Tulip Is the New Natural Beauty Ingredient—That Works

Marie Claire - October 2019

Marie Claire - October 2019

Blond and cheerful, van Haaster is brimming with tulip trivia. Did you know there are more than 3,000 varieties? And that they all continue to grow after they’re cut? (A vase of evenly trimmed tulips looks floppy the next day because the stems are no longer the same length.) Did you know that some bulbs are edible? And that a rare one sold for the cost of a house in 1637? Van Haaster knows all that. But it took a chance meeting with an Aussie beauty executive on a dance floor in Ibiza to eventually discover this: Tulips have beautifying powers too.

The Aussie was Kim Jensen, and she and van Haaster have since become a couple. In 2017, when they moved in together in Amsterdam, Jensen was developing a new beauty line, and her beau suggested she consider his family’s famous flowers as a potential ingredient. She initially brushed off the idea. “It was too perfect,” she says. “Like, what are the chances? They’re beautiful! Colorful! No one has used them in beauty products yet. And I’m living in the Netherlands, dating a guy with generations of connections in the tulip world?” It was worth investigating.

With the help of a Dutch government grant, Jensen and her business partner, Monica Aurigemma, funded a study. Lo and behold, tulip extract is pretty fabulous for your complexion. The reason the flowers keep growing after they’re snipped is an abundance of auxin, a plant hormone that promotes cellular growth and helps with collagen production. The duo worked with a cosmetics lab to extract all that goodness and whip it into a complex of amino acids, antioxidants, and humectants that became the basis for their line, Bloomeffects.

After I tour Keukenhof with van Haaster, we drive to one of his family’s fields for a party celebrating the launch of the company. There, Jensen and I discuss the brand’s first four products: a cleanser; a lip and cheek tint; Dutch Dirt Mask, which exfoliates with a dose of the country’s mineral-rich soil; and a personal favorite for my sensitive skin, Royal Tulip Nectar, a jelly-like hydrating balm with skin-healing powers.