Exfoliators

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

Enzyme & AHA Exfoliators

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Today in the market we have a massive range of exfoliators to choose from, of course the traditional physical exfoliator continue to exist but many have evolved to chemical (AHA and Enzyme) exfoliators. There is also a combination of physical and chemical exfoliator. So ultimately it comes down to your own preference and skin’s tolerance level. The general theme to all these products is the following category of ingredients:

  • Natural fruit enzymes loosen dead skins cells from the surface of skin. Also includes fermented fruit extracts
  • Physical exfoliants can be a huge range from botanical, herbals, precious stones to buff away surface dead skin cells
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids gently exfoliates skin and depending on type of AHA (and it molecular structure…to learn more about AHA click here), goes deeper than enzymes (learn basics of enzymes, click here). Lactic acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid
  • Cellulose peels & Sugar extracts polishes, lifting away dullness revealing brighter skin

Choice of product depends on many factors such as:

  • How many actives? Just enzymes or AHA’s or combination?
  • Purely chemical exfoliation or including physical exfoliation too?
  • Product effectiveness?
  • Other factors to consider such as packaging, consistency, texture, smell?
  • Of course how much $$$ we need to fork out?
  • Certain brand principles and ethos?

In this post, I have attempted to round up all exfoliators I’m currently using and provide a brief summary on their composition and performance. Any questions or feedback you’d like to add to any product please post in comments below.

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PCA Skin Revitalizing Mask was a complete surprise for me! The ingredient listing, performance, results and finally the price. Primary base and first ingredient as Papaya fruit extract adds to the distinct green colour of the product. Tingles in a good way and sloughs off dead skin from surface. The product is enriched with Squalane, Sugarcane Extract, Sodium Chlorophyllin-Zinc Complex, Honey/Mel/Miel, Rose Geranium Flower Oil, Fennel Oil, Patchouli Oil, Green tea leaf Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Lemon Fruit Extract, Apple Fruit Extract, Sucrose, Soybean Oil, Rosewood Wood Oil, Lime Fruit Extract, Orange Peel Oil. The skin glows and if followed by clay mask, the final result is spectacular. This is certainly not for sensitive skins, with combination of strong enzyme and essential oils it might be tad much.

Planted in Beauty Detox Exfoliant is a classic combination of physical and chemical exfoliation (pineapple enzymes). The physical exfoliation is very fine and wouldn’t scratch or damage the skin. It is also enriched with some lovely antioxidants (Raspberry and Moringa Seed Extract), plants extracts (Great Burdock, Fenugreek, May Chang, Alpine Willow Herb, Wintergreen), and sugars (Alpha Glucan Oligosaccharide). It appears to be well rounded in terms of formulation and performance is immediately visible results. Packaged in a tall 120ml/4oz pump bottle makes it very convenient. The addition of essentials oils makes it smell something like a product used in a spa.

Dr Lewinn’s Reversaderm Enzymatic Detoxifying mask sounds promising and heavy in its name. Purely chemical exfoliation, with slightest tingle however in terms of performance it does ok for people with low expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it does it’s job however its limited in its performance compared to many others in this post. The inci list stars include, Irish Moss Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Papain, Bromelain, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Vitamin C, Resveratrol Ferment Extract, Oligopeptide-24, French Saffron Extract, Glycolic Acid. Also the availability is limited to Australia and possibly online in UK.

BeautyPie Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial is a newer product on the market, with an interesting brand concept where their members can shop from an ever-expanding selection of unbranded luxury skincare and makeup products, and pay only the straight off the production-line prices. Anyway aside that, let’s talk about product formulation and performance. So formulated with Glycolic Acid, Pumpkin Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus  Pomegranate Fruit Extract, Quartz Powder, Bamboo Stem Extract, Rice Starch, Pomegranate Bark Extract, Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Witch Hazel Bark Extract, Raspberry Leaf culture. It is thick mildly physical exfoliating gel which positively tingles the skin and definitely does its job. Except how the brand works and does it truly save money, is largely questionable.

Själ Pearl Exfoliating Mask is the most expensive product on this post. A triple-performance exfoliant and mask that effectively detoxifies pores and brightens skin texture through a complex of enzymes, multi-fruit acids, and crushed pearl to minimize dullness, remove dead skin and excess sebum. The inci list is dissected below for each category of ingredient:

  • Galactoarabinan: Larch Tree extract (recommend reading this article by Oskia)
  • Precious Stones Exfoliators: Pearl Powder, Sapphire Powder, Diamond Powder, Citrine Powder, Amethyst Powder, Tourmaline Powder, Ruby Powder, Amber Powder – claims to have its own vibration that creates a gentle cooling effect when applied to skin that stimulates micro-circulation while helping to improve clarity and brightening. I don’t know enough about precious stones vibration and its impact & effectiveness in skincare but surely intrigues me a lot.
  • Enzymes: Pumpkin Fruit Ferment Filtrate, Pomegranate Fruit Ferment Extract, Bromelain, Papain, Bilbery Fruit/leaf Extract, Sugar Cane Extract, Sugar Maple Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Lemon Fruit Extract
  • Other Extracts & Cellulose/Sugars: Smithsonite Extract, Rhodochrosite Extract, Mushroom Stem Extract, Algae Extract, Fennel Extract, Mannitol (type of sugar), Cellulose, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Royal Jelly Extract
  • Essential Oils: Blue Tansy Oil, Rosewood Wood Oil, Lavender Oil, Lime Peel Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Orange Peel Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil

Upon application this product does tingle my skin, dries fairly quickly, and finally the skin is visibly radiant. To remove, I wet my fingers and gentle buff away the product as it has slight physical exfoliation component through precious stone powders. It is pricey and has a competitor in same price range which I’ve talked about below (Omorovicza Copper Peel).

Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator’s is much revered among the blogosphere, and social media. Of course I had to grab myself a 1.5oz (45ml) jar at $60. Quite a pricey proposition and the formula is basically Honey, Plant Oils, Herbal Enzyme (powders), Papaya Enzyme (41th / 49th ingredient) and Essential Oils. While it leaves skin soft, smooth, radiant, its essentially a physical exfoliant in a honey base and very little active enzyme (Papain, of course honey too). I feel no tingle expected from a typical enzyme exfoliant, however get more from this product through its physical exfoliation. I’m possibly the only one who feels this way about this product, and also feel there are other physical exfoliators at a much competitive price too.

Colleen Rothschild Dual Enzyme Polish (50ml at $55) is unique formula in this category of peels and exfoliants. While the formula consists of usual Bromelain, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Papain, it also has notable ingredients like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and finally few more ingredients like Comfrey Leaf Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Argan Kernel Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, Olive Fruit Oil. The Vitamin  and C are on skin for such a short while I don’t see them making an impact on skin. This polish to be applied, left on for few minutes and then gradually exfoliated off the skin. Fresh, bouncy, soft skin reveals itself.

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SkinJuice is an Australian skincare distinguished by its intense bright colour packaging. Not widely known to the world but it is surely a brand to keep an eye out for. I tried their Facial in a Jar mask which is basically a hot pot of AHAs, Enzymes and potent botanical extracts. Some known ingredients included in this formulation are: Lactic Acid, Witch Hazel Distillate, Pomegranate Fruit Ferment Extract, Mandelic Acid, PhytoCide Elderberry Extract, Sodium Lactate, Manna sugar, Malic acid, Pumpkin Fruit Extract, Seabuckthorn Berry Oil, Moth Bean Seed Extract, Irish Moss Extract,  Rapeseed Oil, Ginger Root Extract, Papain, Sodium Hyaluronate etc. Packaged in an air tight pump up jar, and need only 2-3 pumps for a layer over the face. Slightest tingle on skin and leaves skin incredibly soft, radiant and refined. No physical exfoliation at all, however it major concoction of AHA’s and enzymes I doubt the skin needs any more exfoliation.

January Labs Power Peel & Go is one product I was very excited to try however it left me very underwhelmed. It appealed to me for its short, concise inci list and hoped it performed like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, but it left a lot to be desired. For non-elephant skin individuals this peel might work, however for me it didn’t do a thing. I contacted brand and they sent me the Pro version, which gave me mild tingle and flush to skin mainly because of Cinnamon Oil. Sensitive skinned people should be careful using Cinnamon oil in this formulation, as it may irritate the heck out of your skins. Long story short, for USD $75, there are much better alternatives available. Full Inci List: Water, Hypromellose, Phenol (magic ingredient in Biologique Recherche P50 1970, for numbness), Cinnamon Oil (stimulate the skin and increase circulation), Potassium Sorbate, Chloroxylenol, Grapefruit Extract (purifier, antiseptic, and preservative).

Chantecaille Fruit and Flower Mask is a gorgeous cream mask with not so clean ingredient list but performance surpasses many masks! A light whipped cream consistency mask, packaged in thick glass bottom jar, and enriched with Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Hibiscus Flower Extract, Mandarin Orange Peel Oil, Grapefruit Fruit extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Papain (Hyaluronate and Papain/Papays enzyme are last few ingredients). I do feel a mild tingle on applying this mask, it smells just gorgeous of florals like Rose, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Narcissus. I also enjoy steaming my face as this mask eats away dead cells from surface.

Pixi Peel & Polish is a mild physical exfoliating or a leave on peel. Hence the name Peel and Polish. P&P is formulated with Lactic Acid, Sunflower Seed Oil, Witch Hazel Water, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Papaya Fruit Extract, Sugar Cane Extract, Sugar Maple Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Lemon Fruit Extract, Bilberry Fruit Extract. The physical exfoliation is courtesy of Polylactic Acid beads which are tiny, and not as abrasive on skin’s surface. For $24 this product performs well, and quick spruce up for skin. By no means this is an indulgent luxurious or clean product but like I said, does the job.

Speaking of luxurious and indulgent lets talk Omorovicza Copper Peel. A brightening two phase peel for brightening skin, combining a blue copper paste and a lactic acid activator, polishes and smoothes complexion and visibly reduces pore size for a brighter, more even skin tone. I was very dubious about this product, given the price and ingredient list appeared reasonable but basic.

So let me cut to the chase, did it live up to the hype? Yes! The paste is very very fine and very gentle to massage on dry skin. Paste is enriched with Sodium Bicarbonate, Squalane, Copper Gluconate, Camphor, Yeast Extract, and essential oils like Sage Oil, Chamomile, Geranium. I tend to leave it on for few minutes before proceeding with the Activator enriched with Hungarian Thermal Water, Lactic Acid, Hungarian Thermal Water Ferment Extract, Apple Fruit Extract, and Chlorella  Protein Ferment. Gently massage in the activator and it forms white foam (don’t think soapy suds, no). Finally splash water on water and throughly remove any residue. The skin feels soft like cloud, radiant like first ray of sun. The tubes last least 3 uses, for me personally I used 4 times. So it seems the dollar goes much further than initially anticipated and results surely make it worth it for me.

So as a final round up, couple of quick points from usage perspective, I tend to use 2-3 times a week. Typically after cleanse and before a dense purifying clay or mud mask. Also highly recommend steaming your face with these products on your skin, the results are astounding. If there is any product you’d like to recommend in this category, please leave your recommendation in comments below.

HHW.com

xx

LeahLani Skincare – Edition One

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Leah Lani is a Hawaiian brand that has captured vibrant botanicals, skin softening clays, delicious tropical fruits in gorgeous frosted glass jars with lots of love and care. All formulations are blended in small batches in North Shore of Kauai. I’ve tried a number of Leah Lani’s products and each and every product has a vibrant colour and upbeat aroma to the products. Below are some of my early thoughts on the products I’ve tried, tested and enjoyed.

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The website claims, a delicate, nutrient dense silken moisture melt that will soften the skin and deeply nourish the complexion. Bless will help to reduce inflammation, strengthen and protect your precious complexion. 

Ingredients: Organic cold pressed argan oil (Argania spinosa), organic cold pressed camellia seed oil (Camellia oleifera), organic Shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), organic cocoa butter (Theobroma Cacao), organic cold pressed maracuja passionflower oil (Passiflora Incarnata), organic cold pressed moringa oil (Moringa Oleifera), organic cold pressed marula oil (Sclerocarya Birrea), cymbidium grandiflorum orchid extract, wildcrafted blue tansy oil (Tanacetum annuum), neroli oil (Aurantium Dulcis), organic rosehip fruit (Rosa Moschata), rose clay and LOVE.

While the ingredient listing is lovely, to some the inclusion of Shea Butter may ring bells of a breakout. Personally I haven’t experienced any breakout so far. Like any good respectful balm its free of water, wax and emulsifiers. The delicate soft shade of baby pink comes from Rose Clay and Rose Hip flowers.

In terms of use this product is very versatile, can be used as cleansing balm as well as nourishing last step balm. I tried it both ways and no surprise to regulars I prefer it as the latter method. Just too lovely, to be swiped away with steaming wash cloth. The sensorial pleasure with steaming cloth and delicate floral blend of Passionflower, Moringa, Orchid and Neroli is extraordinarily uplifting.

Upon touch it instantly melts into the skin, and absorbs nicely. Little goes a long way with this wonder, being heavy handed with this balm may result in product just sitting on top of the skin. In my experience, it does help nourish and moisturize the skin, thereby enhancing the skin barrier however it didn’t do much for my inflammation. Overall, a solid basic balm to feed the skin and protect the moisture barrier.

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Next up is this gorgeous deep emerald green lush honey mask! Possibly the most raved product. Claims to be made from the soil and nectar of Hawaii, this one product alone will purify, cleanse and soften your skin gently yet effectively. The deep, emerald color comes from two powerhouse superfood ingredients, organic chlorella and organic spirulina.

Spirulina comes from a farm on the pristine coast of Hawaii that draws on the natural resources that surrounds it – abundant warm sunlight, pure deep ocean water and 100% fresh water drawn from a Hawaiian aquifer. The cleanest and most pure source of organic chlorella on the planet, which is grown in outdoor pools under the sunlight and contains cell walls that are “opened” or “cracked” using a specific process that preserves nutrients and increases absorption.

Ingredients – Organic Hawaiian raw honey, organic Hawaiian spirulina (Spirulina Maxima), pure organic chlorella (Chlorella Vulgaris), french green clay, pure sea clay, luminess algae, organic sea buckthorn CO2 (Hippophae Rhamnoides), vanilla CO2 (Vanilla Planifolia), essential oils of: (organic orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis), moroccan chamomile (Tanacetum annuum ), roman chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) , geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens), palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini), lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), ylang ylang (Canaga Odorata), rose (RoseDamascena), white lotus flower absolute (Nelumbo Nucifera), beeswax absolute (Apies millifera), coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum), and LOVE.

Once again a faultless ingredient listing, and enriched with raw honey absolutely tickles my soul. Tricky one to apply, face needs to be wet and then schmear this all over. Alternatively I gradually heat it in hot water or 10 seconds in microwave (blasphemous I know!) to get the product nicely mixed and moving. Instructions say 15-20mins but given its honey and won’t be drawing moisture from skin, I leave it on for an hour or two. Some times I forget I have a mask on, super comfy feeling on skin. I can appreciate why its highly raved, it does calm my skin, impart a beautiful glow and leaves skin plush soft. The only aspect that puts me off this mask is the application i.e. heat it every time. No spa like application with a brush, it needs to be massaged in on a damp face.

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Next honey wonder is Honey Love 3-in-1 cleanser, exfoliator and mask formulated to clarify, oxygenate, hydrate and balance the skin while stimulating cellular renewal. Honestly these are huge claims, and to cut to the chase in my experience this is a basic  nourishing mask and scrub. Infused with superfood Maqui berry, tonifying Hibiscus, anti inflammatory Noni fruit, stimulating rose clay and soothing Lavender and Chamomile flowers all in the base of organic Hawaiian raw honey.

Ingredients: Organic hawaiian raw honey, organic wildcrafted whole maqui berry fruit (Aristotelia chilensis), organic wildcrafted whole noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia), rose clay, organic hibiscus flower (rosa sinensis), organic lavender flower (Lavandula Angustifolia), organic cold pressed jojoba oil, essential oils of:(organic lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), chamomile (Chamomilla Recutita), Citrus sinensis (organic orange), organic vegetable glycerin, corundum crystals and LOVE.

I absolutely adore the earthy fruity scent of this product, again need water to smooth it all over. Typically I leave it on while I’m brushing and then gently massage it away. However what makes this scrub special is Corundum (aluminum oxide, naturally found) crystals. Corundum microdermabrasion crystals are made from the second hardest mineral known to science. The crystals are ground to a very fine powder and they do not have any jagged edges, so they will not ‘tear’ skin cells like traditional exfoliators. The only problem is these settle at the bottom and the product needs to be stirred thoroughly. Again, it needs to be heated gently so all the crystals settled at the bottom are mixed well. The distinction factor to other manual scrubs is the scrumptious honey with finely powdered crystals.

All in all, Bless Balm, Mermaid Mask and Honey Love are are definite repurchases for me. These products are enriched with some gorgeous ingredients and are fairly priced. Admittedly I took a plunge at Black Friday Sale and I’m so glad I did. As a part of my purchase, Leah Lani kindly and generously added more products for me to try which are Aloha Ambrosia Elixir, Mahina Evening Replenishing Elixir and Kokoleka Ritual Dessert Detox Mask, however need more time to try and test which I will document in edition two. More to come…..

HHW.com

xx

Winter Skincare Wardrobe

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As the colours change, and temperatures drop, the state of skin is temperamental, agitated and protesting the change. Over the years, I’ve come to a solid conclusion my skin has a mind of its own and I need to adapt it’s care needs accordingly.

With fluctuating environments of strong wind chills, to artificially heated offices, cars and homes my skin is almost in an eternally dehydrated and confused state. Whilst it’s predominantly combination skin, with an oily T-zone and drier cheeks, during winter the ‘combination situation’ is exasperated. In addition, let’s not forget to complicate matters worse with a bout of dehydration and breakouts. Now that the problem is sufficiently moaned about, here’s how I adapt my skincare regime.

Aim of the game is similar to Asian beauty routines, where a number of thin layers of hydration and nourishment products are slapped on. With this method, the skin remains hydrated and nourished for longer.

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Cleansers typically I use oils or balms to remove makeup and second cleanse. Well that wouldn’t change for the evenings. However my morning cleanses, will include a lot more nourishing cream cleansers. Some of my faves in this category are, MV Organic Gentle Cream Cleanser, Trilogy Cream Cleanser and, and Good Things Manuka Cleanser.

Some mornings where I could get away without cream cleanser, I resort to milk cleansers and a strong fave has always been Institut Esthederm Osmoclean or Bioderma cleansing milks. New on the block is Forest Essentials Deeply Nourishing Cleansing Paste with ground paste of almonds, pistachios, and other lush Ayurvedic ingredients which provide skin gentle exfoliation and nourishment in one step. Smells Delish too!

Acid or other forms of exfoliation is driven strictly by my skin need, of how strong of an acid I use and which specific type of acid I use.  

Combination of various Acids: Dr Dennis Gross peels (of varying strengths), Biologique Recherché P50 range, MD Sun Skin Exfoliation Pads, Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Peel Pads, M61 Power Peel, Neogen Wine Peeling Gauze

Glycolic Acid: Alpha H Liquid Gold, Bravura London Calendula Toner, Pixi Glow Tonic, Cane & Austin Miracle+ Pads, Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexurising Peel

Lactic Acid: Kate Somerville Clinic to go,  Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel

Milk Peels (the new thing!) – Primary Raw or Dr Jart+ milk peels are gentler on skin OR Pre Lab Toning Peeling tap which is essentially exfoliating with enzymes.

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“Toning Mist & Amp up with Essences” A regular toning spritz post acid to stabilize the pH level in skin. Some examples could be basic floral hydrosols such as Rose Water by MV Organic, Alteya Organic, Santa Maria Novella, Whamisa Damask Rose, Andalou Naturals, Forest Essentials, Kama Ayurveda, Just Herbs etc. Or Zinc based like La Roche Posay Serozinc. Other toners with a combination of ingredients to hydrate and provide other benefits to skin could include Farmacy Skindew, Patyka Revitalizing Toner, Sjal Mineral Kalla toner, Antipodes, Aesop or Trilogy toners.

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These toning mists are then followed by serious hydrating or fermented essences to inject and plump the skin. My absolute fave is Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner, and from same brand Refresh and Original are just as wonderful. To name a few others: Decleor HydraFloral Essence Lotion, Blithe Vital Treatment Essences, Earth’s Recipe Energy Boosting Toner, Missha Time Revolution The First Essence Mist, Bio Essence 24 Gold Water, Shiseido Ibuki essence, Rohto Hadalabo Shirojyun or Gokujun.

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Masks including Sheet Masks Lots of hydration and moisturizing masks, good ol’ sheet masks are fabulous in this category. In saying so, I also throw in one detoxifying or purifying mask, least once a week. I tend to incorporate this everyday if not every second day. Masks are the best way to turbo boost and treat the skin.

Serums or Ampoules are used as usual to specifically target the problem of the day/week/month/season. I have a whole separate post on Guide to Serums for all conditions and skins.

Moisturisers and Oils are the cornerstone of protecting skin’s barrier and thoroughly nurturing it with lovely oils and ingredients. Some wonders which have stood the test of time with me are; Decleor HydraFloral, Mahogany Naturals Manuka Honey Cream, Whamisa Fermented Water Cream and Nourishing Cream, Bravura London Azulene Cream, Pistache Skincare Hydrating Moisturiser, Missha Misa Geum Sul Emulsion, Yuri Pibu Asiatica, Trilogy Rosapene Night Cream.

Here’s a tip if you don’t want to invest in a separate night cream however are quite content with your  regular moisturiser, just add few drops of oil to your day cream and use in your night routine.

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Balms have a special place in my heart and stash! I view them as amplified  version of oils, and of course more lush experience as well. Strong fave continues to be Mahalo Rare Indigo Balm, followed by Mahogany Naturals Blue Lover, May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon, Mahalo Balm, Darphin Purifying balm, Decleor Rose d’Orient balm. In terms of lip balm, there was one and always be the one, Nuxe Reve de Miel. The rich beeswax coats the lips and leaves it matte. In saying so, I have a separate post on Lip Balms which explores other lip products too.

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Since I complete my evening skincare routine by 5pm, I Re-balm or Re-Oil my skin one more time before bed. Or mist SKII Overnight Essence, which is moisturizing to skin but also leaves a tingly refreshed feel on the skin. Other categories to nourish much drier skins also includes Overnight Masks which can be argued is a richer version of a night cream.

How do you plan to amp up your skincare routine for the winter?

HHW.com

xx

Fermented Skincare by @Gothamista

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Gothamista Fermented Skincare Video

CLEANSER

Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert

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

Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick

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

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TONER

Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner

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

ESSENCE

Missha First Treatment Essence

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

Su:m37 Secret Essence

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

Innisfree Fermented Soybean Energy Essence

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

Manyo Factory Galactomyces

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

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SERUM/AMPOULE

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

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

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule

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

FACIAL OIL

Goodal Waterest Lasting Water Oil 

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

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

Goodal Water Oil Firming Camellia

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

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Source: @gothamista

EYE CREAM/SERUM

Benton Fermentation Eye Cream

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

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum

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

MOISTURIZER

Primary Raw DoYou Soy Milk Cream

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

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

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

MASKS

Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask

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

Goodal Waterest Vital Sleeping Pack

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

Whamisa Organic Fruits and Tomato Fermented Hydrogel Sheet Mask

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

PEELING/EXFOLIATION

Manyo Factory Active Refresh Herb Peeling Gel

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

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

by @Gothamista aka Renee

xx