Ingredients

Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense & Tranexamic Acid

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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

 

Retinol Treatments

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We’ve all heard horror stories about Retinol, here are some forms of Vitamin A (lowest strength to the strongest),  Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol Propionate,  Retinyl Linoleate, Retinol, Retinaldehyde, Adapalene, Tretinoin, Isotretinoin, and Tazarotene. The prescription strength retinol treatment has Retinoid acid. Basically a derivative of retinol which is super effective.

There is common misconception that retinols exfoliate the skin, in fact they go deeper into skin, enhance collagen production, aid with skin smoothing, evening out of pigmentation, helps with spots and future prevention of spots and addresses skin blotchiness.

Today there are three prescription-strength retinoids:

  • Tretinoin (brands include Atralin, Avita, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova),
  • Tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac), and
  • Adapalene (Differin).

Many dermatologists find tazarotene stronger (and potentially more irritating) than tretinoin; adapalene is the gentlest but may be less effective.

In this post, I will not be delving into prescription products, instead will be covering various products and brands that offer retinol solutions without any dryness irritation and some added benefits of other ingredients.

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La Roche Posay Redermic R ($57) My first array in Retinol, and it was instant love. Enriched with Retinol and Retinyl Linoleate (15th and 16th ingredient in formulation) with a cream textured gel like consistency in a metal tube, with no exposure to air or light. Due to its mild strength and addition of Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, it doesn’t dry out skin and gradually does its job. I’d say if you’re starting with retinols I think LRP option is a safe bet as it’s gentler on skin and comparatively lower price point.

Auspect Clinical Pro A Serum is an Australian skincare brand. The formulation is enriched with Fireweed extract, Retinol, Lactic Acid, Kakadu Plum (one of my fav Aussie ingredient) housed in an opaque twist up pump action bottle designed to address skin resurfacing, even tone and firmer skin. I’ve used it multiple times, and it left my skin firm, under control (as far as spots are concerned), even toned and overall skin appeared wonderful. Did not experience any dryness or tightness or sensitivities (obviously wore sunscreen).

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65) is the only Retinol solution I’ve come across with the least possible ingredient listing. The brand claims to have 1.5% retinol (third listed ingredient after Cyclopentasiloxane and Squalane) however I did not experience any dryness or flakiness. Slightly silicony texture but absorbs beautifully in the skin. Excellent for calming angry skin, and resurfacing skin tone and texture. Packaging is poor with see through glass bottle and pipette.

Kate Somerville RetAsphere Micro Peel – Retinol Glycolic Treatment ($90)  is a treatment peel in combination with Glycolic Acid (AHA). The formulation has Glycolic Acid listed as second ingredient with additions of Lactose, Glycerin, Arbutin, Plankton Extract, Opuntia Ficus-indica (Napol Cactus) Fruit Extract, Soybean Extract, Kelp Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid,  Adenosine, Licorice Root Extract. Whilst all these are great additions, Retinol is listed as third last ingredient. I think the title of product is misleading in that the third last ingredient is prominently advertised. Nothing wrong with Glycolic peel but don’t shift focus by calling it Retinol and charging extra moolah for that. That aside, in my experience this product works better as stand alone after toning. If layered under an oil or moisturizer it does roll off the skin. Major kudos for packaging in a white opaque tube with a pump.

Colleen Rothschild Retinol Treatment ($65) is a relatively newer addition to my retinol familia. However one which makes me question why didn’t I look into this sooner. Retinol (listed as 4th ingredient), Retinyl Palmitate (listed as 5th ingredient), followed by thoughtful additions of Boswellia Serrata Gum Extract, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Bakuchiol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Plankton Extract, Lecithin, Glycine Soja Extract. The formula is light gel cream texture and absorbs instantly in skin. Can be wonderfully layered under or over any other skincare treats and yet doesn’t compromise its efficacy. I’ve used this 5 nights in a row as well and not noted any dryness or flakiness.
Dr Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum ($85) is an odd ball for me. The ingredient listing is heavy of Shea butter and other skin moisturizing ingredients and retinol pushed all the way at 16th place followed by more nourishing ingredient like Jojoba. Overall the formulation appears very heavy on emulsifiers and preservatives. Therefore the results on skin are at best mild. The “resurfacing” term could be very misleading. Although credit to be given where its due, excellent packaging in an opaque bottle, zero exposure to light and heat with pump mechanism.
Cosmedix Define Treatment with Hydroxy Acids and Retinol ($80) This brand I’ve always known of but never took a plunge with. The ingredients and reviews all were in favour of the brand and its products. Eventually I welcome Define treatment and I found myself head over heels.
Unlike Kate Somerville peel, Define is very clear and mentions AHA first which is corroborated with Lactic Acid as second ingredient, followed by Glycerin, Albumen, Retinol (AHAAAAA 5th ingredient – claims to have microencapsulated retinol complex), some more acids: Stearic Acid, Malic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Witch Hazel Water, Olive Fruit Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice, Sweet Almond Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, Peach Kernel Oil. See this is why I love this product so much. No dryness, no sensitivity, no flakiness and overall noticeable improvement to skin with continued use. Texture and consistency of thick cream but once pushed into the skin absorbs seamlessly. On top if an oil or moisturizer is added no rolling or pilling either. Housed in a tube with limited exposure to light and humidity. This will definitely be repurchased.

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Eye creams with retinol are by far the most effective and results are visible sooner. From the picture above I guess needless to say but Dr Dennis Gross range of Ferulic+Retinol is my preferred choice.
La Roche Posay Redermic R ($46.95) is a fabulous eye gel cream enriched with Glycerin, Caffeine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Retinol, Retinyl Linoleate, Adenosine. Easily the most used eye cream for me with visible results. Smooths and tightens the skin around eyes.
Cane+Austin Glycolic Treatment Eye Cream ($105) is the priciest option on this list, comparable to any other face serum in terms of price. But the inci list may or may not justify the pricing. Glycolic Acid, Kelp Extract, Camellia, Green Tea Polyphenols, Retinol, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone (bioflavinoid), Sodium Hyaluronate, Phytonadione (Vitamin K), Milk Thistle Fruit Extract, Indian Gooseberry Fruit Extract,  Ascorbic acid, Arnica Montana Powder. The packaging is wonderful with a pump and no exposure to light or air. Absorbs nicely in skin, and helps with fine lines near the eye. Still cannot justify the price point.
Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic+Retinol Eye Cream ($68) possibly my fave texture and consistency in eye cream. So creamy, whipped and not as rich to cause any milia. The inci list tickles my soul with some acids (amino, ferule, gallic, ellagic,glycolic, lactic), retinol, caffeine, algae, sodium hyaluronate, lipids, and skin moisturizers, this is a definite repurchase for me however the Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic+Retinol Eye Serum ($68) is my preferred choice. The light gel texture is amazing, and feels like nothing on skin. Absorbs beautifully and within a week I had noticeable results. The fine lines under my eyes were less visible/deep, and overall skin appeared taut. Some of the ingredients in this formulation include Centella Asiatica Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ferulic Acid, Retinol, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Morus Nigra Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Quercetin, Caffeine, Ubiquinone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Panthenol.

Hylamide SubQ Eyes ($35) is a unique one, in that, on application I experience a slight tingle. Now I’m all for tingle on skin however near eyes it makes me uncomfortable (just personal preference). This is much raved eye serum however for me, this is my least preferred eye serum. Not impressed with inci list, not impressed with feel on skin and not impressed with results either.

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In my experience, my absolute favourite and most reliable products for retinol are Dr Dennis Gross’s Ferulic + Retinol range. Started my journey with their Brightening solution but soon fell in love with rest of the range.

Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid & Retinol Brightening Solution ($88) Repurchased this product for its effectiveness with acne scars (including any extraction scars), dark spots, and sun damage. Jam-packed with Ferulic Acid, Retinol, Licorice Root Extract, Bearberry Extract, Arbutin, Mulberry Leaf Extract, Willow Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, among others.

I have a detailed post comparing the Brightening Solution and Overnight Serum (click on link) where I take deeper dive with ingredients and expected outcomes. As for the Wrinkle Recovery Pads, are wonderful weekly or bi-weekly boosted treatment for the skin.

Some say its best to dive into prescription strength retinols, I beg to differ unless you have a serious skin concern which warrants that. Over the counter skincare products do a fine job at daily maintenance with added benefits of other ingredients. However it can argued both ways and not one is right or wrong. It’s what works best for you and your skin. Now that’s just my two cents on the topic.

HHW.com

xx

Enzymes 101

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In my last post on Acids 101 I decoded all Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids however this post I will talk about Enzymes. They are different to Alpha Hydroxy Acids in the way they operate. AHA’s dissolve lipids (oils) that hold cells together, penetrate in skin and loosen the clingy skin cells. However, enzymes dissolve the dead skin cells on the surface of skin. Enzymes are not pH dependent; therefore limited exfoliation can be achieved.

Skin Concerns: used to treat pigmentation, acne, fine lines, sun spots. The only catch to these products are the enzymatic activity (active period) lasts 4-6 months.

Textures & Consistency: comes in all forms, cleanser, exfoliants, peels or masks. Generally you can smell the original primary ingredient.

The Experience: stinging, tingling are common however you have to be guided by your skin’s tolerance.

Operation Mode: Enzymes are wonderful surface exfoliants without any manual scrubbing tugging or pulling action. They’re are gentler on the skin compared to AHA’s however some aggressive enzymes such as Papain may not be the best option for sensitive skins.

The table below shows the main types of enzymes used in products aiding in removal of dead skin cells with some product suggestions:

Source Enzyme Name Products Suggestions
Papaya Papain Cleanser: Jan Marini Clean Zyme

Exfoliator: Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder, Kate Somerville ExfoliKate

Mask: Astara Green Papaya Nutrient Mask, Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Mask, Mario Badescu Enzyme Revitalising Mask, Elemis Papaya Enzyme Mask, Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator, Jan Marini Skin Zyme, Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask

Moisurizer: Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

Pineapple Bromelian Cleanser: My Chelle Enzyme Fruit Enzyme Cleanser, Alba Botanica Hawaiian Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser

Exfoliant: Tracie Martyn Enzyme Exfoliant

Mask: Herbivore Botanicals Brighten Pineapple Enzyme + Gemstone Instant Glow Mask, Philosphy MicroDelivery Purifying Peel

Pumpkin Curcubita Exfoliator, Peel: Peter Lamas Exfoliating Pumpkin Facial Scrub, Perfect Image Labs Pineapple Pumpkin Enzyme Peel (includes AHA’s),

Mask: Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Mask

Pomegranate Cleanser: Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser

Mask: Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

Blueberry Mask: Ole Henriksen Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask

Hope this was helpful and thank you for taking the time to read this post!

HHW.com

xx

 

Acids 101: AHA, BHA, PHA

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We’ve all heard catch phrases and marketing spills from various brands that echo in our heads something along these lines, “using AHA, BHA …. product will give your skin glow from sun……………… blah blah blah!”

This post is intended to provide you further information on source of these acids, their purpose in life, how it would benefit the skin and some product suggestions.

ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS (AHA’s)

Operation Mode

AHA’s are water soluble which basically means it reacts with upper layer of epidermis and dissolves all dead skin cells on surface of skin. AHA’s operate at pH level of 3 – 5 (it’s the level of acidity, when compared to water at pH level 7 which is neutral).

Suitable Candidate or Skin Concerns

People experiencing sun damaged skin, aging, pigmentation, brown spots, wrinkles, rosacea, acne spots, congested skin.

Where should it be on the Ingredient list?

Products containing higher concentration of AHA’s would usually be listed 2nd – 3rd – 4th – 5th in the ingredient list (but these do not necessarily interpret effective result it may mean faster results).

Which acid is most effective? Which acid penetrates deepest in layers of skin?

It simply depends on the relevant acid’s Molecular size….Not all of the acids work in same way. Smaller molecules penetrate deeper in the skin for best results. But they are also the ones that give the skin tingling sensation or irritate very sensitive skins.

The following acids are in the order from . The following table shows the types of AHA’s, in the order of Smallest (deepest penetration in skin) to Largest molecule (more skin surface exfoliation), Source they are derived from, their Purpose in life and Product suggestions:

Type Source Derived from Function

Product Suggestions

Glycolic Acid

(Smallest Molecule)

Sugar Cane Degreasing and controlling production of sebum, and stimulate collagen production in skin. Alpha Hydrox range (12-14% Glycolic Acid)

Peter Roth Thomas Glycolic Range

Kate Somerville Glycolic & Retinol Peel

Alpha H Liquid Gold Range

Bravura London Glycolic Peel (10%) & Moisturizer (15%)

Lactic Acid Milk, Yoghurt, Sour Butter Milk or fermented fruit Antimicrobial, hydrating and adjusts ph level, skin softener, keeps skin moist Priori Gentle Facial Cleanser (13% Lactic Acid Complex)

Bravura London Lactic Acid Peel

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant

Sunday Riley Good Genes

Malic Acid Apples, Cherry, Pears Hydrating, soothing and increases tissue respiration, increases oxygen supply to skin Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Packs

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel

Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser & Enzyme Exfoliant

Tartaric Acid Grapes, Berries, Currants, Passionfruit, Red Wine Antioxidant Arcona Raspberry Resurfacing Mask
Citric Acid Tomatoes, Oranges, Lemons (citrus fruits) Brightens skin, anti aging properties Mario Badescu Orange Tonic Mask

Ole Henriksen Truth Collagen Serum

Mandelic Acid Bitter Almonds Helps age spots, discoloration

Vivant Skincare Mandelic Serum

Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Brightening Solution

BETA HYDROXY ACID (BHA)

Operation Mode

BHA’s are lipid (oil) soluble, which basically means it can break down the oils on surface of skin and penetrate deeper in layers of skin. Due to the ability of BHA’s going deeper in skin, they aid in acting against sebum congestion under the skin’s surface. They have anti-inflammatory properties too. Like AHA’s, these operate at pH level of 3 – 5. BHA products may result in dryness and dehydration to the skin.

Suitable Candidate or Skin Concerns

BHA products are suitable for congested skin, blackheads, whiteheads, acne, wrinkles, and ingrown hair.

Where should it be on the Ingredient list?

Unlike AHA products, the products containing Salicylic acid would usually be listed towards end of the ingredient listing. BHA is far stronger and therefore effective on skin.

Type Source Derived from Function Product Suggestions

Salicylic Acid

(Molecule smaller than Glycolic Acid)

Salicylic Acid derived from White Willow Bark. Aspirin is also derived from White Willow Bark and its active ingredient is Salicylic acid. You may have heard Aspirin masks for acne prone skin. Unclog pores, helps with underlying congestion, ingrown hair.

NO impact on sebum production or killing bacteria.

Bravura London Salicylic Acid Peel 2%

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (French Version)

Skinceuticals LHA Solution (also has Lipo Hydroxy and Glycolic Acids)

Dr Dennis Gross Purifying Booster

Perfect Image Skincare – TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) 15% Gel Peel Enhanced with Salicylic Acid

Body scrubs that contain Salicylic acid are brilliant for ingrown hair

Categories/Types of products that contain AHA’s and BHA’s

Cleanser, Toners, Exfoliators, Eye Creams, Serums, Moisturizers, Chemical Peels. Below I have summarized some of the products that contain AHA, BHA, or a combination of two. 

AHA & BHA General Knowledge

1) Most important thing to bear in mind is AHA and BHA do cause skin sensitivities especially to sun exposure. Basically all hard work done with skin care products, can be reversed with unprotected sun exposure or inadequate sun protection.

2)  Skin regeneration is turnover of new skin cells that is critical for healthy, radiant and clear skin. Whilst AHA’s, BHA’s and PHA’s are brilliant for chemical exfoliation which continually “promote” growth of collagen in skin, it should be noted that AHA, BHA, PHA don’t generate new collagen. These are a great prep point for repairing products that have specific ingredients aimed at repair and nourish various skin concerns.

3)  There are number of companies and products that have a combination of AHA and BHA (Salicylic Acid). As for AHA’s you will need to read the ingredient list to ensure which type of acid is included in the product. Some companies also used synthetically sourced AHA and BHA, which is not naturally sourced. Think of it as, Vanilla extract (in a bottle with alcohol) as against using natural vanilla pod! Similarly some companies use AHA concentrate rather than extracts from natural fruit or vegetable. 

POLY HYDROXY ACID (PHA)

For sensitive skins, that are irritated with deep penetration of Glycolic Acid or cannot handle the tingly sensation from AHA’s, the Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHA’s) come to their rescue.

Polyhydroxy acids enhance exfoliation of the outermost layer of the skin and normalize its thickness. Products containing PHA’s cause less irritation to sensitive skin due to their large molecular structures. Considering it has a larger molecular structure it doesn’t penetrate deep in layers of skin, however it has has been proven the efficacy is not impacted in anyway compared to any other AHA.

Generally, the two types of PHA’s available are Gluconolactone (from oxidized glucose – natural sugar found in human body) and Lactobionic acid (from oxidized lactose – milk sugar).

Some product suggestions with PHA’s:

Thanks for taking the time to read the post and hopefully it has answered some of your burning questions.

HHW.com

xx

De’Mist’fying Rose Waters

Rose Water and Toners have been incredibly popular for its ability to hydrate, refresh, soothe, calm, and balance all skin types. Also known for its versatile uses as, toner, refresher, eye brightening, after shave spritz, pillow mist, mood enhancer etc.

In this post, I intend on shedding some light on Rose Waters in terms of types of roses, ingredient lists, some of my personal trials and experiences with some Rose Waters and some pointers you can look out for when deciding on a Rose Water for yourself.

 

Most common types of roses you’d expect to see in preparation of Rose Waters is Rosa Centifolia and Damascena Rose. Centifolia roses primarily grow in France and North Africa, have various sub types of roses, such as ‘Cabbage’ (left pic) or ‘Provence’ roses. Known to have first appeared in the late sixteenth century as a hybrid. They tend to have large globular blooms of white or pink, are fragrant and extremely hardy.

Rose Damascena commonly known as Damask Rose (right pic) with two distinct types i.e. Summer Damasks and Autumn Damasks. In addition, to these being used widely in perfumery, they are also known to be edible (Turkish Delight). The roses in this category are are a light to moderate pink to light red colour.

A Note on Preservatives Used: Consistently seen, Potassium sorbate is water soluble preservative and Sodium Benzoate – water soluble sodium salt of benzoic acid, usually used as preservative.

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My Trials, Experiences and Opinions (in order of my personal preference)

Kama Ayurveda Rose Water

Steam Distilled Rose Water

This is as pure and natural as it gets. As mentioned in my Oil Extraction Post (Water & Steam Distillation Process), Floral waters are by-product of oil extraction process. This is purest form of Rose Water you could possibly lay your hands on, where the original flower properties have remained intact. The mist is wonderful and thoroughly refreshing. In terms of rose scent, it has subtle rose fragrance, think of roses in rain scent.

MV Organics (AUD$40 – 70ml)

Water, Rose (Rose Centifolia) Oil, Polysorbate 40, Potassium Sorbate

With the least amount of ingredients, the simplest formulation and the most effective of the lot. One very important note too, the mist (mechanical pump) is damn fine! Crucial IMO. Fragrance wise, it seems to have the most subtle and “natural” rose fragrance. Fresh, Light and Nothing overpowering to make you nauseous.

Melvita Rose Mist ($15 – 50ml)

Rosa Damascena Flower Water*, Aqua/Water, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract*, Glycerin, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinic, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citronellol**, Geraniol**

*Ingredients from Organic Farming – ** Natural Components of Floral Water

Second Fav, with good ingredient (Damascena, Rosehip) with boost of Glycerin for sure shot way of sealing in hydration. Other less familiar ingredient is Levulinic acid which is plant derived acid used as preservative for its anti microbial properties. Whilst Sodium Levulinic is a salt of Levulinic Acid. The aerosol based rose water, is incredibly fine and wonderful to travel with. Fragrance wise this one smells slightly more like a mature rose, not light or fresh like MV Organic. In a few seconds, it has slightly sour note (in the best way possible) may be due to my own skin composition. Having said that, it still a very nice scent.

Santa Maria Novella Rose Water ($35 – 250ml, 8.4 fl oz)

Aqua (Water-Eau), Parfum (Rosa Centifolia)-Fragrance (Cabbage Rose (Rosa Centifolia)), Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Geraniol, Citronellol, Eugenol, Benzyl Benzoate (Made in Italy)

Oh dear, this is where I walk on thin line. Santa Maria Novella I love as brand, for its culture, heritage and history (and packaging, who am I Kidding!). This rose water is nice and I have repurchased too but when I glance at the inci list, I have slight cringe factor because it has Rosa Centifolia Parfum not Oil (Bloody Hell!). Latter ingredients are preservatives. Housed in solid glass bottle (not with a spritz, my ingenious addition). Upon spritzing you can immediately tell its not Rose Oil its Rose perfume, almost like slight synthetic rose note. Still very appealing even in its delicious synthetic form. Obviously not travel friendly.

Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Floral Toner (USA only – $12.95 – 178ml, 6 fl oz)

Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Distillate*, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Lauric Acid, Fruit Stem Cells (Alpine Rose, Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Soothing Complex: [Hyaluronic Acid, Magnolia Officinalis Bark, Phoenix Dactylifera (Date) Leaf Cell and Boswellia Serrata (Boswellin) Extracts], Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract*, Hibiscus Sabdariffa and Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extracts*^, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) and Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oils*, Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Oil

Non-GMO verified   *Organic   ^Fair Trade

This is where the plot thickens, this is technically a ‘Toner’ not ‘Water’. Inci list wise its great, price wise is mass appealing, housed in plastic bright fuscia pink bottle with decent mist. You cannot ask for anything more at this price point. Win.

L’occitane Rose 4 Reines Hydrating Face Mist (Discontinued)
Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Alcohol, Sodium PCA, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sodium chloride, Butylene Glycol, Parfum, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Chlorphenesin, Methylparaben, Citronellol, Geraniol, Benzyl salicylate, Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Linalool, Eugenol

Disappointment is left for last, look at the inci list, where is the Rose?! It’s a NO from me (thankfully its discontinued). But I loved the bottle packaging and misting mechanism. Bloody, frigging, hell breaking, Excellent. Obvs retained bottle, to decant others and use (no brainer move).

So to condense it all, pointers for you to keep in mind:

  • Proper, Authentic Rose Water is steam distilled or a by-product of extraction process for Rose oil.
  • Check if its Rose Parfum or Oil?! Needless to mention, but Oil is the preferred option here.
  • Determine type of Rose used, Rosa Centifolia or Damascena.
  • No matter which rose is used, it should be a colourless fluid, any colour to the liquid indicates artificial colour added.
  • There will almost always be a preservative but it should be towards the end of the listing.
  • Commonly used preservatives include Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Polysorbate 40, Benzyl Benzoate.

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Now, after learning tad more about formulations, if you’ve lost all faith in Rose Waters, I highly recommend looking into Caudalie Grape Water which consists of Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Water*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice*, Nitrogen (USDA Certified Made in France).

Simple, inexpensive, effective and widely available. It lasts a while with a generous quantity packed.

Hope you’ve found this post useful and continue on your quest to find “The Rose Water”.

HHW.com

xx