Author: HiddenHarmonyWorld

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

fullsizeoutput_57ce.jpeg

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

fullsizeoutput_5a60.jpeg

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!

HHW.com

xx

My Guide to Luzern Labs

fullsizeoutput_558b.jpeg

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:

luzern 6

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.

luzern 5

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.
luzern 3

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

Luzern 1

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

HHW.com

xx

My Guide to Earthwise Beauty

fullsizeoutput_49a3Another brand discovered through the Boxwalla subscriptions boxes, Earthwise Beauty. Founded by Ava Zhan who pours her heart, and knowledge into thoughtfully creating each product. Her intent was to create unique products, no-fillers, powerful skin care products for the modern woman. The formulations are made from unrefined, unprocessed fair-trade ingredients, unrefined botanical oils and butters, traditionally prepared herbs, and therapeutic-grade essential oils and absolutes. In the Boxwalla box, I tried a few products called Ruby facial oil, Nap in the Meadow serum and Ferizad’s Veil sunscreen. Initially I didn’t quite appreciate the products but over time of use, I realized my skin loved it. Since receiving the box, Ava and team kindly sent me some more products to try and the review below is of the products I’ve tried, enjoyed and loved. Since this post was originally published, the brand also went through major packaging and branding overhaul. The one point I made originally about their unique packaging has now changed to miron glass packaging. All I can say is I’m sad, I know and understand why it was done but I feel sad because a formulators uniqueness was not encouraged or supported by online retailers. It didn’t fit their “trendy, most sold packaging type“, so it had to be done. Moving on from my sulking, lets focus on the juice…

fullsizeoutput_58df

Marshmallow CleanserMarshmallow Face Cleanser didn’t meet any of my pre conceived notions of a green beauty cleanser. In a typical green/natural beauty fashion, it is not an oil or balm cleanser. It is a foaming cleanser which is blended with organic castille soap with a dash of strong-brewed calendula flowers, marshmallow root, and chamomile flowers, along with unrefined cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil, hemp seed oil and jojoba seed oil. The blue tansy, German blue chamomile oils and Lemon Balms oils are known for their anti-inflammatory, calming, soothing, repairing, and antiviral properties. This cleanser has a very soft velvety lather which doesn’t strip the skin of natural oils or leave that squeaky clean feeling. The scent is calming, earthy and green but not overpowering in any way at all. I wouldn’t use this as first cleanse or something to remove my makeup or sunscreen. This is certainly my morning or second cleanse.

Ingredients: Herbal infusion {distilled water, Althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root*, Calendula officinalis (marigold) flowers, Matricaria recutita (chamomile) buds*}, water, saponified Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*†, cold-press unrefined Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil (organic whenever available), Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, cold-press whole-leaf Aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, vegetable glycerin (from non-GMO soy)*, saponified Olea europaea (olive) oil*†, potassium hydroxide (but none remains in final product, after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin), Cannabis sativa (hemp) oil*, natural ECOCERT preservative {glycerin, Leuconostoc (radish root) ferment filtrate, Lonicera japonica (honeysuckle) flower extract, Lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) extract, Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen) bark extract, gluconolactone}, guar gum, gluconolactone (from non-GMO corn), organic Tanacetum annuum (blue tansy/Moroccan chamomile) oil, Matricaria recutita (German blue chamomile) oil*, Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) oil*, Ferula galbaniflua (galbanum) oil*, organic Viola odorata (violet) leaf absolute, citric acid, tocopherol (vit. E from non-GMO sunflowers).

Thelma Lip Treatment

Thelma Lip Treatment is something I’ve struggled with a little, since every product from this brand has been a hit with me. Ingredients are stellar, but the performance is where it fell short for me. Not because it wasn’t designed well to perform well, its because I have certain pre conceived expectation of lip balm performance. I do prefer a waxy layer (think of Nuxe Reve de Miel or By Terry Rose de Baume). In this case, the balm melts in my lips and before I know it I taste it inside my mouth. I’ve varied with very little or decent proportion of application however it still didn’t work. I know Ava has put her heart and soul into it, given we’ve had chats about how difficult it is to formulate a superior performing lip balm. But for me that search continues…..

Ingredients: Cold-press unrefined Allanblackia floribunda seed butter†, Cold-press unrefined Ximenia americana seed oil†, cold-press unrefined Bertholletia excelsa (Brazil nut) seed oil* or †, cold-press unrefined Theobroma grandiflorum (cupuaçu) seed butter†, cold-press unrefined Mangifera indica (mango) seed butter* or †, cold-press unrefined Trichilia emetica (mafura) seed butter†, cold-press unrefined Platonia insignis (bacuri) seed butter†, Sambucus nigra (elderberry) fruit extract, tocopherol (vit. E from non-GMO sunflowers), Vanilla planifolia (vanilla) extract*.

fullsizeoutput_58e1.jpegPassion Eye Serum comes as a complete surprise for me. I would never opt to use an oil based serum for my eye region given I’m very prone to milia. However, pairing this with retinol based gel serum and this oil serum on top has been incredibly helpful for my eyes. The oil instantly absorbs and doesn’t feel greasy feel. Most importantly it is not so heavy on the thin skinned eye region that caused milia. Personally I still prefer to use retinol (Dr Dennis Gross eye serum or La Roche Posay Redermic R) and go over with this oil. I would be lying if I said this oil was limited to use around my eyes, I used around my lips and all over my face too! This composition certainly outperforms its simple inci list.

Ingredients: Cold-press unrefined Amaranthus hypochondriacus (amaranth) seed oil*, organic cold-press unrefined Coffea arabica (green coffee) seed oil, cold-press unrefined Carapa guianensis (andiroba) seed oil†, cold-press unrefined Bertholletia excelsa (Brazil nut) seed oil*, cold-press unrefined Astrocaryum murumuru (murumuru) fruit butter†, cold-press unrefined whole-fruit Passiflora edulis (passionfruit) oil*, cold-press unrefined whole-fruit Rosa canina (rosehip) oil*, Hippophae rhamnoides (seabuckthorn berry) Supercritical CO2 Total extract†, cold-press unrefined Calophyllum Inophyllum (tamanu) nut kernel oil* (India), tocopherol (vit. E from non-GMO sunflowers), ruby gem essence, clear quartz gem essence, lapis lazuli gem essence.

Sungod Mask

Sungod is direct descendant of Glowville. Composed with one of my most loved clay, Fullers Earth or more fondly known as Multani Mitti with Marigold flowers and Turmeric. How could this mask not be known as Sungod, is beyond me. Mixed with rosewater or whole milk, this mask packs a serious punch. This reminds me of the Haldi ceremony in Indian weddings for brides and some grooms. The golden paste of Turmeric, Sandalwood, Milk or Rosewater, is considered auspicious and sacred. This mask takes me down that path with every application. Quite special it is. Love to gently massage this off in shower and skin is left so incredibly smooth. The earthy floral scent of this mask takes me places (hello calendula and turmeric)!

Ingredients: Wildflower pollen, Solum fullonum (multani mitti, fuller’s earth) clay†, Calendula officinalis (marigold) flower petals (organic or *), Aloe barbadensis leaf*, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) petals (organic or *), Plukenetia volubilis (sacha inchi) seed*, Hydrastis Canadensis (goldenseal) rhizome (responsibly wildcrafted or *), Symphytum officinale (comfrey) leaf (wildcrafted or *), Punica granatum (pomegranate) fruit juice*, Grifola frondosa (maitake) mushroom (organic or *), Curcuma longa (turmeric) rhizome*, Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) root (organic or *), Lentinula edodes (shiitake) mushroom (organic or *), Celtic salt (France)†**.

Catharsis Mask

Catharsis is a deceiving simple, yet incredibly mild, instantly soothing, calming mask for days when I had ‘unprotected time in the sun’. My fave combo of this so far has been mixing with cool green tea or mixing with some yogurt. Instant cooling effect on damaged irritated skin, or simply just soothing and calming the skin. Some would say this is tricky to apply because it slides (almost slimy application), it didn’t bother me and surely wasn’t a deal breaker in anyway.

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis leaf powder*, Azadirachta indica (neem) leaf powder* (India), organic Spirulina platensis powder, organic broken-cell Chlorella vulgaris powder, Citrus sinensis (orange) peel powder*.

Ferns and Moss Serum

Ferns and Moss Serum a deeply nurturing, treatment facial oil for skin that needs serious nourishing, restructuring, healing. Formulated with some of my favorite oils, Andiroba and Tamanu oil. Probably least talked about or rarely seen under the spot light ingredient. But seriously fantastic oil that I also personally use in my DIY Body Oil. This facial oil serum, has some excellent Amazonian oils that are rich in Oleic acid – fantastic for mature or very dry skins. Another stellar ingredient here is Seabuckthorn CO2 extract, powerhouse for firming skin. Smells earthy and I think I can slather this all over my face in layers with some amazing results. This oil is going to be my best friend in a fast approaching winter. The best way to use this so far been by misting Cistus and Moonlight mist following with this treatment oil (instant absorption in skin). Oddly enough I have also used this on my spots that have been battered with Salicylic acid and skin around needs serious repair.

Ingredients: Cold-press unrefined Carapa guianensis (andiroba) seed oil†, cold-press unrefined Moringa oleifera seed oil* or †, cold-press unrefined Schinziophyton rautanenii (manquetti mongongo) seed oil†, organic cold-press unrefined unfiltered Calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) nut kernel oil, Plukenetia volubilis (sacha inchi) oil* or †, Hippophae rhamnoides (seabuckthorn berry) Supercritical CO2 Total extract†, Calendula officinalis CO2 Total extract*, Copaifera officinalis (copaiba balsam) essential oil†, Ferula galbaniflua (galbanum) essential oil†, virgin cold-press unrefined golden Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, Evernia prunastri (oakmoss) absolute†.

Moonlight Mist

Cistus and Moonlight Mist, is an all round special, and far from ‘standard’ toning mist. Composed with Rock Rose essential oil and hydrosol come that come together, with Monkhood, Pink Phlox, and Rainbow Moonstone flower essence and Clear Quartz gem essence. I adore how this settles and absorbs in the skin. I prefer the scent of this when it’s settled versus when misted. Not sure why, but when misted to my nose (totally a personal thing) it smells like moldy rose but when settles it’s incredibly calming and soothing on my skin. I’ve tried misting on top of my makeup and it doesn’t dehydrate my skin at all.

Ingredients: Cistus ladanifer (rock rose) hydrosol* or (Portugal), cold-press whole-leaf Aloe barabensis juice*, Cistus ladanifer (rock rose) essential oil†, potassium sorbate (natural food-grade preservative), wild Aconitum delphinifolium (monkshood) flower essence, wild Phlox longifolia (pink phlox) flower essence, rainbow moonstone gem essence, mangano calcite gem essence, clear quartz gem essence.

IMG_3626.JPG

Selene Facial Steam seems like a product that would be quite easily overlooked, but that in my opinion would be a mistake. This is a ritual your skin needs to experience. Take a moment, pause, breathe and give yourself some time. In a pot of hot water (enough to create steam), soak these flowers, and with towel on my head so steam doesn’t escape. When the steam from these flowers encounters your skin and you breathe deep, OH MY LORD my brain cells unravels new sensation of calmness and stillness.

Ingredients: Achillea millefolium (white yarrow) flowers†, Chrysanthemum indicum flowers (organic whenever available), Centaurea cyanus (cornflowers)†, Verbascum sinuatum or Verbascum densiflorum or Verbascum thapsus (mullein) flowers* or †, Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaves (organic whenever available), Plantago major (plantain) leaves†.

togress 1

One of 2017 launches was the Tigress balm a vegan, noncomedogenic balm which claims to be healing, deeply penetrating to invigorate the skin tissue, heal acne breakouts, reduce acne and blackhead tendencies, balance excessive oil production, and firm the skin in the long run. It also protects from moisture loss and from the wind and cold.

In an ocean of beauty balms in miron glass jars, this balm is refreshing not only for its packaging but also ingredients and scent. For me this is a strong statement given I make my own balms and particularly keep a keen eye for balms formulated without Shea and Cocoa butter. Therefore in an effort to dodge these ingredients, some of the ingredients on this list were not only familiar but also comforting to me because I know and can attest to their beneficial properties.

tigress 2

Ingredients: Cold-press unrefined Garcinia indica (kokum) kernel butter†, cold-press unrefined Virola surinamensis (ucuuba) seed butter†, cold-press unrefined whole-fruit Passiflora edulis (passionfruit) oil*, cold-press unrefined Attalea speciosa (babassu) kernel oil†, cold-press unrefined Pouteria sapota (sapote) kernel oil†, cold-press unrefined Calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) nut kernel oil*, cold-press unrefined organic Rosa canina (whole-fruit rosehip) oil, cold-press unrefined Coffea (green coffee) bean oil*, vitamin E (from certified non-GMO sunflowers), supercritical co2 select Curcuma longa (turmeric) rhizome extract*, Boswellia carterii (frankincense) oil†, Nardostachys jatamansi (spikenard) oil† (Nepal), Pinus edulis (pinyon pine) oil†, Helichrysum italicum (Italian everlasting) absolute (France), Usnea (old man’s beard) lichen CO2 extract (Helianthus annuus [sunflower] seed oil, and polyglyceryl-6 caprylate [emulsifier], and polyglyceryl-3 palmitate [emulsifier] and Usnea barbata lichen extract*. *Certified organic.  †Responsibly wildcrafted.

A soft emollient balm, that melts upon touch and absorbs without a sticky feel is a boon to many. The scent is unique and will not be found in the market at all. It’s difficult to describe but I’d call it a deep animalic, spicy nutmeg, mossy forest. If you’re naturally inclined towards light floral, sweet, gourmand scents you won’t be able to appreciate this at all. It does need an open and welcoming mind. The consistency is of a soft, where you don’t need extra force to scoop some out. Soft and melts upon touch. Now that’s a proper consistency of a balm. As for its benefits, I like how it has healed my skin from retinol torture where skin was dry and slightly flakey. It is also wonderful as a spot treatment, where it worked its magic on healing the spot and reducing redness. Overall given the nature of a balm, it is wonderful for sealing the skin and protecting it from harshness of heaters and Chicago wind chill.

Formulation 1Looking at the pic above, naming it Nap in the Meadow (NiM) was the most appropriate name. It claims to deliver a broad range of benefits in a single product: deep hydration, strong anti-inflammatory action, anti-oxidants, anti-aging benefits, refreshing effects, and even some acne reducing, tissue repairing, and sunburn and sun damage repair.
Nap in the MeadowIngredients: Cold-press aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, Sambucus nigra (elderberry) fruit extract††, Curcuma longa (turmeric) root Supercritical CO2 Select* extract*, caprylyl capryl glucoside (naturally derived), Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil (* and †), Achillea millefolium (yarrow) oil*, Helichrysum italicum (Italian everlasting) oil†, Marticaria recutita (German blue chamomile) oil*, potassium sorbate (natural food-grade preservative), organic Pelargonium graveolens (geranium bourbon) oil, Pelargonium roseum (geranium rose) oil*, Copaifera officinalis (copaiba balsam) resin†, Ferula galbaniflua (galbanum) essential oil*, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid (vit. C), wildflower essences†. *Certified organic. †Responsibly wildcrafted. ††ECOCERT/COSMOS approved and Australian Certified Organic. Aloe certified by the International Aloe Science Council (IASC) for purity and content.

Glancing through the inci list, the claims of anti inflammatory, refreshing effects, and some acne reducing, tissue repairing, and sunburn and sun damage repair stood true in my experience. As for deep hydration claim didn’t work for me in Chicago weather. Perhaps another city or my home city of Melbourne – Aus, it might be a different story. I’ve used NiM standalone and mixing with another moisturiser. Either way it works wonderfully, and especially under makeup. More importantly and one of the core reasons why I adore NiM is because over time, I’ve noticed it helped keeping underlying congestion at bay. And gradually I fell in love with the addictive scent. Initially I felt it was overpowering but it grew on me to a point, where I craved it in the morning.

carrot 1

Next up is Carrot-a-Day or I’d like to call NiM’s younger sibling. I remember in my conversations with Ava, she said if I like NiM I must try Carrot as it may be a stronger variant. Upon trying it I must say, she is spot on right. Smells sharper and medicinal and can be directly attributed to Carrot Seed Oil. I’ve extensively used this oil in my own balm so I knew I was in a familiar place. It is an excellent ingredient and in my opinion fairly underrated too, for its efficacy. The carrot seed oil is also skin tissue regenerating and repairing. I cannot sing enough praises for the core of this product.

carrot 2Ingredients: Cold-press aloe barbadensis leaf*, Daucus carota (carrot) seed essential oil*, natural non-GMO tocopherol (vit. E from sunflowers), Helichrysum italicum (Italian everlasting) oil*, natural ECOCERT preservative {glycerin, Leuconostoc (radish root) ferment filtrate, Lonicera japonica (honeysuckle) flower extract, Lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) extract, Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen) bark extract, gluconolactone}, Marticaria recutita (German blue chamomile) oil*, carbomer, ascorbic acid (vit. C), Mentha spicata (spearmint) oil*. *Certified organic. Aloe certified by the International Aloe Science Council (IASC) for purity and content.carrot 3

Could I say I prefer Carrot over NiM…..I couldn’t choose one over the other. NiM is my first love, Carrot is my present. Hence both will stay with me in one form or another. Anyway, there is a milder variant of Carrot available for sensitive skinned people. As for me personally, I like it strong with a Bam effect.

ruby 1

Moving onto facial oil domain, we have Antioxidant Facial oil called Ruby, has taken the definition of oil absorbency into the skin to a new level. As you may know, I’m an oil fanatic, my respect for oils is immense for how much benefit it provides to the skin. However, in the natural beauty industry where everyone is creating one now, understanding oils and skin needs is of utmost importance. The heart of this formulation is antioxidant-rich oils (buriti and pequi), wrinkle-reducing and sun-damage-correcting oils (raspberry, buriti, rosehip, primrose), noncomedogenic oils (milk thistle, guava, rosehip, cranberry), Turmeric CO2 extract and whole-plant celery CO2 extract.

My absolute favourite ingredient is Turmeric CO2 extract which I generously use in my own balm formulations too. I cannot vouch enough for its effectiveness in calming spots, underlying congestion, helping eczema prone skins too (based on feedback I’ve received). So long story short, I adore the line up of ingredients and rich vibrant colour of this oil.

ruby 2.pngIngredients: Organic cold-press unrefined Psidium guajava (guava) seed oil (India), organic cold-press unrefined Silybum marianum (milk thistle) seed oil, cold-press unrefined Vacinnium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil*, cold-press unrefined organic whole-fruit Rosa canina (rosehip) oil, cold-press unrefined Plukenetia volubilis (sacha inchi) seed oil*, cold-press unrefined Rubus ideaus (raspberry) seed oil (organic whenever available), organic cold-press unrefined Caryocar braziliensis (pequi) fruit oil, wildcrafted cold-press unrefined Moringa oleifera seed oil, cold-press unrefined Calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) nut kernel oil* (India), organic cold-press unrefined Mauritia flexuosa (buriti) fruit oil, Curcuma longa (turmeric) root Supercritical CO2 Select* extract*, vit. E (from certified non-GMO sunflowers), organic Oenothera biennis (evening primrose) seed CO2 Total extract, organic Apium graveolens L. (celery)  CO2 Total extract, wildcrafted Acacia dealbata (mimosa) flower absolute (artisanally extracted in Grasse, France). *Certified organic.

I’ve used Ruby under makeup, layered with other skincare in evenings, and in all routines it has consistently performed. Due to its light consistency and high absorbency properties it layers extremely well. I also love adding Ruby to DIY clay masks, it ensures the skin isn’t dry or tight. I could endlessly rave about versatility of oils, but one more way I like using Ruby is mixing it with other moisturizers. Ruby would be excellent for oily, combination, sensitive and congestion prone skins. For more mature and drier skins, I believe oils with higher oleic acid would prove beneficial.

ambrosia 1

Next up, Ambrosia del Cerrado a unique formulation of hybrid of toner and moisturiser. Or as I like to call it my Cheerful Sunshine. Formulated with glorious cold pressed (to understand why cold pressed look at this post) Pequi, Buriti and Moringa oils and blended with Aloe leaf juice. ambrosia 2Ingredients : Cold-press aloe barbadensis whole-leaf juice*, sustainably wildcrafted cold-press unrefined Caryocar braziliensis (pequi) fruit oil, sustainably wildcrafted cold-press unrefined Mauritia flexuosa (buriti) fruit oil, sustainably wildcrafted cold-press unrefined Moringa oleifera seed oil, polysorbate 20 (naturally derived), potassium sorbate (natural food-grade preservative), natural non-GMO tocopherol (vit. E from sunflowers), xanthan gum, ascorbic acid (vit. C), citric acid. *Certified organic. Aloe certified by the International Aloe Science Council (IASC) for purity and content.

For summer, I loved Ambrosia under my makeup. Upon dispensing from pipette its a lotion consistency however once you spread over skin, its uber light and absorbs instantaneously. The beauty of this consistency is that it can be paired or mixed with anything at all. I’ve tried this with NiM and for me they are the power couple. The scent is something to ravel in, bright cheerful citrusy notes. I believe this is an outstanding product for those with sensitivity to essential oils because they are none. No added essential oils or fragrances.

green 1

Now, who doesn’t love a solid, deep cleansing, exfoliating, skin detoxifying mask which slaps skin and breakouts out of the park. Well that in essence is Frightening Green Face Mask (discontinued). A clay mask, strong herbal scent, mildly exfoliating but very importantly, not drying to the skin. Since making my own concoctions of clay masks, and as much as I love this mask I couldn’t justify the price to this. Clay is one of the cheapest ingredients and to pay $$ makes me slightly uncomfortable….and yes that includes addition of all other ingredients too. However, if you want to indulge…..

Ingredients: Montmorillonite (French green clay), Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) hydrosol*, raw cruelty-free unfiltered honey, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf* and oil*, Thymus vulgaris (thyme) leaf*, Laminaria digitata (kelp)*, potassium sorbate (natural food-grade preservative), water, Passiflora quadrangularis (passionfruit) extract, Citrus medica limonum (lemon) extract, Ananas sativus (pineapple) extract, Vitis vinifera (white grape) extract, Eucalyptus globulus oil*, Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool (thyme) oil*, Juniperus communis (juniper) berry oil*. *Certified organic.

fullsizeoutput_49a0

Overall, all of Earthwise Beauty’s creations are beyond exquisite. Based on all the formulations, you can clearly tell the creator has an intricate understanding of each ingredient and how it performs in the formulations. The ingredients are not only responsibly sourced (fair trade), but also carefully chosen based on extraction type. One thing I most respect is the complete explanation and disclosure of ingredients including source and extraction method. Hard to find this level of transparency. The product packaging and labelling is simple, colourful and unique. In a world of natural beauty, where almost every second brand is leaping at miron glass with gold embossed font, here is a refreshing look at the packaging which helps associate its own identity. Kudos to Ava and team for that!!!

Source: all raw ingredients and formulation pics are from Earthwise Beauty website.

Disclosure: Products gifted by the brand

HHW.com

xx

Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense & Tranexamic Acid

fullsizeoutput_5200

The newest launch from Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense with 5% Niacinamide, 3% Tranexamic Acid, and 1% Kojic Acid. Based on these hero ingredients, you’d expect improvements in skin discoloration as a result of excessive UV exposure, hormonal fluctuations, acne scars, melasma, aging, etc.

To better understand how this product works, it is important to understand the formulation and chosen star ingredients. My focus for this post is going to be Tranexamic acid, a water soluble amino acid hugely popular in south east Asia while gaining momentum in western markets. This ingredient is by no means a new discovery, and it’s been around for a long time. By the very nature of its properties, this acid is used for blood clotting during surgeries, heavy periods, etc. However, in the skincare world, this ingredient is used in small amounts to reduce redness and improve pigmented spots. Used to treat melasma or hyperpigmentation caused by UV radiation, photosensitization (can be caused due to essential oils too), hormonal influences, post spots scars (HIP). Known to be just as effective as Hydroquinone, which is fantastic news for coloured skins given our limitations with using Hydroquinone.

There are myriad ways of delivery and formulation around this ingredient. As for Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense the product is paired with Niacinamide and Kojic Acid, while SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 paired with Niacinamide, Phenylethyl Resorcinol (antioxidant ingredient used for lightening and brightening – synthetic compound derived from scotch pine bark), Tetrapeptide-3.0, Marine Algae Extract and Phytic acid, and Su-man Velvet skin brightening serum paired with Hyaluronic acid and Dragons blood extract. Ultimately it depends on your skin needs and what ingredients are you looking for as a ‘package’.

As mentioned earlier Asian markets already love this ingredient and widely used in sheet masks such as My Beauty Diary, Kose (Clear Turn) and Essence and Serums from Hada Labo (Shirojyun Premium), Shiseido (White Lucent, Aqualabel), Cle de Peau (Brightening Serum), Naruko (Apple and Tranexamic acid line), Bio essence (Tanaka White range with Tanaka extract, Kojic acid and Arbutin). This can be an endless list, therefore the point is, it is a widely used, effective ingredient and available in various formats and formulations. These are some combinations summarized which can help you identify which product formulation would best address your needs:

Niacinamide Rosacea prone skin

Reduces redness and it has anti-inflammatory effects

Azelaic acid

Boswellic acid

Reduces bacterial activity

Reduce increased activity of natural proteases

Kojic Acid Protein called Tyrosinase

Prevents skin pigmentation and help with brightening

Arbutin Derived synthetically but naturally derived from Bearberry plant

Prevents skin pigmentation and help with brightening

Lets focus on Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense’s Ingredient listing (key ingredients will be bolded):

Aqua / Water, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid (HEPES), Glycerin, Tranexamic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Kojic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Allantoin, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Edta

The claims of “improves the appearance of skin discoloration, brightens skin, and evens skin tone” aligns well with the ingredient listing. Improvement of discoloration, brightening and evening of skin tone is covered by Tranexamic Acid, Niacinamide, and Kojic Acid. On the other hand we have HEPES….not Herpes! A synthetically-derived acid activates natural enzymes in skin to help break the bonds that bind dead skin cells to the surface for even exfoliation. The formulation is developed with a targeted and focused inci list for specific skin concern. Also this can be used on all skin types.

Now onto my experience with Discoloration Defense – initially completely thrown off by the consistency and texture of the serum. I tried applying at ‘serum stage’ but didn’t see any visible impact or improvement, possibly because it didn’t absorb in skin so well (due to other products used before). With that in mind, I changed my method, now I use it in the following order of my routine:

Option 1: cleanse – acid – toning mist – Discoloration Defense – Sheet mask with Tranexamic Acid – seal with cream/oil/balm

Option 2: cleanse – acid – toning mist – Discoloration Defense – essence (thicker than toning mist) – layering another treatment product (optional) – cream/oil/balm

The point is, due to the thinner (almost water like but slightly thicker than water) consistency, I use it before essence or any other denser product. Simple rule of thumb, thinnest to thickest. Give it a few minutes to soak and I feel it leaves a sticky residue on skin but following by balm or cream or oil, it’s almost negated. In terms of visible improvements on skin, long story short it works for me with some visible improvements. I used all over and as a spot treatment as well. Also, used in conjunction with Naruko Dermalane Mandelic Acid serum the results are astounding (almost an accelerated improvement). Given some of the scarring and pigmentation is fairly recent and new, the improvement was visibly faster. The older stubborn patches are still working their way through, although I think I might need something tad more aggressive and deeper for that (laser or peels). Effective yet gentle on skin, no dryness, tightness, flakiness or any such side effects.

Speaking of which in south east Asia (also in Europe), a combination of fruit acid peels, microdermabrasion, IPL and laser treatments is used in conjunction with liposomal tranexamic acid preparations. One important point to note is, Tranexamic acid is effective in low dosage; high dosage will not improve the effects but rather cause irritations to the skin (as with many skincare active ingredients). With that said, I hope more and more brands embrace this ingredient and formulate some products around it particularly for western markets.

HHW.com

xx