Skin care is so trendy right now that literally even Harry Styles has his own serum (which we would totally buy, BTW), and it seems like a new must-have ingredient du jour makes its way into the zeitgeist every ten minutes. This can make it difficult to discern between reality and marketing—what works to improve the health of your skin and what’s just the latest (often celebrity-shilled) snake oil. Tremella, aka snow mushroom, however, is no passing fad or money-grab gimmick; it’s been a staple in parts of Asia for thousands of years, and when we asked the experts, they confirmed the buzzy ingredient *actually* works.
The main reason to hail tremella as a holy grail in skin care is that it is moisturizing AF, leading many to refer to it as nature’s hyaluronic acid (the most famous superstar of skin hydration). “The snow mushroom has a unique gelatinous structure and is often used as a hydrating ingredient to help moisturize and plump the skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD.
In fact, Delise Martire, director of product development for skin care brand Veracity, says that snow mushrooms can hold up to 500 times their weight in water, which helps boost the skin’s capacity to hold water, too. Tremella mushrooms are also packed with fatty acids, and Dr. Zeichner explains that this enables them to help fill cracks between cells in the outer skin layer, thereby adding to their ability to improve and enhance the health and appearance of skin. “Fatty acids offer emollient benefits and help repair the skin barrier,” he says.
And while moisture is this mushroom’s main value-add, it’s not the only trick tremella has up its sleeve. Snow mushrooms also contain kojic acid, which Dr. Zeichner describes as a botanical extract that blocks production of abnormal pigmentation. “It is used to even skin tone and lighten dark spots,” he says. Martire further notes that tremella contains a specific antioxidant that helps fight off free radicals and other environmental aggressors that damage the skin. “It's a really amazing ingredient to not only boost this antioxidant protection, but also enable hydration on deeper layers of the skin as well as on the skin’s surface,” she says.
Ultimately, says Martire, she likes tremella because it’s a natural, renewable ingredient which boosts skin health overall—which is why we here at SHROOMBOOM like it, too. Snow mushroom-infused products can be particularly valuable in dry winter months when skin is at its thirstiest, so start shopping our favorites below to save face this season.
Humanrace Humidifying Cream, $48
Okay, so we just made fun of celebrity skin care lines, but Pharrell’s is pretty legit! This moisturizer combines snow mushrooms and hyaluronic acid for max moisture.
Veracity BioEvolve Moisturizer, $75
This luxe moisturizer relies on snow mushroom and a number of other plant-based ingredients such as cherimoya, white lily bulb, and red algae to boost hydration, soothe inflammation, and protect against environmental damage.
Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Soothing Hydra-Mist With Reishi And Snow Mushroom, $26
This hydrating mist actually includes not one but two types of mushrooms: tremella, for hydration, and reishi, which acts as a calming agent. It can be applied to the skin anytime, night or day, for instant plumping and soothing.
Volition Snow Mushroom Water Serum, $62
This simple, plant-forward serum utilizes not only tremella for hydration but also watermelon and apple extracts to brighten and further plump the skin.
This heavenly-scented moisturizing mask combines snow mushroom with hyaluronic acid, chia seed extract, beet root, and kimchi ferment to hydrate the holy heck out of your skin. It’s also designed to soothe redness and provide nutrition to the skin via a long list of additional all-natural ingredients. It can be worn for 15 minutes or overnight, depending on your skin’s thirst quotient.
This serum from beloved cult brand Herbivore mixes tremella with strawberry extract to hydrate, brighten, and soothe skin as a daily first line of defense.
Avya Day Moisturizer SPF20, $65
If you’re the low maintenance type, nothing’s better than an effective moisturizer that also contains SPF, and this tremella-powered dry skin savior is just that.
Joanna Vargas Euphoria Face Mask, $75
We’re low-key obsessed with these sheet masks, which combine moisturizing tremella with anti-inflammatory aloe vera, soothing chamomile extract, and other natural ingredients to quickly improve the overall appearance of skin.