Serums & Treatments

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.

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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. 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

Sunday Facial

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Facials Facials Facials, something I’ve tried in so many places from all over the world. Everyone has their own method, technique, products and most important is philosophy. So the question begged to be asked is what is my philosophy? Well its a holistic combination of atmosphere, state of mind, products and LOT of facial massage. I’m not particularly huge on gadget treatments but I do use a couple at home. Another crucial aspect for me is skillful, experienced hand at Extractions! Another reason why I have regular facials to maintain the health of my skin and ensure any underlying congestion is addressed. Generally I go for professional facials every 6-8 weeks however it can be a pricey affair so I do many interim maintenance facials at home. This post delves into how I indulge in at home facials.

Atmosphere: Typically I would also indulge in bath, so water in running in bath with capful of a bath oil (Aromatherapy Associates bath oils are amazing). The bathroom air fills with relaxing aroma of bath oil while I get started with a double cleanse. In addition, a gorgeous soy wax based candle is burning. Cleansing the skin with an oil or balm, taking it all over my face, neck, chest, behind ears and massage. Cup my palm over my nose and take deep breaths as I massage. This helps calms my raging mind, center my energies on the moment I’m about to indulge in.

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To remove the balm or oil, I have warm steaming wash cloth, air it for few second before I slap it on my face to ensure the temperature is not too hot for the skin. Cocoon my face in warm towel before I compress the towel on my face. The warm towel steam’s amalgamation with rich essential oil balm is truly transcending.

Next up, prep for exfoliation. Either physical, acid or enzyme, or combination. Choice is entirely yours! I have a separate post on all types of enzyme and physical exfoliators. Upon schmearing my enzyme exfoliator all over, I will steam my face. Steaming with enzyme exfoliator loosens surface dead skins and making it a whole lot easier to buff it away. Also preps skin for next step which is extractions. Not something I’d recommend to do at home – go to a professional if you don’t know what you’re doing. I typically only limit to extraction for blackheads, whiteheads and spots only if they’re ready to pop.

Skin can be stimulated at this point with steam, exfoliation and extraction – so Pause, Breathe. Mist some rose water. Dry your face and next up is a gadget High Frequency Facial Machine.

fullsizeoutput_435e.jpegHigh Frequency  helps treat and prevent stubborn acne, shrink enlarged pores, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, decongest puffy eyes, fade dark eye circles, rejuvenate the condition of the scalp and nourish hair follicles for healthier hair growth.

Most professional high frequency machines used in spas, salons and medical offices operate at a frequency of 100,000-2500,000+ hertz (cycles per second). However the machine I have here is only 50-60 htz, which is enough for regular at home use. Also assuring to know with such low frequency it isn’t going to damage especially when it is in DIY spirit.

Basically two types of high frequency with orange (neon gas) used to treat aging, promoting hair growth, tightening pores and skin elasticity and on the other hand is violet gas (argon gas) which is anti bacterial and wonderful for treating acne.  The violet argon gas frequency is typically used in spa’s however for at home function I find the orange neon gas works just fine on spots, pores, elasticity, blood circulation and  promoting overall health of the skin.

Soon after high frequency, I follow with clay or mud mask to tighten the pores after the treatment and continue the spirit of detoxifying and purifying the skin. Leaving it on for no more than ten minutes and I do not let it dry completely. When its completely dry (to a point where you’d need a chisel) you’ve drawn out all moisture from skin too. Taking it off with warm towel, next up is my personal fave step. The step for which I desperately and achingly look forward to a facial.

fullsizeoutput_4395Massage with a light, high linoleic acid carrier oil. The mantra here is firm pressure, no feathery, flimsy, sissy massage, you need firm pressure upward and outward. Following the muscle structure in the face. When hands, palm and fingers are tired, I employ Jade Gua Sha. This is literally the bomb of blood circulation and lymph drainage.

Massage has endless benefits some of which include: promoting blood circulation, lymph drainage (stuff that has toxin build up and makes you look puffy and dull), supports vitality in your skin, pressure point massage particularly fantastic for sinus sufferer like myself, better absorption of products in skin and most important of all it is incredibly relaxing. A good facial massage can put you to sleep (of course when someone else is massaging). To remove oil from skin, followed by another warm cloth compress, followed my misting with rose water again.

Here on, I begin layering products on skin to wrap up the facial. First up is acid treatment, followed by toning mist. Next up is one more gadget for eyes, from Dr fullsizeoutput_4396Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite EyeCare Pro, a FDA approved device featuring 72 LEDs, with a full spectrum of therapeutic light. Again a tool made for home use to replicate the professional light therapy used in medical clinics. I was extremely dubious about this product however using it for 3mins for last 20 odd days, I’ve noticed a visible difference in skin around my eyes. It’s tighter, firmer and smoother. I don’t have deep set wrinkles, I have fewer lines under my eyes but nothing that is major aging (if you know what I mean). I’ve also noticed when applying eye makeup, my skin near eye is more resilient and not so thin. I will continue using and keep you posted if I see more improvement. So following the light therapy near eyes is a retinol based eye serum.

From here, I finish off routine with an active Serum, treatment cream or balm or oil and hydrate a LOT with water. My choice of products and ingredients can vary for each facial however it is really driven and dependent on what my skin needs.

Also I specifically wanted to call out one more point about which type product I like to use in each category. This topic could be a post in itself however this gives you an indication where I’d like to put my money.

Medical cosmeceutical product vs. Green/natural product

  • Green/Natural – Cleansers, Toners, Masks, Balms, Oils – Typically on the surface of skin, and not much ‘face time’
  • Cosmeceutical (blend of cosmetic and pharmaceutical) or Over the Counter  – Acid Treatment, Serum, Eye Cream, Active ingredients (retinol, aha’s, peptides, etc) – This is deeper penetrating in skin and one which will show more visible results

*Personally I dont use any pharmaceutical product (yet)

There are other types of facials I do as well, which include micro dermabrasion but that facial routine looks completely different. Im curious to know, how do you do your at home facials?

HHW.com

xx

SkinBetter AlphaRet Overnight Cream

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SkinBetter a skincare brand converging beauty and science. The skinbetter science team of aesthetic experts who developed Restylane® and Dysport® have a comprehensive approach to age management and skin care. One of their best selling products the AlphaRet® Overnight Cream claims to go to work while the skin is at rest, to visibly reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone. This formula is supercharged with AlphaRet, with unique combination of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and a Retinoid to create a revolutionary double conjugated retinoid.

Let’s cut to the chase and get into the nitty gritty of this product:

fullsizeoutput_4036Major props to this brand for Packaging, in an air tight container, with no sun or light exposure, no bacteria exposure through fingers and  nails, sleek and elegant colour scheme packaging. Once you hold the bottle its light plastic bottle but does a darn good job for aforementioned reasons.

In addition to the bottle, it also has a solid box casing with all benefits, claims and ingredients listed on the box. In saying so, the website is transparent with its inci lists so no hide and seek games there.

Talking about inci lists, lets dive in the best part of the review:

Aqua/Water, Sodium Glycolate, Glycolic Acid, Cetearyl Olivate, Pentylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isohexadecane, Sorbitan Olivate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Glycerin, Ceresin, Glycol Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Squalane, Methyl Gluceth-20, Ethyl Lactyl Retinoate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ceramide NP, Hyaluronic Acid, Ubiquinone, Tocopherol, Bisabolol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Superoxide Dismutase, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Allantoin Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Linoleic Acid, Cholesterol, Linolenic Acid, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Steareth-2, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Hydrated Silica, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Tromethamine, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

Star performers in the formulation include, Ethyl lactyl retinoate (a proprietary blend of lactic acid and retinoids that exfoliates and boosts collagen production); Squalane, Niacinamide, Ceramides, and Fatty acids (moisturize). Last few ingredients are preservatives or consistency improvers, and this is the exact place you would want to see these ingredients.

Ingredient to be perceived negative or potentially congestion inducing for many is addition of Shea butter, however in this formulation is works beautifully to moisturize the skin without irritating or congesting it.

Skin Type: I would say absolutely any skin could use it except for super sensitive, or eczema prone skin.

Texture & Consistency fullsizeoutput_4037

The dispensed product feels like light whipped cream, 2 pumps is sufficient for face however 3 needed to take it all the way down to neck. Following with an oil or balm and no peeling, rolling or piling experienced. Wonderful to layer products with. In a typical skin care routine, this is the order I would take it in:

Makeup Removal – Second Cleanse – Mild Acid or Essence patting – Hydrating Serum – SkinBetter AlphaRet Intensive Cream – Oil/Balm.

To be 100% transparent and honest with you, this product was not instant love for me. I used it 3-4 times and set it aside thinking its not doing much for my skin. So first point to be noted here is Consistency of use to see visible results. Also why this may not have performed on my skin first 3-4 times like many others is because my skin is extremely in tune with potent AHAs and Retinoids, standalone as well as combination. Hence it didn’t blow me away in first few uses.

Fast forward to few weeks later, on a work travel trip, I committed to using it for 2 weeks straight with a basic hydrating serum, and BAM there I fell in love. I truly saw the product’s performance capability. So lets go through its claims and benefits and see if it stood true.

Benefits, Claims, Performance & Results

  • A significant reduction in the appearance of depth and size of wrinkles in as little as four weeks, with little to no irritation.

Fortunately I don’t have deep line or wrinkles on my face, so cannot speak to it. However I experienced absolutely no irritation on the skin, in fact left it moisturized even on nights when I didn’t follow with an oil, cream or balm.

  • Glycolic acid helps retexturize and increase the efficacy of AlphaRet

Yes Yes Yes it surely worked to improve my skin’s tone and texture. It felt more taut and clear of congestion.

  • A targeted peptide blend acts synergistically with AlphaRet resulting in fewer visible age lines.

Not qualified in this area to provide an opinion.

  • An ultra hydrating blend of squalane, niacinamide, ceramides, fatty acids provides deep moisture to help counteract the dryness associated with traditional retinoid based products.
  • A trilogy of skin soothing ingredients including allantoin glycyrrhetinic acid, bisabolol and portulaca extract provides a sensation of calmness.
  • A potent blend of antioxidants helps provide protection against free radicals.

For the last three bullets, the combination has surely worked to improve my skin’s overall health. I view this product as a crockpot of goodness, brimming with healthy, boosting, and skin health improving ingredients.

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Now for the million dollar question,  what is the difference between regular AlphaRet and Intensive version, well its really simple! The order/potency of their Second – Sodium Glycolate (salt of Glycolic Acid) and Third – Glycolic Acid is swapped to make it “intensive” and stand true to its name. All ingredients thereafter are exactly the same and in the exact same order too.

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The availability and price may deter some from this product. Available through professional physicians and at USD $110. For the well researched, this is not the only product in the market that has combined AHAs with Retinoid, however what sets it apart is the addition of peptides, antioxidants and a blend of squalane, niacinamide, ceramides, and fatty acids. A well rounded, one stop shop treatment for skin. In my view, its definitely worth the dough, as it captures most skincare needs in one product unless you have a very specific concern.

HHW.com

xx

Jordan Samuel Skincare

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My earliest memory of Jordan Samuel product is Water you Waiting for? A lush toner with Rose, Jasmine, Sage and Orange. Sadly a horrid turn of events he discontinued the toner. For the longest time I did not look at his newly launched skincare for the grudge I held,  with a hope he would bring it back. The pics below take me down memory lane when I regularly used his toner in my routine and also a part of my early IG journey. Sadly that hasn’t happened however the line he has includes a gorgeous gel to oil cleanser, hydrating serum and moisturizing 0il. All in all one perfect capsule collection.

Plié Cleanser is a unique gel to oil formula uses olive, jojoba, and grape seed oils to remove every trace of makeup (including hard to remove stage makeup), while sugarcane, apple and willow bark extracts provide a gentle exfoliation to leave the skin hydrated, soft and absolutely pristine.

I’ve used this cleanser both to remove makeup, second cleanse and morning cleanse. Each time it has performed splendidly. Dispensed as thick manageable gel, converts to oil once massaged on skin. The scent is citrusy, more grapefruit to my nose although I dont see grapefruit specifically. Ahhh the best part is emulsifying this cleanser, milky yumminess. Either rinse with water and pat dry or hot cloth this cleanser. Can also be used as a mask, leave it on for few minutes and carry on with your chores. This cleanser is a dupe for Botanics Hydration Burst Dual Action Cleanser with some similar ingredients. If you’d like to take up the ante, Algenist Genius Anti Aging Melting Cleanser is similar option but steeper in price. If you’re interested in a comparison post between these cleansers, leave a comment below.

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glycerin, Water, Sucrose Laurate, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Rhizome/Root Extract, Anthemis Noblis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Citrus Fruit Extract Blend, Simmodsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylhyroxamic Acid, Capryl Glycol
Ingredient wise its a clean sheet, some lovely moisturizing ingredients to start with and followed by some yummy fruit extracts and essential oils. Moving onto next step in routine to Hydrate Serum. Water are you waiting for? toner would have been perfect insert here. Just saying.!
Hydrate Serum will bathe your thirsty cells in humectants and soothing botanicals to keep your skin working in the same way! Hyaluronic acid, stabilized Vitmain C, and hexapeptides combine with cucumber, tamarind, and passion flower extracts to give you healthy, dewy skin all day long.

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice *Organic, Vegetable Glycerin *Organic, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Xanthan gum (thickener), Gluconolactone, Tamarindus Indica (Tamarind) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Passiflora Incarnata (Passion flower) Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-51 Amide, Sodium Benzoate, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract *Organic

Exactly as it claims. I can wrap up this review in just those first four words, but perhaps I should elaborate tad more. Ingredient listing is simple, no faffing around with complex names or unnecessary ingredients. Only one we could talk about is Xantham Gum, very common ingredient and used here as a thickener to give it gel like consistency rather than runny liquidy serum. A clear gel consistency serum, dispensed through pipette, absorbs in skin immediately. I’ve used it various ways, here’s a snapshot:

  • Under makeup it piles on however, varies with different base products used
  • Mixed with an oil, its one stop shop.
  • Mixed with a cream, again one stop shop.
  • Layered with other serums and performs just as well – straight after acid tone.

If I had to nitpick I’d say, pump packaging please….to which I’m told is work in progress.

étOILe is an all-encompassing moisturizer, multivitamin and antioxidant facial oil. It contains a high concentration of cranberry seed oil, which is the only oil to contain a 1:1 ratio of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as all 8 vitamin E groups. It also features skin balancing Argan and Marula, which pair with vitamin C ester and CoQ10 to make this an all-around star in your skincare ritual!
Ingredients: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil *Organic, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Argania spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil (Marula) Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil *Organic Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil (Rosehip) Oil, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Oil *Organic, Ubiquinone, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Squalane
Ingredient listing is simple, and free of essential oils. This oil is particularly fantastic choice for skins sensitive to essential oils. Blended with some nutrient rich carrier oils, and lipid soluble vitamin C (allows better penetration) this oil is uncomplicated in best way possible. It is crucial to shake the bottle before use, the vitamin C settles at the bottom.
I’ve used this oil several ways, mixed with cleanser for extra nourishment, addition to clay or mud mask so my skin doesn’t feel tight or dry post mask, mixed with creams to give it an edge, mixed with foundation to add some bloody glow, or the obvious way standalone use to thoroughly moisturize skin. The beauty of oils is it can be as versatile and flexible as you’d like them to be.
Overall, the products perform exactly as it claims, ingredient listing that don’t muck around, basic packaging (for serum and oil), doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, and perfect for all skin types. The reliability factor for this skincare line is when I can’t be bothered, inebriated, sick and feel like a corpse. Personally I have a wandering soul with commitment issues, my heart desires unusual fancy skinventions, so I often try a lot of skincare from various parts of the world. When I experience a flare up from some other product and want my skin back, I go back to Jordan. Of course it is very versatile in its use and complements all other brands and products. Seamlessly blends in other products and still performs just as claimed. The whole range is effortless but doesn’t cut corners. The claims or results are not groundbreaking, they’re as basic and reliable as they get. Ultimately we all want clean skin, hydrated skin and nourished skin. This is exactly what these products do.
HHW.com
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Colleen Rothschild Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum

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Colleen Rothschild’s products are no secret to anyone. Over this past summer, she released a gorgeous new Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum. I’ve spoken about Mandelic Acid before (click here) which is derived from Bitter Almonds and helps with age spots and discoloration. Lets dive into CR Serum:

Claims: 

The Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum is an intensive daily treatment that promotes cellular turnover to address photo-agingfine lines, acnedark spots and overall skin texture. At the core of the formula is Mandelic acid which is a gentle, yet highly effective Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) derived from the Bitter Almond.

Pollution, Aging, Sun, and Stress take a toll on the skin and its natural ability to generate and shed skin cells. Dead skin cells sit on the surface of the skin causing a dry, lackluster appearance. The new Colleen Rothschild Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum is formulated to gently exfoliate, dissolve, and breakdown the tiny bonds between dead skin cells, revealing healthy glowing skin. Over time, a brighter and more radiant complexion is unveiled.

Gentle enough for use every day :

  • Refine skin texture and tone – Yes
  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – Cant tell, I don’t have as many lines yet
  • Helps clogged pores and pesky blackheads – Yes
  • Inhibits dark spots and uneven skin tone – Yes Yes

INGREDIENTS (30 ml (1 fl oz) -$75)

Aqua (Water), Mandelic Acid, Lactic Acid, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate (derivative of Azelaic acid), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate (tripeptide), Ergothioneine (naturally occurring amino acid), Salicylic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate(Vitamin C), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Saccharum O cinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Garcinia Mangostana (Mangosteen) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Morinda Citrifolia (Noni) Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Salicornia Herbacae Extract (halophyte plant), Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Glycerin, PPG-12 SMDI Copolymer, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Galactoarabinan, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide

FORMULATED WITHOUT: Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates, Synthetic fragrances or colorants

The wonderful thing about this inci list is all actives are listed before preservatives. To summarise, the list above is enriched with AHA’s like Mandelic, Lactic, Salicylic acids and derivative of Azelaic Acid. Includes Tripeptides, Vitamin C, antioxidants like Green Tea, fruit extracts of Apple, Sugarcane, Mangosteen, Pomegranate, Goji, Acai, Noni, Coffee, Orange, Lemon and fragranced with essential oil of Neroli.

In terms of consistency and texture, it is a clear slightly runny gel like liquid. The smell is wonderful of Neroli essential oil. Absorbs instantly in the skin. I take couple of pumps all over my face and neck. Generally layer it with some light hydrating serum. Due to the number of acids and essential oil actives, I find it does dry my skin if not nourished properly. To layer products on top is a complete dream, no rolling, no piling, just glides and absorbs smoothly in the skin.

Next morning, my skin has been smooth, even toned and textured and radiant. I absolutely adore how my skin looks and feels following morning. The makeup glides on beautifully and leaves a flawless finish. Although in saying so, I limit use of this gem to 2-3 times a week solely because it can be drying for my skin. The oilier skins would adore this serum, but my skin is temperamental in Chicago winter and has its dry moments. Over the course of summer, I used more frequently to address any sun damage and continue with radiance boosting products.

I highly recommend looking into Mandelic acid as an ingredient in your skincare routines. In this product, having Mandelic with other AHA’s, peptides, and anti oxidants gives it that extra boost. Do you have any other recommendations for products centered around Mandelic Acid?

HHW.com

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