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Asian Skincare Ingredients 101: Bamboo

A legendary and culturally significant plant in Asia, bamboo represents longevity, integrity, and resilience. The practical uses for this unassumingly strong and flexible plant are endless: its tender shoots are eaten in Asian cuisines, its fibers are woven into durable textile, and its stalks are used in construction and architecture. Given its unparalleled versatility and sustainability, it should come as no surprise that bamboo is also an increasingly prominent ingredient in Asian skincare. Bamboo’s silent strength becomes its beauty, an insightful glimpse into the Asian values that connect simplicity and elegance together.

In recent years, bamboo has received much hype as a skincare ingredient within Asian Beauty communities, especially within the KBeauty sphere; now, bamboo skincare is improving complexions worldwide. Let’s take a closer look at the skincare benefits of bamboo, different forms of bamboo within skincare, and our favorite skin-strengthening products that highlight bamboo!

Skincare Benefits of Bamboo

Depending on the specific species, parts, and development stages of bamboo, studies show that bamboo can contain high natural silica content as well as bioactive compounds like amino acids (alanine, aspartate, glutamine, glycine, and more) and flavonoids (catechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and p-coumaric acid). Much in the same way that it allows bamboo to grow into a strong, flexible, and resilient plant, the essential mineral silica provides similar properties for the human body in regards to collagen production. Without silica as a glue and strengthener of connective tissues, the skin cannot rebuild collagen, and its cell renewal function would be greatly inhibited. As such, the supplementation of natural silica from bamboo increases skin elasticity and hydration. Amino acids and flavonoids present in bamboo also exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activity, with the flavonoid compounds in particular demonstrating potential for brightening skin.

If you want the midway tl;dr, here’s a rundown of what bamboo can do:
  • Strengthen and heal skin
  • Increase collagen production and improve skin elasticity
  • Soothe irritation and protect skin from environmental stressors
  • Hydrate and brighten skin


When looking for bamboo in an ingredients list, you may notice that it can come in many different forms: bamboo shoot extract, bamboo leaf extract, bamboo bark extract, bamboo water, and more. While not much research has been conducted on the differences in composition amongst these specific forms of bamboo in skincare, bamboo extracts in general are rich in antioxidants to target oxidative stress in skin.

Best Bamboo Products

KEEP COOL Soothe Bamboo Serum

KEEP COOL Soothe Bamboo Serum

KEEP COOL’s entire Soothe Bamboo line is drool-worthy, but if we had to pick just a single breakout star (that ironically helps breakouts by strengthening the skin barrier against external irritants), we just have to spotlight their Soothe Bamboo Serum! If you have extremely sensitive skin that is prone to irritation, trust in this EWG green grade-certified serum to protect your skin.

It’s formulated with a whopping 66% bamboo water, a much welcome change from the purified water-heavy serums we often see on the market. Mineral- and amino acid-rich bamboo water immediately cools down and deeply nourishes the skin, and its natural soothing properties are further enhanced by the addition of 4.5% centella asiatica extract. Toss low molecular weight hyaluronic acid and centella-extracted madecassoside into the mix too, and you’ve got a holy grail on your hands. This concoction of wound-healing and hydrating ingredients creates the perfect serum for repairing and strengthening a damaged skin barrier.

Haruharu WONDER Black Bamboo Mist

Haruharu WONDER Black Bamboo Mist

The antioxidant properties of bamboo are impressive to begin with, but Haruharu WONDER amps up the antioxidant activity in black bamboo bark and leaf extracts with their special fermentation process in their Black Bamboo Mist. The results from Haruharu WONDER’s research were jaw-dropping: after fermenting black bamboo, polyphenols more than doubled and the tyrosine inhibitory ability nearly tripled. The fermented black bamboo centered in this ultra-fine hydrating mist is therefore promising for skin photoprotection and anti-melanogenesis, or in simpler terms, evening and brightening skin tone.

Aside from the fermented black bamboo extracts, Haruharu WONDER also incorporates other hanbang ingredients such as the anti-inflammatory agent Korean pasque flower, and humectants like betaine and beta-glucan for a well-rounded mist that effectively targets dehydration and irritation. Check out Anthony Harper’s glowing review on the Black Bamboo Mist here!

23.5°N Bamboo Ultra Hydrating Gel Mask

23.5°N Bamboo Ultra Hydrating Gel Mask

Whereas KEEP COOL sources its bamboo water from Damyang county in South Korea, Taiwanese beauty brand 23.5°N sources its bamboo shoot extract from Zhushan Township in Nantou County, Taiwan!

All of the products in 23.5°N’s Bamboo Ultra Hydrating series are incredibly minimalist when it comes to their ingredients list, which really enables the bamboo shoot extract to shine with its hydrating properties. And when we say incredibly minimalist, we’re not kidding—their Bamboo Ultra Hydrating Gel Mask consists of only nine other ingredients. Among those are three types of hyaluronic acid to deliver long-lasting hydration, as well as cucumber extract to support the acid mantle and royal jelly extract to boost collagen production.

You can use this gel mask as a daily overnight moisturizer by applying just a blueberry-sized amount to your face, or you can use this as an intensive treatment by applying an even layer over your face and washing it off with lukewarm waterafter 15 minutes.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a natural and sustainable skincare ingredient that can do everything from hydrating and smoothing to strengthening and calming, look no further than this miracle plant!

What better way for our skin to gain the strong and resilient nature of bamboo than to incorporate it into our skincare? Bamboo’s high antioxidant activity, nourishing compounds, and healing properties make it one of our favorite skincare ingredients in Asian Beauty.