There is perhaps no other naturally-occurring substance on earth as complex and versatile as the humble mushroom. Depending on the species, the fruiting body of a fungus can kill you, finish off a delectable beef stroganoff, or make you smell colors, taste sounds, and find personal meaning and spiritual significance in this irrevocably damaged world. (Or, on the other hand, send you spiraling down a dark existential rabbit hole — it's a game of chance, really.)
When they're not helping you meet God or turning you into a forager's cautionary tale, mushrooms are also packed with nutritional and medicinal value: Some fungus varietals produce active compounds that have been used in the integrative treatment of cancer and as potent antibiotics, and even your store-bought shiitakes are rich in antioxidants, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium, which helps fight inflammation.
Now, taking advantage of the so-called superfood's health perks has never been easier, with pills and powders and smoothie shops bringing them to the wellness-minded mainstream. (It's worth noting that the Western world is a few millennia late to this trend: The use of various mushrooms in traditional Chinese medicine predates recorded history.)
Those same components are now making their way into the beauty realm, promising a side of smaller pores and improved moisture retention to complement your clearer head and closer proximity to nirvana. Mushrooms are skin care's not-so-new magic ingredient — and you don't need to "know a guy" to reap their benefits with these eight formulas.