Exfoliators

My Guide to Luzern Labs

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Quite possibly the brand discovery of 2018 for me.

If you’re looking to switch to natural beauty products without compromising the results of cosmeceuticals this is the brand to start with. Its luxurious and a clean cosmeceutical brand that has left me with wonderful results and wanting for more. Their use of low-impact, eco-friendly glass and aluminum bottles, company headquarters powered by renewable energy, environmental sustainability and a green philosophy are guiding principles in the development of all Luzern products. Earlier I called it ‘clean cosmeceutical’ is simply because:

luzern 4BioSuisse organic actives – Bio-Suisse actives are standardized in Switzerland and are derived from organically grown plants living in extremely harsh conditions at high altitudes in the Valais region of the Alps. The result is a high potency of actives that are more effective than comparable ingredients grown and harvested at lower altitudes.

Free of 12 ingredients – Parabens, Phthalates, Benzoyl Peroxide, Sulfates, Propylene Glycol/PEGs, TEA/DEA/MEA, Mineral Oils/ Petrolatum/ Denatured Alcohol, Synthetic Colors, Dyes, and Fragrances, Formaldehyde/Formaldehyde Releasing Ingredients, Triclosan, Hydroquinone, Chemical Sunscreens

Standard Cosmeceutical Actives – Ingredients are chosen for their ability to safely and effectively transform the condition of skin. Common cosmeceuticals found in Luzern products include Peptides, Plant Stem Cells, BiodyneTRF, Antioxidants, AHA, Retinoic Acid, Co-Q10, Hyaluronic Acid.

Clean Cold Processing – Mixed in small batches at low temperatures. This process minimizes damage to vital active ingredients and keeps them fresh, potent and pure. Actives are sourced from Switzerland and manufactured in the USA.

Swiss Water Processed – Active ingredients are processed naturally using mineral rich glacial waters. These therapeutic waters keep ingredients energized and ensure purity from chemical residues.

Also Luzern does not engage in animal testing. They employ an independent company that uses only in vivo and vitro tests, never animal testing, to ensure safety and efficacy. Now that you know about brand, lets unravel the products and my experiences:

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Serum Absolut Clarify is an oil-free, lightweight formula that claims to minimize visible pore size and actively reduce the feel and appearance of oil, helping to keep excess sebum in check.

This serum would be for someone dealing with adult acne with an oily, combination, acne-prone skin.

The formulation for this product includes plant-derived Salicylic acid, Willow Herb Extract, Organics Alpine Willow Herb (highest high level of Oenethin B – huge contributor to less sebum production), Niacinamide and Probiotics.

While the formulation appears fairly simple, certain strong active ingredients certainly perform. Upon dispensing the product, it certainly has Aloe Vera Juice like consistency, which for an irritated congested skin would be an instant soothe. The scent is almost strong willow herb with plasticky-ness. Unsure how to describe the scent, but its not offensive at all, but certainly not aromatherapy-esque calming floral….Absorbs nicely in the skin, and over time I noticed the skin appeared healthy and balanced. Did it reduce any congestion, possibly yes, it helped balance the oils in skin. I liked using this as a spot treatment too as it reduced the redness of spot overnight. The only downside of the aluminum packaging is I have no idea when it is close to the finish line.

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INGREDIENTS: WATER (AQUA)*†, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE**†, GLYCERIN**†, NIACINAMIDE *†, SALIX NIGRA (WILLOW) BARK EXTRACT*†, ALPHA-GLUCAN OLIGOSACCHARIDE*†, PROPANEDIOL*†, AMORPHOPHALLUS KONJAC ROOT POWDER*†, DIMETHYL SULFONE (MSM)*†, POLYMNIA SONCHIFOLIA (Jicame Tuber Root) ROOT JUICE*†, EPILOBIUM FLEISCHERI EXTRACT (Alpine Willow Herb)**†, HYPERICUM PERFORATUM FLOWER/LEAF/STEM EXTRACT**†, CHONDRUS CRISPUS (CARRAGEENAN) EXTRACT*†, BUDDLEJA DAVIDII EXTRACT**†, THYMUS VULGARIS (THYME) EXTRACT**†, PANTHENOL*†, MALTODEXTRIN*†, SODIUM HYALURONATE*†, GLUCONOLACTONE*†, XANTHAN GUM*†, SODIUM BENZOATE*†, LACTOBACILLUS*†, POTASSIUM SORBATE*†, CITRIC ACID*†, CALCIUM GLUCONATE*†

luzern 2Au Vin Exfoliating Treatment is a pre-soaked acid pad that claims to  support natural cell turnover. Basically what you’ve come to expect from an acid based exfoliation pad. Dual acid formula with 10% Lactic and 1% Salicylic acid makes for an excellent duo for wonderful results. Also has proprietary AlpPure™ Alpine White extracts where the Swiss extracts combined with Vitamin C work together to reduce discoloration and brighten skin (main active ingredients are Flavonoids, Phenolic Acids, Polysaccharides, and Iridoids).

This product is certainly one of my fave products, because it has instant overnight results. My skin following morning visibly appears brighter, smoother, even toned, and over time it has also helped with texture. If you want to start with one product from this brand, it would be this in my opinion. If I had to nit pick, I would say I would prefer smoother texture pads on my face. But for the results I get, I let the pad texture slide. Let me clarify it doesn’t feel like sandpaper at all, I just prefer something softer pillowy and smoother.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), 10% Lactic Acid, L-Arginine (amino acid), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Gluconolactone, Glycerin, 1% Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Chardonnay Grape) Fruit Extract, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Veronica Officinalis Extract, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Primula Veris Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Gluconate.
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Force De Vie Crème Nuit is the star of this show. This nighttime treatment has simply been one stop shop and skin consistently appeared healthy and full of vitality. They have combined active retinol, peptides, a lipid barrier repair complex which truly renews the skin. Has some serious claims:

  1. Boost cellular oxygen uptake to increase collagen and hyaluronic acid synthesis and promote microcirculation to enhance skin luminosity
  2. Refines skin texture
  3. Reduces the appearance of lines and skin discolorations
  4. Skin is instantly smoother, firmer
  5. Energizes the skin for improved function and brightness

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!!! It does perform exactly as it claims. Tiniest dollop of this rich buttery crème goes a long way and leaves a velvety finish on the skin. Feels significant enough to protect the skin and yet repair the skin. Used standalone with an acid exfoliator or serum and it still performs. I’ve been lazier than that, just cleansed and applied this crème and yes it still performs. The formulation, composition of ingredients is definitely standing true. This crème would be ideal for normal and dry skin types. If you care, it’s Not a Vegan formulation (contain Honey, Milk lipids). The formulation is multi faceted and hits many skin concerns through Retinol, Peptides, Hyaluronic acid, Ceramides, AlpPure™ Alpine White (main active ingredients are Flavonoids, Phenolic Acids, Polysaccharides, and Iridoids). If skin investment is your aim, this is the product you need to seek.

INGREDIENTS: WATER (AQUA), ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, PROPANEDIOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, ETHYL MACADAMIATE, COCO-CAPRYLATE, GLYCERIN, SODIUM ASCORBYL PHOSPHATE, GLYCERYL STEARATE CITRATE, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, BEESWAX, CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE, ISOSTEARYL PALMITATE, C14-22 ALCOHOLS, CARNAUBA WAX, BORAGE SEED OIL, GREEN TEA SEED OIL, JOJOBA SEED OIL, SUNFLOWER SEED OIL, C12-20 ALKYL GLUCOSIDE, SODIUM HYALURONATE, CAPROOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3, CERAMIDE NP, PANTHENOL, TOCOPHEROL, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, ALLANTOIN, HONEY, MALLOW EXTRACT, BOERHAVIA DIFFUSA ROOT EXTRACT, MELISSA OFFICINALIS LEAF EXTRACT, ASPARAGUS OFFICINALIS STEM EXTRACT, ROSEMARY LEAF EXTRACT, RETINOL, HYDROLYZED HYALURONIC ACID, PEPPERMINT LEAF EXTRACT, RHEUM RHAPONTICUM ROOT EXTRACT, PRIMULA VERIS EXTRACT, SACCHAROMYCES LYSATE EXTRACT, MILK LIPIDS, METHYLPROPANEDIOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CAPRYLHYDROXAMIC ACID ALCHEMILLA VULGARIS EXTRACT, ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM EXTRACT, XANTHAN GUM, VERONICA OFFICINALIS EXTRACT, POTASSIUM SORBATE, SWEET ORANGE PEEL OIL, CITRIC ACID, L-ARGININE, TETRASODIUM GLUTAMATE DIACETATE, DEXTRAN, SODIUM LEVULINATE, LAVENDER OIL

Hydra-Enzyme Masque Nuit is yet another one stop shop, an exfoliating sleeping mask. Similar to Force De Vie Crème Nuit but I’d say possibly for a more diverse set of skin types. It’s definitely not as rich as Force de Vie but it certainly packs a punch. In saying so, I like to alternate between this and Force de Vie. On nights I don’t use an acid exfoliator this bad boy comes in play as the formulation consists of Pumpkin enzyme. For many skins, Pumpkin enzyme can be aggressive and harsh, however in this formulation they have balanced with olive derived Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid and Sweet Almond Oil, which hydrates and protects the skin. For brightening oomph they have Vitamin C and Licorice extract which leaves skin with visible brightening effects next morning. Yet again this product does stand true to its claims. The texture is like thick cream but melts in skin and leaves the surface smooth and soft. It smells like subtle lemons to me, but I could be completely wrong with my stuffy sinus issues. If you don’t use acid exfoliators and want to start gentle with minimal skincare routine steps, consider this product.

Ingredients: WATER, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE, GLYCERIN, Cetearyl Alcohol, PROPANEDIOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Stearyl Alcohol, SWEET ALMOND OIL, Glyceryl Caprylate, SQUALANE, SODIUM ASCORBYL PHOSPHATE (VITAMIN C), Cetearyl Glucoside, C14-22 Alcohols, LACTOBACILLUS/PUMPKIN FRUIT FERMENT EXTRACT, SODIUM HYALURONATE, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, LICORICE ROOT EXTRACT, BUDDLEJA DAVIDII (Summer Lilac – antioxidant properties) EXTRACT, ARTEMISIA UMBELLIFORMIS (Alpine Wormwood – rich in flavonoids) EXTRACT, PEUCEDANUM OSTRUTHIUM (Masterwort) LEAF EXTRACT, HONEY, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, Glyceryl Undecylenate, TETRASODIUM GLUTAMATE DIACETATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, L-ARGININE, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, LAVENDER OIL, SWEET ORANGE PEEL OIL, THYME EXTRACT

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With a strong emerging ‘Tech Neck’ situation, I knew I had to start some where with a Neck Cream. Here comes, Retinol Neck & Décolleté Nuit a night time treatment specifically for the delicate neck and décolleté area. Formulated with some heavy hitters such as Retinol, Polyose, Peptides, Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides and Swiss Alpine extracts. Almost sounds similar to Force de Vie Crème Nuit, but the formulation is adjusted to thinner neck skin.

Honestly for me, incorporating a separate product for neck was harder. Seemingly it appears simple, but one additional step seemed like a huge leap. In saying so, this buttery rich cream, with the tiniest dollop all over neck and décolleté did seem to improve appearance of skin. But, and here is the huge But, the tech neck lines persist. This is not because the creme didn’t do its job, its because my neck still hangs over staring at my phone or iPad or laptop all day! Until I don’t reduce that and incorporate some neck exercises and massage I don’t think those lines will ever fade. A well formulated product can only go that far. As an example, just because I’m on 1000 calorie diet doesn’t mean I will shed away. In order to tone the body and muscle I still need to exercise. Similar principle here, so all in all, if you have other aspects sorted out you can certainly invest in this product but like myself don’t expect an overnight miracle with the tech neck when lifestyle ain’t in check.

INGREDIENTS: WATER, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE, PROPANEDIOL, GLYCERIN, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE CITRATE, STEARYL ALCOHOL, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, GREEN TEA SEED OIL, GLYCERYL CAPRYLATE, CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE, C14-22 ALCOHOLS, SODIUM HYALURONATE, TETRAHEXYLDECYL ASCORBATE (VITAMIN C), C12-20 ALKYL GLUCOSIDE, OAT KERNEL EXTRACT, CAPROOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3, HEXAPEPTIDE-10, SODIUM ASCORBATE (VITAMIN C), MALLOW EXTRACT, PEPPERMINT LEAF EXTRACT, SACCHAROMYCES LYSATE EXTRACT, UBIQUINONE (CO-ENZYME Q10), ORANGE CALLUS CULTURE EXTRACT, PRIMULA VERIS EXTRACT, ALCHEMILLA VULGARIS EXTRACT, GINGER ROOT EXTRACT, VERONICA OFFICINALIS EXTRACT, MELISSA OFFICINALIS LEAF EXTRACT, BOERHAVIA DIFFUSA ROOT EXTRACT, ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM EXTRACT, ALGAE EXTRACT, RETINOL, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, XANTHAN GUM, PULLULAN, DEXTRAN, PHOSPHOLIPIDS, LAVENDER OIL, SWEET ORANGE PEEL OIL, L-ARGININE, CITRIC ACID, VITAMIN E, TETRASODIUM GLUTAMATE DIACETATE, GLYCERYL UNDECYLENATE.

All in all, this is a stellar brand with visible results. Skin enthusiasts will certainly get a kick out of these product formulations. But the formulation and performance is so effortless, I can see it appealing to a much larger market. Also with their range of products and selections, I believe there is something for everyone in their product line up.

** Products gifted by the brand

HHW.com

xx

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