Mother-of-pearl from French Brittany

Mon 05 Jul 2021 Blog


Mother-of-Pearl from French Brittany



Flagship ingredient at the heart of the Rodolphe&Co brand, Mother-of-Pearl is a real panacea for beauty. What are the benefits of mother-of-pearl in cosmetics? What are the origins of its use? Let us explain it all to you.



What is mother-of-pearl?


Mother-of-pearl is a biomineral. It is the iridescent coating biosynthesized by certain shellfish throughout their life. This coating lines the inside of the shell, constituting the smooth iridescent lining of mollusc shells, such as oysters for example.


Mother-of-pearl is also the material that constitutes pearls. They are formed from a grain of sand that penetrates inside the shell of the mollusc, which will then synthesize mother-of-pearl all around it in order to wrap it and form a pearl.



Why do we use mother-of-pearl?


Etymologically, the French word for mother-of-pearl - "nacre" - comes from the Arabic word "naqqarah" or the Persian one "nakkar" which means beautiful and shimmering. It is a material that has been used since Antiquity in traditional Egyptian, Asian and Native American pharmacopoeia:


  • The Mayans were the first to use it for its hardness and its similarity to the tissues of teeth, in order to make dental implants
  • Chinese Empresses have been using mother-of-pearl for 2000 years as an ointment to keep the skin smooth and white, and to fight against wrinkles
  • The Egyptians used it to heal war wounds
  • In general, mother-of-pearl was also used by these civilizations to prevent and soothe sun burns



What are the properties of mother-of-pearl?


In cosmetics, mother-of-pearl has regenerative properties:

  • It stimulates bone regeneration and wound healing
  • It remineralizes and acts as an anti-aging agent thanks to its high calcium concentration
  • It stimulates cell renewal thanks to its richness in cellular proteins similar to collagen
  • It acts as a light reflector when ground fine enough
  • It has antioxidant properties



How is mother-of-pearl harvested at Rodolphe&Co?


At Rodolphe&Co, mother-of-pearl is harvested during family walks on the beach, on the peninsula of Quiberon in French Brittany. Indeed, Ecocert does not allow the use of mother-of-pearl from agriculture: ours is harvested in the wild life, from the empty shells that are washed up on the beach.


The pearly part is then extracted by a biotechnological process certified by Ecocert, then assembled with other natural components to be transformed into BIONACRE. This same Bionacre that you find in our Rodolphe&Co hair care products.





Where can I find the Rodolphe&Co products with mother-of-pearl?


Bionacre is present in all of our water-based products, such as the shampoos, the Hydrating Hair Mask, the Mineral Colours… It is particularly visible in the Pearly Gel, a particularly shiny leave-in detangling hair gel.


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