“I don’t know if you’re into the [cottagecore] trend,” Herbivore’s director of product development, Jenni Ewing, tells Allure over Zoom, “[but] that was the inspiration behind the Herbivore Cloud Jelly – a beautiful picnic of nutrients for your skin.” As she’s saying this, she’s holding up a clear glass bottle filled with a dreamy petal pink fluid packed with hibiscus, peach, and strawberry extracts that really is the skin-care version of TikTok’s sought-after calming, nature, folksy, flowy-dress, Taylor Swift-soundtracked aesthetic.
Cloud Jelly’s botanical extracts help brighten skin while infusing it with free radical-fighting antioxidants. Strawberry extract, in particular, isn’t just a fun marketing ploy. It brings radiance-inducing vitamin C to the metaphorical picnic table, cosmetic chemist Laura Lam-Phaure tells Allure. “It can provide the skin with [smoothing] benefits and help reduce the appearance of blemishes,” she continues. Peach, on the other hand, adds fine line-reducing vitamin A to the medley, while hibiscus has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties with toning effects, Lam-Phaure adds.
The plumping serum’s gorgeous hue also comes from the delicious extracts and ties it into Herbivore’s beloved, perpetually-sold-out Pink Cloud line. In 2018, it debuted with the Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Cream, and a cleanser followed it in 2020. “The Pink Cloud Cleanser has been a runaway hit. We can’t even keep it in stock,” Ewing says. “We always have a demand for expanding into a regimen. So [Cloud Jelly] seemed like a natural fit.”
Like the duo that came before it, snow mushroom, aka Tremella fuciformis sporocarp extract, is a central ingredient in Cloud Jelly’s extremely hydrating formula. Ewing calls it the “plant version of hyaluronic acid,” which dermatologists, like New York City’s Dendy Engleman, can confirm is true. Not only does the mushroom help skin hold in moisture, but its particles are also “smaller than hyaluronic acid so it penetrates the skin more easily,” Engelman has told Allure. Snow mushroom has a gelatinous structure, too, according to cosmetic chemist Ginger King, so it puts the “jelly” in the serum’s name.
Cloud Jelly went through countless revisions to ensure it didn’t feel too sticky, Ewing points out. I love how it has the slightest bit of grip, though. The serum doubles as a primer, if you ask me. Foundation glides and blends on so much more seamlessly. However, Cloud Jelly gives my complexion a juicy, plump glow that encourages me to skip base makeup most days.