Mahalo The Unveil Cleansing Balm

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Mahalo is a brand that has featured many times on the blog and repeatedly day after day on my Instagram too. Their Rare Indigo Balm is possibly one of my fave balm….dare I say over the infamous May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon too. So when the geniuses behind Mahalo Care announced their new launch, of course I took a plunge of faith.

What was promised? Well the new UNVEIL cleanser is an ideal balm-to-milk cleansing formula that sinks luxuriously into skin to effectively dissolve makeup and daily impurities, unveiling soft and glowing complexion. Experience: Creamy, soft and delicate, green-tea colored 100% water-free concentrated cleansing complex. Melts upon contact with skin. Will not clog pores. Aroma: Fresh and crisp scent of lemon, rounded with notes of exotic fragonia, ginger, cardamom and pink peppercorn. Hints of warm cocoa create a gourmand calming aromatherapy experience. Ideal Dose: Depending on the needs of your skin. A pearl-size dollop for a regular day makeup removal, or a half pea-size scoop for a thin veil of gentle and soothing cleanse.

I’ve used this balm for few weeks now and ready to share my thoughts and experiences. Firstly the packaging, in a classic Mahalo packaging i.e. glass jar encased in a bamboo outer shell. Whats inside, is a luxurious waterless rich balm enriched with lush oils, butters, matcha green tea and clay. The first whiff of scent is of lemons, cardamom and ginger. On touch and massaging all over skin it gradually melts to an oil. Per instructions, dosage of a pea size didn’t do a thing. My face definitely needs more than pea size and this is not limited to this balm….absolutely any cleansing balm. I don’t understand when people say ‘pea-size’, honestly it takes more than that (I will stop my rant).

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Upon massaging the balm on skin, it melts to a glorious oil and the scents start making their way to my nose. The lemon cardamom scent sure tickles my fancy. Now if I had to compare with Emma Hardie balm, it certainly doesn’t have that level of slip factor. This balm gives more grip than slip when massaging. Next step, emulsifying stage. Personally, I’m a hot face cloth/wash cloth/flannel (call it what you may) kinda woman but to test the claims of emulsification I went with the flow. So yes, it does emulsify…but it takes works to emulsify the balm. The emulsifying feels different…the milky emulsion feels more slippy compared to Emma Hardie or other Asian cleansing balms or sherbet cleansers.

The after effect is lovely on my skin, some say it leaves a residue. In my experience, yes there is a slight residue when I emulsify but the residue is not offensive by any means. The residue on my skin feels moisturized and not slimy or icky (if you know what I mean…not the best way to articulate). When I take off the cleanser with hot cloth, its perfection. Absolutely no fault. Performance wise I find it hard to fault, even with makeup removal. The pic above shows how effortlessly it melts the matte lipstick by Soap and Glory and emulsifies to milky goodness.

Quick dive in ingredient listing – all looks scrumptious to me, nothing negative to say!

Ingredients: prunus amygdalus dulci (sweet almond) oil and in-house phytonutrient infusion* [medicago sativa (alfalfa), arnica montana (arnica), calendula officinalis (calendula), symphytum officinale (comfrey), centella asiatica (gotu kola), ocimum sanctum (holy basil tulsi), azadirachta indica (neem), scutellaria lateriflora (skullcap)], persea gratissima (avocado) butter*, macadamia integrifolia (macadamia) oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil*, jojoba esters, mangifera indica (mango) butter*, theobroma cacao (cocoa) butter*, astrocaryum murmuru butter*, theobroma grandiflorum (cupuacu) butter*, argania spinosa (argan) oil*, cera alba (beeswax)*, ricinus communis (castor bean) oil*, cetearyl olivate (and) sorbitan olivate, non-gmo mixed tocopherols, salix alba L. (willow) bark*, plukenetia volubilis (sacha inchi) oil*, coco glucoside, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf*, calophyllum inophyllum (Polynesian tamanu) oil*, cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil* & papain*, lecithin*, montmorillonite (french green clay), citrus lemon oil*, agonis fragrant (fragonia) oil*, elettaria cardamomum (cardamom) oil*, zingiber officinalis (ginger) oil*, schinus molly (peppercorn) oil*, frankincense sacra oil*, melaleuca quinquenervia (niaouli) oil*, citrus aurantium var. bergamia (bergamot) oil*, commiphora myrrh oil*, rosmarinus officials (rosemary antioxidant) extract*

Given the glorious ingredient listing, I would not use this balm to remove my makeup. Absolutely NOT. It would be a wonderful morning cleanse or second cleanse. fullsizeoutput_3618

Here’s another claim up for discussion, “antioxidant-rich enzymes create a gentle, yet effective thorough cleanse to exfoliate, soften and smooth, while leaving the moisture barrier of the skin intact and balanced.” Now for a cleansing balm which spends limited time on skin, it seems a little far fetched. So I came up with an alternative and creative way to put the antioxidant rich enzymes to work. Massaged the balm on skin, and took some steam with a hope that the enzymes would do their job. Result – nada except skin was softer with rich oils and certainly helped the moisture barrier. Did I have an exfoliating effect…ermm no, far fetched claim.

Now my final point on this balm, which puts me in a place of utmost hesitation in terms of recommending and repurchasing. This balm retails at $70 for 50ml (plus $6 shipping) whereas other balms on the market are lot more value for money. Value in terms of quantity vs. dollar paid.

  • Restorative Cleansing Balm by de Mamiel – 100ml for £54.00 (USD $66) – Double the quantity and the price is still less than Mahalo
  • Emma Hardie – 100g for £38.00 (USD $46)
  • Lilfox Jungle Glow Rainforest Honey Enzyme Cleanser + Mask – 100ml for USD $75.00
  • The Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser – 70ml for USD$74

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore the brand, the creator of this brand and her products, but this product will not be a repurchase for me simply from value for money perspective. Have you tried this cleansing balm? Any other balm cleansers which provide more bang for your buck?

HHW.com

xx

SJÄL SAPHIR CONCENTRATE

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Själ is a brand that has intrigued me for the longest time. From the simple understated packaging to the use of precious stones and minerals in skincare. The brand claims its “incorporates principles of eastern medicine focused on balancing energy within the mind, body and soul as fundamental to nurturing beauty and well-being. Combined with the latest advances in biotechnology, quantum physics and frequency, the results provide an unparalleled synergy which noticeably transforms your skin with each use“. There is skincare and then there is Själ incorporating elements of physics and frequency. I would love to talk about it more but just not equipped with best informed knowledge on this. So more on this from their website:

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Each product in the själ range is ‘charged’ with precious minerals including gold, silver, copper, platinum and germanium in both liquid and solid form. Known as electro-stimulants, these minerals function as semi-conductors increasing cellular productivity, performance, repair and penetration while leveraging the effects of the other ingredients.

In addition to precious minerals, själ incorporates gemstones such as diamond, blue sapphire, ruby, amethyst, citrine, and tourmaline, which naturally vibrate at a higher frequency promoting increased cellular energy, microcirculation and clarity. This elevated frequency emitted from gemstones and precious minerals helps direct energy to specific areas of need, constantly adapting to your skin under any condition, allowing for maximum performance and benefits.

The product I want to talk about is Saphir Concentrate their anti aging facial oil. Saphir Concentrate Claims: A powerful ‘liquid silk’ treatment oil made with an artisanal blend of rare essential oils and supra-3™ (a proprietary blend of anti-aging bioactives) help to visibly diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increase elasticity, plump, and revitalize skin. Infused with Himalayan blue sapphires and aquamarine energy.

Packaging is in a simple powder blue, fuss free glass bottle of 30ml. The bottle has a twist open cap and this may sound extremely vain but the twist open is oddly satisfying with its incredibly smooth twirl motion. The dispensing mode is very controlled with drops.

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Ingredients : vitis vinifera (Grape) seed oil, caprylic/capric glycerides, camellia sinensisseed oil, limnanthes alba (White Meadowfoam) seed oil, macadamia ternifolia seed oil, tocopherol (Vitamin E), citrus aurantium dulcis (Orange) peel oil, bidens pilosa (Hairy Beggarticks) extract, elaeis guineensis oil (Palm Oil), gossypium herbaceum (Levant Cotton) seed oil, linum usitatissimum (Flax) seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, jasminum grandiflorum (Jasmine) flower cera, helianthusannuus (Wild Sunflower) seed extract, rosmarinus (Rosemary) officinalis leaf extract, chamomilla recutita (German Chamomile) oil, lavandula stoechas (French Lavender) extract, alaria esculenta (Dabberlocks – seaweed) extract, citrus aurantium amaraflower (Bitter Orange Flower) oil, oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) oil, salvia sclarea (Clary Sage) oil, glycine soja (Soybean) oil

By and large the ingredient listing has some wonderful ingredients to nourish the skin and protect the skin’s barrier with Grape Seed Oil, Camellia Oil, Meadowfoam Oil, Macadamia and Vitamin E. Oils we don’t see in a lot of formulations are Hairy Beggarticks (type of weed), Levant Cotton, Dabberlocks (type of seaweed). The curated essential oils include Orange, Jasmine, Rosemary, German Chamomile, French Lavender, Bitter Orange and Clary Sage oils. The one ingredient I do not support at all and would criticize the use of it endlessly is Palm oil (listed as 9th ingredient). I truly do not understand or could not possibly grasp why would this gorgeous luxury oil need Palm Oil in its formulation. I’m all ears if someone would like to educate me (leave in comments below).

Having said that, lets talk about performance and results. With an opening scent of bitter orange slowly progressing to base of jasmine, the scent of this oil is subtle and evocative. The oil feels lightweight and absorbs immediately in skin. The claim of “liquid silk” stands true in this instance, upon application the skin absorbs the oil instantly, feels like silk and imparts a subtle glow. The stand out factor is noticed next morning, skin is truly hydrated, plumped. The oil protects the skin’s barrier and it appears calm and nourished. I’ve used this oil when the skin has been through a rocky road, angry, agitated, breakout zone, and this oil has aided in calming the inflammation and balancing the skin.

The quotient that would raise eyebrows is the price. Retailing at $175 for 30ml is prohibitive. Also, I perceive this oil for a ‘slightly mature’ audience (30s onwards).  This is all I can say, if you want to splurge, indulge, go silly, this would be the oil. If you want an oil that does basic things one would expect from an oil….choices are as far as your eyes can see.

HHW.com

xx

 

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

xx

Winter Skincare Wardrobe

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As the colours change, and temperatures drop, the state of skin is temperamental, agitated and protesting the change. Over the years, I’ve come to a solid conclusion my skin has a mind of its own and I need to adapt it’s care needs accordingly.

With fluctuating environments of strong wind chills, to artificially heated offices, cars and homes my skin is almost in an eternally dehydrated and confused state. Whilst it’s predominantly combination skin, with an oily T-zone and drier cheeks, during winter the ‘combination situation’ is exasperated. In addition, let’s not forget to complicate matters worse with a bout of dehydration and breakouts. Now that the problem is sufficiently moaned about, here’s how I adapt my skincare regime.

Aim of the game is similar to Asian beauty routines, where a number of thin layers of hydration and nourishment products are slapped on. With this method, the skin remains hydrated and nourished for longer.

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Cleansers typically I use oils or balms to remove makeup and second cleanse. Well that wouldn’t change for the evenings. However my morning cleanses, will include a lot more nourishing cream cleansers. Some of my faves in this category are, MV Organic Gentle Cream Cleanser, Trilogy Cream Cleanser and, and Good Things Manuka Cleanser.

Some mornings where I could get away without cream cleanser, I resort to milk cleansers and a strong fave has always been Institut Esthederm Osmoclean or Bioderma cleansing milks. New on the block is Forest Essentials Deeply Nourishing Cleansing Paste with ground paste of almonds, pistachios, and other lush Ayurvedic ingredients which provide skin gentle exfoliation and nourishment in one step. Smells Delish too!

Acid or other forms of exfoliation is driven strictly by my skin need, of how strong of an acid I use and which specific type of acid I use.  

Combination of various Acids: Dr Dennis Gross peels (of varying strengths), Biologique Recherché P50 range, MD Sun Skin Exfoliation Pads, Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Peel Pads, M61 Power Peel, Neogen Wine Peeling Gauze

Glycolic Acid: Alpha H Liquid Gold, Bravura London Calendula Toner, Pixi Glow Tonic, Cane & Austin Miracle+ Pads, Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexurising Peel

Lactic Acid: Kate Somerville Clinic to go,  Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel

Milk Peels (the new thing!) – Primary Raw or Dr Jart+ milk peels are gentler on skin OR Pre Lab Toning Peeling tap which is essentially exfoliating with enzymes.

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“Toning Mist & Amp up with Essences” A regular toning spritz post acid to stabilize the pH level in skin. Some examples could be basic floral hydrosols such as Rose Water by MV Organic, Alteya Organic, Santa Maria Novella, Whamisa Damask Rose, Andalou Naturals, Forest Essentials, Kama Ayurveda, Just Herbs etc. Or Zinc based like La Roche Posay Serozinc. Other toners with a combination of ingredients to hydrate and provide other benefits to skin could include Farmacy Skindew, Patyka Revitalizing Toner, Sjal Mineral Kalla toner, Antipodes, Aesop or Trilogy toners.

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These toning mists are then followed by serious hydrating or fermented essences to inject and plump the skin. My absolute fave is Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner, and from same brand Refresh and Original are just as wonderful. To name a few others: Decleor HydraFloral Essence Lotion, Blithe Vital Treatment Essences, Earth’s Recipe Energy Boosting Toner, Missha Time Revolution The First Essence Mist, Bio Essence 24 Gold Water, Shiseido Ibuki essence, Rohto Hadalabo Shirojyun or Gokujun.

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Masks including Sheet Masks Lots of hydration and moisturizing masks, good ol’ sheet masks are fabulous in this category. In saying so, I also throw in one detoxifying or purifying mask, least once a week. I tend to incorporate this everyday if not every second day. Masks are the best way to turbo boost and treat the skin.

Serums or Ampoules are used as usual to specifically target the problem of the day/week/month/season. I have a whole separate post on Guide to Serums for all conditions and skins.

Moisturisers and Oils are the cornerstone of protecting skin’s barrier and thoroughly nurturing it with lovely oils and ingredients. Some wonders which have stood the test of time with me are; Decleor HydraFloral, Mahogany Naturals Manuka Honey Cream, Whamisa Fermented Water Cream and Nourishing Cream, Bravura London Azulene Cream, Pistache Skincare Hydrating Moisturiser, Missha Misa Geum Sul Emulsion, Yuri Pibu Asiatica, Trilogy Rosapene Night Cream.

Here’s a tip if you don’t want to invest in a separate night cream however are quite content with your  regular moisturiser, just add few drops of oil to your day cream and use in your night routine.

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Balms have a special place in my heart and stash! I view them as amplified  version of oils, and of course more lush experience as well. Strong fave continues to be Mahalo Rare Indigo Balm, followed by Mahogany Naturals Blue Lover, May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon, Mahalo Balm, Darphin Purifying balm, Decleor Rose d’Orient balm. In terms of lip balm, there was one and always be the one, Nuxe Reve de Miel. The rich beeswax coats the lips and leaves it matte. In saying so, I have a separate post on Lip Balms which explores other lip products too.

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Since I complete my evening skincare routine by 5pm, I Re-balm or Re-Oil my skin one more time before bed. Or mist SKII Overnight Essence, which is moisturizing to skin but also leaves a tingly refreshed feel on the skin. Other categories to nourish much drier skins also includes Overnight Masks which can be argued is a richer version of a night cream.

How do you plan to amp up your skincare routine for the winter?

HHW.com

xx