Masks

Cleansing & Exfoliating Powders

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We see it everywhere now, cleansing / exfoliating powders. An ancient concept and like many other Asian girls something we took for granted as a part of our childhood. I distinctly remember when I was little, my Mum made a paste and gave me a bath with that paste. Yes all over the body. Many of you will instantly think of garbanzo bean powder, or powdered green mung beans, turmeric and milk or yogurt….yes that’s exactly the ubtan I’m referring to. That exact concoction is also applied to a Indian brides before the wedding. It’s said the ubtan aids exfoliation and imparts glowing flawless skin.

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So you ask, well explain what is an Ubtan? As per ancient Ayurvedic principles and texts, it is roots, flowers, mud, clays grounded and mixed in a powder form. The benefits are endless – Natural ground powders of clay, mud, roots, flowers, spices, salts, lentils, dried fruit skin’s which can be mixed with rose water, milk, honey, yogurt whatever your skin and heart desires. Aids exfoliation, helps with glow, wonderful cleanser, incredibly cost effective however there are plenty of options to splurge on. Multi purpose as it can be cleanser or mask or an exfoliator.

Finally, the western world of skincare has caught on, well more specifically ‘western natural skincare world or green beauty world’, call it what you may! I’ve noticed three distinct categories of this, western skincare entirely, western brands inspired by Ayurvedic principles and then of course eastern brands that are entirely based on Ayurvedic principles and elaborate methods of preparation.

From May Lindstrom to Leah Lani, they’ve all formulated a version of their very own and sold as cleansing powder or exfoliating powder. The ingredients are varied between brands but after a while you tend to see a consistent trend (albeit with slightly different proportion and formulation).

Westernized Versions (bold ingredients are common)

May Lindstrom – The Clean Dirt ($60 for 200ml)
white halloysite clay, red morrocan rhassoul clay, sea salt, vitamin c, sodium bicarb, marshmallow root, spices like cinnamon, clove, turmeric, ginger, vanilla and cacao

Leah Lani – Kalima Cleansing powder  ($46 for 100ml)
coconut milk, brown rice, clay powders, guava fruit, banana, camu camu, rosehip, honeysuckle, sea salt, hibiscus, vanilla, rose, vitamin c

de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate ($60 for 70g)

rhassoul clay, rose clay, sodium bicarbonate, white clay, oat flour, vitamin c, cocoa, rose, himalayan cedar wood, sandalwood, frankincense, vanilla, elderflower, marshmallow, grape, cucumber, calendula, german chamomile, gotu kola, ginseng, chrysanthemum and horsetail

Farmacy New Day Exfoliating Grains ($30 for 100g)

sodium cocoyl isethionate, corn starch, sodium bicarbonate, cranberry, water, adzuki seed, vitamin c, camellia, carrot, echinacea, glycerin, lemon willow bark, spiraling powder

One Love Brand New Day ($39 for 48g)

zea mays (corn) starch, pisum sativum (pea) flour, sodium cocoyl glutamate, kaolin, ananas comosus (pineapple) fruit extract, fragrance/parfum

The common ingredients that overlap between some of these products are Sodium Bicarbonate (resulting in fizzy emulsion making it more appealing & fun), Sea Salt, Vitamin C, Marshmallow Root, and Clay Powders. The first three ingredients mentioned is what clearly sets the Western Cleansing Powders apart from traditional Ayurvedic ubtans which are far more gentler on skin and dare I say far more “green” for skin! In my experience and opinion, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sea Salt and Vitamin C (assuming its pure Ascorbic Acid powder) can be very harsh on sensitive and sensitized skins.

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Coming to my second category, which is western skincare brand based on Ayurvedic principles and ingredients. This brings me to Mauli Rituals Radiance Exfoliant and Mask (£36.00 for 30gms or 1oz).

The inch list truly excites me, with inclusion of Fullers Earth Clay (that unmissable sweet scent),  Rose petal powder,  Sandalwood powder, Turmeric powder, Vetiver powder, Kashmiri Saffron, Asparagus, Sandalwood Oil, Rosehip,  Rose Absolute, Kashmiri Saffron Extract.

Works wonderfully as cleanser, exfoliant or mask. Versatile in use and mixing base. The luxurious  ingredient listing is much closer to authentic Ayurvedic ingredients with a clear exclusion of Sodium Bicarb, Sea Salt or any other skin stripping harsher elements.

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Closer to Ayurvedic Texts, Principles, and Ingredients

Forest Essentials ($18-$20 for 60g)
Tejasvi Milk – neem, cinnamon, fennel powder, sweet almond meal, sandalwood oil, fenugreek powder, peepal extract, anantmool powder, apricot kernel, saffron, durva extract and milk
Soundarya – orange peel, rose, jasmine, neem, oatmeal, sandalwood, turmeric, fennel, anantmool, saffron flower, lemon peel and star anise.
Multani Mitti  (my personal FAVE) – fullers clay, neem, turmeric, fenugreek seed powder, lodhra bark, woodfordia powder and banyan bark powder
Narangi (Orange) & Nagkesar (Messua ferrea) – orange peel, marigold flower, licorice root, messua ferrea, bala root, vetiver, ashwagandha, durva, neem, brahmi leaf, anantmool and cinnnamon
Roop Nikhar & Gulab (Rose) – lentil seed, rose, ornage peel, oatmeal, anantmool root, neem, katsuya powder,turmeric, saffron, cinnamon

Kama Ayurveda ($22 for 40g)

Mridul (face & body) – oatmeal, green gram, almond, neem, sandalwood, turmeric, rose and fennel.

PurEarth ($60 for 100g)
Turmeric Exfoliating Face Sand – Bitter apricot kernels, fullers earth clay, persian walnut, neem, turmeric, pomegranate, lavender, rose, seabuckthorn berry, and saffron

The web is also inundated with several DIY recipes, of which garbanzo bean powder,  mung bean powder, turmeric and milk or ghee is by far the most popular. However based on your skin’s needs, concerns and what’s available in your kitchen, these ingredients can also be used: Oatmeal, almond meal, rice flour, sandalwood powder, fenugreek powder, turmeric, grounded spices (cinnamon, clove, star anise, though not recommended to sensitive or reactive skins). Mixing bases may include purified water, steam distilled rose or any other flower water, full cream milk, cream, yogurt, honey, lemon juice, aloe vera juice, witch hazel, vinegar.

Ultimately it filters down to what your skin needs, how much are you willing to spend, where your brand loyalties lie, your preferences with traditional ubtan or westernized  version or a happy medium between western and eastern etc. Personally I’ve tried homemade Grandma’s ubtan recipes to modern Ayurvedic shops like Forest Essentials and Kama Ayurveda. My personal preference lies with more traditional format minus Vitamin C, Sodium Bicarb, Sea Salt.

HHW.com

xx

My Guide to January Labs

CompleteJanuary Labs, the brain child of January Olds. A brand born out of a necessity for simpler, purer products with much greater transparency about their ingredients. Her simple belief, that skincare doesn’t need to be complicated is well reflected in her range and formulation. I’ve had an opportunity to explore, try, experiment with most of the products from this brand and below is my experience, review and recommendations.

Before taking a deep dive in reviews, below is a quick overview of where this leads:

What I adore about this brand? Absence of Glycolic acid in formulations, and resurrection of Witch Hazel. Plus the basic-ness and simplicity of formulation and range of products offered. If you’re a far call from true blue skincare junkie, this is your brand. Also the products are easily versatile, and compatible with products from other brands.

What I don’t adore about this brand? The claims on products are tad OTT, definitely not the first brand to do so (hold no grudge here people). There is much more to love here than loathe. There are more hits, than misses.

Definite, Highly, Strongly, Recommend for every single one, all skin types – Retexturing Night Cream, Restorative Tonic Mist

My skin hates/allergic/sensitive to Glycolic Acid – Brightening Tonic, Restorative Tonic Mist, Retexturing Night Cream

My skin could give any reptile a run for its money, so bloody dry, flaky and dehydrated – Brightening Tonic, Moisture Renew Mask, Revitalizing Day Cream

You could miss out on these and not sweat – Pure and Gentle Cleansing Gel, Glow & Go Power Peel Exfoliant

Cleansing GelStarting a simple routine with a cleanser called the Pure & Gentle Cleansing Gel. This cleanser claims to be gentle, non drying facial wash. To which I would add, a light citrus scented gel based cleanser, which builds to a light to medium foam. I typically used it in the mornings or as a second cleanse in evening. While I tried removing makeup, it didn’t do so well with a full face/intensive makeup face. So if you’re light basic makeup wearer you might be fine with it. This cleanser doesn’t need a washcloth, however after splashing and cleansing with water it left a soapy feel on my skin. Initially I thought it might be the quantity of cleanser I was using however that wasn’t the case. Despite its foaming action, I noticed it did not strip or dry my skin’s barrier and that can be squarely attributed to its formulation (addition of Aloe juice, Glycerin, Vitamin E, Phospholipids, Macadamia Glycerides, Sodium PCA).

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate (Sugar Based), PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Coco/Isostearamide, Lauryl Glucoside (Plant Derived), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Plant Derived), Glycerin (Plant Derived), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate), Pinus Strobus Bark Extract, Phospholipids, Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Shea Butter, Macadamia Glycerides, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Palmitate), Sodium PCA, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita Flower/Leaf (Chamomile) Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Citric Acid.

Moving onto the masks category from this range, starting with Glow & Go Power PeelPeel Exfoliant. This is not a peel exfoliant in the typical sense with hyper charged alpha hydroxy acids or enzymes. I see this product more of stimulant and booster for skin. It also claims to revitalize and brighten the complexion which I didn’t notice in my personal experience. Sadly, both the inci list and performance fell short. I’ve tried the regular and pro version of this peel and the results varied in terms of what gave me most tingle and flush. Or you could say oomph of blood circulation. The thick-ish gel consistency spreads nicely but had to be removed with washcloth and not much to report in terms of results. One cautionary warning, sensitive skinned people should be careful using Cinnamon oil in this formulation, as it may irritate the heck out of your skins. All in all, for USD $75 there are better peel alternatives available.

Ingredients: 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).

The other mask has quite the opposite performance effect, the Moisture Renew Mask. Everything as the name suggests. Rich delectable cream consistency, can be used as hydration mask or an overnight mask, works wonderfully. If I took the liberty of renaming this mask, I’d rather call it ‘Overnight Barrier Repair Mask’ (overnight plump skin). In this case, the formulation and results are directly proportionate, lusciousness of Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid, Lactic Acid, Linoleic Acid (making it suitable for acne prone skins), Vitamin E balanced with Green tea antioxidant and Cucumber extract for anti inflammatory property. The richness of Avocado oil (rich in Oleic acid – a very healthy fat), is balanced with Linoleic acid rich oil such as Sunflower Seed Oil. This mask is a wonderful formulation to combat both dehydration and lack of moisture (aka, nourishment and hydration).

Ingredients: Water, Squalane, Avocado Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Sunflower Seed Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Glycerin, Lactic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Apricot Seed, Corn Sugar, Sulfonic Acid, Palm Oil, Saccharide Isomerate, Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Sage Leaf Extract, Chamomile Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Coconut Oil, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract.

Next up is the Daily Brightening Tonic, an exfoliating treatment that claims to hydrate while stimulating collagen production. Strong claim and I will reel it back just a touch, look at this product as a gentle, everyday use acid toner that will serve skin other benefits too. While I don’t take fancy to the claims description, the toner itself is quite nice. A simple (in terms of formulation) or basic, every day use, Lactic Acid based toner with other ingredients to help gentle exfoliation (cell turnover) for even the sensitive skinned (all skin type suitable). If Glycolic Acid is no no for you, you will love and adore this toner. No sensitized skin, no harshness of poorly formulated acid based toner and all in all a gentle toner. As simple as that! My skin loved this one particularly on night’s I don’t want to use strong peel pad (i.e. Alpha H Liquid Gold, DrDG, Murad, Biologique Recherche). This one broke it up nicely during the week along with Zelens PHA Pads.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Sodium PCA, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Lactic Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Glycerin, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower (ORGANIC Chamomile) Extract, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract

Tonic and MistAfter an acid toner, follows a refreshing generous mist of Restorative Tonic Mist. One of the first products I ever tried from this brand and I instantly liked it. One of the reasons I really like this is because of its use of Witch Hazel, as simple as that. In our fancy skincare world or #beautycommunity no one really appreciates good ol’ Witch Hazel anymore. And this is where this product stands out. However not basic Dickinson’s Witch Hazel, this is blended in with more goodness of Aloe Juice, Sodium PCA, Rose Oil extract, Glycerin, Panthenol, Licorice extract, Gotu Kola extract and Marigold extract. Doesn’t dry skin, wonderful in skincare routine or over makeup, or as mid day refresher without sucking hydration from skin. All skin type suitable, all situation suitable, simple packaging and mists nicely. Misting is not as fine as a cloud, but not a water gun either. I particularly love using this on my scalp too!!!

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Sodium PCA, Rosa Damascena Flower (Rose) Oil Extract, Glycerin, Sodium Lactate, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Horse Chestnut Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) Root Extract, Linalool, Licorice Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Calendula Officinalis (Marigold) Flower Extract, Geraniol, Citral

An incredibly rich day cream, that sparks a love hate relationship in me, RevitalizingDay Cream Day Cream. Rich it is, but lightweight cream, that works nicely under makeup and no piling either. Wonderful when I may have overdone an acid or retinol night before, or indulged in bottle full/emptied libations. But on regular mornings, too rich for my skin in a humid summer morning. Within couple of hours, my skin is a reflection of a frying pan causing an avalanche of makeup (not a good look). The jury is out on how this performs with my skin as we get into winter. The inci list boasts some nice and notable ingredients with Niacinamide, antioxidants, Hyaluronic acid. The incident list also explains the rich formulation with inclusion of Vitamin E, Borage Oil, Grape seed oil,  Shea Butter. This would be particularly nice for dry skinned folks. I wish it was touch lighter, seems like it is trying too hard for a day cream and it would work for larger population.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Beantree Oil, Beta-Glucan, Verbena Officinalis Extract, Hydrolyzed Soybean Fiber, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, C14-22 Alcohols, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract, Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) Extract, Pinus Pinaster Bark (Maritime Pine) Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Glycerin, Euterpe Oleacea Fruit Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Extract, Aristotelia Chilensisui Fruit Extract, Aronia Arbutifolia/Aronia Melanocarpa (Chokeberry) Fruit Extract, Garcinia Mangostana Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil

Night CreamOn the other hand, Retexturizing Night Cream is a treasure in the chest of night creams. Rich but easily absorbing cream, enriched with Lactic Acid…exfoliating in a beautiful rich formula, truly retexturizing, which rings true to its name. This one works stand alone as ‘one stop shop’ or layers perfectly with a host of other steps in night skin routine. Absolutely adore this cream, with 9% Lactic acid, Peptides, Beta Glucan, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic acid is rightfully the work horse. My skin appears so healthy and balanced the following morning. The gentle exfoliation coupled with ingredients that help repair and build the barrier.

Water (Aqua), Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Sodium Lactate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Verbena Officinalis Extract, Beta Glucan (smooths fine lines and wrinkles), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii, Glycerin, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Soybean Fiber, Niacinamide, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum.

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* Products gifted by brand

All in all, a solid brand offering a well thought out and executed range of products (even with a couple of misses). Also important to note is the price point across the board making it accessible to many more with good visible performance and results. One could say, the skimping point on price point would be thanks to the largely plastic packaged bottles. While not packaged in fancy glass bottles or miron glass jars, the packaging is practical and works, which is of prime importance.

HHW.com

xx

Exfoliating Masks

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An extension to a post, I did a while ago around Enzyme and AHA Exfoliators which covered chemical, physical and combination of both exfoliators. As much as I do enjoy a mild physical exfoliant (thinking of Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant), I certainly love a tingley chemical based exfoliating mask. Since Rejuvi Exfoliating mask (review linked) had been eternally out of stock on Dermstore site, I have successfully found others that tickle (pun intended) my skin & fancy…I find these masks are immensely effective when skin is mildly steamed while they work their magic. Products listed below, includes both pure chemical exfoliation (formulated with AHA and/or Enzymes) or chemical and physical exfoliators.

PCA Revitalizing Mask – A lush green hued enzyme mask, blended with Papaya, Green Tea Extract, Lemon, Orange and Apple Fruit Extract, Squalane and Vitamin E, serves a decent tingle on skin and visible brightening of skin. More about it in the blog post called Enzyme and AHA Exfoliators.

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant is such a classic in my books, tried and loved based on Lisa Eldridge’s recommendation, didn’t look back since. Its possibly lighter version of Rejuvi Exfoliating Mask. Not as intense, powered by Lactic & Salicylic acid with Papaya and Pineapple enzymes, with soothers like Apricot Oil, Aloe Vera extract and some essential oils. Gentle Cream Exfoliant, is literal to its performance. It’s like applying a luscious cream mask on your face, but it gently exfoliates the skin without stripping or irritating the skin. This would be suitable for sensitive skins too.

Sanitas Cranberry and Lactic Acid Mask is one of many Cranberry Lactic masks, as Sari @talesofskincare pointed out, such as Cosmedix, Osmosis, HydroPeptide, Kat Burki, etc. In this mask, Lactic acid definitely packs a punch in terms of tingle and performance. Skin is left noticeably brighter and makeup sits wonderfully on skin. Doesn’t dry my skin at all, but feel like products absorbs better after this mask. Basic gel like consistency, pumped from the bottle, all you need is 4-6 pumps and voila skin is left translucent.

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel – is such a cult product from this brand. A thick, creamy, tropical smelling brightening mask with Niacinamide, Papaya & Pineapple enzyme, and Bladderwrack extract, gently exfoliates and brightens the skin. I think my skin has gotten use to this mask as I don’t feel the tingle anymore, unless I’m steaming my skin. It’s not aggressive on skin at all, and doesn’t leave it tight or uncomfortable.

Pixi Peel & Polish needs to be mentioned in this category of chemical and physical exfoliation (however I forgot to include in pic here). Lactic acid based, with Papaya enzyme and Cellulose peels and Sugar extracts provide physical exfoliation with a cucumber scent. This peel and polish is just as name suggests. The scent is strong for me and I don’t like cucumber scented products but the performance and results are impactful. I find this to have the most scrubbiest feel on skin, so I don’t physically exfoliate with this. However next two products in this category, are finer in texture and don’t feel as abrasive on skin.

Beautypie Fruitizyme 5min Facial is possibly an underrated product in this beauty community, IMO. What I have here is in its old packaging, however the formula packs a punch. Exfoliants in form of Glycolic acid, Pumpkin extract, Pomegranate extract, Quartz powder for physical exfoliation, formulated to provide chemical and physical exfoliation. Results are brightening, smooth skin in matter of minutes. I leave it on when Im brushing my teeth and then wash it off. An Excellent substitute for product listed below, which is possibly discontinued.

Algenist Triple Acid Micropolish & Peel is possibly a discontinued product, however cannot say for sure? If it truly discontinued it is a shame because it falls under chemical and physical exfoliation category. AHA like Glycolic acid with enzymes such as Pumpkin & Pomegranate are blended in an exfoliation formula, which is packaged in a tube. I didn’t experience a major tingle however it does work its magic and deliver bright and smooth & soft skin. I wouldn’t recommend this formula for sensitive skins, as it contains physical exfoliation + fragrance.

Ren Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is marmalade on skin that is enriched with Lactic Acid, Papaya, Pineapple, extract, and a range of skin soothing carrier and essential oils. Instant brightening on skin and radiance galore. I need to stock up on it!

HHW.com

xx

My Guide to Earthwise Beauty

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

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

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

Thelma Lip Treatment

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

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

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

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

Sungod Mask

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

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

Catharsis Mask

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

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

Ferns and Moss Serum

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

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

Moonlight Mist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclosure: Products gifted by the brand

HHW.com

xx

My Guide to Dr. Dennis Gross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Moisturisers:

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

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

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

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

Eyes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_8774Sunscreen :

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

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

Devices:

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

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

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

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

Devotedly yours,

#PeelAddict aka HHW.com

xx