Cleansers

My Guide to Dr. Dennis Gross

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We recognize Dr. Dennis Gross as a brand synonymous with at home Alpha Beta Peels, but also a board-certified dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon, and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Dermatology, a specialized dermatology practice on 5th Avenue, Manhattan. Over the years I’ve tried many products from the line and it was inevitable that I would write this post one day. Grab a beverage and sit back, this will be comprehensive.

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PeelsIt’s only fair to start the brand overview here, with the famed Peels. The first product I tried from the brand many eons ago were the Alpha Beta peels. Needless to say, I’ve been hooked for many years for simple reasons such as: at home solution, no downtime, no sensitivity, redness or peeling experienced. Most importantly, visible results day after day, week after week! My skin has been refined in terms of tone and texture. These give me ‘glass complexion‘. Packaged as a two step application process, ultimate convenience for travel and preserves the freshness of each peel. Concocted with an ingenious balance of Alpha (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) in Step 1 with Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid, Citric Acid. While Step 2 is formulated with Resveratrol, Retinol, Ascorbic Acid, Ubiquinone, Copper, Zinc and Sodium PCA intended to control the acid activity (from Step 1) and deliver anti-aging actives and skin nourishing ingredients.

Catered to each skin’s tolerance level, Gentle Daily Peel for sensitive skins (doesn’t contain more deeper penetrating acids, limited to only Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid – larger molecular structure), Universal is for as the name suggests, and Extra Strength for the more experienced users, acid acclimated skins and those who mean business with the peels.

P1030123Of course for the weekly treatment they have Medi Spa Peel (Ingredient highlights: Amino Acids, Ceramides, Peptides, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin A, Retinol, Resveratrol, Green Tea, Antioxidants, Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Azelaic Acid) which is chockfull with a lot of skin goodness. I like to use these after cleansing, steaming the skin and follow with Medi spa peel. The results are astounding.

Now aside from regular AHA peel, DrDG has also developed a treatment peel under the Ferulic + Retinol line which claims to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, firm, smooth and boost radiance (Ingredients Highlights: Witch Hazel Water, Retinol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalane, Sodium PCA, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid). This is my first retinol peel pad, and I cannot recommend it enough. Immediate results in terms of firmer skin tone. The only bummer is the price, but as a treatment pad I could push it (or wait for a sale!).

fullsizeoutput_4f53.jpegCleanser – The cleanser I’ve tried from DrDG is a their newer launch, Alpha Beta Cleansing Gel which is an extension of their cult Alpha Beta line. Long story short, yes it has a mild foam but no soap or sulphates. Not stripping or drying on the skin at all. Another plus, it doesn’t sting around my eyes. Ingredient wise, formulated with Glycerin, Mandelic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Willow Bark Extract, Phytic Acid, Citric Acid, Farnesol, Barosma Betulina Leaf Extract, Sodium PCA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Snow Ear Mushroom Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract. Gentle exfoliation while cleansing and personally, I don’t like removing makeup with this cleanser, preferred as a second cleanse or morning cleanse. Given a fab formulation, it is also wonderful for the body. Particularly for those who experience, body (back, arms or legs) acne or ingrowns.

Toning Mist: While I have a detailed review on C + Collagen Perfect Skin Set & Refresh Mist, to summarise my experience all I can say is ‘I’m on my second bottle‘. I’ve used this mist under makeup (after cleansing and before moisturizing) and over makeup. It truly does hydrate and replenish the skin. Generally I avoid misting spring water, toners over makeup because it makes me look oily, makeup cracks in pores and skin feels tight and dehydrated. This however, I’ve been spraying at all random times during the day (purely because I’m greedy for glow) over makeup. Plus it has a wonderful pleasant scent with a remarkable inci list.

P1030127Serums: For Brightening, Hydration, Anti-Aging, Uneven skin tone

Let me start with my personal fave line of serums from the Ferulic + Retinol  line which includes the Brightening Solution and Overnight Serum. I have a separate post comparing the two serums (linked Here). Both the serums have different formulation, delivery method, purpose in life and compatibility with various skin types and concerns. The Brightening Solution is for anyone with uneven skin tone, sun damage, scars from pimples and overall need for brightening the skin. While Overnight Serum has an addition of Niacinamide making it perfect anyone looking for an effective anti aging product. I believe the overnight serum is an all rounder with AHAs, Antioxidants, and Niacinamide.

My skin has been very finicky about Vitamin C serums, until this serum was introduced: C + Collagen Brighten and Firm Vitamin C Serum – Lets start with the packaging, in an air tight bottle with a pump. I couldn’t ask for more, exactly same packaging is used for Ferulic + Retinol Overnight Serum. A beautiful caramel colored (deliberately added to avoid the appearance of oxidized vitamin C), gel consistency makes it super light and absorbs in the skin instantly. I’ve noticed in many other vitamin C serums where the product leaves a tacky, glossy and even glittery finish on the skin. None of those offensive and glow deceiving feels with DrDG serum. Also a lot of Vitamin C serums irritate my skin (Ascorbate vitamin C) or leave it red (referring to Ordinary here). DrDG serum has their patented 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Niacinamide,  Lactic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Collagen Amino Acids, Superoxide Dismutase, Glycine, Carnitine HCl, Ubiquinone, Indian Gooseberry Fruit Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (stable form of Ascorbic acid, and is lipid (fat) soluble), Mandelic Acid, Kudzu Extract, Turmeric Root Extract, Phytic Acid, Citric Acid….Basically the formulation is fantastic and is one of more gentler, effective Vitamin C serums my skin has got along with. This serum could suit any skin type,  followed with a nourishing oil/balm or moisturizer.

DrDG also introduced a range of Clinical Concentrate Boosters for Hydration and Radiance. Lets talk about the Hydration Booster first which is intended to replenish hydration containing Hyaluronic acid, Evening primrose extract, Coconut fruit juice, among other stellar ingredients bottled in an obvious blue bottle. This colourless serum is light, sinks in the skin instantly, can be used as a spot treatment (under eye for fine lines or blemishes to instantly calm the redness), or add a few drops to moisturizer, serum or foundation, and it instantly soothes, plumps and hydrates the skin. For any skin type, for any weather zone (humid or dry), for any age group, for any skin tone, for basically any one! Possibly my fave hydration serum of all time.

Moving along, Radiance Booster packaged in a bright trademark DrDG orange bottle. This is possibly one serum where I’ve found myself reaching for it when I’m desperate and not as consistently. Not sure why, if I had to attribute to one reason may be its the packaging for the serum consistency. The consistency is slightly thicker than the Hydration booster so the dropper dispensing mechanism is not my fave. Anyway, another experiment I’ve yet to try is to blend with moisturizer, serum or foundation. The ingredient formulation has a unique combination of Pyruvic, Tartaric, and Linoleic acids,  antioxidants (Resveratrol, Quercetin), Glycolic and Lactic acid and Witch Hazel to resurface the skin. I find other serums in DrDG line more effective for resurfacing and radiance.

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Moisturisers:

Welcome a new treatment moisturizer in the Alpha Beta family, the Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturizer. As Carrie Gross mentioned in her video with Sali Hughes, 2018 is the year of expanding the Alpha Beta line. And what a remarkable product to introduce to the existing range of products. It seems like a meaningful and impactful addition. For the experienced acid users and skins, to be used after peel however for others can be introduced in the routine gradually. Packaged in a beautiful frosted glass jar, with a cucumber scent (possibly the only factor I dislike in this product). Absorbs nicely and a gentle way to introduce acid exfoliation while hydrating the skin. Can be suited to most skin types. If you need only one moisturizer, this is it. It’s an all rounder really, exfoliates and hydrates. More mature skins might have more needs, but those specific needs can be addressed through potent serums, but for a moisturizer this is just enough if you can get past the strong cucumber scent.

Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion (oil free), is my reliable, dependable, second jar of the hydration moisturizer. Day or night, before makeup in the morning or after serum in the evening, standalone or mixed with couple of drops of oils (extra oomph) or foundation (for tinted moisturizer), in every way it ticks all boxes. This moisturizer applies beautifully, absorbs immediately (also sometimes mixed with DrDG Hydration booster), and truly leaves skin plump all day. At my work, the temperature control is horrible and during winters the heating sucks every bit of moisture leaving me a lizard face. It is extremely rare I use the same moisturizer daily, every single day. With this fella though it is a different story. Also layering with DrDG Hydration booster worked really well. While this could work with absolutely any skin type, for oily skins in particular this could be their wet dream (pun intended) and drier skins might need more (next cream would be perfect).

C+Collagen Deep Cream is a luxurious cream that claims to be powered by DrDGs proprietary energy complex, 3-O C patented vitamin C technology, and collagen amino acids. This cream is rich (includes nourishing oils) and deeply nourishes the skin. Sinks in nicely, leaves a dewy finish on skin and layers beautifully with all other skincare or makeup. The formulations key ingredients include; Aloe Vera, Niacinamide, Carnitine, Squalene, Amino Acids, host of Antioxidants, Biotin, Glycolic Acid and other restoring ingredients (Superoxide dismutase and CoQ10). While this worked well for me during winter, I think it would be heavy for my combination skin during a humid summer. Also on the basis of the formulation, dry skin or mature skins would adore this cream while the Hyaluronic cushion cream would be more appropriate for younger, oilier, dehydrated skins.

P1030306Firming Peptide Milk is possibly the most under-rated and under-raved moisturizing milk. And I was definitely one of those people who didn’t appreciate this enough. It is formulated with a nourishing firming complex including Tetrapeptide-21, Collagen Amino acids, and Ceramides. With a light milky consitency, one pump all over the face and it melts in the skin. Instantly hydrates and nourishes skin, and excellent under makeup. I particularly love this over DrDG’s Hydration Booster. They recommend using this after the Medi Spa peel and yes the results are excellent. Anddd the genius packaging with a twist top pipette which automatically dispenses the exact amount needed. Brainiac move DrDG!

Eyes:

eyeFerulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum and Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream is just is just my ideal eye love, treatment and nourishment. This is probably my only repeat bottle of an eye serum. Possibly on my third or fourth eye serum bottle, not sure I’ve lost count. It is a beautiful light serum which sinks in beautifully, doesn’t feel tight or dry (because of retinol). It doesn’t matter if I follow with cream or not. I tend to take this all over my eye, i.e. under eye and over the lid too. It has visible results for my uneven texture, fine lines, and visible tightening of eye zone (in a good way). Typically a retinol eye serum or cream would freak me out with the thought of dry sensitized eye area, none of those feels with this one. I couldn’t rave and recommend this eye serum enough because this is the only eye serum I’ve consistently used over the years.

Swiftly moving along to its extended partner, the Ferulic + Retinol eye cream, deliciously rich eye cream. I worked through only a jar (yes this involves dipping fingers in the jar) of this, but as I reminisce fond memories of this cream, this is what I can share with you. The biggest worry was would it cause milia due to its rich consistency and the biggest plus point is it didn’t cause any milia. On the flip side, this was deeply loved by my mother, for its rich consistency. I particularly loved using this on my crows feet, for my under eye I couldn’t steer away from the eye serum. I would definitely repurchase this cream when I can pull myself away from the eye serum.

One very important and most frequently asked question, does it address dark circles. Let me cut to the chase, No! Slight diversion to understand why do we have/inherit these pesky annoying dark circles? Genetics (hereditary), allergies, fatigue, low iron in blood, pigmentation which specific races are more prone to, lack of sleep. No topical application will ever get rid of some of these causes, but instead focus your energies on finding and investing in a good concealer. Nuff said. Moving along…..

C + Collagen Brighten + Firm Eye Cream is also a newer addition to the eye range. Packaged in a slim plastic pump tube, no finger dipping and extremely convenient to travel with. This cream is intended to brighten the look of puffy, tired, and aging eyes. Formulated with DrDG’s patented 3-O C Vitamin C technology, Collagen Amino acids, Niacinamide this cream is light and smooth on application. Absorbs nicely and didn’t cause any milia. It definitely brightened the eye zone, and it didn’t have any fine mica particles for brightening. This is where the benefits stopped for me. The hydration for eye area is covered more with the next eye gel. All in all this is nice, but I prefer something like Ferulic + Retinol cream which covers many other aspects and needs for treating the eye zone.

Hyaluronic Marine™ Dew It All Eye Gel was initially and instantly dismissed by me as a gel. I’m not exactly as young, to allow a gel near my eye. It needs more than gel, a proper cream or something more substantial than a gel to thoroughly nourish my eye area. But I was wrong, my pre conceived notion of a gel for eyes was ignorant. After trying it, firstly I realized it is more creamy gel and secondly, it works under makeup, and doesn’t crease either. Although it claims 72 hours of hydration, far fetched in my opinion. I wouldn’t have skincare or makeup on my face more than 12-14 hours (max). I would still say, this is more of a day time eye cream under makeup or for younger skins. For emerging fine lines, plumpness and overall aging I would still prefer Ferulic + Retinol eye serum or cream.

Mask:
Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask, 
ooooh this is one I have a love and hate IMG_0074relationship with. More so love for the results, hate (strong word, but major dislike I’d say) for the application. Its tricky and needs practice and skill. Comes in two separate packets, one is the Hyaluronic Cushion Gel to be mixed with Activating Powder in a bowl. The tricky part kicks in now, where it needs to be immediately applied to the skin (ideally in a thick and even layer). On application it instantly feels cool. The mask sets within a few minutes, but I leave it on for 20-30-40 mins (crazy I know). Removing the mask is oddly satisfying, nicely lifted and peeled off the skin. I don’t rinse my skin, follow with serum and moisturizer. The skin appears properly plump (well hydrated) and adds life to the skin. If you’re a pro at applying Korean Rubber masks, this will be breeze for you.

IMG_8774Sunscreen :

Well after all those peels and actives, the importance of sun protection needs to be of utmost importance. In DrDG’s line there are two options of sun protection. One is a physical sunscreen Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 (Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide), to protect against UVA and UVB rays.  I’ve been through two tubes of this and definitely like this. Fantastic under makeup, absorbs nicely, no sticky or tacky feeling. Plus no white cast or greyish tones for me. I also use this over my ears, neck, chest, back of neck, arms and basically any exposed skin to the sun. I’ve also tried this in a dry summer and humid summer. Trust me this differentiation is noteworthy not only in performance but more importantly on how the skin adapts and reacts to the given product. In the crazy tropical humid summer is where this sunscreen fell slightly behind for me. It did get a little overbearing for my skin and had to resort to other misting sunscreens. However in a dry summer (thinking of you Colorado), this was perfect. Not only it protected me from the sun, but other ingredients like Sodium Hyaluronate, three forms of Vitamin C and other antioxidants nourished the skin.

Other option available includes the tinted physical sunscreens, Instant Radiance Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 40. Available in Light/Medium or Medium/Deep, while the shade range is not adequate, the coverage is sheer making it forgivable. For the most part the formula for both sunscreens appear to be the same, except the tinted one has illuminating properties which translates to tiny micro particles of Mica. Doesn’t make me shiny, or disco glow ball but the fact it has Mica does bother me slightly. I apply this with a wet sponge and finish is nice, but psychologically the Mica bothers me. This is just my personal preference and doesn’t reflect on the product itself. Hence I prefer the non tinted version from this line.

Devices:

gadgetsFirst up, is a basic but solid delivery steamer, Pro Facial Steamer Solutions. Anyone who has had regular facials would know that steaming with exfoliation is good way to deep clean and prep the skin for next steps. This steamer is exactly that. It defines exactly how much water is required, is timed (so you cannot over-do it) and the mist is extremely fine. Typically a part of my weekly facials, applying an enzyme based mask and steaming the skin, prepping it for extraction or next steps of skincare. Subsequent to steaming, other skincare products absorb much better in the skin, definite keeper.

Next up is Dr.DG DRx SpectraLite Eye Care Pro an unusual, FDA cleared device for your eye zone. Powered with 72 LED lights in the device, bringing professional light therapy at home intended to penetrate deep within the layers of skin, stimulating collagen production to improve skin density and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. It can be easily incorporated in the routine, very easy to use, takes only 3 minutes while I moisturize my body and have visible results. Followed with Ferulic+Retinol Eye serum and the results are definitely visible in matter of 2-3 weeks. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a must have for everyone, but if eye area is a concern for you, would recommend looking into this investment.

fullsizeoutput_3826So to round up my overall opinion, experience, and results from this brand is nothing but glowingly positive. I respect the brand from a Dermatologist’s lens, his overall skincare philosophy aligns with the way I want to protect, treat and nourish my skin. Not every single product works for me, in some instances due to formulation not working with my skin or just personal preference. But for the large part, if I choose the product appropriately for the skin condition I’m treating, it always works.

I’m a loud and proud #PeelAddict, no shame here. While I don’t peel twice a day, I always keep my stash adequately stocked. My husband uses it, I use it, my family uses it, my friends use it. I refuse to travel without it, especially long haul flights (traveling back home takes 22 hours, Chicago to Melbourne!!). What I also love about DrDG line, is there is a product for everyone (all ages, genders, skin types and concerns) and provides visible results on the skin.

Devotedly yours,

#PeelAddict aka HHW.com

xx

Oils Beyond Cleansing

fullsizeoutput_4bc4By the virtue of oils, their versatility goes beyond just cleansing. Despite them being marketed and sold as oil cleansers, we need to pause and review the ingredient to assess their use and applicability. These extra special treats can also be used for a nice deep facial massage with second cleanse, mix a few drops with clay or mud masks to avoid skin from drying, mix a couple of drops in your moisturizer for an oomph factor. Also finish off the routine and seal the skin with an oil. For those odd days when we have a spot or two or three, heal it with kindness aka oil.

As for the cleansing oils we have lined up here, I’ve used them as treatments for skin. The price range is uber expensive to inexpensive. Catering to all price points, inci lists, geographic regional availabilities and of course skin types. I wanted to round up some ‘cleansing oils’ and share some accidental discoveries and ways I’ve been using them. The common theme across all these oils are they’re all non emulsifying blend of carrier and essential oils and sold as cleansing oils. However, depending on composition and formulation, I see them more as treatment oils, and super travel friendly (subject to packaging) as ‘one oil does it all‘.

First up in this category is the MV Organics 9 Oil Cleansing Tonic. With an addictive aroma, claimed to be an instant pick up for tired, dehydrated and sun damaged skins. Packed with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich plant and essential oils. I’ve used this oil in every way possible and cannot fault it. Been through two bottles myself and it lasts a while. Personally I like to massage it into the skin and leave it. Wiping it off with warm wash cloth, feels like I wiped off all the goodness off my face. This oil would be particularly good for inherently dry and surface dry skins to press it in the skin. The simplicity of the ingredient list really enforces the message of keeping it basic and fuss free while being effective.

Ingredient List: Camellia (Camellia Oleifera) Oil *, Avocado (Persea Gratissima) Oil *, Infused Centella (Centella Asiatica Extract) Oil, Vitamin E – non GM (Tocopherol), Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Extract * With essential Oils of: Bitter Orange, Lavender, Geranium, Sandalwood, Rosewood and Carrot Seed (*Organically Grown)

Next up is Alyssum Alchemy’s Divine Oil which I consider to be the Rolls Royce of oil in this category. It is an extra special treat in terms of ingredients and formulation. The first ingredient is handcrafted solar infusion of Calendula which is incredibly calming to irritated skin. It also features a base of precious oils of hemp, camellia, jojoba, pumpkin, rosehip and argan and handcrafted herbal solar infusion of vanilla. This blend of oils are rich in lineolic acid (great for oily congestion prone skins) which help to balance the acid mantle of oily, congestion prone problem skins.

What’s more interesting in this bottle of goodness is the infusion with Australian Rose Quartz (from the Harts Ranges in the Northern Territory) on a Full Moon and blessed with Reiki. Also enhanced with carefully selected gem and flower and essences: red rose, Chicago peace rose, briar rose, crabapple, pink flannel flower, white rhododendron, crystal rose quartz, clear quartz, rhodochrosite, gold. 

Honestly, I don’t have a complete appreciation of the intangible energies bottled here but what I can appreciate here, is the oil on my skin and how it feels and performs. I prefer using this oil to finish off my routine and add to clay or mud masks. It properly nourishes the skin without the heavy icky feeling on skin.

Ingredient List: Calendula Officianalis (Calendula) infused Helianthus annus (Sunflower)*oil,  Camellia Sinesis (Camellia) seed oil*,  Argania Spinosa (Argan) oil*, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Bean* Infused in Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Oil*, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) seed*, Cucurbita Pepo Styriaca (Pumpkin) seed*, Tocopherol (vitamin E)**, Essential oils of Lavendula Angustofolia (Lavender)*, Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang)*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium)*, Santalum Spicatum (Australian Sandalwood)*, Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Peel oil (Bergapten-Free), Citrus limonum (lemon)*, Gem and Flower essences.

Discovered the next gem through the Boxwalla box, H is for Love Rapha Harmonizing Cleanser. Naming it as a cleanser, I feel is undercutting its performance abilities. It claims the foundation infuses nutrient-rich oils with herbs complimented by antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and highly soothing essential oils. Rapha contains a CO2 extraction of German Chamomile which is known for its high levels of matricin. Highly anti-inflammatory, matricin is a powerful agent of healing. While I thoroughly enjoy using this is as my second cleanse or morning cleanse, I adore its performance in a basic clay mask. Killing spots with kindness is right up this oil’s alley. Also, the earthy scent is something to ravel in, it smells very different to Alyssum Alchemy’s Divine Dew or MV Organics. The scent is not pretty or delightful, it’s earthy and grounding. Ingredients like Calendula, German and Roman Chamomile, Turmeric and Frankincense….these are powerhouse calming and anti inflammatory agents.

Ingredient List: Olive Oil*, Hemp Seed Oil*, Pumpkin Seed Oil*, Castor Bean Oil*, Mixed Tocopherols (Non-GMO Vitamin E), Chamomile*, Calendula*, Essential Oils Of: Roman Chamomile*, Lemon*, German Chamomile CO2*, Frankincense*, Rosemary Antioxidant CO2*, Turmeric CO2*, Lavender* (*Certified organic).

With Aveda’s Tulasara Radiant Oleation Oil, I discovered dry brushing for face. Facial dry brushing helps to promote microcirculation, nourish and restore skin’s radiance. The brush itself is very gentle on skin and with appropriate pressure control, it can be even gentler. Typically I dry brush my skin in the morning, to get the blood circulation moving after a night’s rest and inactivity. The ritual of dry brushing and oleation oil is inspired from an ayurvedic technique called Garshana (with dry brush) and Abhyanga (with warm oil). This technique basically involves massaging the body with warm oil and they say the effects of Abhyanga are similar to the feeling of being saturated with love. Anyway I completely digress with all about Ayurveda….back to the oil.

The blend consists of apricot kernel, sunflower, jojoba, rosehip, sweet almond and ayurveda’s most widely used oil, the sesame oil. The oil itself is very light and allows for nice massage or use in a mask, I wouldn’t want to finish my routine with this oil. But surprisingly does a decent job at removing makeup too (not the heavy makeup and waterproof mascaras).

Ingredient List: Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil , Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride , Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil , Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil , Coco-Caprylate/Caprate , Cetearyl Isononanoate , Rosa Canina (Rose) Fruit Oil , Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil , Isostearyl Alcohol , Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil , Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil , Jasminum Grandiflorum (Jasmine) Flower Extract , Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil , Cholesterol , Tocopherol , Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract , Fragrance (Parfum) , Farnesol , Linalool , Benzyl Salicylate , Citronellol , Citral , Benzyl Benzoate , Geraniol

The Superfacialist Una Brennan Rose Miracle Makeover Facial Oil is such an excellent product, I just wish it was easily available outside UK. Can be used as pre cleanse, massage and masking session, or to finish off the routine and seal the skin. Easily absorbed, smells divine (as the name would suggest with Rose) and all round a happy and satisfying experience with this oil. On my second bottle now, and there is nothing I could fault with this oil, packaging or performance. Anddd at a decent price point. What more could you ask for?!

Ingredient List: Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil, Persea gratissima (Avocado) oil, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (Sweet almond) oil, Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Rubus idaeus (Raspberry) seed oil, Cucumis sativus (Cucumber) seed oil, Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) oil, Lavandula hybrida (Lavandin) oil, Eugenia caryophyllus (Clove) leaf oil, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) oil, Mentha arvensis (Peppermint) herb oil, Rosa damascena (Rose) flower oil, Acacia dealbata (Mimosa) oil, Viola odorata (Violet) leaf oil, Tocopheryl acetate, Calendula officinalis (Marigold) flower oil, Laminaria ochroleuca extract, Beta-carotene, Daucus carota sativa (Carrot) root extract, Daucus carota sativa (Carrot) seed oil, Ascorbyl palmitate, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

A relatively new oil by French Girl Organics Rose Oil formulated with sunflower, jojoba, olive, castor, argan oils. Smells utterly beautiful with notes of rose geranium and sweet orange. The beauty of this oil lies in its simplicity. I don’t stop at my face with oil, extends to my scalp and body too. With all the goodness of oils I like pressing it in my skin instead of moving and wiping it off.

Ingredient List: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil* Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil* Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil* Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil* Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil* Rosa Mosqueta (Rosehip) Oil* Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Oil* Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil* Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Oil, Essential Oils of Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oil* Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange)*

And lastly we have Monastery Made Sage Oil, also relatively new to me but one that has moved up the ranks rather quickly. Herbaceous, crisp and sharp is one way to describe the scent but light in texture. Moves nicely, massages beautifully and works really well in masks for its addition of Blue Yarrow known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredient List: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Vitis Vinifera Seed (Grapeseed) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil,  Salvia Officinalis (Sage Dalmatia) Oil, Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Oil, Achillea Millefolium (Blue Yarrow) Oil, Juniperus Communis (Juniper Berry) Oil, Chamaecyparis Obtusa (Hinoki Japanese Cypress) Oil, Pinus Sylvestris (Forest Pine Scots) Oil, Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Absolute

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Ultimately the point is we don’t need several oils, we need one well formulated, ethically sourced quality ingredients product. Sadly the marketing pushes us to get oils for different purposes, but no one is pausing to review the ingredient lists properly to understand it applicability to different uses and skin conditions.

HHW.com

xx

Sunday Facial

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Facials Facials Facials, something I’ve tried in so many places from all over the world. Everyone has their own method, technique, products and most important is philosophy. So the question begged to be asked is what is my philosophy? Well its a holistic combination of atmosphere, state of mind, products and LOT of facial massage. I’m not particularly huge on gadget treatments but I do use a couple at home. Another crucial aspect for me is skillful, experienced hand at Extractions! Another reason why I have regular facials to maintain the health of my skin and ensure any underlying congestion is addressed. Generally I go for professional facials every 6-8 weeks however it can be a pricey affair so I do many interim maintenance facials at home. This post delves into how I indulge in at home facials.

Atmosphere: Typically I would also indulge in bath, so water in running in bath with capful of a bath oil (Aromatherapy Associates bath oils are amazing). The bathroom air fills with relaxing aroma of bath oil while I get started with a double cleanse. In addition, a gorgeous soy wax based candle is burning. Cleansing the skin with an oil or balm, taking it all over my face, neck, chest, behind ears and massage. Cup my palm over my nose and take deep breaths as I massage. This helps calms my raging mind, center my energies on the moment I’m about to indulge in.

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To remove the balm or oil, I have warm steaming wash cloth, air it for few second before I slap it on my face to ensure the temperature is not too hot for the skin. Cocoon my face in warm towel before I compress the towel on my face. The warm towel steam’s amalgamation with rich essential oil balm is truly transcending.

Next up, prep for exfoliation. Either physical, acid or enzyme, or combination. Choice is entirely yours! I have a separate post on all types of enzyme and physical exfoliators. Upon schmearing my enzyme exfoliator all over, I will steam my face. Steaming with enzyme exfoliator loosens surface dead skins and making it a whole lot easier to buff it away. Also preps skin for next step which is extractions. Not something I’d recommend to do at home – go to a professional if you don’t know what you’re doing. I typically only limit to extraction for blackheads, whiteheads and spots only if they’re ready to pop.

Skin can be stimulated at this point with steam, exfoliation and extraction – so Pause, Breathe. Mist some rose water. Dry your face and next up is a gadget High Frequency Facial Machine.

fullsizeoutput_435e.jpegHigh Frequency  helps treat and prevent stubborn acne, shrink enlarged pores, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, decongest puffy eyes, fade dark eye circles, rejuvenate the condition of the scalp and nourish hair follicles for healthier hair growth.

Most professional high frequency machines used in spas, salons and medical offices operate at a frequency of 100,000-2500,000+ hertz (cycles per second). However the machine I have here is only 50-60 htz, which is enough for regular at home use. Also assuring to know with such low frequency it isn’t going to damage especially when it is in DIY spirit.

Basically two types of high frequency with orange (neon gas) used to treat aging, promoting hair growth, tightening pores and skin elasticity and on the other hand is violet gas (argon gas) which is anti bacterial and wonderful for treating acne.  The violet argon gas frequency is typically used in spa’s however for at home function I find the orange neon gas works just fine on spots, pores, elasticity, blood circulation and  promoting overall health of the skin.

Soon after high frequency, I follow with clay or mud mask to tighten the pores after the treatment and continue the spirit of detoxifying and purifying the skin. Leaving it on for no more than ten minutes and I do not let it dry completely. When its completely dry (to a point where you’d need a chisel) you’ve drawn out all moisture from skin too. Taking it off with warm towel, next up is my personal fave step. The step for which I desperately and achingly look forward to a facial.

fullsizeoutput_4395Massage with a light, high linoleic acid carrier oil. The mantra here is firm pressure, no feathery, flimsy, sissy massage, you need firm pressure upward and outward. Following the muscle structure in the face. When hands, palm and fingers are tired, I employ Jade Gua Sha. This is literally the bomb of blood circulation and lymph drainage.

Massage has endless benefits some of which include: promoting blood circulation, lymph drainage (stuff that has toxin build up and makes you look puffy and dull), supports vitality in your skin, pressure point massage particularly fantastic for sinus sufferer like myself, better absorption of products in skin and most important of all it is incredibly relaxing. A good facial massage can put you to sleep (of course when someone else is massaging). To remove oil from skin, followed by another warm cloth compress, followed my misting with rose water again.

Here on, I begin layering products on skin to wrap up the facial. First up is acid treatment, followed by toning mist. Next up is one more gadget for eyes, from Dr fullsizeoutput_4396Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite EyeCare Pro, a FDA approved device featuring 72 LEDs, with a full spectrum of therapeutic light. Again a tool made for home use to replicate the professional light therapy used in medical clinics. I was extremely dubious about this product however using it for 3mins for last 20 odd days, I’ve noticed a visible difference in skin around my eyes. It’s tighter, firmer and smoother. I don’t have deep set wrinkles, I have fewer lines under my eyes but nothing that is major aging (if you know what I mean). I’ve also noticed when applying eye makeup, my skin near eye is more resilient and not so thin. I will continue using and keep you posted if I see more improvement. So following the light therapy near eyes is a retinol based eye serum.

From here, I finish off routine with an active Serum, treatment cream or balm or oil and hydrate a LOT with water. My choice of products and ingredients can vary for each facial however it is really driven and dependent on what my skin needs.

Also I specifically wanted to call out one more point about which type product I like to use in each category. This topic could be a post in itself however this gives you an indication where I’d like to put my money.

Medical cosmeceutical product vs. Green/natural product

  • Green/Natural – Cleansers, Toners, Masks, Balms, Oils – Typically on the surface of skin, and not much ‘face time’
  • Cosmeceutical (blend of cosmetic and pharmaceutical) or Over the Counter  – Acid Treatment, Serum, Eye Cream, Active ingredients (retinol, aha’s, peptides, etc) – This is deeper penetrating in skin and one which will show more visible results

*Personally I dont use any pharmaceutical product (yet)

There are other types of facials I do as well, which include micro dermabrasion but that facial routine looks completely different. Im curious to know, how do you do your at home facials?

HHW.com

xx

Review & Comparison: AveSeena HoneyActive Beauty Mask

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Since I declared AveSeena’s HoneyActive Beauty Mask as May Lindstrom Honey Mud’s younger cousin the review and comparison post was inevitable. I’ve been using AveSeena for a few days now and I’m ready to spill the beans.

A uniquely thick, decadently rich beauty treatment, designed to offer natural nourishment leaving the skin looking illuminated and full of vitality. The brand claims, Delicious pure honey-based mask enriched with sublime botanicals smells sumptuous upon application, while gently releases the face from impurities with a sense of creamy smoothness and silky comfort. Based on my experience, I agree with every word in their claim, its honey heaven, decadent and intoxicating smell transcends me to milky smoothness on skin.

Anyway, lets dive in the specifics of the product, packaged in a classic violet miron glass jar. This treat smells very similar to Honey Mud, i.e. cocoa velvetty aroma wrapped around fresh orange blended with beautiful floral. Formula is decadent honey mixed with cocoa absolute, clay, lush oils and botanical extracts. Also the colour of the product is identical to Honey Mud.

Note: Click here for my Review on May Lindstrom The Honey Mud 

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For both these masks, the heart of formulation is enzyme rich Honey, purifying clays, moisturizing oils and healing plant oils and botanical extracts. Main differences between the two honey based product reside in texture and consistency due to the choice of ingredients in the formulation. The use of type of clay and oils explain the density of AveSeena’s clay mask. Below I have dissected the formula based on category of ingredient. Also note the order of ingredients is same as well.

Category AveSeena HoneyActive Beauty Mask

May Lindstrom The Honey Mud

Honey Mel (Honey) Raw Honey
Clay Kaolin Clay White Halloysite Clay
Oil Coconut Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil Macadamia Nut Oil
Other Witch Hazel, Colloidal Silver
Essential Oils

 

Cocoa Absolute Oil Cacao Absolute Oil

Sweet Orange Oil

Ylang Ylang Oil

Vanilla CO2 Total Essential Oil

Cedarwood Oil

Frakincense Oil

Myrrh Oil

Extracts

(Fruit & Flower)

Orange Fruit Extract

Orange Peel Extract

Lavender Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract

Cardamom Seed Extract

Gardenia Flower Extract

Apple Fruit Extract

Apricot Fruit Extract Hibiscus

Rose Mallow Extract

Clove Flower Extract

Jasmine Flower/Leaf Extract

Vanilla Fruit Extract

Tuberose Flower Extract

Spiked Ginger Lily Extract

Plumeria Flower Extract

None
Preservative Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

Another Major Distinction in the formula is the use of essentials oils versus botanical extracts. AveSeena developers believe the use of essential oils in a formulation wouldn’t allow very sensitive skin types to explore and enjoy this mask. They perform their own extraction on botanicals with their proprietary technology (which they cannot provide deets on). In saying so, Honey Mud has Witch Hazel and Colloidal Silver which helps soothe and purify the skin.
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Next up is the comparison on Texture, Performance and Results on skin. 

Category AveSeena HoneyActive Beauty Mask May Lindstrom The Honey Mud
Texture & Consistency Dense, firm, very mildly grainy for very very mild exfoliation

Think of honey based body butter

Air, light, smooth whipped like a pudding.

Airy thick lotion, think meringue mixture.

Mixing with Water Both the masks feels exactly the same on skin once few drops of water is mixed. It spreads and emulsifies nicely. The clays allow the milky emulsification while drawing impurities.
Results SAME – soft, nourished skin, healthy skin
100ml

$67

$90

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Both these masks can be very versatile in use and can be used multiple ways:

Morning cleanse – Scoop some goodness out of the jar and schmear all over the face. It’s not possible to massage this for long. Take a few drops of water and it starts emulsifying and can be massaged longer. Gently cleanses the skin, wonderful for sensitive skins.

Stand Alone Mask – Same step as above, except leave it on till I finish my other chores. However if you’re lucky and don’t have other chores to do, lay back and wander away in your thoughts. Few minutes later wash it off and skin is plump, hydrated and feels clean. Both masks will not dry on skin where you’d need a chisel to remove.

Boosted Mask – Mix couple of drops of serum for more boosted treatment on skin. AveSeena recommends their own serum however I’ve tailored serum based on skin concern and need.

Mix with other powdered masks – Spoonful of any powdered mask concoction, such as spoonful of May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver (TBS) or Mahalo Care Pele Mask, or any other powdered mask concoction. Apply the mask with a brush, sit back or do whatever that is therapeutic to your mind while this rockstar couple does magic to your skin. One look at my skin and it radiates, it’s firmer, pores appear tighter, overall texture is calmer.

DIY Mask: Like I mentioned in my Honey Mud post, if you’re hesitant to spend that much or have a limited budget here is an alternative: white kaolin clay powder, 1tbsp raw honey or manuka honey, few drops of witch hazel toner, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder, a drop of any essential oil (optional). To boost the results, you can also use milk or yoghurt (lactic acid bacteria help with overall radiance).

Personally, I would happily walk past Honey Mud knowing there is another comparable, equally fine performing product with stellar ingredient listing at a competitive price point. Why would I want to fork out additional $23? In addition, for many the formulation differences may also be a deciding factor, i.e. essential oils or botanical extracts for your skin.

Of course it really comes down to personal preference and brand loyalty for some. I have my own thoughts on that, and this is certainly not the post to express that. What are your thoughts?

HHW.com

xx

Disclaimer: I was gifted the AveSeena Honeyactive Mask.

Worker B Raw Honey Face Wash

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The Worker B face wash is one which has garnered decent attention from me and IG peeps. I’ve had several questions about its texture, consistency, smell and performance. Well here I am finally……

A little background about Worker B brand, a group of passionate beekeepers and artisanal skincare formulators who have harnessed the potency of bee-created ingredients straight from the hive. As beekeepers ourselves, we are immersed in the inner workings of the beehive. This knowledge is vital to selecting our exceptional local team of honeybee experts who foster healthy, pesticide-free beehives thus providing our worker bees with a happy, thriving home. This allows us to source bee products – raw honey, beeswax, propolis – directly and make certain that we are using only chemical, antibiotic and pesticide- free ingredients from non-migratory beekeepers, ourselves included! Personal relationships with local beekeepers and, clean, sustainable bee products combine for the most effective skincare.

We all know the endless benefits of honey for our well being and skin. Lets straight dive into this delish cleanser. It claims to clean the skin while doing some good for it. No Soap or Sulfates. Made from raw honey, maintaining the beneficial enzymes from raw honey. Packaged in 5oz glass bottle with black twist open lid. The second you bottle the bottle, you can instantly smell the gorgeous honey. No added colour, no added scent or essential oil making it a perfect choice for sensitive skin.

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The texture and consistency is of raw honey however not sticky. The ingredient list will explain why…..

Ingredients Raw Honey, Organic oils of Sesame Seed, Avocado, Grapeseed, Rosehip Seed and Wheat Germ, and Worker B Propolizer Tincture

So the oils help the product move and schmear all over the skin. And no the oils don’t emulsify, but help nourish the skin. The inci list is simple, straightforward, no fillers, no gimmicky, novelty, or small proportion ingredients. Also, there is no addition of water, petroleum products, parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs, or triclosan.

This cleanser would be perfect for absolutely ANY skin especially sensitive, eczema or rosacea skins. With the addition of tiny bit of water, the cleanser spreads smoothly all over the skin. I give a light feathery massage and then rinse with water. If you’re oily skinned, definitely take it off with a hot cloth. Leaves skin incredibly moist (humectant properties of honey) that I could go without a moisturizer. Of course this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the versatility of this product. As a standalone cleanser or mask (leave on for 20-30-40mins), or mix with clays or muds (personal favourite mix with May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver or Odacite Synergie Masque).

All in all, I believe for 5.0 oz at $36 you can’t go wrong with this price tag, ingredients and serves excellent value for money and skin.

HHW.com

xx