Italian goddess Sophia Loren famously said about her body, “everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” And during her heydey, when it came to her youthful, glowing face? Sure, she was known to slather olive oil on her skin as an all-natural moisturizer. But it was her use of mint leaves to combat under eye circles and bags that made headlines. While the iconic actress, who’s still gracing the silver screen in the 2020s, can certainly afford $150 wrinkle creams, the ingredients for her refreshing anti-aging can be found at any grocery store or grown in your own herb garden for just a few dollars.
And seeing as though the now 88-year-old Marriage, Italian Style actress’ eyes are nearly as smooth and youthful in her 80s as they were in her 20’s, we did a deep dive to figure out just how using mint has worked to Loren’s advantage.
How does mint combat skin aging?
“Mint leaves contain nutrients, minerals and antioxidants such as Vitamin C, magnesium and Vitamin A, all of which can work to brighten under eye areas, calm sensitive skin, lock in moisture, tighten pores and be beneficial to counteract discoloration from skin conditions,” explains California-based aesthetician Cassandra Bankson. “When used over time, the Vitamin A in the mint is fantastic for wrinkle reduction.” In fact, it’s often one of the key active ingredients in many pricey skincare creams and serums thanks to its ability to rejuvenate the skin and slow down the aging process.
Mint also contains menthol, which binds directly to receptors in the skin and provides a cooling sensation. Therefore, it is the main ingredient in many skin-soothing, calming and de-selling products. Its potent antioxidants help to combat the free radicals responsible for inflammation to help take down under eye swelling.
How to use mint leaves like Sophia Loren
The trick Sophia Loren used for young eyes: She crushed up mint leaves, placed the “paste” under the eyes and voila! Dark circles and puffiness were gone.
But before doing exactly what Loren did, Bankson warns: “The menthol in mint can be an irritant for many, especially when used in high amounts. It can also cause issues with vision,” she explains. Since the skin under our eyes is the most fragile and damage-prone on our face, we want to proceed with caution.
In order to DIY this mint leaf trick at home, there’s a way to do it that’s both safe and effective, affirms Bankson. She breaks it down, step-by-step.
- Take several fresh mint leaves and rinse well with water.
- Dry thoroughly by blotting with a paper towel.
- Remove the stems and crush leaves into a paste either by hand or with a food processor.
- Do a patch test to ensure you won’t suffer any redness or irritation by applying a small amount behind your ear. If no irritation occurs, proceed to the next step.
- Mix one part of your crushed mint with an equal amount of a “cosmetic vehicle” that helps the paste stay put on the skin and do its work. This could be anything from a thick glycerin gel (like petroleum jelly), your favorite face cream or a tacky eye cream. This also helps to dilute the mint, so it doesn’t go right onto the skin too harshly.
- Apply a small amount of the paste to the under eye area (avoid getting in the eyes!) and leave on for about ten minutes. Since it’s a natural remedy, it is technically safe enough to do daily, provided you can tolerate it without any irritation.
Don’t have the time to DIY?
There are also some products you can try that offer similar results as the crushed mint paste. You can try stick-on under eye patches like Flashpatch Rejuvenating Eye Gels which contain mint leaf extra (Buy from Ulta, $10.50), Physician’s Formula peppertmiint-infused Eye-Depuffer Stick (Buy from Amazon, $9.94) or a mint-based mask like Bliss Mint Chip Mania (Buy from Amazon, $37).
Given these beauty tricks are both budget-friendly and all-natural, it’s worth giving them a try. Those dark, puffy under eye circles will be gone faster than you can say “arrivederci!”
For more on Sophia Loren:
For more tried and true Old Hollywood beauty secrets:
Jené Luciani Sena is a veteran journalist and internationally-renowned bestselling author of The Bra Book: An Intimate Guide to Finding the Right Bra, Shapewear, Swimsuit, and More! and Get It!: A Beauty, Style, and Wellness Guide to Getting Your “It” Together. She’s also a style, bra and beauty expert regularly seen on shows like Access Hollywood and NBC’s Today.
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