My Guide to January Labs

CompleteJanuary Labs, the brain child of January Olds. A brand born out of a necessity for simpler, purer products with much greater transparency about their ingredients. Her simple belief, that skincare doesn’t need to be complicated is well reflected in her range and formulation. I’ve had an opportunity to explore, try, experiment with most of the products from this brand and below is my experience, review and recommendations.

Before taking a deep dive in reviews, below is a quick overview of where this leads:

What I adore about this brand? Absence of Glycolic acid in formulations, and resurrection of Witch Hazel. Plus the basic-ness and simplicity of formulation and range of products offered. If you’re a far call from true blue skincare junkie, this is your brand. Also the products are easily versatile, and compatible with products from other brands.

What I don’t adore about this brand? The claims on products are tad OTT, definitely not the first brand to do so (hold no grudge here people). There is much more to love here than loathe. There are more hits, than misses.

Definite, Highly, Strongly, Recommend for every single one, all skin types – Retexturing Night Cream, Restorative Tonic Mist

My skin hates/allergic/sensitive to Glycolic Acid – Brightening Tonic, Restorative Tonic Mist, Retexturing Night Cream

My skin could give any reptile a run for its money, so bloody dry, flaky and dehydrated – Brightening Tonic, Moisture Renew Mask, Revitalizing Day Cream

You could miss out on these and not sweat – Pure and Gentle Cleansing Gel, Glow & Go Power Peel Exfoliant

Cleansing GelStarting a simple routine with a cleanser called the Pure & Gentle Cleansing Gel. This cleanser claims to be gentle, non drying facial wash. To which I would add, a light citrus scented gel based cleanser, which builds to a light to medium foam. I typically used it in the mornings or as a second cleanse in evening. While I tried removing makeup, it didn’t do so well with a full face/intensive makeup face. So if you’re light basic makeup wearer you might be fine with it. This cleanser doesn’t need a washcloth, however after splashing and cleansing with water it left a soapy feel on my skin. Initially I thought it might be the quantity of cleanser I was using however that wasn’t the case. Despite its foaming action, I noticed it did not strip or dry my skin’s barrier and that can be squarely attributed to its formulation (addition of Aloe juice, Glycerin, Vitamin E, Phospholipids, Macadamia Glycerides, Sodium PCA).

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate (Sugar Based), PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Coco/Isostearamide, Lauryl Glucoside (Plant Derived), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Plant Derived), Glycerin (Plant Derived), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate), Pinus Strobus Bark Extract, Phospholipids, Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Shea Butter, Macadamia Glycerides, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Palmitate), Sodium PCA, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita Flower/Leaf (Chamomile) Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Citric Acid.

Moving onto the masks category from this range, starting with Glow & Go Power PeelPeel Exfoliant. This is not a peel exfoliant in the typical sense with hyper charged alpha hydroxy acids or enzymes. I see this product more of stimulant and booster for skin. It also claims to revitalize and brighten the complexion which I didn’t notice in my personal experience. Sadly, both the inci list and performance fell short. I’ve tried the regular and pro version of this peel and the results varied in terms of what gave me most tingle and flush. Or you could say oomph of blood circulation. The thick-ish gel consistency spreads nicely but had to be removed with washcloth and not much to report in terms of results. One cautionary warning, sensitive skinned people should be careful using Cinnamon oil in this formulation, as it may irritate the heck out of your skins. All in all, for USD $75 there are better peel alternatives available.

Ingredients: Water, Hypromellose, Phenol (magic ingredient in Biologique Recherche P50 1970, for numbness), Cinnamon Oil (stimulate the skin and increase circulation), Potassium Sorbate, Chloroxylenol, Grapefruit Extract (purifier, antiseptic, and preservative).

The other mask has quite the opposite performance effect, the Moisture Renew Mask. Everything as the name suggests. Rich delectable cream consistency, can be used as hydration mask or an overnight mask, works wonderfully. If I took the liberty of renaming this mask, I’d rather call it ‘Overnight Barrier Repair Mask’ (overnight plump skin). In this case, the formulation and results are directly proportionate, lusciousness of Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid, Lactic Acid, Linoleic Acid (making it suitable for acne prone skins), Vitamin E balanced with Green tea antioxidant and Cucumber extract for anti inflammatory property. The richness of Avocado oil (rich in Oleic acid – a very healthy fat), is balanced with Linoleic acid rich oil such as Sunflower Seed Oil. This mask is a wonderful formulation to combat both dehydration and lack of moisture (aka, nourishment and hydration).

Ingredients: Water, Squalane, Avocado Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Sunflower Seed Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Glycerin, Lactic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Apricot Seed, Corn Sugar, Sulfonic Acid, Palm Oil, Saccharide Isomerate, Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Sage Leaf Extract, Chamomile Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Coconut Oil, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract.

Next up is the Daily Brightening Tonic, an exfoliating treatment that claims to hydrate while stimulating collagen production. Strong claim and I will reel it back just a touch, look at this product as a gentle, everyday use acid toner that will serve skin other benefits too. While I don’t take fancy to the claims description, the toner itself is quite nice. A simple (in terms of formulation) or basic, every day use, Lactic Acid based toner with other ingredients to help gentle exfoliation (cell turnover) for even the sensitive skinned (all skin type suitable). If Glycolic Acid is no no for you, you will love and adore this toner. No sensitized skin, no harshness of poorly formulated acid based toner and all in all a gentle toner. As simple as that! My skin loved this one particularly on night’s I don’t want to use strong peel pad (i.e. Alpha H Liquid Gold, DrDG, Murad, Biologique Recherche). This one broke it up nicely during the week along with Zelens PHA Pads.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Sodium PCA, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Lactic Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Glycerin, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower (ORGANIC Chamomile) Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract

Tonic and MistAfter an acid toner, follows a refreshing generous mist of Restorative Tonic Mist. One of the first products I ever tried from this brand and I instantly liked it. One of the reasons I really like this is because of its use of Witch Hazel, as simple as that. In our fancy skincare world or #beautycommunity no one really appreciates good ol’ Witch Hazel anymore. And this is where this product stands out. However not basic Dickinson’s Witch Hazel, this is blended in with more goodness of Aloe Juice, Sodium PCA, Rose Oil extract, Glycerin, Panthenol, Licorice extract, Gotu Kola extract and Marigold extract. Doesn’t dry skin, wonderful in skincare routine or over makeup, or as mid day refresher without sucking hydration from skin. All skin type suitable, all situation suitable, simple packaging and mists nicely. Misting is not as fine as a cloud, but not a water gun either. I particularly love using this on my scalp too!!!

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Sodium PCA, Rosa Damascena Flower (Rose) Oil Extract, Glycerin, Sodium Lactate, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Horse Chestnut Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) Root Extract, Linalool, Licorice Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Calendula Officinalis (Marigold) Flower Extract, Geraniol, Citral

An incredibly rich day cream, that sparks a love hate relationship in me, RevitalizingDay Cream Day Cream. Rich it is, but lightweight cream, that works nicely under makeup and no piling either. Wonderful when I may have overdone an acid or retinol night before, or indulged in bottle full/emptied libations. But on regular mornings, too rich for my skin in a humid summer morning. Within couple of hours, my skin is a reflection of a frying pan causing an avalanche of makeup (not a good look). The jury is out on how this performs with my skin as we get into winter. The inci list boasts some nice and notable ingredients with Niacinamide, antioxidants, Hyaluronic acid. The incident list also explains the rich formulation with inclusion of Vitamin E, Borage Oil, Grape seed oil,  Shea Butter. This would be particularly nice for dry skinned folks. I wish it was touch lighter, seems like it is trying too hard for a day cream and it would work for larger population.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Beantree Oil, Beta-Glucan, Verbena Officinalis Extract, Hydrolyzed Soybean Fiber, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, C14-22 Alcohols, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract, Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) Extract, Pinus Pinaster Bark (Maritime Pine) Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Glycerin, Euterpe Oleacea Fruit Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Extract, Aristotelia Chilensisui Fruit Extract, Aronia Arbutifolia/Aronia Melanocarpa (Chokeberry) Fruit Extract, Garcinia Mangostana Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil

Night CreamOn the other hand, Retexturizing Night Cream is a treasure in the chest of night creams. Rich but easily absorbing cream, enriched with Lactic Acid…exfoliating in a beautiful rich formula, truly retexturizing, which rings true to its name. This one works stand alone as ‘one stop shop’ or layers perfectly with a host of other steps in night skin routine. Absolutely adore this cream, with 9% Lactic acid, Peptides, Beta Glucan, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic acid is rightfully the work horse. My skin appears so healthy and balanced the following morning. The gentle exfoliation coupled with ingredients that help repair and build the barrier.

Water (Aqua), Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Sodium Lactate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Verbena Officinalis Extract, Beta Glucan (smooths fine lines and wrinkles), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii, Glycerin, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Soybean Fiber, Niacinamide, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum.

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* Products gifted by brand

All in all, a solid brand offering a well thought out and executed range of products (even with a couple of misses). Also important to note is the price point across the board making it accessible to many more with good visible performance and results. One could say, the skimping point on price point would be thanks to the largely plastic packaged bottles. While not packaged in fancy glass bottles or miron glass jars, the packaging is practical and works, which is of prime importance.

HHW.com

xx

Perfume Review – Floral Street Black Lotus

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Floral Street is a London brand, basically disrupting the perfume industry as we know it. The brand claims it is about ease, modernity and joy.

  1. Introducing The FragranceBlack Lotus is a unisex fragrance launched in 2017. The nose behind this fume is Jerome Epinette (also behind many Atelier Cologne fragrances, Byredo, Bjork & berries, Commodity Velvet, Vilhelm Parfumerie and even some Zara fumes). Basic expectation in the brief suggests Rose, Pink Pepper and Saffron. Also suggests this fume is for wild, feisty, rebellious and intoxicating personality (agree with every single one of em).
  2. Notes Composition – Thick rose & saffron jam enveloped in deep, warm, spicy notes. Florals used in this are Centifolia Rose, Narcotic Musk and Patchouli. To me the opening, screams with rose and pink peppercorn. Few seconds later, the patchouli opens with this spicy warmth and final dry down is spicy saffron with very noticeable leather (which I think makes the perfume last much longer).  
  3. Wake & Strength – Sillage is definitely strong on this one, enough to make heads turn and follow/stalk you. Projection in my view is also on stronger side, our waiter while taking the order was able to comment on the fragrance, so surely strong. The longevity is wonderful and long (as you’d expect from eau de parfum, and indicates strong base notes in the composition), overnight in my instance. When shower steam hits the skin, it is an intoxicating scent.
  4. Presentation, Packaging & Value – The bottle itself is beautiful, surely screams Floral based on presentation. The ergonomics of holding the bottle and spritzing is very comfortable. Understandably it is quite a subjective area, but it would appeal to wider audience. One of most important aspect, the atomizer, how does it mist? It’s mediocre, while not a water gun, the mist is also not a cloud. Outer packaging is typically thrown away, rarely do we keep boxes. In light of that, the brand have chosen a responsible and sustainable choice of recyclable, bio degradable boxes. The fume is valued at £58.00, AUD$109 – 50ml Eau de Parfume, I think is really good value.
  5. Third Party Feedback – I have worn this fragrance around my family and friends, during day and evening time. Most of the feedback I’ve received has been positive, however received one remark that it is properly strong and can be easily overdone. Not necessarily a bad comment, just need to tread carefully (one to two spritzes and that’s it). 
  6. Audience Suitability – While I’m not one to categorize a perfume based on age, I see this to be worn by slightly more mature and wild personalities (20 year old can also have a mature responsibility). As the brief suggested, wild, feisty, rebellious and intoxicating, it hits on the spot. I don’t see a unicorn and glitter loving person to fall for this fragrance. If you like sparkly, fruity perfume, this is not it. If you love deep, spicy, warm tobacco, this is You!. This fragrance is surely an evening, or night time fragrance for me. Occassion I would limit this is to romantic evening or an evening with friends, formal event and surely steer away from office wear, or morning wear (could nauseate someone with a sensitivo nose).
  7. Seasonality – I think this fragrance will particularly excel in autumnal or winter evening, given it has this warmth to it and cosiness to it. This will be overpowering for humid and hot evening. Almost too much to put you off. 
  8. Scoring and Conclusion – overall my rating for this is 3.9/5 – losing a point, purely for its limited versatility across seasons, occasions and day time wear. 

*product gifted

HHW.com

xx

Essence & Serum Loaded Pads

The skincare sphere has seen a huge influx of acid toning and peeling (AHA and BHA) pads. However, over last few years, brands are expanding the realm of convenience from acid toning peel pads to serum and antioxidants pads to nourish, protect and boost skin health. For people who travel extensively, this is a dream come true (TSA checks are hell simplified). Today, Renée aka @Gothamista and I have brought together our experience with some of these pads to help you choose the best option for yourself. Renée covers the Korean skincare pads, while I cover couple of recent launches from this side of the world.

Renée’s Review

I couldn’t review Korean skincare pads without first mentioning the actual pads that serve as the most perfect vehicles for the beautiful essences we swipe over faces. The technology behind these wipes add to and are just as much a part of the skincare experience as the formula itself. We have already experienced the sheet masks made of the softest materials that can hold an absurd amount of liquid within their fibers without anything dripping out or releasing too much. The pads in my favourite swipeys hold enough liquid for multiple layers of hydration. They also make for great cheek patches/masks or spot masking in a pinch or for areas that just need extra. There is also light texture on the pads to grip excess or unwanted lurkers on the surface of the skin and smooth things out.

My favourite pads are also the best multi-taskers around. The ultimate for reducing the steps of a skincare routine without compromising on results. Not only are these great and convenient for travel but also for crazy, everyday life when you just can’t.

Peach & Lily Lazy Day All-in-One Moisture Pads

Peach and Lily

Source: Peach and Lily website

Everyday has been a lazy day since getting my hands on these pads. They are juicy and bursting with an intensely hydrating liquid that takes the place of toner, essence and serum. One refreshing swipe-over of the face is simply not enough. I’ve used this for multiple skins, swiping, sometimes patting or swiping then patting the liquid in with my hands before swiping again. My cheeks tend to overheat easily and after a shower, I stick a pad on each cheek and leave them there for about 15 mins as they are cool and refreshing on the skin and will replenish whatever was stripped in the cleansing process.

In the Summer, there was many a night where this was the only step in my routine before face-planting into bed…and it was enough. I would wake up to plump hydrated skin. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to pull this off in the drier months without a moisturizer but it’s a substantial hydrating layer for any time of year.

The formula is a nourishing and restorative elixir containing all the elements I would want in an essence-toner and none of the ones I don’t. This has the hydrators, ceramides, fermented soy extracts and a whole salad of fruit and veggie extracts. I use this immediately after cleansing, top it with an oil then moisturizer. The minute this multi-tasking potion is bottled, I will stockpile.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betaine, Panthenol, Sodium, Hyaluronate, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Leaf Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Brassica Oleracea Capitata (Cabbage) Leaf Extract, Brassica Oleracea Acephala Leaf Extract, Ceramide NP, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Olivate, Allantoin, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sorbitan Olivate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Phytate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil

neogen cicaNeogen Dermatology Real Cica Pad

These pads are the ultimate multi-tasker and does it all. I can honestly say that they saved my skin during the most stressful period of my life. For 2 months, beauty and self-care were rituals I had no time for nor cared about. I mustered a routine which consisted of rinsing my skin with water, these Cica Pads, then moisturizer. Somehow, during a time when I should have grown a thick and rough, husk of neglect on my face, my skin was smooth, soft and clear the entire time and that was in no small part due to these superstar swipes.

Not only do they deeply hydrate, but they are greatly soothing as well as smoothing and refining all at once. This contains a 3 different weights of Hyaluronic acid to thoroughly keep the skin hydrated but also a robust amount of Centella Asiatica and Madecassoside to sooth and repair the skin. But the Polyhydroxy acid (PHA) in this is what kept my skin soft, bright and smooth the entire time. PHA are like AHA’s except with a larger molecular size and tend to be way gentler. You will not feel tingling or notice a drastic difference to the skin immediately like Glycolic or more concentrated AHA formulas but this is a product I used twice a day everyday – something I would never do with regular AHA treatments. This subtly kept my skin texture so refined, soft and bright everyday. There are periods of time when I want a weekly shock of strong acid but I tend to have always experienced the best results with gentle AHA’s that subtly refine everyday.

Neogen is also renowned for their pad technology. Not only do they hold an ocean of product, but each side has a different texture. One side is for refining the skin and the other smooths everything out.

Ingredietns: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Dipropylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid, Madecassoside, Lactobionic Acid, Gluconolactone, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Octyldodecanol, Ceramide NP(Ceramide 3), Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Allantoin, Betaine, Panthenol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tromethamine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum, Propanediol, Diglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Disodium EDTA

Binita’s Review

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The newest to the market which I’ve recently tried are M61 Skincare Hydraboost HA Serum Pad and Vitablast C Serum Pad. Lets first talk about the Hydration pad, which is loaded with Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, quadruple Peptides, Vitamin B5, Vitamin E, Centella Asiatica, Tamarind Polysaccharide, Aloe juice, Wild Yam. I used this is as hydration pick me up in the morning, swipe all over. The pad itself is decently soaked to be able to take it down all the way to neck and chest. Followed with another moisturizer (if skin needs extra layering) or follow with makeup primer. Through the day skin felt plump and bouncy. It claims lasting hydration of 48 hours, but honestly who doesn’t wash their face in 48 hours and I won’t be testing that claim either. These work really well in conjunction with other peel pads too. Go over with acid pad and follow with this hydration pad and voilà done!

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xylitylglucoside, Butylene Glycol, Sodium PCA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Panthenol, Tamarindus Indica Seed Polysaccharide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Centella Asiatica Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Root Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Superoxide Dismutase, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Fructose, Urea, Sodium Hydroxide, Maltose, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lactate, Trehalose, Allantoin, Glucose, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Polysorbate 20, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol

M61 Skincare Vitablast C Serum Pad is the one that stood out for its brightening effect. I struggle a little with vitamin C on an ongoing basis, because it tends to irritate my skin or flush red. This was the first Vitamin C serum pad I used, so my expectations were zero. With such a start, I didn’t know what to expect from this pad, aside from what was claimed on the packaging. Claims to have 15% stabilized vitamin C with Vitamin E and Gallic acid (antioxidant that helps with brightening). With fairly short ingredient listing, this pad is nicely soaked with enough product to swipe over face and neck. The product leaves slightly sticky finish on skin, even after I pat it in the skin. Not a deal breaker for me, as I follow with a moisturizer. My skin, the following morning was noticeably brighter. If I had to choose between M61’s Hydraboost or Vitablast, my choice will certainly fall with the latter.

Ingredients: Ethoxydiglycol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Ascorbate, Pentylene Glycol, Water (Aqua), Gallic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 60

If you know me well, you sure as hell know how much I love a tingle, here comes in Exuviance SkinRise Bionic Tonic Pads. Non acid tingle (from peppermint and eucalyptus oil) and freshness on my skin with Polyhydroxy Acids (PHA), Gluconoloactone, Lactobionic Acid, Vitamin A, C and E, Cucumber, Eucalytptus (not for sensitive skinned folks) and Green Tea Extract. In fairness, this is formulation is loaded with ingredients as is the pad itself. To momentarily focus on formulation, it is loaded and performs as an all rounder on my skin. Whether it be under makeup or at night, it has not failed. Skin has consistently been firm, smooth and luminous with these pads.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Gluconolactone, Propylene Glycol, Lactobionic Acid, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C Ester), Retinyl (Vitamin A) Palmitate, Arginine, Glycerin, Algae Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Chinese Tea) Leaf Extract, Menthyl Lactate, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Ammonium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Parfum (Fragrance), Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, CI 42090 (Blue 1), CI 19140 (Yellow 5).

Other notable mentions which we have not personally tried, include, Cosrx One Step Moisture Up PadCitrix Vitamin C Antioxidant Pads, Rodial Vitamin C Brightening Cleansing Pads, BeautyCounter Rejuvenating Toner Pads, Serious Skincare Vitamin C Ester Pads

Gothamista & HHW.com

xx

Exfoliating Masks

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An extension to a post, I did a while ago around Enzyme and AHA Exfoliators which covered chemical, physical and combination of both exfoliators. As much as I do enjoy a mild physical exfoliant (thinking of Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant), I certainly love a tingley chemical based exfoliating mask. Since Rejuvi Exfoliating mask (review linked) had been eternally out of stock on Dermstore site, I have successfully found others that tickle (pun intended) my skin & fancy…I find these masks are immensely effective when skin is mildly steamed while they work their magic. Products listed below, includes both pure chemical exfoliation (formulated with AHA and/or Enzymes) or chemical and physical exfoliators.

PCA Revitalizing Mask – A lush green hued enzyme mask, blended with Papaya, Green Tea Extract, Lemon, Orange and Apple Fruit Extract, Squalane and Vitamin E, serves a decent tingle on skin and visible brightening of skin. More about it in the blog post called Enzyme and AHA Exfoliators.

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant is such a classic in my books, tried and loved based on Lisa Eldridge’s recommendation, didn’t look back since. Its possibly lighter version of Rejuvi Exfoliating Mask. Not as intense, powered by Lactic & Salicylic acid with Papaya and Pineapple enzymes, with soothers like Apricot Oil, Aloe Vera extract and some essential oils. Gentle Cream Exfoliant, is literal to its performance. It’s like applying a luscious cream mask on your face, but it gently exfoliates the skin without stripping or irritating the skin. This would be suitable for sensitive skins too.

Sanitas Cranberry and Lactic Acid Mask is one of many Cranberry Lactic masks, as Sari @talesofskincare pointed out, such as Cosmedix, Osmosis, HydroPeptide, Kat Burki, etc. In this mask, Lactic acid definitely packs a punch in terms of tingle and performance. Skin is left noticeably brighter and makeup sits wonderfully on skin. Doesn’t dry my skin at all, but feel like products absorbs better after this mask. Basic gel like consistency, pumped from the bottle, all you need is 4-6 pumps and voila skin is left translucent.

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel – is such a cult product from this brand. A thick, creamy, tropical smelling brightening mask with Niacinamide, Papaya & Pineapple enzyme, and Bladderwrack extract, gently exfoliates and brightens the skin. I think my skin has gotten use to this mask as I don’t feel the tingle anymore, unless I’m steaming my skin. It’s not aggressive on skin at all, and doesn’t leave it tight or uncomfortable.

Pixi Peel & Polish needs to be mentioned in this category of chemical and physical exfoliation (however I forgot to include in pic here). Lactic acid based, with Papaya enzyme and Cellulose peels and Sugar extracts provide physical exfoliation with a cucumber scent. This peel and polish is just as name suggests. The scent is strong for me and I don’t like cucumber scented products but the performance and results are impactful. I find this to have the most scrubbiest feel on skin, so I don’t physically exfoliate with this. However next two products in this category, are finer in texture and don’t feel as abrasive on skin.

Beautypie Fruitizyme 5min Facial is possibly an underrated product in this beauty community, IMO. What I have here is in its old packaging, however the formula packs a punch. Exfoliants in form of Glycolic acid, Pumpkin extract, Pomegranate extract, Quartz powder for physical exfoliation, formulated to provide chemical and physical exfoliation. Results are brightening, smooth skin in matter of minutes. I leave it on when Im brushing my teeth and then wash it off. An Excellent substitute for product listed below, which is possibly discontinued.

Algenist Triple Acid Micropolish & Peel is possibly a discontinued product, however cannot say for sure? If it truly discontinued it is a shame because it falls under chemical and physical exfoliation category. AHA like Glycolic acid with enzymes such as Pumpkin & Pomegranate are blended in an exfoliation formula, which is packaged in a tube. I didn’t experience a major tingle however it does work its magic and deliver bright and smooth & soft skin. I wouldn’t recommend this formula for sensitive skins, as it contains physical exfoliation + fragrance.

Ren Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is marmalade on skin that is enriched with Lactic Acid, Papaya, Pineapple, extract, and a range of skin soothing carrier and essential oils. Instant brightening on skin and radiance galore. I need to stock up on it!

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My Guide to Luzern Labs

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Quite possibly the brand discovery of 2018 for me.

If you’re looking to switch to natural beauty products without compromising the results of cosmeceuticals this is the brand to start with. Its luxurious and a clean cosmeceutical brand that has left me with wonderful results and wanting for more. Their use of low-impact, eco-friendly glass and aluminum bottles, company headquarters powered by renewable energy, environmental sustainability and a green philosophy are guiding principles in the development of all Luzern products. Earlier I called it ‘clean cosmeceutical’ is simply because:

luzern 4BioSuisse organic actives – Bio-Suisse actives are standardized in Switzerland and are derived from organically grown plants living in extremely harsh conditions at high altitudes in the Valais region of the Alps. The result is a high potency of actives that are more effective than comparable ingredients grown and harvested at lower altitudes.

Free of 12 ingredients – Parabens, Phthalates, Benzoyl Peroxide, Sulfates, Propylene Glycol/PEGs, TEA/DEA/MEA, Mineral Oils/ Petrolatum/ Denatured Alcohol, Synthetic Colors, Dyes, and Fragrances, Formaldehyde/Formaldehyde Releasing Ingredients, Triclosan, Hydroquinone, Chemical Sunscreens

Standard Cosmeceutical Actives – Ingredients are chosen for their ability to safely and effectively transform the condition of skin. Common cosmeceuticals found in Luzern products include Peptides, Plant Stem Cells, BiodyneTRF, Antioxidants, AHA, Retinoic Acid, Co-Q10, Hyaluronic Acid.

Clean Cold Processing – Mixed in small batches at low temperatures. This process minimizes damage to vital active ingredients and keeps them fresh, potent and pure. Actives are sourced from Switzerland and manufactured in the USA.

Swiss Water Processed – Active ingredients are processed naturally using mineral rich glacial waters. These therapeutic waters keep ingredients energized and ensure purity from chemical residues.

Also Luzern does not engage in animal testing. They employ an independent company that uses only in vivo and vitro tests, never animal testing, to ensure safety and efficacy. Now that you know about brand, lets unravel the products and my experiences:

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Serum Absolut Clarify is an oil-free, lightweight formula that claims to minimize visible pore size and actively reduce the feel and appearance of oil, helping to keep excess sebum in check.

This serum would be for someone dealing with adult acne with an oily, combination, acne-prone skin.

The formulation for this product includes plant-derived Salicylic acid, Willow Herb Extract, Organics Alpine Willow Herb (highest high level of Oenethin B – huge contributor to less sebum production), Niacinamide and Probiotics.

While the formulation appears fairly simple, certain strong active ingredients certainly perform. Upon dispensing the product, it certainly has Aloe Vera Juice like consistency, which for an irritated congested skin would be an instant soothe. The scent is almost strong willow herb with plasticky-ness. Unsure how to describe the scent, but its not offensive at all, but certainly not aromatherapy-esque calming floral….Absorbs nicely in the skin, and over time I noticed the skin appeared healthy and balanced. Did it reduce any congestion, possibly yes, it helped balance the oils in skin. I liked using this as a spot treatment too as it reduced the redness of spot overnight. The only downside of the aluminum packaging is I have no idea when it is close to the finish line.

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INGREDIENTS: WATER (AQUA)*†, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE**†, GLYCERIN**†, NIACINAMIDE *†, SALIX NIGRA (WILLOW) BARK EXTRACT*†, ALPHA-GLUCAN OLIGOSACCHARIDE*†, PROPANEDIOL*†, AMORPHOPHALLUS KONJAC ROOT POWDER*†, DIMETHYL SULFONE (MSM)*†, POLYMNIA SONCHIFOLIA (Jicame Tuber Root) ROOT JUICE*†, EPILOBIUM FLEISCHERI EXTRACT (Alpine Willow Herb)**†, HYPERICUM PERFORATUM FLOWER/LEAF/STEM EXTRACT**†, CHONDRUS CRISPUS (CARRAGEENAN) EXTRACT*†, BUDDLEJA DAVIDII EXTRACT**†, THYMUS VULGARIS (THYME) EXTRACT**†, PANTHENOL*†, MALTODEXTRIN*†, SODIUM HYALURONATE*†, GLUCONOLACTONE*†, XANTHAN GUM*†, SODIUM BENZOATE*†, LACTOBACILLUS*†, POTASSIUM SORBATE*†, CITRIC ACID*†, CALCIUM GLUCONATE*†

luzern 2Au Vin Exfoliating Treatment is a pre-soaked acid pad that claims to  support natural cell turnover. Basically what you’ve come to expect from an acid based exfoliation pad. Dual acid formula with 10% Lactic and 1% Salicylic acid makes for an excellent duo for wonderful results. Also has proprietary AlpPure™ Alpine White extracts where the Swiss extracts combined with Vitamin C work together to reduce discoloration and brighten skin (main active ingredients are Flavonoids, Phenolic Acids, Polysaccharides, and Iridoids).

This product is certainly one of my fave products, because it has instant overnight results. My skin following morning visibly appears brighter, smoother, even toned, and over time it has also helped with texture. If you want to start with one product from this brand, it would be this in my opinion. If I had to nit pick, I would say I would prefer smoother texture pads on my face. But for the results I get, I let the pad texture slide. Let me clarify it doesn’t feel like sandpaper at all, I just prefer something softer pillowy and smoother.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), 10% Lactic Acid, L-Arginine (amino acid), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Gluconolactone, Glycerin, 1% Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Chardonnay Grape) Fruit Extract, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Veronica Officinalis Extract, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Primula Veris Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Gluconate.
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Force De Vie Crème Nuit is the star of this show. This nighttime treatment has simply been one stop shop and skin consistently appeared healthy and full of vitality. They have combined active retinol, peptides, a lipid barrier repair complex which truly renews the skin. Has some serious claims:

  1. Boost cellular oxygen uptake to increase collagen and hyaluronic acid synthesis and promote microcirculation to enhance skin luminosity
  2. Refines skin texture
  3. Reduces the appearance of lines and skin discolorations
  4. Skin is instantly smoother, firmer
  5. Energizes the skin for improved function and brightness

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!!! It does perform exactly as it claims. Tiniest dollop of this rich buttery crème goes a long way and leaves a velvety finish on the skin. Feels significant enough to protect the skin and yet repair the skin. Used standalone with an acid exfoliator or serum and it still performs. I’ve been lazier than that, just cleansed and applied this crème and yes it still performs. The formulation, composition of ingredients is definitely standing true. This crème would be ideal for normal and dry skin types. If you care, it’s Not a Vegan formulation (contain Honey, Milk lipids). The formulation is multi faceted and hits many skin concerns through Retinol, Peptides, Hyaluronic acid, Ceramides, AlpPure™ Alpine White (main active ingredients are Flavonoids, Phenolic Acids, Polysaccharides, and Iridoids). If skin investment is your aim, this is the product you need to seek.

INGREDIENTS: WATER (AQUA), ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, PROPANEDIOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, ETHYL MACADAMIATE, COCO-CAPRYLATE, GLYCERIN, SODIUM ASCORBYL PHOSPHATE, GLYCERYL STEARATE CITRATE, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, BEESWAX, CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE, ISOSTEARYL PALMITATE, C14-22 ALCOHOLS, CARNAUBA WAX, BORAGE SEED OIL, GREEN TEA SEED OIL, JOJOBA SEED OIL, SUNFLOWER SEED OIL, C12-20 ALKYL GLUCOSIDE, SODIUM HYALURONATE, CAPROOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3, CERAMIDE NP, PANTHENOL, TOCOPHEROL, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, ALLANTOIN, HONEY, MALLOW EXTRACT, BOERHAVIA DIFFUSA ROOT EXTRACT, MELISSA OFFICINALIS LEAF EXTRACT, ASPARAGUS OFFICINALIS STEM EXTRACT, ROSEMARY LEAF EXTRACT, RETINOL, HYDROLYZED HYALURONIC ACID, PEPPERMINT LEAF EXTRACT, RHEUM RHAPONTICUM ROOT EXTRACT, PRIMULA VERIS EXTRACT, SACCHAROMYCES LYSATE EXTRACT, MILK LIPIDS, METHYLPROPANEDIOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CAPRYLHYDROXAMIC ACID ALCHEMILLA VULGARIS EXTRACT, ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM EXTRACT, XANTHAN GUM, VERONICA OFFICINALIS EXTRACT, POTASSIUM SORBATE, SWEET ORANGE PEEL OIL, CITRIC ACID, L-ARGININE, TETRASODIUM GLUTAMATE DIACETATE, DEXTRAN, SODIUM LEVULINATE, LAVENDER OIL

Hydra-Enzyme Masque Nuit is yet another one stop shop, an exfoliating sleeping mask. Similar to Force De Vie Crème Nuit but I’d say possibly for a more diverse set of skin types. It’s definitely not as rich as Force de Vie but it certainly packs a punch. In saying so, I like to alternate between this and Force de Vie. On nights I don’t use an acid exfoliator this bad boy comes in play as the formulation consists of Pumpkin enzyme. For many skins, Pumpkin enzyme can be aggressive and harsh, however in this formulation they have balanced with olive derived Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid and Sweet Almond Oil, which hydrates and protects the skin. For brightening oomph they have Vitamin C and Licorice extract which leaves skin with visible brightening effects next morning. Yet again this product does stand true to its claims. The texture is like thick cream but melts in skin and leaves the surface smooth and soft. It smells like subtle lemons to me, but I could be completely wrong with my stuffy sinus issues. If you don’t use acid exfoliators and want to start gentle with minimal skincare routine steps, consider this product.

Ingredients: WATER, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE, GLYCERIN, Cetearyl Alcohol, PROPANEDIOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Stearyl Alcohol, SWEET ALMOND OIL, Glyceryl Caprylate, SQUALANE, SODIUM ASCORBYL PHOSPHATE (VITAMIN C), Cetearyl Glucoside, C14-22 Alcohols, LACTOBACILLUS/PUMPKIN FRUIT FERMENT EXTRACT, SODIUM HYALURONATE, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, LICORICE ROOT EXTRACT, BUDDLEJA DAVIDII (Summer Lilac – antioxidant properties) EXTRACT, ARTEMISIA UMBELLIFORMIS (Alpine Wormwood – rich in flavonoids) EXTRACT, PEUCEDANUM OSTRUTHIUM (Masterwort) LEAF EXTRACT, HONEY, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, Glyceryl Undecylenate, TETRASODIUM GLUTAMATE DIACETATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, L-ARGININE, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, LAVENDER OIL, SWEET ORANGE PEEL OIL, THYME EXTRACT

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With a strong emerging ‘Tech Neck’ situation, I knew I had to start some where with a Neck Cream. Here comes, Retinol Neck & Décolleté Nuit a night time treatment specifically for the delicate neck and décolleté area. Formulated with some heavy hitters such as Retinol, Polyose, Peptides, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides and Swiss Alpine extracts. Almost sounds similar to Force de Vie Crème Nuit, but the formulation is adjusted to thinner neck skin.

Honestly for me, incorporating a separate product for neck was harder. Seemingly it appears simple, but one additional step seemed like a huge leap. In saying so, this buttery rich cream, with the tiniest dollop all over neck and décolleté did seem to improve appearance of skin. But, and here is the huge But, the tech neck lines persist. This is not because the creme didn’t do its job, its because my neck still hangs over staring at my phone or iPad or laptop all day! Until I don’t reduce that and incorporate some neck exercises and massage I don’t think those lines will ever fade. A well formulated product can only go that far. As an example, just because I’m on 1000 calorie diet doesn’t mean I will shed away. In order to tone the body and muscle I still need to exercise. Similar principle here, so all in all, if you have other aspects sorted out you can certainly invest in this product but like myself don’t expect an overnight miracle with the tech neck when lifestyle ain’t in check.

INGREDIENTS: WATER, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE, PROPANEDIOL, GLYCERIN, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE CITRATE, STEARYL ALCOHOL, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, GREEN TEA SEED OIL, GLYCERYL CAPRYLATE, CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE, C14-22 ALCOHOLS, SODIUM HYALURONATE, TETRAHEXYLDECYL ASCORBATE (VITAMIN C), C12-20 ALKYL GLUCOSIDE, OAT KERNEL EXTRACT, CAPROOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3, HEXAPEPTIDE-10, SODIUM ASCORBATE (VITAMIN C), MALLOW EXTRACT, PEPPERMINT LEAF EXTRACT, SACCHAROMYCES LYSATE EXTRACT, UBIQUINONE (CO-ENZYME Q10), ORANGE CALLUS CULTURE EXTRACT, PRIMULA VERIS EXTRACT, ALCHEMILLA VULGARIS EXTRACT, GINGER ROOT EXTRACT, VERONICA OFFICINALIS EXTRACT, MELISSA OFFICINALIS LEAF EXTRACT, BOERHAVIA DIFFUSA ROOT EXTRACT, ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM EXTRACT, ALGAE EXTRACT, RETINOL, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, XANTHAN GUM, PULLULAN, DEXTRAN, PHOSPHOLIPIDS, LAVENDER OIL, SWEET ORANGE PEEL OIL, L-ARGININE, CITRIC ACID, VITAMIN E, TETRASODIUM GLUTAMATE DIACETATE, GLYCERYL UNDECYLENATE.

All in all, this is a stellar brand with visible results. Skin enthusiasts will certainly get a kick out of these product formulations. But the formulation and performance is so effortless, I can see it appealing to a much larger market. Also with their range of products and selections, I believe there is something for everyone in their product line up.

** Products gifted by the brand

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