As a child with an April birthday, I felt so hurt by the old saying, “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” I identified strongly with my birth month, and the idea that it was famous for rain was insulting to me. I felt personally slighted that this grand, glorious month I looked forward to each year was just “that rainy time” to some people.
Now that I’m older and wiser, and have more important things to worry about, I’ve let go a little bit of that frustration about poor April’s rep. I’ve actually come to appreciate the fact that April is known for rain, because rain is the process, the hard work, the important development that yields the flowers of life. Rain is not the end result, the showy flowers, like some Instagram-perfect photo. It isn’t always pretty, but it’s very, very necessary. Nothing grows without it.
In addition to my evolving feelings about April rain, May has become pretty special to me, too. My eldest child was born in May, making it the month I first became a mother. I think that’s pretty appropriate, as pregnancy is like April Showers, the hard work that comes before the blooms of May, aka the baby that results.
Plus, I really like flowers, and it’s true that May is generally when those flowers bankably appear. So this month, I want to celebrate those flowers, both literally and figuratively. We celebrate both the process and the result, the sweat and the Insta-Perfect photo finish.
In green beauty, literal flowers are an important ingredient— different flowers offer a variety of medicinal, healing effects, and many are used for aromatherapy. But also, in green beauty, where products are generally made by hand or painstakingly in small batches, the May flowers in this analogy are the finished product— the bottle of serum or jar of cream— and the April rains that go into them are, among other things, actual flowers, along with hard work, years of research, trial-and-error, and tons of testing.
Flowers don’t get enough attention. Beyond just looking pretty and smelling nice, their oils can heal your skin, change your mood, smooth your hair, or moisturize your face. Below, I chose eighteen flowers, each with a corresponding product that uses that flower, and each from a different brand, to bring to your attention as a celebration of spring.
There’s a lilac tree on my block in Brooklyn that blooms this time of year. I’m so glad Lotus Wei has captured it’s fragrant blossoms in their newest collection, Boundless Wisdom.
It’s all the rage lately, but for a really good reason. Blue Tansy is a miracle plant, and May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon is the OG BT product.
When I think of Lotus, I think of yoga and meditation, which is perfect for this masterpiece of a facial oil from beloved high-vibe brand Max and Me. It radiates light and peacefulness.
I’m always looking for hibiscus, both in life and in my skincare. In life, I like it for its cheerful, bright pink blossoms. In skincare, I like it for it’s skin-tightening properties, and it’s what gives Honua’s Cleansing Cream it’s gorgeous pink color.
Also known as Plumeria, the scent of Frangipani takes me back to high school and lazy summer days with my friends. Innersense Organic Beauty (COMING SOON!) has captured it PERFECTLY in their color-safe products, and I couldn’t love this line of haircare more if I tried!
One of my favorite metaphors— dandelion isn’t just a weed. It’s powerful, strong, and we’ve all made a wish on it’s feathery, white petals at least once. Josh Rosebrook uses it, among many other flowers and herbs, in his cult-favorite Hydrating Accelerator.
Is there anything as sensual as neroli? I had never heard of this flower until I got into Green Beauty, and now I know why it’s a staple of natural products. It smells incredible, and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love it. Same goes for Maya Chia’s body oil, The Revitalizer.
There are not enough gardenias in the world. I could smell gardenias all day and all night, taking me back to South Carolina summers as a kid. This new Smoothing Hair Balm from Rahua captures it effortlessly, through a special process called enfleurage.
Sorry, kids, but I have a favorite flower. I can’t help it. I love Jasmine, and Bohemia Verde Aromatic Hair Elixir from La Bella Figura captures it perfectly.
There are so many wonderful flowers to choose from among this powerhouse’s many, many active ingredients. But I chose Marigold to mention because it’s unusual, it’s different, and it makes me think of the marigolds my mother used to grow behind our house. Nothing beats childhood memories, and nothing beats this Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum. Like marigolds, it’s a classic.
Just because it’s common doesn’t make it any less special. Lavender might be everywhere, but that’s because it’s amazing. Both as aromatherapy and as a soothing ingredient, lavender is the most essential of essential oils, in my opinion, and one of my favorite places to find it is in these awesome Face Wipes by Ursa Major.
By any other name, would it smell as sweet? Who cares! It’s a rose, and it’s in Agent Nateur’s new toner, and I love it.
Amly knows how to use flowers, and they do so with so many, but I had to pick Juniper because I love the name, and I had to pick their incredible Digital Detox mist because who doesn’t need a digital detox?! Goodness knows I do!
With a name like Nap in the Meadow, you can’t help but think of flowers, but the one that stands out for me in EarthWise Beauty’s decadent serum is Geranium Rose. A popular element of skincare, this beauty shines in this serum.
It’s not just for tea, and it’s not just found in skincare. Chamomile is in makeup, too, like this palette I adore from Ere Perez.
SUNFLOWER (seed oil)
Shoutout to my sister who loves sunflowers. They can’t help but bring a smile to your face. And their seed oil is an important ingredient in one of my favorite Kypris products, Antioxidant Dew.
I couldn’t talk about the magic of whole plants and flowers without mentioning Laurel Whole Plant Organics. Laurel uses red clover in her Facial Balm: Transform Daily. This plant has historically been used to cure all kinds of ills from asthma to gout, but on your skin, it is famous for soothing eczema, psoriasis, and pretty much any irritation.
Leahlani Skincare brings the exotic plants and oils of Hawaii to your bathroom or vanity, and I love her Bless Balm so much because of the floral smell and gentle, healing moisture. I have a soft spot for orchids, and this balm makes me smile every time I smell it. And that’s what flowers are supposed to do, right?
Noticing the flowers in each of these products I use and love has definitely changed the way I think about the makeup and skincare I use. It has called my attention to the ingredients with a new twist. I like focusing on the power of plants and flowers, and I hope it gives you a fresh way to appreciate the hard work, research, and life that goes into making your favorite skincare. And maybe it will introduce you to a new flower– or product– you hadn’t known about before! May your life be full of literal flowers, and also the figurative blossoming of hard work coming into fruition this season.