How to Use Licorice Root for Skin Brightening

Home » Skin Care » How to Use Licorice Root for Skin Brightening

This post is all about how to use licorice root for skin lightening.

how to use licorice root for skin

Licorice has been used for 4,000 years across many different cultures due to its health and skincare benefits. It is used as a fundamental herb in traditional Chinese medicine as well as by the Japanese geishas (traditional Japanese entertainers) as a whitening cosmetic. Curiously it was also found in King Tut’s tomb in Egypt.

The image below shows three Japanese geishas who use licorice root powder for skin whitening. Many skin whitening creams containing licorice since it is a natural alternative to chemicals. I investigated what benefits licorice has for the skin.

how to use licorice root for skin - image shows Japanese geishas who use skin whitening cream

The secret to licorice’s sought-after health and beauty benefits lies within the plant’s root. In order to prepare licorice for use in skin care the root is removed from the plant and melted. During the boiling process the water is drained and two important parts of the root are extracted: Glycyrrhizin acid and Glabridin.

Glycyrrhizin is what give Licorice its distinct flavour. Glabridin is known for its medicinal properties and has been used to help treat hepatitis, stomach ulcers and congestion. The two mixed together form a syrup or powder that can be used in beauty treatments.

Why is Licorice Used in Beauty Treatments?

Glycyrrhizin is anti-inflammatory, which means it helps to reduce any skin redness or irritation. It is also an antioxidant so it protects the skin from free radicals. Glabridin causes skin whitening and reduces dark spots by inhibiting the enzyme Tyrosinase which causes pigmentation.

Some of the main benefits licorice has for the skin include:

1. To Reduce Dark Spots

Licorice can restore your skin to a lighter colour when it is applied to a darkened area and it is therefore often added to skin whitening creams. It is useful if you suffer from hyperpigmentation or melasma. Licorice is a natural treatment for dark spots as you are able to lighten your skin without using chemicals. Glabridin also stops the skin from darkening after sun exposure. Interestingly licorice also contains some UV blocking enzymes so it helps to protect your skin from damage caused by the sun. It blocks melanin production and evens out skin tone.

2. To Reduce Inflammation

Since licorice has anti-inflammatory properties it has been used to treat a number of conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. It helps to reduce swelling, itching or burning. Some patients suffering with eczema also drink licorice tea as well as applying licorice cream in order to reduce their symptoms.

3. To Increase the Skin’s Elasticity

Licorice helps to stimulate elastin and collagen production which makes the skin bouncier and more elastic. It also moisturises and rehydrates the skin making it appear plumper and healthier.

4. To Control Oil Production

Licorice helps to control oil production and therefore reduces acne. It also reduces any redness caused by rosacea and helps the skin to heal faster.

How Can I Make a Licorice Root Mask?

It is very simple to make a licorice root mask with just licorice root powder and Aloe Vera gel. I recommend Davis Finest Liquorice Root Powder and Ransom Aloe Pura Aloe Vera Gel.

Davis Finest Liquorice Root Powder is a natural, vegan skin lightening alternative to hydroquinone. The Davis Finest powder is excellent quality and my first choice for homemade skin care. Aloe and licorice make an excellent combination since aloe is also extremely soothing and moisturising.

To make the mask mix the two ingredients together until they form a paste and then apply it to your skin. Leave for 30 minutes before washing off.

Perfect ingredient for a skin whitening cream
Make skin whitening cream with aloe

The Aloe Pura Aloe Vera Gel is soothing and cooling for the skin. It is made with 100% organic aloe vera.

Ransom Aloe Pura Aloe Vera Gel 100ml
  • Soothing, restoring, moisturising and nourishing
  • 99.9 Percent bio active aloe vera
  • An intensive skin care
  • Made with purest organic aloe vera
  • Helps hydrate dry and sensitive skin

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Davis Finest Liquorice Root Powder, Natural Skin Lightening, Whitening, Face Brightening...
  • NATURAL FACE LIGHTENING: liquorice root powder is a natural vegan skin lightening alternative to...
  • SKIN BRIGHTENING: liquorice root contains glabridin known for its skin brightening properties and...
  • EVEN SKIN TONE: pure liquorice powder for skin gives an even balanced skintone and frequent use will...
  • ITCHY DRY SKIN RELIEF: the liquorice root contains anti-inflammatory properties beneficial to...
  • SUITABLE TO ALL SKIN TYPES: liquorice root powder is a naturally organic vegan product containing no...

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The first licorice beauty product I tried was the ACWELL Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner. ACWELL is a Korean brand and this toner has become a cult favourite in the Korean beauty world. The toner contains a high concentration of licorice and has a pH of 5.5 making it very effective at balancing and calming your skin.

It was recommended as part of the k-beauty trend to achieve “honey skin” and is used alongside Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence. It is best to use both products together as they each enhance the other’s effectiveness. I used the licorice toner twice a day followed by the fermented essence. After a couple of weeks I could see my skin was left brighter with a slight glow.

how to use licorice root for skin
Acwell Toner
how to use licorice root for skin
Neogen Essence
ACWELL 5.5 Licorice PH Balancing Cleansing Toner 5.1 Oz. Make-Up Remover
  • Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner balances the pH level of the skin and helps the skin to...
  • Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner contains Licorice (10%), which improves skin...
  • PH 5.5 is ideal for non-irritating and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Deep...
  • Contains Green tea extract to calm and reduce pigmentation, acne scars, and dark spots. (Reduces...

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Neogen Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro Essence Premium, 150 ml, Pack of 1
  • Real Ferment Micro Essence. Formulated with over 90% skin-compatible natural fermented ingredients...
  • Total solution stimulates promotion of the skin’s natural cell energy to create tighter, hydrated,...
  • Brightening & Anti-aging. Fermented Energy & High- Performance Ingredients deliver double impact of...
  • Strengthens the skin’s barrier for increased defence and protection against irritants and...
  • Increases Skin Elasticity. Moisture Balancing. Anti-Oxidant Benefits. Anti-Septic Benefits....

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you enjoyed this post on licorice benefits for the skin and are looking for other recipes for homemade beauty products you may find the following posts helpful:

Licorice Root FAQs

Does licorice root lighten skin?

Licorice lightens skin naturally. It contains Glabridin which inhibits the enzyme Tyrosinase which causes pigmentation

How long does licorice take to lighten skin?

Any skin redness will start to go down after 1-2 days but for skin lightening you should wait for about a month. This is because the skin’s renewal process takes time. You should use the licorice mask consistently (once every couple of days) for at least 28 days before you start to see results.

How can I use licorice to whiten my skin?

Use licorice regularly in your skincare routine and allow at least a month for results to start showing. You can use the licorice mask in this post or a licorice toner which will gradually whiten your skin over time. After a few months you will have a noticeably even skin tone.

Is licorice good for skin?

Yes. Licorice has many benefits for the skin. It is extremely soothing and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also an anti-oxidant and contains natural UV filters.

Olivia Herlihy

Olivia is the owner of UK Beauty Room and founder three other successful websites. She gained an online following after creating a natural haircare routine which completely transformed her hair. Olivia has since written an eBook on Ayurvedic hair care to help others use the same formula to improve their own hair.

Find me on: Web



  1. May 19, 2020 / 3:40 pm

    Thanks for the great post. Really interesting. I had no idea that licorice could do so much! I will definitely check this out. ( especially for dark circles.). Plus no harsh chemicals to damage the skin.

  2. Danielle Coviello
    February 26, 2021 / 2:40 am

    Is it possible to lighten dark spots without lighting the whole face?

    • April 12, 2021 / 12:58 pm

      Yes, you can use the aloe and licorice mask as a targeted treatment and only apply it to specific areas of the face. I did this last summer when I wanted to lighten some sun spots on my cheeks. 🙂

  3. March 11, 2021 / 9:31 am

    I love this. I have no idea about licorice root. After reading this i will follows this for my skin brightening and i hope it sounds good on my skin. Thanks and keep sharnig amazing article.

  4. Deborah
    March 29, 2021 / 6:55 pm

    Hi how much of each ingredient do you use?

    • April 12, 2021 / 12:53 pm

      Hi Deborah, For every spoonful of the aloe gel I added two spoons of licorice powder but I wanted the mask to be quite thick and completely saturated with licorice. You can add a bit less if it’s too thick for you. :-). Olivia

  5. June 6, 2021 / 2:53 pm

    I love licorice! We use it in India even for treating hormonal imbalance!
    Thanks for the amazing benefits!

    • Amina
      September 9, 2021 / 8:11 pm

      Really how is that used

  6. Marlene
    July 19, 2021 / 10:57 pm

    I have liquid licorice. I started to use it for dark spots.
    I just applied a few drops to the dark areas and leave it overnight.
    But can I use it during the day too?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

UK Beauty Room is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.