Moisturisers

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

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.

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The newest launch is 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.

ambrosia 1

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. 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.

fullsizeoutput_49a0Overall, 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.

HHW.com

xx

Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion

fullsizeoutput_402dDr Dennis Gross, the genius behind my beloved Alpha Beta Peels, Ferulic+Retinol Serums, basic skincare boosters and of course it wouldn’t be complete without basic hydration products. DrDG line had a Hyaluronic Oil Free Moisture Cushion Moisturizer for the longest time. However early 2017, DrDG launched a new version of this moisturizer called Hyaluronic Marine Oil Free Moisture Cushion Moisturizer. Obviously the packaging changed with electric blue plastic jar and metallic lid. See right there it upgraded from Toyota to Lexus!

This post intends on unravelling the differences in formulations, performance and results. First up at the heart of the formulation is ingredient listing:

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OLD Inci ListWater/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Stearyl Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octadecane, Glyceryl Behenate, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Collagen, Sodium Hyaluronate (12), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Phospholipids, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Saccharide Isomerate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Acrylates/Carbamate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, Ethylhexylglycerin, Isododecane, Ceteareth-20, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Disodium EDTA-Copper.

New Inci list (new ingredients added are in black bold font): Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Stearyl Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octadecene, Glyceryl Behenate, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate (11), Caulerpa Lentillifera Extract (12), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Phospholipids, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Saccharide Isomerate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Collagen Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Acrylates/Carbamate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, Ethylhexylglycerin, Isododecane, Disodium EDTA-Copper, Ceteareth-20, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Sorbitan Oleate, Linalool, Limonene, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Citronellal, Hydroxycitronellal, Citral, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol.

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Predominantly what differentiates the new formulation with the old:

  • The ranking of Sodium Hyaluronate from 12th to 11th ingredient
  • Followed by Caulerpa Lentilliofera Extract aka Algae Extract, which is known to be rich in essential amino acids and B vitamins, enhancing skin’s elasticity and moisture content. Also as you pursue and compare the inci list most of ingredients remain in same order.
  • Tocopherol which is basically Vitamin E
  • Collagen Amino Acids which is suppose to plump and firm the skin
  • Finally, last two new additions to the formula include Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate and Lactobacillus Ferment (recommend reading this post to understand ferments better).

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So whilst the soul of the product hasn’t changed, a tiny make over has a new improved sexy version. I didn’t feel any difference in terms of texture, consistency and smell. Continues to be light, fluffy, and the colour is same as well.

So you ask: well did all the new additions of ingredients improve the performance? My Answer is Yes. While my experience with the OLD was nice, nothing I particularly disliked. It left skin hydrated and worked well under makeup too.

Lizard Face.pngThe NEW formulation however kicked the OLD one’s arse. Applied beautifully, absorbs immediately (also sometimes mixed with DrDG Hydration booster), and truly leaves skin plump all day. At work, the temperature control is horrible and during winters the heating sucks every bit of moisture leaving me a lizard face 👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽

I used this through the cooler months and thoroughly enjoyed it. Its extremely rare I use the same moisturizer daily, every single day. With the new one, I didn’t miss a day. I got through it in 3-4 months. Also layering with DrDG Hydration booster worked really well. Both hydration products are light but majorly impactful.

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

Oui Please – Vol.2.3 Summer Escapade

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Yet another special curation, presentation, and execution by the people behind Oui Please subscription box. This edition is Vol.2.3 Summer Escapade. All essentials needed for summer artfully captured in one box.

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When this box landed on my desk, I knew it was going to be a joy ride for me to open and explore each product. I sat at my coffee table, sipping wine and going through each product in depth. Thirty minutes past and I’m still at the coffee table exploring…..The detail and care taken in packaging and presentation is unlike any subscription box on the market.

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As I opened the box, I discover this huge paper saying Rêve which means Dream. It certainly was like a beautiful dream, opening, and exploring the box.

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Number of skincare items surfaced from the box, brands like Pomone Paris and Saison D’Eden which were unknown to me have now entered my life and skincare stash.

POMONE PARIS created by a chemical engineer, Florence Selling. Pomone integrates the most recent discoveries of science and cosmetology in sensual formulas. Having met various visions of beauty, from France to South America, the founder is convinced that beauty is all encompassing. The conservatory of biodiversity, offered by the closed gardens of the Castle of Canon, inspires the choice of Pomone’s active ingredients. The Pomone formulas exclude parabens, phenoxyethanol, silicones and mineral oils.

Floral, fresh and green fragrance of Pomone skincare products evokes the gardens of the Castle and gives a feeling of bucolic escape. It has been conceived by a perfumer of the city of Grasse, with Ecocert and natural raw materials.

I received the Cream Mask, a smooth texture rich in efficient active ingredients. A mask intended to target the signs of age, firmness of the skin and provides immediate relaxation and visible benefit. The face recovers its serenity.

Inci list: apple polyphenols, powerful anti-oxidants – apple quercetin, activates sirtuins and fights against glication of proteins – malic acid extracted from the apple, firming and smoothing properties – apple seeds oil, nutritive and revitalizing – apple vegetal water or original extract, energizing and source of essential oils, oligo-elements and mineral salts.

(Source: Pomone Paris webite)

SAISONS D’EDEN is the story of a woman fascinated by plants and convinced that our bodies change with the different seasons. Our skin, which is the first organ to be confronted with these climatic changes, needs to be adequately prepared.

Johanna Fayolle decides to abandon her PowerPoint presentations and dry consultant files and to dedicate herself to the research of what nature can offer our skin, with the objective of reconciling Nature and Progress, Health and Refinement.

She creates her skin care line in collaboration with a state-of-the-art laboratory. Her priority being to recognize and integrate the influence of the changing seasons with the need for an ethical high performance. These standards are at the heart of Saisons D’Eden’s philosophy, along with respect for skin type and the use of organic ingredients, without compromise.

I received the Eye Contour Gel which claims to be highly concentrated, perfume-free, with a gel-cream texture, with eye lifting properties (Ginseng extract). An anti-fatigue  smoothened aimed to reduce bags and swollen eyes. Also claims to be hydrating to provide the indispensable ingredients for cell structure around eyes.

I also received the Spring Summer moisturizer strong on antioxidants and essential fatty acids (Raspberry and Sesame seed oils) intended to plump and hydrate skin while controlling sebum production. Smells very indulgent with discreet raspberry and white grapefruit fragrance.

(Source: Saison D’Eden website)

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Delphine Parent makes unique pieces of jewelry made from precious antiques, each patiently crafted like a canvas. Similarly jewelry is also made from gold-plated or 9 carat gold, developed in small series using personalized inscriptions, or on her favourite subjects like luck and a star filled sky on a summer’s night.

I received a necklace with an inscription of avec toi. I love its simplistic, delicate design. There is a lot more on her website, not sure if its shipped overseas, but hey….that’s why we have Oui Please boxes 😉

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Les Interchangeables has a wonderful story about a girl (founder) Audrey. As a girl, Audrey was always designing and creating on her sewing machine, with a deep-seated passion for the decorative arts. She launched her first endeavor in 2007 – an ingenious concept of interchangeable, decorative bra straps. Designed to be shown, rather than hidden, the idea was a huge success as it addressed an issue that all women could relate to.

Eventually, she approached Swarovski to partner with her to develop a new concept – the creation of a line of stretchable, adjustable bracelets decorated with crystals. Imaginative, playful and luxe, the line developed quickly and acquired “must have” status in the accessories category in France and throughout Europe.

By 2014, Les Interchangeables had become a juggernaut, with a full accessories collection and an international presence with over 2,000 points of sale all over the world, including Italy, Spain, Korea, Japan, China, Australia, Canada, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Today, Audrey continues to innovate in the accessory space – she always has a new approach, a unique twist on accessible, luxurious and functional fashion.

I received a Swarovski crusted bracelet, excited to make it my arm candy.

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Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse does not need an introduction at all! A lush dry oil, that absorbs instantly and can be versatile in use over face, body, hair. This is beautiful travel friendly bottle.

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Nailmatic polishes have pleasantly surprised me. The opaque finish, rounded brush, smooth application and gorgeous shade selection. I’m still testing its lasting power without any chips or smudges. The brand offers a shade selection of 84 colors, and claims to be free of toluene, phthalate, formaldehyde, and camphor. I’ve been an OPI and Essie fan all my life, thanks to this box I get introduced to a new brand!!

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Atelier Cologne needs no introduction at all. I received the Vanille Intensee spray which is perfect for travel. The top notes are coriander, lime and citron; middle notes are vetiver, jasmine and oak moss; base notes are vanille, oak and amber (Source: Fragrantica).

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July of St. Barth founded in 1989 by Juliette Espinasse, the brand specializes in the creation of hats, bags, perfumes and beauty products, combining lifestyle and luxury in the French. For 20 years Juliet sews on her hats the shellfish found on Shell Beach, her favorite beach in St. Barts where she lived for several years.

As a part of this box, I received the Shell Beach body soap, which is made according to the traditional method of Marseille, with a base of coconut oil and olive oil. The formula is free of EDTA and parabens.

The most wonderful thing about this box is the discovery of new brands, innovative geniuses behind the brands. The box is wonderfully curated and presentation is impeccable. Oui Please also offer A’La Carte boxes if you don’t want to be strung by subscription box. Definitely worth exploring into however only downside is they ship only within USA and Canada. Hopefully one day they expand their realms and let people world over explore and experience these curations.

HHW.com

xx