Fermented Skincare by @Gothamista

renee
renee-chowToday I bring to you, the most exciting collaboration and post by my personal favorite Renee, the gorgeous person behind @Gothamista! Renee is the beaming ray of positivity, light and sunshine with a wealth of Korean beauty knowledge that I rely on and refer to time and again. Surely you want me to stop my gushing over Renee and how incredibly thankful I’m for her to agree to do this for HHW blog. Hope you all enjoy the read, and enjoy the shopping after the read😉.

Just like so many of my favourite skincare innovations, the fermented skincare movement started in Japan. You may be familiar with the clever ‘story’ of how a chance encounter of cosmetic scientists and elderly sake brewers with extraordinarily youthful hands were the origins of what would eventually take the world of skincare by storm. SKII scientists, made a connection between the child-hands and the yeast they were in constant contact with during the fermentation process, then focused their powers on finding that special strain. Years later, they introduced the world to ‘Pitera’, the fermented yeast essence and that extra step that’s been missing in our skincare routines. 

Fermented ingredients have since spread beyond essences, and into other product categories as well as all other markets. If there was any doubt, there is clearly a growing demand for more of this anti-aging wonder. The Korean skincare market has been the most dynamic in developing products incorporating this process, and the response is huge. Infact, there are entire brands devoted to fermented ingredients such as Su:m37, Sulwhasoo, Goodal, Primary Raw, to mention just a few. Not only are they using fermented yeast, which is a very rich source of vitamin B, this process has been used on other plant ingredients to boost their potency. Since Korean skincare has already mainly been using food-based ingredients in their products, which easily lends itself to fermentation, this was an organic transition. Some Western brands (Estee Lauder, Fresh, Origins) have also been using probiotics and fermented ingredients in their formulas and more are being introduced to capture a piece of this rapidly developing market. This is still a relatively new thing and research into it’s effects are still developing though there are definitive studies that the potency and efficacy of ingredients are increased through fermentation as well as antioxidant activity.  But regardless of what anyone says, the proof is in that elusive natural glow!

Personally, I’ve been using products with fermented ingredients for a while now, which I strongly believe have made a difference in the quality of my skin and seriously, I rarely find products to be transformative. Particularly for my skin which (for now) isn’t in need of drastic repair. But a couple of months ago, in preparation for a Youtube video I was doing on the subject, I went really hardcore for over a month. Meaning, almost every product of every step of my routine was about these ferments. I first noticed my skin changing from being dry and sensitive to actually, normal. Then it happened, the stuff you see on infomercials. I’m at risk of sounding like a paid testimonial, but people started commenting on the ‘glowiness’ of my skin, strangers even. Infact, it apparently showed in my subsequent videos as people commented there too. Science be damned, you can’t argue with glow, man. The kind that comes before radiant primers, foundation and highlighters.

This is beneficial for all skin types particularly dehydrated, sensitive or skin needing repair. But certain ingredients, which happen to be my favourites, are particularly effective for anti-aging, hydration and brightening. These include, yeast extracts, ginseng, rice, soy or natto, green/black tea and certain flowers and herbs. These ingredients go through a natural fermentation process that occurs in an oxygen-free environment, which over a long period of time will cause the yeast and carbohydrates to produce enzymes and eventually form amino acids, anti-oxidants and vitamins. So, what exactly are the claims and why do we need fermentation in our skincare?

  • The process increases potency, creating supercharged ingredients that are loaded with anti oxidants, vitamins and anti-inflammatories. 
  • Causes the breakdown larger molecules into smaller ones which makes for deeper absorption providing more effective nourishment. This is also gentler and less irritating on sensitive skin. Essences potent with fermented yeast have been known to help reduce redness.
  • Creates natural acidity in ingredients which, helps our skin’s acid mantle. This is important for a strong and healthy moisture barrier.
  • Natural preservative so synthetic preservatives are not as required.
  • The actives in fermented yeast are rich in vitamin B and peptides as well as boost our skin’s ability to naturally produce hyaluron, which helps prevent transepidermal water loss.

So, enough of my babble. Here are some of my most loved products with my favourite fermented superstars, for each step of the routine:

Source: Gothamista Fermented Skincare Video

CLEANSER

Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert

This is one of the most powerful oil-based cleansing balms I’ve ever used. This is a natural brand that uses no parabens or mineral oils and has a coconut oil derivative base. Formulated with one of my favourite ingredients, Saccharomyces Rice Bran Ferment from Sake as well as Soybean ferment extract. This will melt down all your toughest waterproof makeup and stains upon contact. 

Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick

My ride or die. The concept of this brand is built entirely on natural fermented skincare. “Su:m” is the Korean word for breathe, while “37” is the optimal fermentation temperature. Their products are also free of synthetic preservatives. Their lab and facilities are located in the middle of nowhere, where the water and air is completely unpolluted by neighboring commercial facilities. They have a whole seasonal process of gathering plants and the technology and science they use to get the best out of every ingredient is other level stellar-ness. This contains Saccharomyces and fermented Damask Rose as well as luxurious plant oils such as Camellia, Green tea seed, Apricot and Olive. This is a foaming, second step cleanser that has a low pH of 5.5 so will not strip your skin or harm your precious, little acid mantle.

p1040948

TONER

Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner

Not to seem dramatic, but this toner affects me on an emotional as well as cellular level. I get slightly euphoric. Not bad considering skincare routines are often a chore. Whamisa is another brand that focuses on natural fermentation to augment and preserve the potency of certain star ingredients. I find fermented toners particularly effective because right after subjecting our skin to cleansing, the smaller particles and potent ingredients are so good at calming inflammation and delivering lost nutrition to our skin quickly and without irritation. The better absorption also makes way for oncoming products to work their magic. This toner is viscous and richly hydrating, replenishing anything that might have been lost and gives the skin some instant volume. This is a waterless toner which purely uses aloe as a base and contains fermented Chrysanthemum flower, Galactomyces ferment filtrate, fermented Dandelion Root and Oat Kernal extracts to soothe, deeply hydrate and nourish the skin. 97% of the ingredients are certified organic, free of parabens, synthetic dyes or fragrances.

ESSENCE

Missha First Treatment Essence

This was a surprise. Though I started out using the SKII Facial Treatment Essence, I ended up preferring this formula. Truthfully, I did not want to. I refused to try this for a long time because I did not appreciate how boldly this product was ‘duping’ the SKII essence down to the name. Curiosity and a big sale finally got the better of me and, what can I say, my skin wants what it wants. The difference in ingredients leaves my skin feeling more hydrated and the glow, the fabulous glow! While SKII uses 90% Galactomyces ferment filtrate (Pitera), Missha’s essence uses 80% Saccharomyces ferment filtrate (Zyosis). This also has Sodium Hyaluronate, Niacinamide and Root extracts. I’ve even come to love the slightly sour scent. But as far as all the other high percentage, fermented SKII copycat yeast essences go, I have yet to try one that my skin prefers to this. 

Su:m37 Secret Essence

My favourite essence, my…my preciousss. This is a very special potion made up of Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces and 80 very carefully selected plant extracts which are fermented for 365 days. All these plants have various antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties. I feel like I’m spoiling myself every time I pat this into my skin as it’s refined, luxurious, and the price reflects it. But the skin will never feel better. This is watery thin, hydrating, sinks into the skin super quickly leaving no residue but really soft, smooth, hydrated skin that looks bright and vibrant.

Innisfree Fermented Soybean Energy Essence

The second essence I ever purchased and countless essences later, I still love this.  This has 91% fermented Jeju soybean. In a world of cosmetics where everything is diluted with water, these products with such graciously high percentages of key ingredients are bottled blessings. Few products leave my skin feeling as soft and plump as this. This original formula is amazing for dry/dehydrated skin people or during the winter months, otherwise there is a ‘light’ version available for those with oilier skin or prefer a lighter formula. 

Manyo Factory Galactomyces

A more budget-friendly, but no less effective brand devoted to this process. Manyo Factory is an organic brand that uses botanicals and natural preservatives. I would venture to say that during my staunch, “Fermented or bust,” phase, this might have made the difference. Fast absorbing, with a nice slip to the watery texture, this formulation that doesn’t have the typical sour scent, has a simple, 7 ingredient list. 97% Galactomyces ferment filtrate, 2% Niacinamide and droplets a few other plant extracts including Sodium Hyaluronate.

img_0098

SERUM/AMPOULE

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

A serum that has over the years, become the quintessential elixir for anti-aging. The key actives here are the same probiotics found in yogurt, Bifida Ferment Lysate and Lactobacillus Ferment. The latter is particularly effective as a skin softener. This overnight serum has left my skin feeling hydrated, less red and volumized with fewer fine lines visible and a youthful bounciness to it. Their Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask, which holds half an entire bottle of the serum’s active ingredients, is probably the most powerful sheet masks I’ve used. Overnight, this transformed my skin, revitalized it and the hydration was off the charts.

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule

An ampoule can either be used before serum or in the case of this product, in lieu of. This ampoule will outshine any serum out there so there’s no point in bothering. In addition to being less than half the price of the Estee Lauder ANR serum, this one has a far more impressive ingredients list.  This formula also contains probiotics Bifida Ferment Lysate and Lactobacillus Ferment, but additionally has Lactococcus Ferment to soothe and strengthen sensitive skin. There is also a good amount of Niacinamide, Retinol and a very long list of skin loving plant extracts and oils many of them fermented. This ampoule is a powerhouse and anyone concerned with anti-aging should consider using this.

FACIAL OIL

Goodal Waterest Lasting Water Oil 

The Goodal, ‘Waterest’ line of products is focused not just on fermentation, but double fermentation of their ingredients and they’ve managed to create a new concept oil in their uber popular ‘Water Oil’ products. This is the ultimate non oily, fermented oil blend for anyone like myself who love the idea of oils on our skin but really dislike the greasy and invasive way it feels. This has all the benefits of oil products, but is fast absorbing, skin softening, deeply hydrating and an all around pleasant skincare experience. This is categorized as a ‘booster serum’ (Korean products and their confusing categories and names), which probably means one should use this before serum. Since the consistency is very light and quite watery, I’ve often used this right after toner before essence. Honestly, one could use this at any step between toner and moisturizer, it’s such a versatile product that absorbs so beautifully and LASTS!

This contains a blend of 7 fermented moisturizing seed oils that are packed with antioxidants: Sunflower seed oil, Jojoba, Camellia, Green Tea Seed, Argan, Olive and Macadamia nut. These oils are micronized to absorb fast into the skin and sink deeper to nourish from deeper within and then sealed in with a bio gum complex for lasting results. I can personally attest that my chronically dehydrated skin stays moisturized throughout the day with this when usually it gets drier. But there’s more, this formula contains Bifida Ferment Lysate, Niacinamide and Licorice Extract for brightening, Aloe and Sodium hyaluronate for hydration and a wonderful trio of Ceramide, Cholesterol and Lecithin similar to our skin’s own natural composition which penetrates better into our skin and strengthens the barrier. This is for all skin-types, particularly if you have dull, dehydrated skin. You are welcome.

Goodal Water Oil Firming Camellia

This is the latest addition to the growing Water Oil family of products and I must mention it. This is more targeted towards anti-aging concerns which, I have. The first 2 ingredients listed are Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate and micro fermented Camellia Flower extract which has shown to be great for boosting collagen production in the skin. This also contains Camellia oil which is rich in antioxidants and has one of the highest percentages of Omega 9 oleic fatty acids than any other natural oil. This is great for keeping the skin moisturized and youthful as it’s heavier and richer in composition making it so luxurious. What sends this over the top for me is the intoxicating, light floral scent. I don’t usually like added fragrances but this is sensory bliss. I wonder if this is what Camellia flowers smell like, if so, I want to be surrounded by them. Just like the original, this delivers deep and lasting moisturization without the grease.

fermented

Source: @gothamista

EYE CREAM/SERUM

Benton Fermentation Eye Cream

I was waiting patiently for an eye cream like this to come out. One that is formulated with similar high concentrations of fermented ingredients that I apply on the rest of my face. This is a wonderful, light, silky eye cream that glides over delicate skin and absorbs quickly. I really love the unique texture. There is the same sort of silky slip that the essences have that doesn’t come from oil or silicones. This formulation contains all safe, non-irritating ingredients, the first 2 of which combine the yeasts Galactomyces ferment filtrate and Bifida ferment lysate. There are also ceramides, EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor), plant oils and wonderful humectants. Perfect for crow’s feet control!

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum

For those who want or need some extra help with that fragile eye area, this serum is is a powerful anti-aging fighter. The “Shaba Complex” is a concentrated dose of Saccharomyces Black Tea Ferment and copper peptides combined to effectively fight signs of aging before they begin, or stop things before they get out of hand. Black Tea Ferment is meant to be effective at preventing glycation which is supposedly where the sugar in your bloodstream can affect the proteins in our skin, like collagen and elastin. Copper peptides are great for promoting those proteins. Other notable key ingredients include antioxidants Edelweiss Stem Cells, Ubiquinone, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate and my favourite, Sea Buckthorn Oil. The texture is light, fast absorbing, and disappears almost completely, this creates no interference with other products you might be layering over including eye cream and makeup. I use this over my entire mobile lid.

MOISTURIZER

Primary Raw DoYou Soy Milk Cream

The star of this brand is the Fermented Soy Bean which has become one of my favourite ingredients as it’s particularly effective at hydrating the skin and fighting the signs of aging. Everything about this product is delightful, from the packaging to formula. This is a waterless formula which is always a huge benefit since I know there is no dilution of ingredients and I’m getting the most for what I’m paying. As well as the Soybean Ferment Filtrate, there is also Soybean extract, Aloe, Rice bran water, Niacinamide, Snail secretion, Green Tea leaf extract, Beta-glucan, Copper peptides, so, so many other fabulous fermented extracts. This cream is refreshingly lightweight and milky while being deeply moisturizing without greasiness or stickiness. Mildly scented, this will leave your skin feeling silky and hydrated. Great for all skin types.

SK-II R.N.A Power Radical New Age Cream

There are very few moisturizers I’ve come across that can create a glow comparable to this luxury cream from SK-II. Their R.N.A Power Radical New Age Cream is one of their best-sellers for a reason. Once you experience the radiance, you will cling on with a death-grip. The RNA line is formulated to target the 10 visible signs of aging and is good for any skin type experiencing or wishing to prevent further signs of aging. This is a silky cream that is creamy but not heavy. The texture is velvet-smooth and great for layering. Good for any skin type that has anti-aging concerns and want to address fine lines, firmness, dullness and dryness. This also contains Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate as a third ingredient as well as Niacinamide. This pretty much made a noticeable difference on me after a few days of use. My travel-depleted, dull, tired skin brightened right up and there is never a need for luminous primers with this.

MASKS

Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask

“Overnight” would accurately describe the success of this mask when it first launched. Their proprietary “Black Tea Complex” uses Black Tea Ferment and Black Tea Extract to super boost the antioxidant power along with Blackberry leaf and Lychee seed extracts to firm and smooth the skin. As an overnight mask, this is the final layer and step of an evening skincare routine. One that I leave until right before I go to bed. This is not invasively heavy or occlusive whereby most of the mask ends up absorbed by the cotton fibers of your pillow, or to the extent that all your hair is stuck to your face. By morning, the entire mask would have absorbed into your skin leaving it noticeably smooth, soft and for some people, firmer. This is a weekly treatment which after regular use will leave skin looking more refreshed and plump.

Goodal Waterest Vital Sleeping Pack

One of my favourite sleeping packs at a mere fraction of the price. Like the rest of the products in the Waterest Line, the main ingredient here is double-fermented lotus flower. The formula uses every part of the plant including the flower, seeds, leaves and roots to deliver and lock moisture into the skin. Which is what it does very, very well. After using this for the first time, I have never touched my Laneige Water Sleeping pack since. This also contains Sage Leaf extract, Hyaluronic acid and fermented Pumpkin extract which is a naturally derived AHA.  The texture of this is perfect for all skin types as it is a soothing gel texture that is refreshing but deeply hydrating. This is neither oily, heavy or occlusive. This absorbs, works on your skin overnight and leaves you with soft, volumized, hydrated skin after rinsing the next morning.

Whamisa Organic Fruits and Tomato Fermented Hydrogel Sheet Mask

Favourite sheet mask. This hydro gel mask is itself made of skin benefitting ingredients such as Aloe vera and Kiwi extract. This is soaked in a bottle of serum, one of the purest formulas I’ve ever seen so I don’t want to waste even a gooey drop. I tend to smear the excess serum in the package on my face first before applying the mask. The formula is 95% organic ingredients and mostly fermentented fruit extracts such as Tomato, Apple, Kiwi, Banana and Licorice root extract. There are no parabens, silicones, fillers, mineral oils, synthetic dyes or fragrances. There is an intoxicating scent that comes from the small amounts of Lavender and citrus oil that will relax and comfort the soul. This will nourish and rehydrate depleted skin as well as brighten the complexion. I can keep one of these on my face for about 45 mins sometimes even an hour without it drying out. The mask is cooling and soothing on the skin the entire time and when you peel this off, brighter, smoother, plumper, hydrated and refreshed skin is revealed. The results are wondrous and lasting.

PEELING/EXFOLIATION

Manyo Factory Active Refresh Herb Peeling Gel

Having had sensitive skin most of my life that stung and would turn red from a breeze blowing on my face, I still cringe at the thought of abrasive, physical exfoliators. I love my gommage peeling gels and if you also prefer something gentler, you might love this one. The exfoliation you get from this comes from natural enzymes mainly Papain (Papaya extract) and is insanely satisfying. You basically massage this on your skin and very quickly, fibers from the ingredients mix with your own dead surface skin cells, dirt, sebum and ball up creating a peeling effect. After rinsing off, my skin has never felt more soft and smooth. The presence of rice bran powder helps with that super smooth, skin surface texture. To nourish the skin, this contains fermented Pea Root Extract along with many other botanicals such as Buckwheat, Broccoli and Green tea extracts. There is also Hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated as you exfoliate. This was clinically tested and is hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin. 

Ofcourse, everyone’s skin is different. The same miracle ingredients for me could cause someone else to break out into a pox. I don’t see this ‘trend’ dying down anytime soon. I certainly won’t be quitting my beloved ferments, if anything, I am trying to fit more into my routine as I’m a firm believer of how too much of a good thing…can be wonderful.

by @Gothamista aka Renee

xx

Oui Please – Vol.2.3 Summer Escapade

P1040949

Yet another special curation, presentation, and execution by the people behind Oui Please subscription box. This edition is Vol.2.3 Summer Escapade. All essentials needed for summer artfully captured in one box.

P1040951

When this box landed on my desk, I knew it was going to be a joy ride for me to open and explore each product. I sat at my coffee table, sipping wine and going through each product in depth. Thirty minutes past and I’m still at the coffee table exploring…..The detail and care taken in packaging and presentation is unlike any subscription box on the market.

P1040953

As I opened the box, I discover this huge paper saying Rêve which means Dream. It certainly was like a beautiful dream, opening, and exploring the box.

P1040962

Number of skincare items surfaced from the box, brands like Pomone Paris and Saison D’Eden which were unknown to me have now entered my life and skincare stash.

POMONE PARIS created by a chemical engineer, Florence Selling. Pomone integrates the most recent discoveries of science and cosmetology in sensual formulas. Having met various visions of beauty, from France to South America, the founder is convinced that beauty is all encompassing. The conservatory of biodiversity, offered by the closed gardens of the Castle of Canon, inspires the choice of Pomone’s active ingredients. The Pomone formulas exclude parabens, phenoxyethanol, silicones and mineral oils.

Floral, fresh and green fragrance of Pomone skincare products evokes the gardens of the Castle and gives a feeling of bucolic escape. It has been conceived by a perfumer of the city of Grasse, with Ecocert and natural raw materials.

I received the Cream Mask, a smooth texture rich in efficient active ingredients. A mask intended to target the signs of age, firmness of the skin and provides immediate relaxation and visible benefit. The face recovers its serenity.

Inci list: apple polyphenols, powerful anti-oxidants – apple quercetin, activates sirtuins and fights against glication of proteins – malic acid extracted from the apple, firming and smoothing properties – apple seeds oil, nutritive and revitalizing – apple vegetal water or original extract, energizing and source of essential oils, oligo-elements and mineral salts.

(Source: Pomone Paris webite)

SAISONS D’EDEN is the story of a woman fascinated by plants and convinced that our bodies change with the different seasons. Our skin, which is the first organ to be confronted with these climatic changes, needs to be adequately prepared.

Johanna Fayolle decides to abandon her PowerPoint presentations and dry consultant files and to dedicate herself to the research of what nature can offer our skin, with the objective of reconciling Nature and Progress, Health and Refinement.

She creates her skin care line in collaboration with a state-of-the-art laboratory. Her priority being to recognize and integrate the influence of the changing seasons with the need for an ethical high performance. These standards are at the heart of Saisons D’Eden’s philosophy, along with respect for skin type and the use of organic ingredients, without compromise.

I received the Eye Contour Gel which claims to be highly concentrated, perfume-free, with a gel-cream texture, with eye lifting properties (Ginseng extract). An anti-fatigue  smoothened aimed to reduce bags and swollen eyes. Also claims to be hydrating to provide the indispensable ingredients for cell structure around eyes.

I also received the Spring Summer moisturizer strong on antioxidants and essential fatty acids (Raspberry and Sesame seed oils) intended to plump and hydrate skin while controlling sebum production. Smells very indulgent with discreet raspberry and white grapefruit fragrance.

(Source: Saison D’Eden website)

P1040957

Delphine Parent makes unique pieces of jewelry made from precious antiques, each patiently crafted like a canvas. Similarly jewelry is also made from gold-plated or 9 carat gold, developed in small series using personalized inscriptions, or on her favourite subjects like luck and a star filled sky on a summer’s night.

I received a necklace with an inscription of avec toi. I love its simplistic, delicate design. There is a lot more on her website, not sure if its shipped overseas, but hey….that’s why we have Oui Please boxes😉

P1040958

Les Interchangeables has a wonderful story about a girl (founder) Audrey. As a girl, Audrey was always designing and creating on her sewing machine, with a deep-seated passion for the decorative arts. She launched her first endeavor in 2007 – an ingenious concept of interchangeable, decorative bra straps. Designed to be shown, rather than hidden, the idea was a huge success as it addressed an issue that all women could relate to.

Eventually, she approached Swarovski to partner with her to develop a new concept – the creation of a line of stretchable, adjustable bracelets decorated with crystals. Imaginative, playful and luxe, the line developed quickly and acquired “must have” status in the accessories category in France and throughout Europe.

By 2014, Les Interchangeables had become a juggernaut, with a full accessories collection and an international presence with over 2,000 points of sale all over the world, including Italy, Spain, Korea, Japan, China, Australia, Canada, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Today, Audrey continues to innovate in the accessory space – she always has a new approach, a unique twist on accessible, luxurious and functional fashion.

I received a Swarovski crusted bracelet, excited to make it my arm candy.

P1040959

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse does not need an introduction at all! A lush dry oil, that absorbs instantly and can be versatile in use over face, body, hair. This is beautiful travel friendly bottle.

P1040960

Nailmatic polishes have pleasantly surprised me. The opaque finish, rounded brush, smooth application and gorgeous shade selection. I’m still testing its lasting power without any chips or smudges. The brand offers a shade selection of 84 colors, and claims to be free of toluene, phthalate, formaldehyde, and camphor. I’ve been an OPI and Essie fan all my life, thanks to this box I get introduced to a new brand!!

P1040965

Atelier Cologne needs no introduction at all. I received the Vanille Intensee spray which is perfect for travel. The top notes are coriander, lime and citron; middle notes are vetiver, jasmine and oak moss; base notes are vanille, oak and amber (Source: Fragrantica).

P1040968

July of St. Barth founded in 1989 by Juliette Espinasse, the brand specializes in the creation of hats, bags, perfumes and beauty products, combining lifestyle and luxury in the French. For 20 years Juliet sews on her hats the shellfish found on Shell Beach, her favorite beach in St. Barts where she lived for several years.

As a part of this box, I received the Shell Beach body soap, which is made according to the traditional method of Marseille, with a base of coconut oil and olive oil. The formula is free of EDTA and parabens.

The most wonderful thing about this box is the discovery of new brands, innovative geniuses behind the brands. The box is wonderfully curated and presentation is impeccable. Oui Please also offer A’La Carte boxes if you don’t want to be strung by subscription box. Definitely worth exploring into however only downside is they ship only within USA and Canada. Hopefully one day they expand their realms and let people world over explore and experience these curations.

HHW.com

xx

Amayori: Japanese Bathing Rituals

P1040476

A new brand and concept surfaced on my radar recently, Amayori Rituals. For many in Japan, bathing is a meditative practice – a time to renew, revive, relax and cleanse the soul. Beyond cleansing the body, the bath is viewed as a time and place to wash away the cares of the day.

Bathing is done in two phases. First, there is cleansing which is usually done in a small shower or with a Hinoki wood bucket before proceeding into the bathtub to soak. Soaking and relaxing in the bath is just that – pure enjoyment.

This is the same experience that Amayori Rituals bring to us with their bathing rituals. Drawing on Eastern wisdom and capturing the beauty and mystique of Japanese bathing rituals, Amayori is not just a line of luxury bath, body care and aromatherapy products, but an experience for your mind, body, and spirit.

Whether it be a bath or shower, bathing is an opportunity to nurture yourself, reflect and have a beautiful moment. Rarely are we alone without external influences. This is the perfect time to take advantage of your solitude. With an intention to relax, experience the beauty of Japanese bathing rituals at home.

 Stop, Relax, Breathe and Connect with Yourself.

I was sent a generous gift by the brand where I received Shower Mochi, Multi use Oil and Perfume Oil. Each product had a different scent profile and products are dreamy, magical and virtually take you to Japan to experience the ritual.

In Japanese culture, presentation is everything. Keeping that in mind, the attention to detail with packaging is wonderful, gorgeous Japanese papers delicately wrapping each box. Whilst each product is housed in black opaque UV protection glass bottle making overall presentation of these products wonderful gifts for just about any occasion. The ingredients, scent and overall experience elevates it to a luxurious self indulging treat.

P1040482

Shower Mochi which is basically ‘shower bombs’ that gradually impart its mesmerizing scent profile as hot water and steam come in contact.

P1040485

The whole bathroom smells amazing and standing under hot shower as steam wafts of Italian Bergamot Oil, Jasmine Absolute, Yellow Mandarin Peel Oil, and their Natural Essential Oil Blend enthralls me. From a usability and cost perspective, three mochi’s valued at $21 price point, which is $7 per shower sensorial experience. Depending on how long you shower, where you place mochi and how quickly it dissolves in water you can stretch use up to 2-3 times to get most value from each mochi. I reserve this as complete treat to my over worked mind, which sometimes refuses to slow down.

Inci List: Mochiko (sweet rice flour) and Rice Ferment Filtrate (Sake), Organic Citrus bergamia (Italian Bergamot) Oil, Jasmine Grandiflorum (Jasmine) Absolute, Citrus reticulata  (Yellow Mandarin Peel) Oil, Natural Essential Oil Blend

As for the inci list, its as clean, simple and effective as it gets. Nothing negative or cautionary to say.

P1040487

Speaking of mind refusing to slow down, I have difficulty unwinding and going to sleep. My thoughts, to do lists, idea for upcoming projects, grocery list etc just does not stop. Before you say it, No I cannot meditate. Doing elaborate skincare routines and relaxing rituals helps me unwind. Which brings me to next product which is Dreams of Gion Perfume Oil. Every night I take ten deep breaths of this peaceful and tranquil blend of Wild Lavender, Mandarin, Ylang Ylang, Rosemary. Whilst its no miracle to convert me to instant sleeping beauty, it sure diverts my mind to gorgeous sensorial experience than thinking of to do’s and other lists.

Inci List: Organic Camellia Oil, Citrus Junos  (Yuzu) Oil, Citrus Reticulata  (Green Mandarin) Oil, Lavandula angustifolia  (Wild Lavender) Oil, Cananga Odorata Genuina  (Ylang Ylang Extra) Oil,  Natural Essential Oil Blend, Rosemary CO2 Extract

P1040489

All their Aromatherapy Perfume Oils have a base of Camellia oil and wonderfully curated blends of essentials oils. I was also provided with samples of other oils, and whilst I still haven’t steered away from Dream of Gion the scent profile and inci list for others is as follows:

Ambrosial Ofuro: Organic Camellia Oil, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Endl. (Hinoki) Essential Oil, Monarda fistulosa L. var. menthaefolial (Mondara) Essential Oil, Hedychium spicatum  (Ginger Lily) CO2, Michelia Champaca (Champaca) CO2, Natural Essential Oil Fragrance, Rosemary CO2 Extract

Hinoki Onsen: Organic Camellia Oil, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Endl. (Hinoki) Oil,  Jasmine Sambac (Jasmine) Absolute, Aniba rosaeodora (Rosewood) Essential Oil, Citrus reticulata (Red Mandarin) Essential Oil, Natural Essential Oil Blend, Rosemary CO2 Extract

Geisha Ritual: Organic Camellia Oil, Organic Citrus bergamia (Italian Bergamot) Oil, Jasmine Grandiflorum (Jasmine) Absolute, Citrus reticulata  (Yellow Mandarin Peel) Oil, Natural Essential Oil Blend, Rosemary CO2 Extract

Zen Morning: Organic Camellia Oil, Organic Citrus aurantium (Sicilian Blood Orange) Oil, Citrus aurantium v Amara (Egyptian Bitter Orange) Oil, Mentha arvensis (Japanese Mint) Oil,  Piper nigrum (Black Pepper) Essential Oil, Natural Essential Oil Blend, Rosemary CO2 Extract

P1040491

The addiction to this oil is truly what has me devoted to this brand. The versatility, magnetic scent profile, clean inci list and pump packaging has me going gaga. The site claims it can be used as body oil before or after shower, bath oil (few drops in bath), and hair oil. I’ve used it all ways except bath, because the temperatures are too warm to soak in bath. However trust me to experiment more, used as face oil and mixed with my MV Organic Jojoba oil as well. Smelled amazing and instantly absorbs in skin. Moisturized skin well and no noted congestion. The scent doesn’t linger for long.

The inci list is simple and straight forward which encourages its versatility. Surely the price point would ache a bit at $110 however you get full 100ml. So the range of purposes and the price would work but still on luxe spectrum.

Hinoki Onsen: Coconut Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Organic Camellia Seed Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Endl. (Hinoki) Oil,  Jasmine Sambac (Jasmine) Absolute, Aniba rosaeodora (Rosewood) Essential Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Red Mandarin) Essential Oil, Natural Essential Oil Blend, Rosemary CO2 Extract

P1040493

All in all, I definitely recommend giving this brand a go. It certainly is a luxe treat to unwind and detach from all cares and stresses in the world. Have you tried this brand? Tell me about your experiences.

HHW.com

xx

 

 

 

Skin Saviours

P1040840

Recently, my not so wise mind decided to change the brand of milk I consume, which resulted in mayhem on my skin. Congestion, breakout and my jaw was a complete bloomin mess. Once I narrowed down the cause, I had to cleanse my system and help my skin recover from some intense Salicylic Acid Peels, Azelaic Acid Serum, Effacer Duo Spot Treatment and Zinc mist. My skin needed rebuilding, nourishment, hydration, and even tone. These needs translated to consistently incorporating Just Herbs Indian Ginseng Gotukola Elixir (repair and rebuild skin barrier), and Kimsukadi Glow Oil (hydration and nourishment) and Manyo Factory Galactomyces – Niacin (even tone and help with scarring).

P1040841

IMG_9960Gotukola or Indian Ginseng or Ashwagandha is a  fast-absorbing, light-textured skin potion which is a potent antioxidant and immunomodulator with anti-inflammatory properties. In synergy with other plant nutrients it helps boost collagen-synthesis, cell renewal & tissue repair thus diminishing fine lines, spots and signs of photo-aging. Cold pressed oils of Rosehips, Wheatgerm, Safflower and Moringa seeds are natural sources of Vitamins C, E and A while extracts of Indian Senna are a botanical alternative to Hyaluronic Acid (for fine-line filling and intense  moisturisation).

Long story short, I friggin LOVE this! Ok, on a serious note and review point: packaged in tiny 15ml bottle with a pump (earned brownie points with a pump),  this serum is light gel consistency, seamlessly absorbed, But smells very authentically ginseng. If you’ve ever smelled ginseng in its true form you know its majorly herbally and strong. Not for the faint hearted. Even though this serum’s smell could put off some people, for the sake of skin’s goodness I can tolerate any smell. From inci list perspective, nothing stands out negatively or comes with cautionary warning. Its all fabulous. My only gripe with this product is WHY oh WHY its only 15ml! Greedy, hungry people like me, need a lil more.

IMG_9959Moving onto its counter part responsible for hydrating, moisturizing the skin! The Kimsukadi     Glow Tail aka Glow Oil. Stands true to its name.

Classic oil packaging with a pipette, rich burnt orange colour oil enriched with some seriously unusual but wonderful ingredients and also attributed to saffron, turmeric. These ingredients are typical of Ayurvedic ingredients. Formulated without parabena and mineral oil (tick and tick).

My last step to the skincare routine, absorbs nicely. To me this smells wonderful (masked the indian ginseng elixir smell) however to many the herbal smell may be a major downer. The directions recommend massaging this in, however I prefer to pat it in, sometimes even spritzing hydrating toner on top of oil makes patting easier thereby forming a hydro lipid layer. The next morning skin was always well balanced, not oily, not dry, not tight, just perfectly glowing normal.

 

IMG_9961Galactomyces Niacin extra essence in 97% consists of yeast rice fungus Galactomyces extract, Niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate. The essence effectively restores the skin’s vitality, evens skin tone, fights pigmentation of various kinds, moisturizes, soothes irritated skin, minimizes pore size and prevents inflammation.

Ingredients: Fermented filtrate of yeasts fungus (Galactomyces), Niacinamide, fruit extract, Japanese pepper extract, Korean pine extract, usnei borodulino extract, witch hazel extract, sodium hyaluronate.

The consistency of water, texture feels somewhere in between oily and silicony (still not able to figure out) but absorbs nicely in the skin. I usually use this straight after my acid tone (in place of hydration tone). Followed by serum and oils/balms/creams. The bottle will last a while even if used daily and within days you would be able to see results. Perseverance and consistency is key with this product. For me this is a repurchase and will be expanding my horizons with Manyo Factory as a whole.

It has certainly helped with improving skin tone, texture and overall brightening. Stands true to its promise.

Below is my skincare routine for 5 evenings, and my skin looked spectacular. I rotated cleanser, acid exfoliation and hydrating toners however remained consistent with Manyo Factory Galactomyces, Just Herbs Gotukola Indian Ginseng Elixir and Just Herbs Kimsukadi Glow Oil.

To summarize this is my plan for stressed, irritated, agitated skin – Phase 1 includes major Salicylic peels to address the breakouts and Phase 2 includes nourishment, hydration and address uneven skin tone and texture. How do you manage such situations?

HHW.com

xx

 

 

Encyclopedia of Face Masks

P1040359

The western skincare scene has usually been limited to clay, mud, charcoal, cream, gel kind of masks. Move to the east and we have a whole new innovative category of masks. Starting with the more traditional sheet masks for various parts like face, hands, feet with different materials to a rather new age innovative Oxygen bubbling, Splashing or Patting, Rubber modeling, Spot treatment, Lip masks!!!! Below I have a list of masks based on various consistencies and textures:

  • Clay, Mud, Charcoal
  • Powder aka Ubtan
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Sheet – face and eye – cotton, gel, sea weed/kelp, hydrogel, foil back sheet mask
  • Sleep or Overnight – cream, gel or bouncy textures, water pack
  • Peel off mask – Gels
  • Rubber modeling
  • Oxygen Bubbling
  • Splash or Patting
  • Mousse pack – too cool for school eg mousse pack
  • Nose pack – mainly for white and black heads
  • Spot treatment
  • Hand & feet
  • Lip mask

In terms of why we mask, its simple – immediate crash injection of whatever skin needs. Below are some outcomes expected of masks, and the gobbledygook it’s usually marketed with:

  • Repair, Rescue
  • Detoxifying, Decongesting, Purifying, Deep Cleansing, Mattifying, Clarifying, Pore Correction
  • Exfoliating, Resurfacing, Retexturizing
  • Radiance, Brightening, Glow, Luminous
  • Hydration
  • Moisture
  • Firming, Lifting, Shaping
  • Self Tanning Sleep Mask

I’ll talk about my current masks on rotation based on their purpose in life and intended outcome for my skin. Here I have a decent mix of price points and regional availabilities. Of course if all else fails, diving into your kitchen and whipping up one of your own creations is always an option. I have a post on DIY masks you could refer for some ideas and inspiration.

P1040351

Charcoal, Clay and Mud Masks

I hate paying ridiculously priced clay, mud or charcoal masks! They are the cheapest ingredients and formulating a mask with them as a base doesn’t cost an entity as much moolah. Large mark up zone, so beware and ensure you read inci list here. Look for life changing ingredient (as if they exist – eye roll) to justify a price tag.

Generally formulated with some soothing, hydrating and moisturizing ingredients. This category of masks can leave the skin dry and parched. This happens because the mask is left on too long. These masks should be left long enough for it to work but not to the point where they are bone dry. By doing so it is drawing moisture from skin. Once you let it dry completely to the point you cannot move your face, you would need a bloody chisel to break through (exceptions: Aesop, SkinFood NZ, Sanctuary Spa). Therefore I prefer slapping these on when I intend to step in the shower. With the steam and clay/mud/charcoal it draws impurities to surface and truly detoxifies the skin. Plus its easier to remove and goes down the drain instead of messing up the sink.

Great for oily, combination, congestion prone skin. Alternatively also good for skin who need a detox. Drier skins need to be slightly careful with masks, add couple of drops of facial oil to avoid any post-mask tightness or dryness.

Quick blurb on all masks pictured above: Dr. Organic Virgin Olive Oil – too drying, hard to work with; Good Things Manuka Honey – purifying yet leaving skin supple; Nip+Fab Kale Fix – seriously softens the skin; Caudalie Purifying – too strong essential oils, not crazy about this one; Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus – smells amazing but results are mediocre; Moreish – another Kiwi fave mask, almost creamy and leaves skin supple; Cattier – limited availability outside France, good basic clay mask; Mahalo Bean (limited edition) – not available anymore but left skin radiant; Andalou Naturals – great drugstore option; Aesop – long time fave, wonderful detoxifier; SkinFooz NZ – the best mask truly, not drying, applies nicely, very mild exfoliating and nourishing; Derma E – exfoliating particles not for sensitive skins; Sanctuary Spa – warming sensation, easy to remove; Colleen Rothschild Detoxifying – minty freshness, leaves skin refreshed and purified.

P1040353

Brightening, Radiance, Firming Mask

Texture wise this category varies between gel, cream and whipped mousse. Ingredient base will usually have some form of AHA, or Enzymes to allow the surface exfoliation which results in brightening and radiance. Occasionally some masks include physical exfoliation aspect as well, in this case its M61 Skincare Vitablast C Scrub & Mask. I tend to slap it on, leave it for a while and then gently massage/exfoliate the skin. Given its formulation with Vitamin C it helps brighten the skin. Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey mask is an unusual one in this category, whilst Antipodes claim it to be purifying as honey draws impurities to surface I prefer this mask for subtle glow and brightening my skin. Easy cream application leaves skin soft, supple and glowy.

Blurbs on others: Andalou Naturals Berry Enzyme – again great drugstore alternative without hefty price tag; Forest Essentials Yogurt Purifying – stings skin slightly, smells yummy, whipped yogurt texture and results are meh; Dr Lewinns Reversaderm – sure shot radiance with runny blue lotion like consistency; Natio 10min Brightening – so good, but limited to Australia; Farmacia Barcelona Gold Mask – slightly gimmicky with gold ‘powder’ but decently hydrating; Nip+Fab Bee Sting – nothing firms skin like this fella, taut skin; Chantecaille Fruit and Flower – smells amazing, feels creamy and leaves skin glowy. love.

P1040348

Hydration Boosters

Hyaluronic acids, Glycerin, fermented ingredients or masks formulated with serious humectants are all about major hydration. Absolute treats for skin and sensorial experiences include Mahalo Petal – the smell is heavenly, apply and step in shower and the whole bathroom smells divine. Words are not enough to describe the scent. In terms of hydration its a mild everyday use mask. May Lindstrom The Honey Mud classified as cleanser, but No its too lush to go as cleanser hence a sweet spicy honey mask. An inexpensive treat is Super Facialist Una Brennan Rose Hydrating mask and Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses mask.

The beauty of these masks is you can use everyday (if your skin needs it). Leave it on for as long as your heart desires and skin is left hydrated, nourished and smooth.

Serious hydrating masks are – Bioderma Hydrabio (nothing like this fella), Rodial Dragons Blood Hyaluronic Acid (overnight leave on mask), Natio Ageless Vitamin C hydration and The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture mask.

P1040357

Powder masks

The purpose could vary from mere cleansing, exfoliating, detoxifying to enzyme radiance. Recently I wrote about cleansing powders aka ubtans could also be used as masks. Since the ingredients are in dried powder form this one has greater shelf life but can be messy to use. At the same time it gives you the flexibility and allows creativity on the liquids to use for mixing. May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver is enriched with spices and oils and tends to self heat (due to spices) when applied to the skin. Love this mask for its ability to decongest and purify skin.

P1040363

The new concept of splashing or patting unadulterated concentrated ingredients on skin for crash radiance. The methods of application can be as creative as they can get, but what remains consistent is the result on skin. Bright, radiant skin like someone slapped it to life! This product is truly tailored for clumsy individuals like me. Definitely look into this, now available in Sephora too, so you can try a sample.

Click here for my detailed review

P1040612.jpg

Sheet Masks

These masks are now becoming all the rage in western markets whereas they have dominated the east Asian market for decades. Made with various materials, ingredients these masks pack a punch and truly feed the skin. The beauty of these masks is you can get it for absolutely any skin concern. Sheet masks are also made specifically for neck, hands, feet, eye, and lips.

Personally I love using these after acid tone stage, as my skin drinks up all the essence in these masks, follow with serum or ampoule and finish off with oil or moisturizer. The fits and sizes of these masks can vary for a lot of non Asian faces. In some instances, the forehead is not big enough or nose is tiny, or mask in general is smaller. They are made with Asian faces in mind however the outreach of these masks is phenomenal.

Whilst Korea dominates the sheet masks domain, Asian countries like Japan (HadaLabo, SKII, Shiseido, Harihada, Biore), Taiwan (My Beauty Diary, Naruko, Neogence, Silk Whitia), Singapore (DrGL, BioEssence, RachelK), Hong Kong (Hiruscar,Wai Yeung Tong) are not too far behind and worth giving a try.

These masks are wildly creative with the ingredient formulation too, from oils to fermented ingredients to animal by products (donkey milk, snail mucin, abalone serum), EGF factors, etc. The price points can also range from a $1 to $40 per sheet mask.

The new trend also includes cleansing gel, peeling gel, aqua or milk peel swab (aka acid tones), essence and sheet masks making it a one stop shop for convenience and travel friendly. Reme G, Ettang, Papa Recipe, Somoon, The Saem are some brands which have got on board with this concept.

P1040340

Not a huge deviation from above mentioned Sheet Masks, these Eye patches specifically address puffiness, bagginess and brightening eye area. Common ingredients that are often used are caffeine, retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, bamboo water and other fermented ingredients.

On a disgustingly warm day, keeping any sheet mask in fridge for few minutes before application can seriously feel amazing, slapping on cool sheet mask whilst everything around you is boiling and feel like your insides are melting. Amazing for travel, excellent short cut to an elaborate routine without compromising on results.

How innovative and experimentative are you with masks? I’d love to know in comments below is there any category of mask or brand I absolutely must try.

HHW.com

xx