Organic skincare

Licorice in Skincare – Complete Guide

Licorice is a powerful pigment correct. It is derived from the licorice plant and can be classified as organic and natural. Licorice root also acts as a antioxidant that helps to fight free radicals.

  • Antioxidant: licorice can help to fight free radicals. It can protect the skin against the pigment caused by UVB.
  • Treats acne. It also has anti-bacterial properties that can help with acne.
  • Helps with hyperpigmentation: Licorice root can help with skin pigmentation, melasma, acne, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, uneven texture, and dull skin.
  • Anti-inflammatory: It can help with inflammation and redness.
  • Brighten skin: It also brightens the skin.

Who all can use it?

Licorice is suitable for skin type including sensitive skin and skin of colour. If you have super-sensitive skin, opt for a licorice cream rather than a serum.

It can also be used by people who wants to treat melasma, hyperpigmentation, and other forms of pigments.

Licorice can be used as a alternative to hydroquinone.

What skincare ingredients can I combine licorice with?

  • Retinol
  • Vitamin C
  • Niacinamide
  • Arbutin
  • Alpha Arbutin
  • Bearberry
  • Kojic acid (can be irritating)
  • Other pigment inhibitors.

Note: do not combine licorice with hydroquinone as the combination can be irritating.

How to choose the best licorice products?

Licorice has water-soluble and oil-soluble properties. The water-soluble one is good for reducing inflammation whereas, the oil-soluble one is good for brightening.

Licorice can appear on ingredient labels in different forms. The most common forms you will see is : Glycyeehiza glabra, Dispotassium Glycyrrhizate, and Glabridin.

Glycyrrhizin is a water-soluble form that helps to reduce inflammation. Glabridin is an oil-soluble form that is good for brightening.

When you’re looking for licorice root extract, it’s really difficult to know the quality of that extract by looking at the ingredient list. Some suppliers can give you really diluted extracts that won’t have an effect on your skin whereas, other suppliers can give potent ones.

Make sure to look for other effective ingredients along with that licorice extract, so the product will benefit you.

How to add licorice to my skincare routine?

Some things to consider before using licorice:

  • Make sure to conduct a test patch.
  • For normal skin, you can go from Vitamin A (retinol), B (niacinamide), and C (ascorbic acid). For sensitive skin and skin of color, start with niacinamide and go to other skincare actives like retinol and vitamin C.
  • Chemical exfoliants should be used only at night and 1-2 times a week.
  • Licorice can be used in the morning or at the night.
  • Sunscreen is the last step in your skincare routine.
  • Make sure to read the packaging and follow the instructions on how to use it.

Morning routine:

  • Cleanser
  • Toner (optional)
  • Apply your skincare actives such as niacinamide or vitamin C and you can combine it with your licorice product.
  • Moisturize and then apply sunscreen.

Night routine:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner is optional
  3. Apply your AHA/BHA/PHAs
  4. Wait for 30 mins and then apply your skincare actives such as niacinamide, vitamin C, or retinol and you can combine it with your licorice product.
  • Tip 1: you can try to use derivatives of Vitamin C or Retinol together with licorice at night but do be cautious. Or just use niacinamide with the licorice at night.
  • Tip 2: Since you’re using AHA/BHA/PHAs 1-2 times a week, you can modify your skincare actives such as Vitamin C or Retinol. For example:
    • Alternate nights: on 1st night you can use your AHA with retinol along with licorice. On 2nd night you can use your AHA with Vitamin C along with licorice.

Important note:

This routine is mainly an example on how you can mix your actives with hydroxy acids by avoiding irritation. We would recommend starting one active at a time. There are other ways you can use these ingredients. Always consult a dermatologist when it comes to skincare.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is licorice safe for pregnancy?

Licorice extract is said to be safe for pregnancy, but still do make sure to consult a dermatologist about this ingredient.