Nepeta Cataria: What Is It, Skin & Hair Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: June 5, 2023
Table of Contents

Picture this: You’re standing in the skincare aisle, scanning the ingredients list on your latest must-have cosmetic product. But let’s be honest, it’s basically like reading hieroglyphics (I mean, who among us can actually decipher it without a degree in chemistry?). One such ingredient that might pop up and leave you scratching your head is Nepeta Cataria. Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? Also, kind of fancy for catnip, because that’s actually what it is. (Yep, the same stuff that sends your feline friends into a frenzy.)

Fear not, ingredient-obsessed friends, because we’re dedicating this article to diving deep into the world of Nepeta Cataria. We’ll be exploring its benefits, potential side effects, and how this botanical powerhouse might just be the under-the-radar gem your self-care routine has been craving. So, buckle up and let’s journey into the realm of Nepeta Cataria together!

What is Nepeta Cataria?

In a cosmetic context, Nepeta Cataria is a natural ingredient that’s derived from the dried, cut plant material of catnip (yes, that same catnip). Also known as Catmint, Catnep, or Catswort, this versatile botanical is often used in skincare and hair care products thanks to its tonic properties. It generally helps to invigorate, tone, and refresh the skin and hair, giving it that extra oomph we all crave. While it’s commonly found as part of a wider formulation of ingredients, it may also be available as a stand-alone product in some cases.

Who Can Use Nepeta Cataria?

The good news is that Nepeta Cataria is typically suitable for most skin types, making it a fantastic addition to many people’s beauty regimens. This includes those with sensitive, oily, dry, or combination skin. Additionally, because it’s a plant-derived ingredient, it is both vegan and vegetarian-friendly, so it’s an animal-friendly choice for all the conscious beauties out there.

As for expectant mothers or those who are breastfeeding, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new ingredient into your skincare or hair care routine. While Nepeta Cataria is natural and generally well-tolerated, individual reactions may vary, and it’s better to err on the side of caution during these delicate stages of life.

Nepeta Cataria Skin Benefits

  • Toning and revitalizing: One of the primary functions of Nepeta Cataria is its efficacy as a tonic agent. Its natural properties help to rejuvenate the skin, giving it a fresh and radiant appearance. This botanical stimulant is known to awaken tired skin and improve its overall texture and tone, resulting in a more refreshed and revitalized complexion.
  • Soothing irritated skin: Nepeta Cataria’s botanical essence can provide a calming effect on the skin. It’s particularly helpful for those dealing with redness or inflammation, as it gently soothes irritation while promoting healthy skin regeneration.
  • Balancing oil production: When used topically, Nepeta Cataria has a balancing effect on the skin’s natural oil production. This proves beneficial for those with oily or combination skin, as it helps to achieve a more balanced complexion without leaving the skin feeling tight or overly dry.

It’s essential to understand that the beneficial effects of Nepeta Cataria on the skin are not permanent and must be sustained through regular use of products containing this ingredient for continued improvement.

Nepeta Cataria Hair Benefits

  • Energizing the scalp: Nepeta Cataria’s tonic properties extend to the hair as well, making it an incredible ingredient for energizing the scalp. The invigorating effects help to stimulate blood circulation and promote a healthier, more nourished scalp environment.
  • Balancing scalp oil production: Just as it does for the skin, Nepeta Cataria works wonders in balancing the scalp’s natural oil production. This can come in handy for those struggling with oily roots, as it helps to maintain a balanced and healthy scalp condition without drying it out.
  • Enhancing hair gloss and vitality: Thanks to its toning benefits, Nepeta Cataria has a positive effect on hair appearance as well. It is known to improve hair gloss and vitality, resulting in shinier, more vibrant locks that even Rapunzel would envy.

Keep in mind that, similar to its effects on the skin, the hair benefits of Nepeta Cataria are not permanent. Consistent use of hair care products featuring this ingredient is necessary to maintain its advantageous impact on your tresses.

Nepeta Cataria Potential Side Effects

While Nepeta Cataria is generally considered a safe and effective ingredient, individual reactions may vary. The side effects experienced can differ from person to person due to factors such as skin type, sensitivities, and allergies. To better understand your unique complexion, don’t hesitate to find your skin type to help tailor your skincare routine accordingly.

Possible side effects and potential interactions with Nepeta Cataria may include:

  • Skin irritation: Although rare, some individuals may experience redness, itching, or general discomfort when using products containing Nepeta Cataria.
  • Allergic reactions: In some instances, people who are allergic to plants in the Labiatae family or have a known sensitivity to catnip might develop an allergic reaction to Nepeta Cataria.

Suppose you experience any of these side effects while using a product containing Nepeta Cataria. In that case, it is advised to discontinue use immediately and consult your healthcare professional or dermatologist for guidance. They will be able to help pinpoint the cause of the reaction and recommend alternative products that may be better suited for your skin type.

It’s important to note that while adverse reactions to Nepeta Cataria are uncommon, the ingredient is generally considered safe and effective for most individuals. However, to ensure your skincare experience is a positive one, embracing the practice of patch testing is invaluable. Consult this thorough patch-testing guide to make sure your skin agrees with any new products you introduce into your routine.

Comedogenic Rating

Nepeta Cataria has a comedogenic rating of 1, which means it is very unlikely to clog pores and cause breakouts. This low rating is due to the plant’s balancing effect on oil production, as well as its gentle, soothing nature. As a result, Nepeta Cataria is considered suitable for individuals with acne-prone or breakout-prone skin, as it is unlikely to exacerbate their conditions.


Like any foray into the world of skincare and haircare, finding the products and ingredients that work best for your unique needs involves experimentation and a degree of trial and error. Many individuals might choose to opt for products containing Nepeta Cataria due to its low comedogenic rating, gentle nature, and various skin and hair benefits.

Despite its range of beneficial effects, Nepeta Cataria remains a somewhat under-the-radar ingredient in the world of cosmetics. However, those who take the chance on this botanical gem may just discover their new skincare and haircare secret weapon.

Results from using Nepeta Cataria can vary depending on factors like individual biology, frequency of use, and the concentration of the ingredient in the chosen product. However, regular and consistent use should typically yield noticeable improvements over a period of several weeks.

In conclusion, Nepeta Cataria offers a host of benefits for both skin and hair, with a low risk of adverse effects or pore-clogging concerns. As with any new product or ingredient, it’s always a journey of discovering what works best for your unique skin and hair needs. So, keep exploring and feel empowered by the knowledge gained through delving into the fascinating world of cosmetics ingredients like Nepeta Cataria.

Tell us how you found this article in just a couple of clicks!
Delivered right to your inbox each week. Zero spam, all goodness, opt-out at anytime.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
How did you find this article?
Tell us how you found this article in just a couple of clicks!
Get all our top headlines in beauty.
Delivered right to your inbox each week. Zero spam, all goodness, opt-out at anytime.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Send good feedback:

All feedback is anonymous and will be used to improve the quality of our articles.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Send bad feedback:

All feedback is anonymous and will be used to improve the quality of our articles.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.