Pearl, My Favorite Spice

By Minji

  • I keep pearl powder in my spice rack and use it every morning in my coffee
  • Pearl powder contains amino acids, various trace minerals and calcium
  • Although not verified and different for everyone, proponents believe it can help your skin glow

Of all of the potent, aromatic and pungent substances displayed in my spice rack, my favorite by far is pearl powder.  I reach for it every day, maybe more often than salt or pepper.  I know, I’m pretty sure pearl powder technically isn’t considered a spice, but I keep it with my other enchanting spice powders, and it’s my favorite one. 

I first discovered pearl powder a few years back when a ton of beauty supplements and powders started to flood the market.  I’m not big on supplements and find them still very confusing at times.  But mostly for fun, I decided to try one called “beauty dust” – hard to resist such a name!  With the caveat that different people will have different results and reactions, I have to admit I personally liked it.  As subtle as it was, I felt that a half-teaspoon of this dusty powder in my coffee every morning was indeed enhancing my complexion.

The only problem was the price to be paid – I couldn’t bring myself to regularly dish out close to $40 for a small jar of what I considered a “spice.”  So instead of stocking up and blindly buying more jars of dust, I investigated its ingredients.  Most ingredients looked pretty standard, but I was surprised to find pearl powder listed as one of the key elements.  Up to then, I thought pearls were for wearing, not eating.  But as odd as it was, the thought of ingesting this beautiful shiny powder appealed to me and I probed deeper.

I found that traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have long used pearl powder, both in ingested form and also as topical powder on your skin.  Apparently, Cleopatra loved pearl powder too, in addition to her beloved olive oil when it came to skincare. 

Pearl powder contains a number of amino acids, various trace minerals, and a high level of calcium.  Proponents of pearl powder believe it can help stimulate the body's natural collagen, even out skin tone, and help with hair, skin, and nails overall.  Pearl powder is generally considered safe, but like most other spices and ingredients in life, some people do experience allergic reactions, so always a good idea to patch test first.  Especially if you have sensitive or allergic skin, do a patch test on the side of your neck, upper part of your inner arm or even a small area on your chin or cheek before you ingest or apply any new ingredients to your entire face.  Of course, as with most beauty supplements and remedies out there, remember that pearl powder has a limited amount of current scientific research behind it and is not tested by the FDA.    

The way I usually incorporate pearl into my diet is by sprinkling a small pinch (a little less than half a teaspoon) into my morning coffee.  It gently adds the tiniest bit of sparkle to cheer up my cup of joe and barely has any flavor – I personally can’t taste it at all.  I also love adding a tiny bit to my face oil at night if I have the energy and time.  Again, I just take a pinch of the powder, then add 2-3 drops of my homemade face oil to it, rub in my palms and pat on my face, neck and hands.  Not only does it add a shimmer, it makes my nighttime ritual feel a tad bit more luxurious!