Serums & Treatments

Fermented Skincare by @Gothamista

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renee-chowToday I bring to you, the most exciting collaboration and post by my personal favorite Renee, the gorgeous person behind @Gothamista! Renee is the beaming ray of positivity, light and sunshine with a wealth of Korean beauty knowledge that I rely on and refer to time and again. Surely you want me to stop my gushing over Renee and how incredibly thankful I’m for her to agree to do this for HHW blog. Hope you all enjoy the read, and enjoy the shopping after the read ;).

Just like so many of my favourite skincare innovations, the fermented skincare movement started in Japan. You may be familiar with the clever ‘story’ of how a chance encounter of cosmetic scientists and elderly sake brewers with extraordinarily youthful hands were the origins of what would eventually take the world of skincare by storm. SKII scientists, made a connection between the child-hands and the yeast they were in constant contact with during the fermentation process, then focused their powers on finding that special strain. Years later, they introduced the world to ‘Pitera’, the fermented yeast essence and that extra step that’s been missing in our skincare routines. 

Fermented ingredients have since spread beyond essences, and into other product categories as well as all other markets. If there was any doubt, there is clearly a growing demand for more of this anti-aging wonder. The Korean skincare market has been the most dynamic in developing products incorporating this process, and the response is huge. Infact, there are entire brands devoted to fermented ingredients such as Su:m37, Sulwhasoo, Goodal, Primary Raw, to mention just a few. Not only are they using fermented yeast, which is a very rich source of vitamin B, this process has been used on other plant ingredients to boost their potency. Since Korean skincare has already mainly been using food-based ingredients in their products, which easily lends itself to fermentation, this was an organic transition. Some Western brands (Estee Lauder, Fresh, Origins) have also been using probiotics and fermented ingredients in their formulas and more are being introduced to capture a piece of this rapidly developing market. This is still a relatively new thing and research into it’s effects are still developing though there are definitive studies that the potency and efficacy of ingredients are increased through fermentation as well as antioxidant activity.  But regardless of what anyone says, the proof is in that elusive natural glow!

Personally, I’ve been using products with fermented ingredients for a while now, which I strongly believe have made a difference in the quality of my skin and seriously, I rarely find products to be transformative. Particularly for my skin which (for now) isn’t in need of drastic repair. But a couple of months ago, in preparation for a Youtube video I was doing on the subject, I went really hardcore for over a month. Meaning, almost every product of every step of my routine was about these ferments. I first noticed my skin changing from being dry and sensitive to actually, normal. Then it happened, the stuff you see on infomercials. I’m at risk of sounding like a paid testimonial, but people started commenting on the ‘glowiness’ of my skin, strangers even. Infact, it apparently showed in my subsequent videos as people commented there too. Science be damned, you can’t argue with glow, man. The kind that comes before radiant primers, foundation and highlighters.

This is beneficial for all skin types particularly dehydrated, sensitive or skin needing repair. But certain ingredients, which happen to be my favourites, are particularly effective for anti-aging, hydration and brightening. These include, yeast extracts, ginseng, rice, soy or natto, green/black tea and certain flowers and herbs. These ingredients go through a natural fermentation process that occurs in an oxygen-free environment, which over a long period of time will cause the yeast and carbohydrates to produce enzymes and eventually form amino acids, anti-oxidants and vitamins. So, what exactly are the claims and why do we need fermentation in our skincare?

  • The process increases potency, creating supercharged ingredients that are loaded with anti oxidants, vitamins and anti-inflammatories. 
  • Causes the breakdown larger molecules into smaller ones which makes for deeper absorption providing more effective nourishment. This is also gentler and less irritating on sensitive skin. Essences potent with fermented yeast have been known to help reduce redness.
  • Creates natural acidity in ingredients which, helps our skin’s acid mantle. This is important for a strong and healthy moisture barrier.
  • Natural preservative so synthetic preservatives are not as required.
  • The actives in fermented yeast are rich in vitamin B and peptides as well as boost our skin’s ability to naturally produce hyaluron, which helps prevent transepidermal water loss.

So, enough of my babble. Here are some of my most loved products with my favourite fermented superstars, for each step of the routine:

Source: Gothamista Fermented Skincare Video

CLEANSER

Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert

This is one of the most powerful oil-based cleansing balms I’ve ever used. This is a natural brand that uses no parabens or mineral oils and has a coconut oil derivative base. Formulated with one of my favourite ingredients, Saccharomyces Rice Bran Ferment from Sake as well as Soybean ferment extract. This will melt down all your toughest waterproof makeup and stains upon contact. 

Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick

My ride or die. The concept of this brand is built entirely on natural fermented skincare. “Su:m” is the Korean word for breathe, while “37” is the optimal fermentation temperature. Their products are also free of synthetic preservatives. Their lab and facilities are located in the middle of nowhere, where the water and air is completely unpolluted by neighboring commercial facilities. They have a whole seasonal process of gathering plants and the technology and science they use to get the best out of every ingredient is other level stellar-ness. This contains Saccharomyces and fermented Damask Rose as well as luxurious plant oils such as Camellia, Green tea seed, Apricot and Olive. This is a foaming, second step cleanser that has a low pH of 5.5 so will not strip your skin or harm your precious, little acid mantle.

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TONER

Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner

Not to seem dramatic, but this toner affects me on an emotional as well as cellular level. I get slightly euphoric. Not bad considering skincare routines are often a chore. Whamisa is another brand that focuses on natural fermentation to augment and preserve the potency of certain star ingredients. I find fermented toners particularly effective because right after subjecting our skin to cleansing, the smaller particles and potent ingredients are so good at calming inflammation and delivering lost nutrition to our skin quickly and without irritation. The better absorption also makes way for oncoming products to work their magic. This toner is viscous and richly hydrating, replenishing anything that might have been lost and gives the skin some instant volume. This is a waterless toner which purely uses aloe as a base and contains fermented Chrysanthemum flower, Galactomyces ferment filtrate, fermented Dandelion Root and Oat Kernal extracts to soothe, deeply hydrate and nourish the skin. 97% of the ingredients are certified organic, free of parabens, synthetic dyes or fragrances.

ESSENCE

Missha First Treatment Essence

This was a surprise. Though I started out using the SKII Facial Treatment Essence, I ended up preferring this formula. Truthfully, I did not want to. I refused to try this for a long time because I did not appreciate how boldly this product was ‘duping’ the SKII essence down to the name. Curiosity and a big sale finally got the better of me and, what can I say, my skin wants what it wants. The difference in ingredients leaves my skin feeling more hydrated and the glow, the fabulous glow! While SKII uses 90% Galactomyces ferment filtrate (Pitera), Missha’s essence uses 80% Saccharomyces ferment filtrate (Zyosis). This also has Sodium Hyaluronate, Niacinamide and Root extracts. I’ve even come to love the slightly sour scent. But as far as all the other high percentage, fermented SKII copycat yeast essences go, I have yet to try one that my skin prefers to this. 

Su:m37 Secret Essence

My favourite essence, my…my preciousss. This is a very special potion made up of Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces and 80 very carefully selected plant extracts which are fermented for 365 days. All these plants have various antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties. I feel like I’m spoiling myself every time I pat this into my skin as it’s refined, luxurious, and the price reflects it. But the skin will never feel better. This is watery thin, hydrating, sinks into the skin super quickly leaving no residue but really soft, smooth, hydrated skin that looks bright and vibrant.

Innisfree Fermented Soybean Energy Essence

The second essence I ever purchased and countless essences later, I still love this.  This has 91% fermented Jeju soybean. In a world of cosmetics where everything is diluted with water, these products with such graciously high percentages of key ingredients are bottled blessings. Few products leave my skin feeling as soft and plump as this. This original formula is amazing for dry/dehydrated skin people or during the winter months, otherwise there is a ‘light’ version available for those with oilier skin or prefer a lighter formula. 

Manyo Factory Galactomyces

A more budget-friendly, but no less effective brand devoted to this process. Manyo Factory is an organic brand that uses botanicals and natural preservatives. I would venture to say that during my staunch, “Fermented or bust,” phase, this might have made the difference. Fast absorbing, with a nice slip to the watery texture, this formulation that doesn’t have the typical sour scent, has a simple, 7 ingredient list. 97% Galactomyces ferment filtrate, 2% Niacinamide and droplets a few other plant extracts including Sodium Hyaluronate.

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SERUM/AMPOULE

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

A serum that has over the years, become the quintessential elixir for anti-aging. The key actives here are the same probiotics found in yogurt, Bifida Ferment Lysate and Lactobacillus Ferment. The latter is particularly effective as a skin softener. This overnight serum has left my skin feeling hydrated, less red and volumized with fewer fine lines visible and a youthful bounciness to it. Their Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask, which holds half an entire bottle of the serum’s active ingredients, is probably the most powerful sheet masks I’ve used. Overnight, this transformed my skin, revitalized it and the hydration was off the charts.

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule

An ampoule can either be used before serum or in the case of this product, in lieu of. This ampoule will outshine any serum out there so there’s no point in bothering. In addition to being less than half the price of the Estee Lauder ANR serum, this one has a far more impressive ingredients list.  This formula also contains probiotics Bifida Ferment Lysate and Lactobacillus Ferment, but additionally has Lactococcus Ferment to soothe and strengthen sensitive skin. There is also a good amount of Niacinamide, Retinol and a very long list of skin loving plant extracts and oils many of them fermented. This ampoule is a powerhouse and anyone concerned with anti-aging should consider using this.

FACIAL OIL

Goodal Waterest Lasting Water Oil 

The Goodal, ‘Waterest’ line of products is focused not just on fermentation, but double fermentation of their ingredients and they’ve managed to create a new concept oil in their uber popular ‘Water Oil’ products. This is the ultimate non oily, fermented oil blend for anyone like myself who love the idea of oils on our skin but really dislike the greasy and invasive way it feels. This has all the benefits of oil products, but is fast absorbing, skin softening, deeply hydrating and an all around pleasant skincare experience. This is categorized as a ‘booster serum’ (Korean products and their confusing categories and names), which probably means one should use this before serum. Since the consistency is very light and quite watery, I’ve often used this right after toner before essence. Honestly, one could use this at any step between toner and moisturizer, it’s such a versatile product that absorbs so beautifully and LASTS!

This contains a blend of 7 fermented moisturizing seed oils that are packed with antioxidants: Sunflower seed oil, Jojoba, Camellia, Green Tea Seed, Argan, Olive and Macadamia nut. These oils are micronized to absorb fast into the skin and sink deeper to nourish from deeper within and then sealed in with a bio gum complex for lasting results. I can personally attest that my chronically dehydrated skin stays moisturized throughout the day with this when usually it gets drier. But there’s more, this formula contains Bifida Ferment Lysate, Niacinamide and Licorice Extract for brightening, Aloe and Sodium hyaluronate for hydration and a wonderful trio of Ceramide, Cholesterol and Lecithin similar to our skin’s own natural composition which penetrates better into our skin and strengthens the barrier. This is for all skin-types, particularly if you have dull, dehydrated skin. You are welcome.

Goodal Water Oil Firming Camellia

This is the latest addition to the growing Water Oil family of products and I must mention it. This is more targeted towards anti-aging concerns which, I have. The first 2 ingredients listed are Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate and micro fermented Camellia Flower extract which has shown to be great for boosting collagen production in the skin. This also contains Camellia oil which is rich in antioxidants and has one of the highest percentages of Omega 9 oleic fatty acids than any other natural oil. This is great for keeping the skin moisturized and youthful as it’s heavier and richer in composition making it so luxurious. What sends this over the top for me is the intoxicating, light floral scent. I don’t usually like added fragrances but this is sensory bliss. I wonder if this is what Camellia flowers smell like, if so, I want to be surrounded by them. Just like the original, this delivers deep and lasting moisturization without the grease.

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Source: @gothamista

EYE CREAM/SERUM

Benton Fermentation Eye Cream

I was waiting patiently for an eye cream like this to come out. One that is formulated with similar high concentrations of fermented ingredients that I apply on the rest of my face. This is a wonderful, light, silky eye cream that glides over delicate skin and absorbs quickly. I really love the unique texture. There is the same sort of silky slip that the essences have that doesn’t come from oil or silicones. This formulation contains all safe, non-irritating ingredients, the first 2 of which combine the yeasts Galactomyces ferment filtrate and Bifida ferment lysate. There are also ceramides, EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor), plant oils and wonderful humectants. Perfect for crow’s feet control!

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum

For those who want or need some extra help with that fragile eye area, this serum is is a powerful anti-aging fighter. The “Shaba Complex” is a concentrated dose of Saccharomyces Black Tea Ferment and copper peptides combined to effectively fight signs of aging before they begin, or stop things before they get out of hand. Black Tea Ferment is meant to be effective at preventing glycation which is supposedly where the sugar in your bloodstream can affect the proteins in our skin, like collagen and elastin. Copper peptides are great for promoting those proteins. Other notable key ingredients include antioxidants Edelweiss Stem Cells, Ubiquinone, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate and my favourite, Sea Buckthorn Oil. The texture is light, fast absorbing, and disappears almost completely, this creates no interference with other products you might be layering over including eye cream and makeup. I use this over my entire mobile lid.

MOISTURIZER

Primary Raw DoYou Soy Milk Cream

The star of this brand is the Fermented Soy Bean which has become one of my favourite ingredients as it’s particularly effective at hydrating the skin and fighting the signs of aging. Everything about this product is delightful, from the packaging to formula. This is a waterless formula which is always a huge benefit since I know there is no dilution of ingredients and I’m getting the most for what I’m paying. As well as the Soybean Ferment Filtrate, there is also Soybean extract, Aloe, Rice bran water, Niacinamide, Snail secretion, Green Tea leaf extract, Beta-glucan, Copper peptides, so, so many other fabulous fermented extracts. This cream is refreshingly lightweight and milky while being deeply moisturizing without greasiness or stickiness. Mildly scented, this will leave your skin feeling silky and hydrated. Great for all skin types.

SK-II R.N.A Power Radical New Age Cream

There are very few moisturizers I’ve come across that can create a glow comparable to this luxury cream from SK-II. Their R.N.A Power Radical New Age Cream is one of their best-sellers for a reason. Once you experience the radiance, you will cling on with a death-grip. The RNA line is formulated to target the 10 visible signs of aging and is good for any skin type experiencing or wishing to prevent further signs of aging. This is a silky cream that is creamy but not heavy. The texture is velvet-smooth and great for layering. Good for any skin type that has anti-aging concerns and want to address fine lines, firmness, dullness and dryness. This also contains Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate as a third ingredient as well as Niacinamide. This pretty much made a noticeable difference on me after a few days of use. My travel-depleted, dull, tired skin brightened right up and there is never a need for luminous primers with this.

MASKS

Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask

“Overnight” would accurately describe the success of this mask when it first launched. Their proprietary “Black Tea Complex” uses Black Tea Ferment and Black Tea Extract to super boost the antioxidant power along with Blackberry leaf and Lychee seed extracts to firm and smooth the skin. As an overnight mask, this is the final layer and step of an evening skincare routine. One that I leave until right before I go to bed. This is not invasively heavy or occlusive whereby most of the mask ends up absorbed by the cotton fibers of your pillow, or to the extent that all your hair is stuck to your face. By morning, the entire mask would have absorbed into your skin leaving it noticeably smooth, soft and for some people, firmer. This is a weekly treatment which after regular use will leave skin looking more refreshed and plump.

Goodal Waterest Vital Sleeping Pack

One of my favourite sleeping packs at a mere fraction of the price. Like the rest of the products in the Waterest Line, the main ingredient here is double-fermented lotus flower. The formula uses every part of the plant including the flower, seeds, leaves and roots to deliver and lock moisture into the skin. Which is what it does very, very well. After using this for the first time, I have never touched my Laneige Water Sleeping pack since. This also contains Sage Leaf extract, Hyaluronic acid and fermented Pumpkin extract which is a naturally derived AHA.  The texture of this is perfect for all skin types as it is a soothing gel texture that is refreshing but deeply hydrating. This is neither oily, heavy or occlusive. This absorbs, works on your skin overnight and leaves you with soft, volumized, hydrated skin after rinsing the next morning.

Whamisa Organic Fruits and Tomato Fermented Hydrogel Sheet Mask

Favourite sheet mask. This hydro gel mask is itself made of skin benefitting ingredients such as Aloe vera and Kiwi extract. This is soaked in a bottle of serum, one of the purest formulas I’ve ever seen so I don’t want to waste even a gooey drop. I tend to smear the excess serum in the package on my face first before applying the mask. The formula is 95% organic ingredients and mostly fermentented fruit extracts such as Tomato, Apple, Kiwi, Banana and Licorice root extract. There are no parabens, silicones, fillers, mineral oils, synthetic dyes or fragrances. There is an intoxicating scent that comes from the small amounts of Lavender and citrus oil that will relax and comfort the soul. This will nourish and rehydrate depleted skin as well as brighten the complexion. I can keep one of these on my face for about 45 mins sometimes even an hour without it drying out. The mask is cooling and soothing on the skin the entire time and when you peel this off, brighter, smoother, plumper, hydrated and refreshed skin is revealed. The results are wondrous and lasting.

PEELING/EXFOLIATION

Manyo Factory Active Refresh Herb Peeling Gel

Having had sensitive skin most of my life that stung and would turn red from a breeze blowing on my face, I still cringe at the thought of abrasive, physical exfoliators. I love my gommage peeling gels and if you also prefer something gentler, you might love this one. The exfoliation you get from this comes from natural enzymes mainly Papain (Papaya extract) and is insanely satisfying. You basically massage this on your skin and very quickly, fibers from the ingredients mix with your own dead surface skin cells, dirt, sebum and ball up creating a peeling effect. After rinsing off, my skin has never felt more soft and smooth. The presence of rice bran powder helps with that super smooth, skin surface texture. To nourish the skin, this contains fermented Pea Root Extract along with many other botanicals such as Buckwheat, Broccoli and Green tea extracts. There is also Hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated as you exfoliate. This was clinically tested and is hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin. 

Ofcourse, everyone’s skin is different. The same miracle ingredients for me could cause someone else to break out into a pox. I don’t see this ‘trend’ dying down anytime soon. I certainly won’t be quitting my beloved ferments, if anything, I am trying to fit more into my routine as I’m a firm believer of how too much of a good thing…can be wonderful.

by @Gothamista aka Renee

xx

Oui Please – Vol.2.3 Summer Escapade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Pomone Paris webite)

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Saison D’Eden website)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HHW.com

xx

Skin Saviours

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Recently, my not so wise mind decided to change the brand of milk I consume, which resulted in mayhem on my skin. Congestion, breakout and my jaw was a complete bloomin mess. Once I narrowed down the cause, I had to cleanse my system and help my skin recover from some intense Salicylic Acid Peels, Azelaic Acid Serum, Effacer Duo Spot Treatment and Zinc mist. My skin needed rebuilding, nourishment, hydration, and even tone. These needs translated to consistently incorporating Just Herbs Indian Ginseng Gotukola Elixir (repair and rebuild skin barrier), and Kimsukadi Glow Oil (hydration and nourishment) and Manyo Factory Galactomyces – Niacin (even tone and help with scarring).

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IMG_9960Gotukola or Indian Ginseng or Ashwagandha is a  fast-absorbing, light-textured skin potion which is a potent antioxidant and immunomodulator with anti-inflammatory properties. In synergy with other plant nutrients it helps boost collagen-synthesis, cell renewal & tissue repair thus diminishing fine lines, spots and signs of photo-aging. Cold pressed oils of Rosehips, Wheatgerm, Safflower and Moringa seeds are natural sources of Vitamins C, E and A while extracts of Indian Senna are a botanical alternative to Hyaluronic Acid (for fine-line filling and intense  moisturisation).

Long story short, I friggin LOVE this! Ok, on a serious note and review point: packaged in tiny 15ml bottle with a pump (earned brownie points with a pump),  this serum is light gel consistency, seamlessly absorbed, But smells very authentically ginseng. If you’ve ever smelled ginseng in its true form you know its majorly herbally and strong. Not for the faint hearted. Even though this serum’s smell could put off some people, for the sake of skin’s goodness I can tolerate any smell. From inci list perspective, nothing stands out negatively or comes with cautionary warning. Its all fabulous. My only gripe with this product is WHY oh WHY its only 15ml! Greedy, hungry people like me, need a lil more.

IMG_9959Moving onto its counter part responsible for hydrating, moisturizing the skin! The Kimsukadi     Glow Tail aka Glow Oil. Stands true to its name.

Classic oil packaging with a pipette, rich burnt orange colour oil enriched with some seriously unusual but wonderful ingredients and also attributed to saffron, turmeric. These ingredients are typical of Ayurvedic ingredients. Formulated without parabena and mineral oil (tick and tick).

My last step to the skincare routine, absorbs nicely. To me this smells wonderful (masked the indian ginseng elixir smell) however to many the herbal smell may be a major downer. The directions recommend massaging this in, however I prefer to pat it in, sometimes even spritzing hydrating toner on top of oil makes patting easier thereby forming a hydro lipid layer. The next morning skin was always well balanced, not oily, not dry, not tight, just perfectly glowing normal.

 

IMG_9961Galactomyces Niacin extra essence in 97% consists of yeast rice fungus Galactomyces extract, Niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate. The essence effectively restores the skin’s vitality, evens skin tone, fights pigmentation of various kinds, moisturizes, soothes irritated skin, minimizes pore size and prevents inflammation.

Ingredients: Fermented filtrate of yeasts fungus (Galactomyces), Niacinamide, fruit extract, Japanese pepper extract, Korean pine extract, usnei borodulino extract, witch hazel extract, sodium hyaluronate.

The consistency of water, texture feels somewhere in between oily and silicony (still not able to figure out) but absorbs nicely in the skin. I usually use this straight after my acid tone (in place of hydration tone). Followed by serum and oils/balms/creams. The bottle will last a while even if used daily and within days you would be able to see results. Perseverance and consistency is key with this product. For me this is a repurchase and will be expanding my horizons with Manyo Factory as a whole.

It has certainly helped with improving skin tone, texture and overall brightening. Stands true to its promise.

Below is my skincare routine for 5 evenings, and my skin looked spectacular. I rotated cleanser, acid exfoliation and hydrating toners however remained consistent with Manyo Factory Galactomyces, Just Herbs Gotukola Indian Ginseng Elixir and Just Herbs Kimsukadi Glow Oil.

To summarize this is my plan for stressed, irritated, agitated skin – Phase 1 includes major Salicylic peels to address the breakouts and Phase 2 includes nourishment, hydration and address uneven skin tone and texture. How do you manage such situations?

HHW.com

xx

 

 

Retinol Treatments

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We’ve all heard horror stories about Retinol, here are some forms of Vitamin A (lowest strength to the strongest),  Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol Propionate,  Retinyl Linoleate, Retinol, Retinaldehyde, Adapalene, Tretinoin, Isotretinoin, and Tazarotene. The prescription strength retinol treatment has Retinoid acid. Basically a derivative of retinol which is super effective.

There is common misconception that retinols exfoliate the skin, in fact they go deeper into skin, enhance collagen production, aid with skin smoothing, evening out of pigmentation, helps with spots and future prevention of spots and addresses skin blotchiness.

Today there are three prescription-strength retinoids:

  • Tretinoin (brands include Atralin, Avita, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova),
  • Tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac), and
  • Adapalene (Differin).

Many dermatologists find tazarotene stronger (and potentially more irritating) than tretinoin; adapalene is the gentlest but may be less effective.

In this post, I will not be delving into prescription products, instead will be covering various products and brands that offer retinol solutions without any dryness irritation and some added benefits of other ingredients.

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La Roche Posay Redermic R ($57) My first array in Retinol, and it was instant love. Enriched with Retinol and Retinyl Linoleate (15th and 16th ingredient in formulation) with a cream textured gel like consistency in a metal tube, with no exposure to air or light. Due to its mild strength and addition of Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, it doesn’t dry out skin and gradually does its job. I’d say if you’re starting with retinols I think LRP option is a safe bet as it’s gentler on skin and comparatively lower price point.

Auspect Clinical Pro A Serum is an Australian skincare brand. The formulation is enriched with Fireweed extract, Retinol, Lactic Acid, Kakadu Plum (one of my fav Aussie ingredient) housed in an opaque twist up pump action bottle designed to address skin resurfacing, even tone and firmer skin. I’ve used it multiple times, and it left my skin firm, under control (as far as spots are concerned), even toned and overall skin appeared wonderful. Did not experience any dryness or tightness or sensitivities (obviously wore sunscreen).

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65) is the only Retinol solution I’ve come across with the least possible ingredient listing. The brand claims to have 1.5% retinol (third listed ingredient after Cyclopentasiloxane and Squalane) however I did not experience any dryness or flakiness. Slightly silicony texture but absorbs beautifully in the skin. Excellent for calming angry skin, and resurfacing skin tone and texture. Packaging is poor with see through glass bottle and pipette.

Kate Somerville RetAsphere Micro Peel – Retinol Glycolic Treatment ($90)  is a treatment peel in combination with Glycolic Acid (AHA). The formulation has Glycolic Acid listed as second ingredient with additions of Lactose, Glycerin, Arbutin, Plankton Extract, Opuntia Ficus-indica (Napol Cactus) Fruit Extract, Soybean Extract, Kelp Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid,  Adenosine, Licorice Root Extract. Whilst all these are great additions, Retinol is listed as third last ingredient. I think the title of product is misleading in that the third last ingredient is prominently advertised. Nothing wrong with Glycolic peel but don’t shift focus by calling it Retinol and charging extra moolah for that. That aside, in my experience this product works better as stand alone after toning. If layered under an oil or moisturizer it does roll off the skin. Major kudos for packaging in a white opaque tube with a pump.

Colleen Rothschild Retinol Treatment ($65) is a relatively newer addition to my retinol familia. However one which makes me question why didn’t I look into this sooner. Retinol (listed as 4th ingredient), Retinyl Palmitate (listed as 5th ingredient), followed by thoughtful additions of Boswellia Serrata Gum Extract, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Bakuchiol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Plankton Extract, Lecithin, Glycine Soja Extract. The formula is light gel cream texture and absorbs instantly in skin. Can be wonderfully layered under or over any other skincare treats and yet doesn’t compromise its efficacy. I’ve used this 5 nights in a row as well and not noted any dryness or flakiness.
Dr Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum ($85) is an odd ball for me. The ingredient listing is heavy of Shea butter and other skin moisturizing ingredients and retinol pushed all the way at 16th place followed by more nourishing ingredient like Jojoba. Overall the formulation appears very heavy on emulsifiers and preservatives. Therefore the results on skin are at best mild. The “resurfacing” term could be very misleading. Although credit to be given where its due, excellent packaging in an opaque bottle, zero exposure to light and heat with pump mechanism.
Cosmedix Define Treatment with Hydroxy Acids and Retinol ($80) This brand I’ve always known of but never took a plunge with. The ingredients and reviews all were in favour of the brand and its products. Eventually I welcome Define treatment and I found myself head over heels.
Unlike Kate Somerville peel, Define is very clear and mentions AHA first which is corroborated with Lactic Acid as second ingredient, followed by Glycerin, Albumen, Retinol (AHAAAAA 5th ingredient – claims to have microencapsulated retinol complex), some more acids: Stearic Acid, Malic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Witch Hazel Water, Olive Fruit Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice, Sweet Almond Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, Peach Kernel Oil. See this is why I love this product so much. No dryness, no sensitivity, no flakiness and overall noticeable improvement to skin with continued use. Texture and consistency of thick cream but once pushed into the skin absorbs seamlessly. On top if an oil or moisturizer is added no rolling or pilling either. Housed in a tube with limited exposure to light and humidity. This will definitely be repurchased.

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Eye creams with retinol are by far the most effective and results are visible sooner. From the picture above I guess needless to say but Dr Dennis Gross range of Ferulic+Retinol is my preferred choice.
La Roche Posay Redermic R ($46.95) is a fabulous eye gel cream enriched with Glycerin, Caffeine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Retinol, Retinyl Linoleate, Adenosine. Easily the most used eye cream for me with visible results. Smooths and tightens the skin around eyes.
Cane+Austin Glycolic Treatment Eye Cream ($105) is the priciest option on this list, comparable to any other face serum in terms of price. But the inci list may or may not justify the pricing. Glycolic Acid, Kelp Extract, Camellia, Green Tea Polyphenols, Retinol, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone (bioflavinoid), Sodium Hyaluronate, Phytonadione (Vitamin K), Milk Thistle Fruit Extract, Indian Gooseberry Fruit Extract,  Ascorbic acid, Arnica Montana Powder. The packaging is wonderful with a pump and no exposure to light or air. Absorbs nicely in skin, and helps with fine lines near the eye. Still cannot justify the price point.
Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic+Retinol Eye Cream ($68) possibly my fave texture and consistency in eye cream. So creamy, whipped and not as rich to cause any milia. The inci list tickles my soul with some acids (amino, ferule, gallic, ellagic,glycolic, lactic), retinol, caffeine, algae, sodium hyaluronate, lipids, and skin moisturizers, this is a definite repurchase for me however the Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic+Retinol Eye Serum ($68) is my preferred choice. The light gel texture is amazing, and feels like nothing on skin. Absorbs beautifully and within a week I had noticeable results. The fine lines under my eyes were less visible/deep, and overall skin appeared taut. Some of the ingredients in this formulation include Centella Asiatica Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ferulic Acid, Retinol, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Morus Nigra Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Quercetin, Caffeine, Ubiquinone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Panthenol.

Hylamide SubQ Eyes ($35) is a unique one, in that, on application I experience a slight tingle. Now I’m all for tingle on skin however near eyes it makes me uncomfortable (just personal preference). This is much raved eye serum however for me, this is my least preferred eye serum. Not impressed with inci list, not impressed with feel on skin and not impressed with results either.

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In my experience, my absolute favourite and most reliable products for retinol are Dr Dennis Gross’s Ferulic + Retinol range. Started my journey with their Brightening solution but soon fell in love with rest of the range.

Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid & Retinol Brightening Solution ($88) Repurchased this product for its effectiveness with acne scars (including any extraction scars), dark spots, and sun damage. Jam-packed with Ferulic Acid, Retinol, Licorice Root Extract, Bearberry Extract, Arbutin, Mulberry Leaf Extract, Willow Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, among others.

I have a detailed post comparing the Brightening Solution and Overnight Serum (click on link) where I take deeper dive with ingredients and expected outcomes. As for the Wrinkle Recovery Pads, are wonderful weekly or bi-weekly boosted treatment for the skin.

Some say its best to dive into prescription strength retinols, I beg to differ unless you have a serious skin concern which warrants that. Over the counter skincare products do a fine job at daily maintenance with added benefits of other ingredients. However it can argued both ways and not one is right or wrong. It’s what works best for you and your skin. Now that’s just my two cents on the topic.

HHW.com

xx

Darphin Stimulskin Plus SeruMask

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Yet another luxurious product from Darphin. Somehow they never fail to disappoint me with their product offering. The product was inspired by the technique and technology of Pierre Darphin’s signature Deep Massage. They claim, “The culmination of our Darphin Institute expertise, this ultimate youth-revealing hybrid mask blends the benefits of our iconic serum with the indulgence of a mask. At its heart lies the Stimulskin Plus serum’s reshaping “Push Up” benefits with precious Sea Emerald and other powerful anti-aging marine ingredients. Upon application, skin is wrapped in luxurious comfort. Over time, skin reveals a younger-looking self. Texture is beautified, lines and wrinkles are visibly minimized, firmness is improved, and skin contours appear lifted and redefined.” Lets dive straight into the inci list:

Getting a full list of ingredients for this product has been incredibly challenging. I have included the name the website from where I got this inci list. So assuming this site is accurate, lets break down then list to analyze the goodies (highlighted in bold):

Water/Aqua/eau, Caprylic/Capric, Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed oil, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Squalane, Peg-100 Stearate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Isopropyl Isostearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate-60, Peg-40 Stearate, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Commiphora Mukul Resin Extract (Guggul Gum-resin from Myrrh tree), Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract/Extrait d’Orge, Bambusa Vulgaris (Bamboo) Extract, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Caffeine, Alteromonas Ferment Extract (gram-negative bacteria found in deep areas of seawater), Prunus Amygdallus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Whey Protein/Lactis Prtein/Proteine du Petit-Lait, Micrococcus Lysate (enclosed in a tiny package of fat (called a liposome) that supposedly helps deliver the enzyme deep into the skin), Algae Extract, Xrithmum Maritimum Extract (Samphire/Sea Fennel Extract), Sigesbeckia Orientalis (St Paul’s Wort) Extract, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Hydrolysed Rice Protein, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Hydrolyzed Corallina Officials (algae), Ethylhexylglcyerin, Nylon-12, Carbomer, Acrylamide,/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Dicaprate, Oryzanol, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Tromethamine, Sorbitan Stearate, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate , Fragrance (Parfum), Glucosamine HCL (amino sugar), Lecithin, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI77891).

There are a number of preservatives, emulsifiers in the formulation (as it’s a cream consistency with water in formulation). I would imagine every skin type would benefit from this, however very sensitive skins need to be weary of inclusion of beeswax. Also some skin’s cannot handle Algae and instantly breaks them out, another ingredient to be mindful of. In my case, I don’t have any congestion or sensitivity to report.

To support claims of “texture is beautified, lines and wrinkles are visibly minimized, firmness is improved, and skin contours appear lifted and redefined”, the following ingredients in the formulation help (info from Darphin):

  • Commiphora Mukul Resin Extract (Guggul Gum-resin from Myrrh tree) – known for its anti aging and lifting properties
  • Alteromonas Ferment Extract – Sea Emerald botanical jewel sourced off the Philippine archipelago promotes collagen synthesis to lift and tighten
  • Hydrolyzed Corallina Officials – commonly knows as Pink Coral Seaweed, this algae extract contains high levels of micronutrients and polysaccharides that help restore hydrarion to the skin.
  • Deepsane – Helps to stimulate renewal and improve skin’s overall condition for a more youthful, smoother appearance.
  • Samphire Extract – known as “retinol of the sea” from the coast of Brittany helps to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Packaged in a typical Darphin jar with white twist open lid. The texture and consistency is of an unsuspecting cream that not only promises the world but actually delivers it.

Now I looked up this application technique video on Youtube, by Darphin Korea, and it is excellent. Couldn’t wait to get my mitts on brush and slap it all over. Applying with the brush does justice to the product, makes it uber relaxing and luxurious. I tried once applying with my finger (scooped some product on back of my hand) but it just didn’t have that instant gratification. Thankfully the brush comes with the product.

Darphin Application techs

Considering this product is marketed as a fusion product of a serum and mask, I like to apply this product after an intensive peel (like Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic+Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Peel) or Treatment (like at home microdermabrasion). It’s a rich luxurious product, why not reap its full benefit and make it as decadent as possible.

 

Upon application my skin immediately felt hydrated and soft. The following morning skin appeared visibly firmer and plumper. I even tried/forced this on Man of the House and for him to tell me next morning, his skin feels firm, I was flabbergasted! This is the same man that cleanses his face in shower.

Have you tried this product? What are your thoughts?

HHW.com

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