There to teach me everything I needed to know about these gorgeous blooms was my tutor Kim Jensen, an unlikely candidate to be the world’s foremost authority on tulips in beauty. She was born and raised in Australia.
Her parents met in a refugee camp in Thailand. She has spent much of her adult life in Manhattan. “I never imagined I would become an expert in tulips,” she told me as we stood in a sprawling field of them, minutes outside of Amsterdam.
I joined Instagram while visiting Holland at its most Instagrammable time: during the six weeks each year that the country becomes a rainbow checkerboard of tulip fields. Here are things I now know about these highly-photographable flowers. (I will impart my new understanding of bikes and canals at a later date.) 1. They are one of the only flowers that keeps growing – up to an inch or more – after you cut them. 2. They can hold their entire weight in water. 3. They have up to seven times more DNA than humans.
To understand how this came to be, we need to take a quick detour to Ibiza. There, three years ago, on the last night of a girls trip, Jensen met a guy on the dance floor. This was clearly not the beginning of a beautiful long-term relationship (because: Ibiza, dance floor, vacation over). And then…it was. That guy turned out to be a fourth-generation Dutch tulip farmer. So now Jensen lives in the Netherlands with Hein Van Haaster (told you he was Dutch), and she’s found a way to marry their worlds. In Jensen’s old life, she was a beauty marketing executive. In her new one, she’s created Bloomeffects, a skin-care line (with a little makeup) that – for the first time ever – includes tulip extracts.
So cute, right? But also no joke. Before she considered formulating anything, Jensen got a grant from the Dutch government to study every single part of this flower for potential beauty benefits. Twelve months later, what do you know: Tulips are rich in collagen-building amino acids (red and pink flowers produce more than the others) as well as moisturising, plumping humectants.
With that data in hand, it’s game on: “We’re going up against the rose,” says Jensen. Her initial arsenal is small but mighty: a cleansing jelly; a moisturiser that starts as a thick ointment and transforms into a silky, skin-quenching serum; a pore-purging mask made with Dutch peat and flower acids; and a petal pink lip and cheek tint. Everything is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes, and fragrances and packaged in glass and aluminum (no plastic here). And with their first collaboration out in the world this month, Jensen and Van Haaster will welcome one more baby this year – a little girl due in December, while the tulip fields are sleeping.