was] the most universally appealing scent on men. Not only does it have staying power, but there's something about the scent that energizes."
Noir After Shave Balm, $55, tomford.com.
Clean White Woods Eau de Parfum, $40, ulta.com.
And the benefits of black pepper aren't just subjective, they're scientific: dermatologist Dr. Maryann Mikhail notes that black pepper can be used for acne and hyperpigmentation. "Black pepper contains magnesium, iron, and vitamins C and K. The natural content of vitamin C gives pepper antioxidant and antibacterial properties which are beneficial in inflammatory acne," says Dr. Mikhail. "Vitamin C also has some inhibitory effects on tyrosinase, which is the enzyme that produces melanin, and therefore can be used to lighten hyperpigmentation."
Dr. Mikhail also has an easy recipe to try at home: "Scoop half a teaspoon of ground black pepper in a teaspoon of plain yogurt and apply sparingly to affected areas twice daily to treat spots," she says. Then just wash it off after it settles. For those without acne-prone skin, Dr. Mikhail suggests mixing a little pepper with an essential oil of your choice to apply at night.
Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Bodyscrub Bar, $22, moltonbrown.com.