Skincare

Kate Somerville Liquid ExfoliKate® Triple Acid Resurfacing Treatment

fullsizeoutput_2051As I was scrolling through my 5,000 odd photos on camera roll, I discovered I took this picture on 20th January 2019 with an intent to posting a review and comparison of new (well relatively) Kate Somerville  Triple Acid Resurfacing Treatment. Many know, I loved and adored Clinic to go (CTG) pads, which were Lactic Acid clinic however those were discontinued and made way for this new exfoliator.

Inci list analysis – the new one claims to have 10% triple acid action (Glycolic, Lactic & Malic), it also includes many others ingredients to soften the acid blow. Second ingredient being Geranium water. While CTG straight hit on Lactic acid, Witch Hazel and Onion Bulb extract. As stinky as it may sound, Onion bulb extract was also used in Biologique Recherche P50. The CTG inci list was short and included ingredients that really packed a punch in terms of performance. While the new one, in addition to acids, also includes enzymes (papain – papaya, bromelain – pineapple), peptide, honey extract. More than just exfoliating ingredients for the skin skin.

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Top Inci List – Triple Acid Exfoliator, Bottom Inci List – Clinic to go

Performance reflects the inci list precisely. The triple acid exfoliator while nice, is a lot gentler on skin. An everyday acid, without damaging the barrier (of course be guided by your individual skins). But with this formulation it is hard to over do it. Quite the contrary to CTG, not an every night treatment and used 2 times a week it really made a significant impact. I don’t have my pH testing kit on hand, but Beautypedia claims it hit pH4.35 (which isn’t in the optimal acid function zone), and hence the gentler effect. The experience of using it is pleasant, smells a lot nicer than CTG, the obvious scent of Geranium water. Pumped on cotton pad, dabbed all over and done. While CTG were individually packaged pads, making it convenient for travel. The new bottle is a pretty frosted glass bottle, omitting itself from being a travel companion (unless you’re planning road trip;) )

Long story short, triple acid doesn’t mean wham bam strong. This is a far more gentler formula suitable for entry level acid folks. As for me I will continue bitterly missing Clinic to go pads. Fully knowing that isn’t going to come back, I like layering triple acid with Kate Somerville’s RetAsphere (retinol and glycolic cream). 

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

Essence & Serum Loaded Pads

The skincare sphere has seen a huge influx of acid toning and peeling (AHA and BHA) pads. However, over last few years, brands are expanding the realm of convenience from acid toning peel pads to serum and antioxidants pads to nourish, protect and boost skin health. For people who travel extensively, this is a dream come true (TSA checks are hell simplified). Today, Renée aka @Gothamista and I have brought together our experience with some of these pads to help you choose the best option for yourself. Renée covers the Korean skincare pads, while I cover couple of recent launches from this side of the world.

Renée’s Review

I couldn’t review Korean skincare pads without first mentioning the actual pads that serve as the most perfect vehicles for the beautiful essences we swipe over faces. The technology behind these wipes add to and are just as much a part of the skincare experience as the formula itself. We have already experienced the sheet masks made of the softest materials that can hold an absurd amount of liquid within their fibers without anything dripping out or releasing too much. The pads in my favourite swipeys hold enough liquid for multiple layers of hydration. They also make for great cheek patches/masks or spot masking in a pinch or for areas that just need extra. There is also light texture on the pads to grip excess or unwanted lurkers on the surface of the skin and smooth things out.

My favourite pads are also the best multi-taskers around. The ultimate for reducing the steps of a skincare routine without compromising on results. Not only are these great and convenient for travel but also for crazy, everyday life when you just can’t.

Peach & Lily Lazy Day All-in-One Moisture Pads

Peach and Lily

Source: Peach and Lily website

Everyday has been a lazy day since getting my hands on these pads. They are juicy and bursting with an intensely hydrating liquid that takes the place of toner, essence and serum. One refreshing swipe-over of the face is simply not enough. I’ve used this for multiple skins, swiping, sometimes patting or swiping then patting the liquid in with my hands before swiping again. My cheeks tend to overheat easily and after a shower, I stick a pad on each cheek and leave them there for about 15 mins as they are cool and refreshing on the skin and will replenish whatever was stripped in the cleansing process.

In the Summer, there was many a night where this was the only step in my routine before face-planting into bed…and it was enough. I would wake up to plump hydrated skin. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to pull this off in the drier months without a moisturizer but it’s a substantial hydrating layer for any time of year.

The formula is a nourishing and restorative elixir containing all the elements I would want in an essence-toner and none of the ones I don’t. This has the hydrators, ceramides, fermented soy extracts and a whole salad of fruit and veggie extracts. I use this immediately after cleansing, top it with an oil then moisturizer. The minute this multi-tasking potion is bottled, I will stockpile.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betaine, Panthenol, Sodium, Hyaluronate, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Leaf Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Brassica Oleracea Capitata (Cabbage) Leaf Extract, Brassica Oleracea Acephala Leaf Extract, Ceramide NP, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Olivate, Allantoin, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sorbitan Olivate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Phytate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil

neogen cicaNeogen Dermatology Real Cica Pad

These pads are the ultimate multi-tasker and does it all. I can honestly say that they saved my skin during the most stressful period of my life. For 2 months, beauty and self-care were rituals I had no time for nor cared about. I mustered a routine which consisted of rinsing my skin with water, these Cica Pads, then moisturizer. Somehow, during a time when I should have grown a thick and rough, husk of neglect on my face, my skin was smooth, soft and clear the entire time and that was in no small part due to these superstar swipes.

Not only do they deeply hydrate, but they are greatly soothing as well as smoothing and refining all at once. This contains a 3 different weights of Hyaluronic acid to thoroughly keep the skin hydrated but also a robust amount of Centella Asiatica and Madecassoside to sooth and repair the skin. But the Polyhydroxy acid (PHA) in this is what kept my skin soft, bright and smooth the entire time. PHA are like AHA’s except with a larger molecular size and tend to be way gentler. You will not feel tingling or notice a drastic difference to the skin immediately like Glycolic or more concentrated AHA formulas but this is a product I used twice a day everyday – something I would never do with regular AHA treatments. This subtly kept my skin texture so refined, soft and bright everyday. There are periods of time when I want a weekly shock of strong acid but I tend to have always experienced the best results with gentle AHA’s that subtly refine everyday.

Neogen is also renowned for their pad technology. Not only do they hold an ocean of product, but each side has a different texture. One side is for refining the skin and the other smooths everything out.

Ingredietns: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Dipropylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid, Madecassoside, Lactobionic Acid, Gluconolactone, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Octyldodecanol, Ceramide NP(Ceramide 3), Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Allantoin, Betaine, Panthenol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tromethamine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum, Propanediol, Diglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Disodium EDTA

Binita’s Review

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The newest to the market which I’ve recently tried are M61 Skincare Hydraboost HA Serum Pad and Vitablast C Serum Pad. Lets first talk about the Hydration pad, which is loaded with Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, quadruple Peptides, Vitamin B5, Vitamin E, Centella Asiatica, Tamarind Polysaccharide, Aloe juice, Wild Yam. I used this is as hydration pick me up in the morning, swipe all over. The pad itself is decently soaked to be able to take it down all the way to neck and chest. Followed with another moisturizer (if skin needs extra layering) or follow with makeup primer. Through the day skin felt plump and bouncy. It claims lasting hydration of 48 hours, but honestly who doesn’t wash their face in 48 hours and I won’t be testing that claim either. These work really well in conjunction with other peel pads too. Go over with acid pad and follow with this hydration pad and voilà done!

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xylitylglucoside, Butylene Glycol, Sodium PCA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Panthenol, Tamarindus Indica Seed Polysaccharide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Centella Asiatica Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Root Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Superoxide Dismutase, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Fructose, Urea, Sodium Hydroxide, Maltose, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lactate, Trehalose, Allantoin, Glucose, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Polysorbate 20, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol

M61 Skincare Vitablast C Serum Pad is the one that stood out for its brightening effect. I struggle a little with vitamin C on an ongoing basis, because it tends to irritate my skin or flush red. This was the first Vitamin C serum pad I used, so my expectations were zero. With such a start, I didn’t know what to expect from this pad, aside from what was claimed on the packaging. Claims to have 15% stabilized vitamin C with Vitamin E and Gallic acid (antioxidant that helps with brightening). With fairly short ingredient listing, this pad is nicely soaked with enough product to swipe over face and neck. The product leaves slightly sticky finish on skin, even after I pat it in the skin. Not a deal breaker for me, as I follow with a moisturizer. My skin, the following morning was noticeably brighter. If I had to choose between M61’s Hydraboost or Vitablast, my choice will certainly fall with the latter.

Ingredients: Ethoxydiglycol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Ascorbate, Pentylene Glycol, Water (Aqua), Gallic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 60

If you know me well, you sure as hell know how much I love a tingle, here comes in Exuviance SkinRise Bionic Tonic Pads. Non acid tingle (from peppermint and eucalyptus oil) and freshness on my skin with Polyhydroxy Acids (PHA), Gluconoloactone, Lactobionic Acid, Vitamin A, C and E, Cucumber, Eucalytptus (not for sensitive skinned folks) and Green Tea Extract. In fairness, this is formulation is loaded with ingredients as is the pad itself. To momentarily focus on formulation, it is loaded and performs as an all rounder on my skin. Whether it be under makeup or at night, it has not failed. Skin has consistently been firm, smooth and luminous with these pads.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Gluconolactone, Propylene Glycol, Lactobionic Acid, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C Ester), Retinyl (Vitamin A) Palmitate, Arginine, Glycerin, Algae Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Chinese Tea) Leaf Extract, Menthyl Lactate, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Ammonium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Parfum (Fragrance), Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, CI 42090 (Blue 1), CI 19140 (Yellow 5).

Other notable mentions which we have not personally tried, include, Cosrx One Step Moisture Up PadCitrix Vitamin C Antioxidant Pads, Rodial Vitamin C Brightening Cleansing Pads, BeautyCounter Rejuvenating Toner Pads, Serious Skincare Vitamin C Ester Pads

Gothamista & 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

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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).

One of the newest launches from EWB is Rosa. All you need to know about Rosa: the08E5537C-B926-4CE8-88C3-4F023BE38B5B_1_201_a whole Rosehip fruit is used, i.e. fruit skin, pulp and seed. Given we as consumers are swimming in a sea of standalone/single oil Rosehip oils, at various price points what you need to look out for is which part of the fruit have they used in their oils. Mainly you’d notice seed oils, not including fruit skin and pulp. Including fruit skin and pulp is where Rosa gets that rich vibrant hue and unmistakable fruity yet earthy scent in the oil. Also the fruit skin and pulp are high in carotenoids (aka excellent anti oxidants). Another very important part in any oil, is method of extraction because it impacts the oil’s performance around its inherent properties. Rosa is Cold pressed (no heat used, altering its natural properties state), Certified Organic, Unrefined (purest form, virgin oil), Undeodorized (you will still smell the true scent of the fruit), Unwinterized (all natural fats are retained in the final product).

Benefits of Rosehip are endless, for acne prone skins, sensitized skins, redness calming, hyperpigmentation, helping skin inflammation. Upon using Rosa, I could instantly feel a difference in its texture compared to many other Rosehip oils I’ve used before, it didn’t feel as thick and oily on skin. It absorbed much faster (and for even faster absorption apply on damp misted skin, it will disappear). Alternatively I also mix couple of drops in my regular night cream too, for that extra oomph. Another way is adding couple of drops to your clay mask concoction so skin doesn’t dry out on the surface. The versatility of use of single origin oil is endless, and its really up to you how you’d like to incorporate in your routines without getting strung up in strict rules.

IngredientsRosa canina (rosehip) fruit oil*, tocopherol (vit. E, from non-GMO sunflowers), Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract.

564FC534-036D-47B1-91B8-F0AC8D61FEC0_1_201_aOn a Swing Among Trees, a one of a kind product in green beauty world where many have experimented with pressed serum, oil serum, gel serum…this is a Serum in a Mist.

A mist so fine & light that envelopes your skin like cloud. Easy to go overboard misting because you want to deeply inhale the intoxicating and earthy aromas of Turmeric, Frankincense, Myrrh, German Chamomile, Saffron. It is an incredibly grounding & calming scent, like walking in a temple or my mother’s home! I have to steady my greedy, over enthusiastic finger to stop misting endlessly.

When formulating this product, Ava was very clear this isn’t intended to be a hydrating serum mist. It’s a dry serum format which basically translates to that ‘light cloud’ almost invisible mist caressing your skin. Skin feels nice, to elaborate nice….not sticky, not tacky, not oily, no residue of any form, not tight or dry… just nice, normal. Given its texture and consistency, it can be used in absolutely any routine (however given its very light texture, earlier in the routine is recommended so skin can appropriately absorb and benefit most), making it incredibly versatile in form and purpose.

Based on the inci list, aside from Turmeric Hydrosol and Aloe Leaf Juice as base, it is enriched with plant ceramides (I guess which contributes to that ‘nice’ feeling on skin for me), and some excellent oil, absolutes & extracts like Myrrh, Frankincense, Copaiba Balsam, Turmeric & German Chamomile CO2 extract (my personal fave ingredients), Saffron & Rose absolutes. Each of these bring their individual healing properties to the table, such as for wrinkles, loss of skin firmness, weak skin barrier, loss of vitality. The area where I have noticed most improvement is decongestion (thanks to Turmeric, German Chamomile) and antimicrobial properties. Especially when used in conjunction with Nap in the Meadow. This dynamic duo hydrates, plumps, decongests, and aids with HP (thanks to Saffron Absolute).

Ingredients : Curcuma longa (turmeric) rhizome hydrosol*, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, Sodium hyaluronate (plant-derived), plant ceramide complex (ceteareth-25 [emulsifier, 0.18% total amount in formula], glycerin, cetyl alcohol, behenic acid, cholesterol, ceramide NP, ceramide NS, ceramide EOS, ceramide EOP, ceramide AP, caprooyl phytosphingosine, caprooyl sphingosine), Commiphora myrrha (myrrh) oil†, Boswellia (frankincense) serrata extract†, Copaifera officinalis (copaiba balsam) resin†, colloidal silver, Curcuma longa (turmeric) rhizome CO2 extract*, Chamomilla recutita (German chamomile) flower CO2 extract*, Crocus sativus L. (saffron) absolute*, potassium sorbate (natural food-grade preservative), caprylyl capryl glucoside (naturally derived, non-GMO), Citrus limon juice*, Rosa centifolia flower absolute, Ethiopian garnet gem essence, Ethiopian opal gem essence, frankincense sacra resin essence†, and myrrh resin essence†.
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

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