I am seeing daffodils everywhere. This isn’t just because they are being peddled by every corner deli in the city as a cheerful reminder that spring has started. Nor because this is a week of Daffodil Days to raise awareness for cancer charities. Cosmetics are trumpeting the daffodil’s antiaging and skincare prowess. Typically, daffodils in potions and lotions go by the name of narcissus tazetta and you will find the bulb extract in Nu Skin’s ageLOC skincare system, Heidi Klum’s In An Instant products and Estee Lauder’s Perfectionist (CP+).

Much to my surprise, daffodils come with a lot of folklore and not much science. Ironically, for the symbol of cancer research, there isn’t all that much research on narcissus tazetta’s claims to antoxidant prowess. One of the few I could find is a Chinese study, which showed it to be antioxidant. I don’t really know if science has simply neglected the daffodil bulb because there are just too many other botanical antioxidants to get excited about, or if its just that great.

There is some evidence that the antioxidant effects of narcissus may be due to the presence of lycorine. This seems to be one of those frenemy things as lycorine is also highly toxic and probably the reason why the only thing that the deer visiting my property do not devastate are the daffodils. Basically, the daffodil bulb is poisonous. It is not unknown for people who want to induce vomiting to take daffodil powder.

Now this lycorine, or whatever it is that stops cell proliferation are the same inhibitors will slow down the growth of unwanted hair. At least according to Bliss, which uses narcissus tazetta extract in Bliss Get Out Of Hair. Again, there isn’t much research on narcissus tazetta and the hair arresting claims seem to come from the company that sells IBR Dormin, about which it claims there is a dose dependent reduction of shaft hair elongation when IBR Dormin was applied. Apparently, it also induces the hair into the catagen stage of the hair cycle – the period where the old hair ceases to grow and gets ready to shed.

When I first looked at Get Out Of Hair, I found that narcissus was also in a shampoo by Aveda. This seems a little paradoxical unless it’s targeted at a rare demographic that wants to prevent hair growth on the head.