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"I don't know if you're into the [cottagecore] trend," Herbivore's director of product development, Jenni Ewing, tells Allure over Zoom, "[but] that was the inspiration behind the Herbivore Cloud Jelly – a beautiful picnic of nutrients for your skin." As she's saying this, she's holding up a clear glass bottle filled with a dreamy petal pink fluid packed with hibiscus, peach, and strawberry extracts that really is the skin-care version of TikTok's sought-after calming, nature, folksy, flowy-dress, Taylor Swift-soundtracked aesthetic.
Cloud Jelly's botanical extracts help brighten skin while infusing it with free radical-fighting antioxidants. Strawberry extract, in particular, isn't just a fun marketing ploy. It brings radiance-inducing vitamin C to the metaphorical picnic table, cosmetic chemist Laura Lam-Phaure tells Allure. "It can provide the skin with [smoothing] benefits and help reduce the appearance of blemishes," she continues. Peach, on the other hand, adds fine line-reducing vitamin A to the medley, while hibiscus has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties with toning effects, Lam-Phaure adds.
The plumping serum's gorgeous hue also comes from the delicious extracts and ties it into Herbivore's beloved, perpetually-sold-out Pink Cloud line. In 2018, it debuted with the Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Cream, and a cleanser followed it in 2020. "The Pink Cloud Cleanser has been a runaway hit. We can't even keep it in stock," Ewing says. "We always have a demand for expanding into a regimen. So [Cloud Jelly] seemed like a natural fit."
Like the duo that came before it, snow mushroom, aka Tremella fuciformis sporocarp extract, is a central ingredient in Cloud Jelly's extremely hydrating formula. Ewing calls it the "plant version of hyaluronic acid," which dermatologists, like New York City's Dendy Engleman, can confirm is true. Not only does the mushroom help skin hold in moisture, but its particles are also "smaller than hyaluronic acid so it penetrates the skin more easily," Engelman has told Allure. Snow mushroom has a gelatinous structure, too, according to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, so it puts the "jelly" in the serum's name.
Cloud Jelly went through countless revisions to ensure it didn't feel too sticky, Ewing points out. I love how it has the slightest bit of grip, though. The serum doubles as a primer, if you ask me. Foundation glides and blends on so much more seamlessly. However, Cloud Jelly gives my complexion a juicy, plump glow that encourages me to skip base makeup most days.
All of Cloud Jelly's picnic-ready ingredients float in a rose-water base, which "goes back to our heritage of trying to sub in rose water and hydrosols whenever we can," Ewing says. Chock-full of antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, and B, it gives the serum additional "anti-inflammatory and antiseptic healing properties," according to Beverly Hills-based board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban.
The serum doesn't stop there to boost skin's radiance and smooth out its texture, Cloud Jelly also packs gentle exfoliants in the form of gluconolactone (a polyhydroxy acid) and radish root ferment filtrate, which is an antimicrobial, lactic acid derivative that "creates an acidic environment that restricts the growth of some unwanted microorganisms," Lam-Phaure notes. "It has also been shown to have some skin moisturization effects."
Only one oil made Cloud Jelly's ingredient list, though — moringa seed, to be specific — to make it more universal for all skin types and concerns. "We really wanted this to be a light texture and not so much a rich emulsion," Ewing explains. "We love that gel feel because it's super effective for dry skin and not overwhelming for oily or combo skin either."
As someone who simultaneously has the thirstiest-yet-oiliest skin while battling breakouts and sensitivity, I can attest to the powers of this fun pink serum. Every time I pat it onto my skin, the rosy-scented elixir transports me to a fantasy picnic land filled with sunshine and bunnies hopping around fields of flowers, even though I'm just heading to the dusty dog park down the street from my apartment. With spring weather vacillating between chilly and toasty, my skin has no idea what to do with itself, and Cloud Jelly is definitely assisting it with finding some sort of equilibrium.
Starting April 9, you can shop the Herbivore Cloud Jelly on sephora.com and herbivorebotanicals.com for $48.
Herbivore Cloud Jelly
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