I think it is pretty safe to say that many of us understand the importance of cleansing the skin and how integral it is to keeping skin healthy. Choosing the right cleanser, as I have learnt is much more than 'just cleaning' the skin, cleansers play an important role in keeping the skin balanced and healthy. I have learnt that ingredients and strenuous formulation play a key role in creating a fantastic cleanser and that all cleansers are not made equal. Some cleansers can be harsher than others, thus damaging the skin's structure and causing damage such as redness, dryness, breakouts and inflammation on a deeper, cellular level. Since understanding this, I have become much more careful of the cleansers that I use in my routines.
I recently became quite interested in the Dr Barbara Sturm skincare line due to Barbara herself and her impressive medical background (she is a highly successful orthopaedic surgeon). What interested me most in Dr Sturm's line is perhaps her philosophy in skincare and the goals of healthy skin. Dr Sturm's skincare line has a huge focus in anti-inflammation in the skin. In an interview with Instyle magazine, Dr Sturm says "From my scientific work I knew that inflammation was responsible for most skin conditions - from ageing to wrinkles, enlarged pores, eczema, acne, uneven pigmentation, etc. That's why one of the three pillars of my skin care line is anti-inflammation". Dr Sturm's other two pillars of her skincare philosophy are telomerase activation (an enzyme which has an effect on skin ageing) and hydration. Using her understanding of skin on a molecular level, Dr Sturm has been able to harness the most advanced ingredient science and using her signature ingredient Purslane (a potent natural anti-ageing herb) to create a minimal skincare line that focuses on optimal skin health. Her line is simple and uncomplicated, yet it is packed with ingredients that have a real focus on the anti-inflammation of the skin's cells, thus delivering not only clear and balanced skin but also healthy skin cells.
This approach to skincare was quite unique and so interesting for me that I went out and purchased the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser (the first of a few Dr Barbara Sturm products I have purchased). Using what I knew about cleansers, I wanted to see how the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser performed and I have to say, I am quite impressed with the results.
What Is It?
Quite simply the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser is foaming cleanser that when dispensed comes out as a light, airy mousse.
What Does It Do?
The Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser aims to give the skin a gentle yet deep cleanse without causing damage or stripping the skin of its natural oils.
I have a love/hate relationship with foaming cleansers, as it actually quite hard to find one doesn't leave the skin feeling squeaky clean. I find that it is far too easy to find a cleanser that is just too harsh on the skin due to its formulation and high pH levels. In saying that, the foaming cleansers that I have found work for my skin, I absolutely love and the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser is one of these.
Over the past few years, I have started to learn the importance of pH and appreciated the expertise in formulating skincare products. For those that aren't aware, the pH in a cleanser can be quite an important factor, as cleansers with a high pH can actually do more harm than good, essentially stripping away the natural oils of the skin, affecting the skin's acid mantle and overall ruining the skin's natural pH balance. Upsetting this balance can cause issues such as breakouts, redness, dry skin and even accelerated ageing. Having a pH balanced cleanser helps to keep the skin healthy, clear and protected, working with the skin to cleanse (to read more in-depth about pH, cleansers and the skin, I suggest reading this). When doing a pH test on the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser, I found that in my 5 tests I measured a pH of 5.3 to 5.5 - a gold standard level in cleansers. This is most likely one of the factors in why this cleanser felt so calming and gentle on the skin, helping to feel more balanced on my complexion rather than tight and squeaky clean.
What I have really enjoyed about Dr Barbara Sturm's Cleanser is that when dispensed, the cleanser itself comes out as a beautiful, light, airy foam (comparable to the froth on your latte or cappuccino). This makes it quick, easy and enjoyable to use on the skin as no lathering is required - you can literally dispense into the palm of the hands and begin cleansing the skin straight away. It's this ease of use that makes the Barbara Sturm Cleanser a favourite to use in the morning (who doesn't value those extra few moments of sleep) and also as an easy second cleanse in the evening. When applied, this cleanser feels like a cloud on the skin, its soft and light mousse texture makes it very comfortable and enjoyable to massage into the complexion. This can apply to the skin dry or applied with the skin damp, depending on your own preference. For myself, I like to apply this on dry in the morning and damp in the evening as a second cleanse.
In terms of performance, I found that the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser does not disappoint. For a foaming cleanser, it leaves the skin feeling clean, refreshed and comfortable. I get no feeling of tightness and instead skin looks and feels balanced. I find that this does give a deeper cleanse than most of the foaming cleansers I have used, making it great for those who have slightly more oily complexions or when skin is feeling more decongested. My skin is visibly clearer and also much more calm in areas which may have any redness or inflammation (angry spots anyone?). In terms of makeup removal, this performs surprisingly well. I did not expect the Dr Barbara Sturm to be able to remove my makeup the way it did. When using this as an experimental first cleanse, I found that this cleanser actually does remove most of my foundation, bronzer etc and the only residue that really remained was my eye makeup. Having said that, I still prefer to use this as a second cleanse but do enjoy using this on little to no makeup days as it will remove impurities.
When it comes to packaging, the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser cannot be faulted. This cleanser comes in an airtight bottle with a pump mechanism. To dispense the cleanser, all that is required is a few shakes and pump to reveal the beautiful airy foam. The mechanism is not only hygienic, it also makes it so easy to travel with and to use. It is completely fuss-free and perfect for someone who is on the run or just likes things to be kept simple yet effective. In terms of scent, the whole entire Dr Barbara Sturm line is fragrance-free, the Cleanser included. For those with quite sensitive skins or those who are sensitive to scent, the Barbara Sturm Cleanser is something to look into and definitely consider. The cost of the Barbara Sturm Cleanser definitely puts it in the more luxurious price range, however, I find that a little goes a long way with this and that the 150ml cleanser does last some time.
Overall, I have really enjoyed using the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser due to its gentle, purifying capabilities that help to keep my skin feeling calm and balanced. It is a fantastic foaming cleanser and is definitely one of the better ones I have come across due to the fact it does cleanse the skin quite thoroughly without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
Repurchase YAY or NAY:
I would definitely repurchase the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser again. It really has been a fantastic morning and second cleanser and I absolutely enjoy using this - not only for how it leaves my skin looking and feeling but also just because it's so easy. It really is a testament to Dr Sturm's skincare philosophy - scientifically backed products that are simple and easy to use. This cleanser is exactly that.
The Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser comes in a 150ml foaming pump dispenser can be purchased from Beautylish for USD$70, Cultbeauty for GBP£40 and Mecca Cosmetica for AUD$81.
Have you tried anything from the Dr Barbara Sturm line? What did try and what were your thoughts? I would love to hear in the comments section below.
I love blogging and the skincare community. Blogging and Instagram in particular, has been such a great medium for me to get to know like-minded people (whether it be in skincare or just general life) but also a means for me to be able to learn, expand my knowledge and of course be recommended all sorts of different types of products and brands. It is through social media and blogging that I have been introduced to, purchased and experienced products such as Pixi Glow Tonic, Jordan Samuel Skin's serums, sheet masks and the world of facial oils. There is a never-ending list of products that I wish to purchase and try and my skincare stash has most definitely taken over my bathroom vanity. It is also through social media and blogging that I have learned to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the 'hydrating serum'. Since Caroline Hiron's introduced me to my very first one (Indeed Lab's Hydraluron), I don't think I have ever looked back as hydrating serums have become a staple in my daily skincare routine. I am rarely without one.
What are hydrating serums exactly? Well, in a nutshell, it is a skincare product designed to give the skin a boost of hydration. Hydration serums normally contain ingredients such a hyaluronic acid - an impressive molecule that can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water and humectants which help to seal and lock in water, keeping the skin looking hydrating, healthy, lifted and plump. I have used a variety of different hydrating serums and here are 7 of my favourites.
***Please note that anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted to me without any expectation of a review or mention. I have added them to this list as I do think they are quite fantastic and all opinions of these serums are my own.
Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate
This serum needs no introduction from me. I rave about it all the time (like this bog post here) and it frequents my empties on a regular basis. There is no doubt in the world that I love this serum and it is one of my favourites, ever. Jordan Samuel Skin's Hydrate Facial Serum contains all sort of goodness for the skin in the form of humectants, peptides and botanical extracts to give the complexion a hydration boost as well as helping it look healthy, plump and dewy.
Out of the hyaluronic acid serums that I have ever used, Jordan Samuel's Hydrate is my pick in terms of pricing and effectiveness. This lightweight formulation has been repurchased time and time again since I first discovered it last year. Hydrate has a beautiful serum consistency that is just a little thicker than water, however once applied to the skin sinks into the skin effortlessly. My skin absolutely loves this, soaking up every drop of this formulation like a sponge. I find that it has an immediate plumping and hydrating effect on the skin that lasts the entire day. Skin looks juicy, fresh and plump - the exact results you would expect from a hydrating serum. The only downside to this is that sometimes this formulation doesn't play well with makeup causing my foundation or primer to pill but I have noticed it happening to only to some foundation formulations and primers.
Overall, I really can't fault Jordan Samuel Skin's Hydrate Facial Serum - my skin loves this and I honestly don't think I could be without it. The texture is fantastic on the skin, its formulation is simple yet so very effective and my skin just drinks this serum up, leaving my skin looking plump, hydrated and refreshed throughout the day and night.
I have very fond memories of Indeed Lab's Hydraluron - it was one of the first Caroline Hiron's recommended products I ever purchased and one that I have repurchased over and over again. It is the serum that made me want to learn more about HOW my skincare works due to its efficacy on my skin and one that I still recommend to friends and family when they are first starting with building their skincare routine. The simple reason why? This stuff just works.
Hydraluron is one of those products where it just gives the skin an instant plumping effect and hydration boost, though, I find that the effects don't last as long as some other serums. However, it does a fantastic job of immediate hydration which is why I have continued to purchase this. I find that Hydraluron is a great budget buy, especially when on sale or on a deal and I find that it is much more effective than other 'budget' brands out there. The instant plumping effect it gives to my skin is immediate and I notice a dewier, juicier and glowing complexion because of it. It does feel a little 'tacky' on the skin once applied but this soon disappears once another serum or moisturiser is applied on top. For me, it's a fantastic product to introduce to someone who is just getting into skincare and ingredients as the effects are instant, it is great for layering and it is a relatively simple product to introduce to any routine.
Indeed Lab's Hydraluron can be purchased from Indeed Labs for USD$24.95, Boots for £24.99 and Priceline for AUD$34.95 for a 30ml tube.
Jane Scrivner Skincare Bioluronic Buzz 2000 Smoothing Hyaluronic Hydrator*
If I had to pick my favourite hyaluronic acid to use in the evening, Jane Scrivner may take the cake. As it suggests, Bioluronic Buzz is packed full of hyaluronic acid - 2000mg in every 135g bottle to be exact. On top of the hyaluronic acid, this serum/gel also contains Buzz Button (Spilanthes Acmella) Extract, Aloe Vera and White Willow (a natural form of Salicylic Acid) for added benefit. The Buzz Button extract is a little bit like nature's botox and helps to keep the muscles relaxed, thus looking more plump and firm and the white willow extract is a natural astringent helping to gently exfoliate the skin, keeping it smooth and clear. It isn't as watery as some hydrating serums as the consistency of Bioluronic Buzz is very much like a gel.
What makes this serum a favourite in the evening for me is that fact I find that the hydration that Jane Scrivner's Hyaluronic Serum is one that is long-lasting. It can withstand environmental factors such as constant airconditioning and heating - things that can easily suck out the moisture in the skin. When using this in the evening, I feel that the plumping and lifting effect from the burst of hydration lasts well into the morning, leaving me with a lift in the complexion when I wake up. I find that this serum doesn't sink into the skin as easily as some of the other serums/gels I have used in the past and it leaves a little bit of a 'film' after application. However, once another serum/oil/moisturiser is layered on top, this 'film' disappears immediately and what I see is an instant plumping, lifting and hydrating effect on the skin.
What makes this serum even more enjoyable is perhaps the larger than average sized pump bottle that this comes in. One pump dispenses a large amount of serum which is a perfect amount for the face, neck and décolletage, making it a great product for those who are very heavy handed with their hydrating serums (that is me!) and like to use it everywhere else. It is a fantastic hydration and a product I thoroughly enjoy using due to its capacity to not only inject some moisture into my skin but also keep it there when I need it most.
The Lumilixir Serum by Mabel and Meg Mabel is supposed to be the ultimate hydrator for the skin, powered with actives such as pure Vitamin C and of course, Hyaluronic Acid to help target dull and dehydrated skin, restoring youthful elasticity whilst also plumping out fine lines and wrinkles. This serum works to not only hydrate the skin, but also helps to brighten the complexion due to its inclusion of Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate).
I personally find that this is an amazing serum underneath makeup, as it not only hydrates and plumps out the complexion but also gives the skin a beautiful glow and brightening effect over time. When using this serum, I find that it sinks in beautifully in the skin and works to smooth the complexion beautifully, making it a great base for the rest of a skincare routine and of course makeup. I also find that when using this serum under various different moisturiser, primers and foundations that this has not pilled or flaked off. It works wonders with other products as well.
It isn't the cheapest hydrating serum, nor is it the most expensive on this list. However, I find what sets this particular serum apart from the rest is just how well it works with other products and the fact that it did indeed help to brighten my complexion. I find that instantly this lifts and gives the skin beautiful, plump and dewy glow, thus making it a great addition to an evening out or when the skin needs a little bit of TLC.
Mabel + Meg's Lumilixir Serum can be purchased from Mabel + Meg directly and comes in both a 20ml and 30ml size at GBP £29 and GBP £39 respectively.
African Botanics Rose Essence*
If you are a lover of green beauty and luxury, then the African Botanics Rose Essence is the perfect hydrating serum/toner/essence in one. The Rose Treatment Essence has a really unique airy gel texture that magically transforms into a lightweight liquid once applied on to the skin. It is very reminiscent of a Korean Essence. This intensely concentrated formula helps to detoxify cells and restore moisture levels while brightening, refining, hydrating and rebalancing skin's pH levels. Like any African Botanics formulation, this essence fuses both science and nature, using a powerful combination of bioactive medicinal plants, botanical emollients, peptides, humectants, Vitamin B and collagen boosters to help prepare and deliver nutrients deep into the skin. Its signature ingredient, pure Rose Flower Water and CO2 extract of Rosa Centifolia is used to help retain moisture, even out skin tone and reducing redness and inflammation.
In terms of texture and overall feeling on the skin, the African Botanics Rose Essence is my absolute favourite - for such a natural formulation, this is so cosmetically elegant. The Rose Essence is incredibly lightweight and sinks into the skin effortlessly, feeling almost weightless. Whilst it absorbs so easily in the skin, the Rose Essence does not lack in effectiveness as I find it gives my complexion immediate and lasting moisture and hydration. Its unique gel to liquid formula makes it so enjoyable to use, especially on hot and humid days. This product is meant to be an all in one product - being a toner, essence and hydrating serum in one, making it perfect for those who wish to streamline their routine.
The Rose Essence also is wonderful to apply underneath makeup due to its weightless texture and does not flake or pill underneath other serums, primers or foundations, making it a great product to use in a morning routine. I find that when my skin is looking a little red, the Rose Essence helps to even out the skin tone and calm down the redness - most likely due some of its botanical extracts. This beautiful formulation is not the cheapest of forms hydration and is definitely a luxury purchase. However, if you love green beauty and/or luxury then this is a product to consider as its all in one approach, elegant texture and delicate scent is what sets this serum/essence/toner from the rest.
The African Botanics Rose Essence can be purchased directly from the African Botanics website, retailing at USD$160 for 50ml.
Aurae Skin Beauty Boost Hyaluronic Serum*
Aurae Skin is a relatively new Australian brand, developed by Laura, a banker and qualified Beauty and Dermal Therapist who found her passion for ingredients and formulating. Aurae Skin is a brand believes in a balanced approach between cosmeceutical grade ingredients enriched with botanical actives and nourishing oils. The Beauty Boost Hyaluronic Serum from Aurae Skin has become a serum which I have enjoyed using on my skin due to its lightweight texture and the instant lift it gives my skin. The lightweight feel of this is reminiscent of the African Botanics Rose Serum, just at a much lower price point - making it a perfect alternative to those green beauty lovers.
I find that that Aurae Skin's Beauty Boost is a treat to use due to its scent and lightweight, almost water like texture once applied. As the name suggests, it gives the skin an instant boost in hydration, lightly plumping the skin and helping to prepare the skin for the next steps. I find that this product works best straight after cleansing, as its lightweight feel makes it feel like an essence/serum in one. The ingredients of Beauty Boost makes it a hydrating serum with a little more oomph as it contains Vitamin C (in the form of Ascorbyl Palmitate), marine collagen, white tea, Kakadu plum and Aloe Vera to help protect, brighten and soothe the skin both instantly and over time. This serum interacts well with other skincare products and hasn't pilled underneath foundation or serums.
The Aurae Skin Beauty Boost Hyaluronic Serum can be purchased from Aurae Skin's website for AUD$59 for 50ml.
Pyunkangyul Moisture Serum
The Pyunkang-yul Moisture Serum is a beautiful product for those who love Korean Beauty or are looking for a great, cost-effective hydrating serum. The brand Pyunkang-yul was developed by the renowned Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic in South Korea and uses hanbang - Korean traditional herbal medicine. Each and every product contains a high amount of traditional herb extracts and contains little fillers and fragrances to minimise irritation to the skin to help promote a healthy oil and moisture balance in the skin.
There is no doubt that the Pyunkang-yul Moisture Serum is a well-priced serum, retailing for around USD$27 for 100ml of product and its results are also just as impressive. I find that whilst this does not have the same plumping effects as some of the other serums mentioned, it does help to keep the skin instantly hydrated and balance the skin over time. This serum is one of those serums you start to notice the effects on the skin over time. For me, I found that my skin was not only more hydrated - it was also softer, bouncier and more even in tone. Overall, my skin looked healthier and my complexion most definitely felt more balanced. In terms of how the Pyunkang-yul Moisture Serum performs underneath makeup and other skincare, this serum is fantastic as it does not pill. I find that this milky serum works so well mixed with other products and sinks into the skin beautifully. What I also love about the Pyunkang-yul Moisture Serum is its simple formulation and heavy focus on traditional Korean herbs. I love the fact that it contains no fragrance, making it great for those who have sensitised skin. It is a truly enjoyable serum to use and I love the unique philosophy and backing behind the brand.
There are various places to purchase the Pyunkang-yul Moisture Serum (and other great K-beauty products). My favourite place to find this beauty is at OhLollyBeauty for USD$27 for 100ml.
What some of your favourite hydrating serums? Have you tried any on this list? I would love to hear what you think in the comments section below.
Where has 2018 gone??? I swear it seems like only yesterday that we welcomed in a fresh new year. Now, here we are, in the middle of February and I realise just how late I am with my empties for January. My January empties is probably one of my most impressive yet as I have used up a whole bunch of full-size products - not only in skincare but in body care and makeup too! Read on to see what I have used up in the last month!
***Please note that anything with a * has been kindly gifted to me without the expectation of a review. The reason as to why I am writing about these products, quite simply comes to the fact I have used it all up!
Skin Better Science is a cosmeceutical brand that prides itself on its use of actives. Sometimes cosmeceutical products can be a little much for the skin as they can contain more active ingredients that the skin might not be used to. The Skin Better Science Rejuvenate Smoothing Daily Treatment Cream is a great introduction to those who are looking in to getting started with a more active skincare routine, or simply just want a moisturiser with a little more oomph. The Daily Treatment Cream contains high tech, patented peptide technology that helps the skin appear more radiant, plump and hydrated whilst also creating a lightweight and moisturising barrier for the skin. For me, the Skin Better Science Daily Treatment Cream is definitely one of the best moisturisers I have used for various reasons.
The texture of the Daily Treatment Cream is light and it sinks into the skin beautifully keeping the skin nourished, plump and soft. I found that it really did work well to smooth out the skin's surface and whilst it does contain silicones in its formulation, it doesn't have that tacky silicone feel. It feels very natural on the skin and not at all congesting. Due to its smoothing capabilities, I also found that this works incredibly well underneath makeup. Once applied, I discovered that that makeup and primers just glide effortlessly over this moisturiser. I have never experienced piling when using this and it really gives the skin a great base due to its smoothing and radiance properties. For those curious, its ingredinets are the following:
Other than its formulation and how it interacts with other products, I also absolutely LOVED the packaging of this moisturiser. Not only does it look elegant (rose gold and navy is a winning combination), the airless packaging pump itself is easy to use and hygienic. Simply twist to 'open' and pump to dispense product, this is a gold standard for me in terms of how a skincare product should be packaged. Finally, the performance of the Skin Better Science Daily Treatment Cream is everything I would want in a moisturiser and more. I feel that this not only locks in the rest of my skincare routine, it is gentle enough to be used every day and night and the formulation is simple enough to be able to mix with other actives. However, don't be fooled in its simplicity, the addition of peptides help to maintain and enhance skin hydration, firmness and plumpness, giving it enough oomph to be in a class of its own.
The Skin Better Science Daily Treatment Cream is a cosmeceutical product and is only available at selected retailers. It's RRP is USD$120 for 30ml.
Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate
I probably go through one of these every 6-8 weeks and I continuously purchase this product. It's truly a testament to how much I adore Jordan Samuel Skin's Hydrate and I simply can't live without it. If you haven't tried it, I recommend that you do give the range a good chance. It hasn't disappointed me yet. For a more in-depth review, have a read here.
I love oil cleansers but I also have learned that I enjoy foaming cleansers just as much, especially ones that do not dry out the skin. When Ee Ting from hop & cotton formulated a cleanser for me, a version of The Foam Party - I was not disappointed. This cleanser was formulated especially for me and took into account things such as how much it foamed, textures, scents and of course performance. My customised formula was the following:
What I adore about this cleanser is the fact that it removes excess oil gently from my complexion without stripping it. After I have rinsed this off with water, my skin feels incredibly clean, balanced and soft. It is a really gentle formulation that just foams ever so slightly and has no scent whatsoever; making it perfect to use at any time, even when my skin is feeling super sensitive. In terms of makeup removal, I wouldn't recommend using The Foam Party on its own as it is most definitely a morning cleanser or a second cleanse.
The beautiful pale pink plastic packaging makes this look gorgeous on any vanity and the added benefit of a hygienic pump dispenser makes the hop & cotton Foam Party Cleanser the perfect travel companion. I absolutely love how this cleanser leaves my skin feeling after cleansing that I have already (and will continue to) repurchase.
To have your own foaming cleanser formulated for you, go to the hop & cotton website and fill out your skin quiz, prices for this beauty start at AUD$58.
hop & cotton Brilliant Cream*
This is another hop & cotton formulation which was concocted especially for me according to the skin quiz that I submitted to Ee Ting and the hop & cotton team. I thoroughly enjoyed using the cream as it felt light, fast absorbing and extremely hydrating with each and every use. I also loved the fact that this gave my skin a brighter, glowing complexion due to its careful formulation. The Brilliant Cream isn't like any ordinary moisturiser - it is meant to be an all in one product. Acting as a serum, mask, eye serum and moisturiser in one, the hop & cotton Brilliant Cream is meant to help simplify a skincare routine and each formulation is customised for its intended user. My specific formulation contains a blend of concentrated vitamins and antioxidants to help promote an even skin tone, working to brighten the skin and reduce the occurrence of blemishes and prevent signs of ageing. My customised formulation was as follows:
In the time that I have had the Brilliant Cream, I have used it both day and night, over time I found that I actually enjoyed using this in the evening more as I can really see and feel the results in my skin. When using this in the evening, I find that when I wake up my skin looks visibly brighter, even, plump and hydrated - a great way to start the day I think! On days where I do have blemishes, I find that this moisturiser helps to also soothe and calm down and angry looking inflammation and I find that this moisturiser allows the skin to breathe and not feel congested. When using this I always do try to keep it simple (the brand's philosophy is that less is more), and I find that using the moisturiser on its own is more than enough! It's a great product to invest in for those who are looking to really simplify their skincare routine and are far too lazy to apply layers of serums, masks etc. Overall, I really enjoyed using this - it is perfect for lazy days or when you need to travel light.
To have your own special moisturiser formulated for you, go to the hop & cotton website and fill out your skin quiz and the hop & cotton team will formulate a bespoke creation for you.
Dr Levy Switzerland 3 Deep Cell Renewal Micro-Resurfacing Cleanser*
This cleanser is a fantastic cleanser to use once or twice a week for slightly deeper clean due to the fact that this formulation contains all sorts of acids that assist with exfoliating the skin. I really enjoy the thorough and deep clean that this cleanser gives the skin, and the beautiful glow afterwards is an absolute bonus. For a more in-depth read on this cleanser, read about it here.
Purchase the Dr Levy 3 Deep Cell Renewal Micro-Resurfacing Cleanser from Cultbeauty for £39.00 for 150ml.
h is for love Kinu Glowing Skin Balm*
My skin just GLOWS with this. Literally. This made the rounds during the festive season due to its delectable scent, skin nourishing abilities and of course that beautiful glow that this gives off. Kinu (which means silk in Japanese) is a luxurious, golden body balm that is made from gorgeous ingredients such as jojoba, coconut, rosehip and Kalahari seeds oils and contains a mica that gives it a beautiful luminous glow on the skin. The beautiful feel of the ingredients that Bee, founder of h is for love has concocted and put together is such a delight and I am SO glad I have been introduced to the brand via the Boxwalla Beauty Boxes.
When applied, this gorgeous whipped Kinu balm melts into the skin and absorbs effortlessly, I find that my legs and arms are so nourished, smooth and glowing. Due to the light reflecting mica, it almost works like a 'foundation' for the body as the light reflects off the skin, making the skin look flawless. I absolutely loved applying this on my legs when wearing a shorter dress/skirt and heels as it was incredibly flattering. Oh, and did I mention how delicious this smells? The scent of this is light and is reminiscent of honey and citrus. It's not overbearing but it is so enjoyable to inhale. Out of all the body balms I have used, Kinu by far has been my favourite. In terms of finish, its scent, how it nourishes the skin to how it effortlessly absorbs makes it such a winner. I am so sad that I won't be able to repurchase this as Kinu was a Boxwalla x h is for love exclusive from October's Boxwalla edit from last year. It is truly such a beautiful product and is yet an another amazing discovery from Boxwalla.
For more exclusive treats from green beauty brands, subscribe to the Boxwalla bi monthly beauty subscription here. Each and every box is of fantastic value (the upcoming edition is defibately worth checking out!) and prices start at USD$49.95.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer
Hourglass rarely disappoints and whilst I liked this bronzer, I feel that I loved NARS Laguna more. That's not to say I didn't enjoy using this though. I felt that the colour of this bronzer sometimes looked a little muddy on me instead of giving my skin a sun-kissed glow. I had to be a little bit more careful when applying this and to not be too heavy handed with my brush. It could quite simply come down to this particular not colour not suiting my skin tone and the way I have applied this. The powder itself is beautiful in texture as it is so finely milled. The bronze mixed with the ambient lighting powders does give a bit more of glow without being a disco ball. I will be trying this again but in a different colour, this time round as I did enjoy the texture of this powder and I absolutely love the Hourglass quality.
As many of you know, I do enjoy using green beauty products, not because they are necessarily 'green' but because they work so well for my skin. However, my love for skincare has never just stopped at green beauty - I have embraced everything from Korean Skincare products, cosmeceuticals as well as those products you would find at your local drugstore. At the end of the day, I like products that quite simply work for my skin, doesn't cause my skin to freak out and are an absolute joy to use in both texture and scent. Over the past 18 months of blogging, I have come to realise that the products that seem to work best for me are a fusion of science and natural ingredients and there are a few brands that I find that do this quite well. African Botanics is one of those skincare brands where almost everything I have tried, I have absolutely loved and there are a few products in the range which I will happily say are my holy grails and I could never live without. As much as I hate to admit it - their most recent release, the Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream has actually made it to that list. The reason why I hate admitting it? The cost of this cream is sure to raise some eyebrows for some, as it does retail for USD$350, putting it right up there with La Mer's famed Creme de La Mer, however unlike La Mer, I find that the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream is worth every single penny.
*** Please note that this item was kindly gifted to me by African Botanics with no expectation of a review of any kind. However, I am a huge fan of the brand and I have been asked alot about this product that I felt there was a need to share my thoughts on how much I do love it.
What Is It?
The African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream is a night cream that takes advantages of exotic night blooms, indigenous African Desert and Bush Plants™ and potent concentrations of highly advanced marine biotechnology which helps to protect, soothe and heal the skin. Basically, it is a night cream on natural ingredients steroids.
What Does It Do?
This is a multi-correcting face cream that is said to stimulate cell renewal and works to plump, nourish and protect the skin. The cream works to help restores the skin’s density and bounce whilst improving texture and luminosity. The African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream works to deeply hydrate the skin and also helps to infuse the skin with moisture. The cream also claims to help the skin fight the signs of ageing skin with its use of powerful antioxidants. On top of all of this, the Intense Recovery Cream also helps to soothe and calm the skin, whilst also speeding up the recovery of the damaged cells.
In three words - I. LOVE. THIS. If you are on the market for a luxe, high-end night cream then the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream is a product that you must try. This cream is absolutely beautiful in scent, texture and of course how it performs. I absolutely love having this in my skincare arsenal as it manages to keep my skin calm, protects my skin, helps it to heal and gives me a nourished and healthy complexion in the morning. This works not only as a great everyday evening cream but also works wonders as an SOS treatment for the skin. Its performance has amazed me, and due to its price point, I really didn't want to love it...but like any forbidden love story, I fell head over heels for this.
Like with any other African Botanics skincare product, a nod to the amazing botanicals that are native to Africa is essential. The Intense Recovery Cream is absolutely jam-packed with exotic ingredients such as Kigelia Africana, Bulbinella, Resurrection plant, HoneyBush and Green Rooibos tea which come from the African Desert. These ingredients are renowned for their medicinal and reparative benefits and have been used by African tribes for years to help soothe inflamed, dry, irritated skin, relieving itchiness and work as an antimicrobial. Along with these soothing benefits, ingredients such as South African Aloe Ferox (otherwise known as Cape Aloe) and Bulbine Frutescens helps to hydrate the skin, enhancing its firmness and aiding in the skin looking plump. Aloe Ferox belongs to the Aloe family and works well as a skin moisturiser and humectant, helping the skin to maintain and preserve moisture. Studies have also shown that Aloe Ferox also aids in skin repair, helping to facilitate wound repair and inhibiting bacteria growth in the wounded skin. For extra nourishment for the skin, the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream takes advantage of butters such as Cape Mahogany Butter and various types of mango seed butter, as well as their signature wild harvested Marula oil. Each of these butters and oils are rich in essential fatty acids to help nourish and protect the skin's barrier.
Even though the ingredient listing looks to be quite impressive, does it perform? Well, for me, the magic of this little black jar really is in the way it works on my skin. This cream is just amazing in the way it helps to soothe, nourish, hydrate and reset the complexion. On bad skin days/weeks, I love to use this cream in the evening to help heal and repair the skin. This cream helps to not only seal in any serums/oils applied underneath, it also works its magic to calm any angry, itchy areas of skin. Its clever use of oils and butters, mixed with its complex use of plant peptides and extracts help to hydrate, nourish and replenish the complexion with nutrients minus the feeling of heaviness or tackiness on the skin. I find that when I use this in the evening on angry skin days, my complexion looks visibly calmer, revitalised and overall much healthier the next morning. On those days where my skin is quite normal and I still reach out to use this (I love it and I want to use this all the time), my complexion looks brighter, refreshed and even in tone. I have been using the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream a few days a week over the past few months now, and I have to say that in this time period I feel that my skin's texture has improved quite remarkably, it's healing faster, I'm getting fewer breakouts and overall my skin looks much healthier and clearer. My face is also less irritated and when I do get a spot, this helps to calm the area down, by the next morning, the redness in the area has generally subsided.
Whilst I have also been using other products consistently, I can't help but wonder if the Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream has anything to do with my happier looking complexion as most of the other products I have been using are to target issues such as PIH. Whilst the improvement in my skin may not be single-handedly attributed to the Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream on its own, I feel that it has played a part in the positive change I am seeing in my skin. For me, the improvements I can see in my complexion are both instant (instant calmness and skin looking revitalised) also can be seen over a period of time (improved skin texture and health). For me, these results are what I would normally expect from a serum, so to potentially see this in a moisturiser is so promising and is one of the reasons why I do love using this night cream on a regular basis and is the reason why I reach for it so often. I am so impressed with its overall performance. The difference I have seen in my skin is quite remarkable and its scent and texture just add to the luxurious experience that the Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream creates.
Aside from the performance of the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream, it also gets its texture so incredibly right. Whilst the cream looks and feels quite rich initially, once applied on the face, this velvety smooth cream melts and sinks into the skin like butter, leaving no heaviness or tackiness. It settles beautifully and effortlessly into the complexion and immediately leaves the skin feeling softer and smoother on application. As the Intense Recovery Cream is a little thicker and sinks so easily into the skin, I find that it does not spread as easily over the complexion as other moisturisers I have used, and it is best patted into the skin (like you would with a serum). Alternatively, if you are a lover of oils, this can also be mixed in with a little oil to give it that little bit more slip. Applied, either way, the Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream melts into the complexion so smoothly, immediately hydrating and nourishing the skin.
In terms of scent, the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream smells like an exquisite night garden. It smells absolutely heavenly with notes of jasmine. Its a truly stunning and inviting scent that adds to the indulgence that is the Intense Recovery Cream. As one of the night creams' first ingredients is Jasmine Flower water, the scent of this cream is the real deal and it does very much evoke a sense of walking through a garden filled with jasmine flowers at dusk. The scent of this cream further adds to the experience and ritual of a blissful skincare routine as the aroma is so delicate and calming to the senses, that it feels so decadent. Those who do not like essentials oils or heavy scents may have to reconsider the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream though, as the scent might be too strong. I personally love beautiful scents in my skincare, especially light florals and therefore I have no qualms with the aroma of this gorgeous night cream.
Even though I absolutely love and adore the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream, the price tag of this, definitely puts it in the luxury category as it does retail for an eye-watering USD$350 or GBP£300. This is no doubt a definite splurge purchase as it puts it right up there with La Mer's Creme de la Mer. Unlike La Mer, I do believe that this has a much more sophisticated formulation, as it does contain very little fillers and more rare and unique ingredients that have been sustainably harvested. There is no doubt that its price point will put many off, but do keep in mind that its formulation is packed full of plant extracts, botanicals, wild harvested oils and butters that are so unique to Africa. Due to its texture and potency, only a little is needed so this jar does last. I am only at the halfway mark and I have been using this for a good 3-4 months now. It is clear that a little does go a very long way. The only other qualm is the packaging, I don't personally love jar packaging as I find it can get quite unhygienic (no fingers in jars for me!) and inconvenient. Despite its price and packaging though, the African Botanics Fleur d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream is a product that I do highly recommend for those who are looking splurge on an indulgent cream for the evening. In all honesty, if I were to give up blogging and use just one night cream for the rest of my life, this cream would be it as its formulation and how it works for my skin is unlike any other night cream I have ever used. This is hand down a holy grail find for me.
Repurchase YAY or NAY?
I wish I didn't have such expensive taste, but the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream is undoubtedly a YAY for me. Hands. Down. YAY. I don't think I have used another evening cream like this that has kept my skin looking so healthy, calm, revitalised and renewed. I absolutely adore using this cream, not only for its performance but also for its luxurious, rich texture that absorbs into the skin so effortlessly and its beautifully intoxicating scent. Whilst this cream is expensive, its impressive ingredient listing and the fact so little goes such a long way makes it worth it for those who wish to be indulgent and splurge. There is no doubt that the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream is a truly decadent yet high performing night cream that will continue to appear in my routines. It really is a holy grail find and something that I will absolutely repurchase again.
The African Botanics Fleurs d'Afriques Intense Recovery Cream comes in a luxe, glass 60ml black jar and can be purchased from the African Botanics website for USD$350 or from Cult Beauty^ for £300.
Have you used anything from the African Botanics range? What was it and what did you think of it? I would love to hear you comments in the section below.
If there has been one thing that I have enjoyed receiving in the mail over the short period of time that I have been blogging, it is beauty subscription boxes. They really are like a little treat in the mail. I find that beauty boxes are not just all about whats inside the box - its also the experience when it comes to receiving the box, opening the box and having the opportunity to discover what has been carefully curated inside. It is that element of surprise that makes beauty subscription boxes exciting and so much fun to receive. You never know what you will get and it is very much like receiving a birthday or Christmas present. The biggest difference is that you have the potential to receive one every month!
Late last year, I had the opportunity to receive a box from MINTD Box - a truly luxurious beauty subscription service that has been carefully curated by Cheryl Botchway and her team. Each box edition has a theme that suits the month (ie. the current January box is all about recharging for the New Year) and contains a minimum of 4-5 full size and deluxe sized luxury beauty products from across the globe housed in a beautiful white box. The experience from unboxing to unwrapping and the joy of each product discovery makes MINTD Box an opulent affair and a most enjoyable one too. I received the December edit, aptly named 'Enchanted' and with an edit like this, I was completely blown away.
***Please note*** This box and its products were kindly gifted to me in exchange for a review by MINTD Box. I knew I was going to love this edit and the brands and products featured, which is why I kindly accepted. I love a lot of the brands featured in their December edit and it truly was such a fantastic experience. Whilst I have been gifted this item, please note that all my opinion are of my own and are my honest opinions.
Beauty is in the small details and when unboxing December's Enchanted Box, I was so impressed with the small, yet luxurious details of how this box was presented. Housed in a minimal white hard box with a fine rose gold embossing, it was quite exciting to lift up the magnetic closure of this edit. What was revealed was a beautifully and carefully wrapped tissue with the MINTD Box seal concealing all the beautiful products that would be featured in this edit. The first thing that hits me is, of course, the scent. Whatever was inside the box smelt absolutely beautiful, which further heightened the experience for me. When I finally tore through the delicate white tissue, what was revealed was enchanting treasures from brands such as Votary London, De Mamiel, African Botanics, Oribe and Skin Laundry.
I love receiving beauty boxes and for me, I find that beauty boxes are a great way to discover new brands and products. Whilst with the MINTD Box already contained brands that I knew of prior to receiving this edit, they were (as I am sure many of you already know) brands that I absolutely love. Some products I had tried before and others, whilst I was familiar with the brand; were quite new to me.
I was completely blown away when I saw that there was a full size (30ml) Votary London Jasmine and Calendula Facial Oil in the MINTD's December Edit - for me, this was definitely a highlight. I have long had a fascination with Votary London as I have enjoyed using their cleansing oil and it was amazing to have the opportunity to try something else in their range. Whilst I haven't used the Rose Maroc and Sandalwood Facial Oil as much to comment on efficacy, the scent, feel and texture is what I would expect from the brand. This is oil is nourishing but doesn't leave a greasy feeling on the skin as it sinks in effortlessly and the scent is wonderous. The Votary London Jasmine and Calendula Facial Oil is a luxurious product and is an amazing addition to the Enchanted Box as it is valued at GPB£65. When you think about it, it is almost the price of the box itself!
Whilst, most of the brands were brands that I knew of and have tried before, one brand that I was not well acquainted with in the December edit was Skin Laundry. Skin Laundry was an exciting discovery for me as I have seen this brand make its rounds on Instagram but have never really taken the plunge to go out and purchase any products from the range. The number of times I have added its cleansers and serums to my cart on Cultbeauty may be surprising to some! The Renewing Eye Cream featured in the December edition of MINTD Box was indeed the perfect introduction to the brand. When I have used this, I immediately notice that the puffiness around my eyes is diminished and that it helps to immediately plump around the eye area. Its a great first impression from the brand itself and will perhaps take that plunge and purchase some products from the line later on down the track. The Skin Laundry Renewing Eye Cream is valued at GPB£25 and is another full sized product (15ml).
De Mamiel is another luxury green beauty brand that makes an appearance in MINTD's December Edit and whilst I am normally accustomed to the skincare items from De Mamiel range, it was nice to be introduced to other products in the line. De Mamiel is a brand that is famed for the scents of each and every product, its founder Annee De Mamiel is, after all, a qualified aromatherapist. The Altitude Oil was a pleasant surprise in this edition. It is not necessarily a skincare product, but it has clearly been product curated for its aromatherapy benefits, considering the time of year (holidays and travel!). This inhalation oil was created by Annee to help keep a clear head and energise the mind when travelling, thus its name, Altitude Oil. Whilst I don't normally use aromatherapy in my everyday life, I took this with me in the few times I have travelled over the Christmas and New Years break to try. On the 6 hour flight, this scent was a welcome addition to the stuffy plane air - in short, it smelt absolutely wonderful. Not overpowering or overbearing, just light and enough to relax and calm the senses. Even the flight attendant commented on it beautiful and delicate scent. The Altitude Oil was a welcome surprise and product that I would never normally purchase. The De Mamiel Altitude Oil featured was a full sized product and is valued at GPB£28 for 10ml.
Recently, I was introduced to the Oribe haircare range by the lovely @skinmusings and since discovering this brand, it has replaced all my haircare products as I have loved it that much. It was so exciting to receive some of the beauty products from the Oribe range in MINTD box's December edition as it was a range that I was curious to know more about. The Oribe Balmessence Lip Treatment is possibly one of the most expensive dedicated lip balms (valued at GPB£27) I have ever used, however, I find that this is much more than just a lip balm. The Balmessence lip treatment works so well as a lip primer and smoother as it helps to keep my matte lipstick all in one place, as well as working to keep my lips soft and nourished. As a primer, it almost works as well as my beloved MAC Prep and Prime Lip, however, unlike the MAC primer, this lip balm keeps my lips nourished on those extra dry lip days. Again, the Oribe Balmessence Lip Treatment is another full-sized addition to MINTD's December curation and retails for GPB£27.
African Botanics is a brand that I don't need an introduction to as its a brand that I am well and truly hooked on and love. I honestly don't think they could put a foot wrong in their skincare creations. The Enchanted December Edit features a deluxe travel size version of the African Botanics Mineral Cleansing Mask - a fantastic mud/clay mask that helps to purify and give the skin a deeper clean. I have used this quite a bit over the past year and it is truly an amazing mask to help clear and decongest the skin. It gives the complexion a beautiful, radiant glow and pulls out impurities in the skin. I find that unlike a lot of clay masks out there, this doesn't dry out the complexion due to its use of botanical oils. It gives the skin a healthy radiance whilst also respecting the skin's natural oils. The African Botanics Mineral Cleansing Mask is a fantastic mask and I was so pleased to get a cute little travel size (15ml) as I know these come in handy when travelling.
For GPB£70 (converted it is USD$100 and AUD$125) per box, the MINTD Beauty Boxes are in no way cheap and are considered as an indulgent treat. However, they are filled with some of the most beautiful, high quality and incredibly luxe products on the market. Each product has clearly been curated with much thought and care by the MINTD Box team to give a unique, extravagant experience. You can really tell that the team behind MINTD really do believe in presenting with their customers some of the best luxury beauty products available in their edits. Brands such as Votary London, African Botanics and De Mamiel are often found in niche boutiques or high-end department stores and to have them in their December shows the quality and pride behind their boxes.
Overall, I find that the MINTD Beauty Boxes to be a fantastic treat for yourself or a loved one. The boxes are a truly indulgent, allowing the receiver to try products that they would not normally have the opportunity to experience. As mentioned, the boxes are a little more expensive than other beauty boxes out there, however, the brands featured in each edit are truly high end, niche luxury brands. There is no denying that there is value for money in each edition, as the total value of each box is generally more than double of what is paid. I personally loved the December Enchanted Edition and it looks like January's Recharge themed edition is also filled with some amazing goodies from Sunday Riley, Anne Semonin and Rodial Skincare. These boxes are just such a great way to indulge, escape and enjoy some of the finer things in life.
The value of the December box itself is over £170 (converted it is approx. USD$245 and AUD$300) which is a huge saving. At GPB£70 I do find that these boxes are well worth it for those who love luxury beauty products and want to indulge. They also make the most amazing gift for a mother, sister or best friend. This particular edit was filled with high-end luxury products from brands that I personally love but with the added bonus of trying products, I wouldn't normally go out of my way to try. Without question, I loved the curation of both products and brands from December's Enchanted Edition as it truly was an indulgent, luxurious and beautiful experience to have.
You can subscribe to MINTD Box on a monthly or bi-monthly basis for GPB£70 per box at MINTD Box directly. Those who are new members also have the opportunity receive complimentary shipping their very first box.
Have you tried MINTD Box? What were your thoughts? What is your favourite beauty subscription box out there at the moment? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
The future of beauty seems to be in product customisation as more consumers are now leaving behind the age-old idea of one size fits all in the beauty industry. As Ee Ting Ng, founder and formulator in chief of bespoke skincare brand hop & cotton agrees, "It’s fantastic that people are recognising that their skin needs are unique and that they no longer have to settle for ‘one-size-fit-all’ products". Thanks to the internet, consumers are smarter than ever. They have access to information about almost every product available on the market – all that is required is a Google search. In the ever so saturated beauty industry; consumers, more than ever, are demanding more from beauty companies. With increased competition, there is more demand for innovation - something different, a product that sets itself apart from all the others. What better way to set a product apart from the rest when it is tailor-made? A product that is unique as the of individual it was created for and targets specific concerns and needs for that person. Thanks to advancements in technology, bespoke and customisation are no longer just reserved for suits and gowns – its skin deep in our beauty products too. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Ee Ting to find out a little bit more about tailor-made beauty and the process of creating a bespoke custom skincare product.
***Please note - Whilst I have been gifted items from hop & cotton, it in no way effects the way this post was written. I genuinely found the topic to be an interesting one and Ee Ting was the perfect candidate to ask all the questions I had about the subject. Thank you Ee Ting (and Clarence) for the time you spent answering my millions of questions on bespoke skincare and the industry!
There is no without a doubt that the ever competitive beauty industry has seen a shift in the past decade. With new breakthroughs in technology rising at a rapid pace, the way we use and consume beauty is so different to what it was 10-15 years ago. According to an article posted on Allure, Sephora's senior vice president of merchandising, Atremis Patrick claims that the beauty consumer of today is more educated and engaged than ever before. He goes on to say that "She is selective and more important, she is informed and intrigued by beauty offerings. She has a strong knowledge of ingredient and formula benefits, so she is seeking personalised products that meet her distinct needs." Consumers are not only educated and more clued in than ever when it comes to beauty products, they also wish to be part of the creative process.
Ee Ting also agrees with these sentiments, saying “consumers are gradually realizing the importance of looking after themselves (including their skin) and becoming more conscious of reality versus marketing hype”. She believes that in a market where there are more choices than ever before, customers have the luxury of being particular with their beauty and skincare products. She has noticed that those unwilling to compromise are turning to customisation to get exactly what they want, being one of these consumers herself. Having spent years trialling different skincare products, Ee Ting just couldn’t find anything that suited her extremely sensitive skin and its needs. Using her background in science and understanding of ingredients, Ee Ting started to create her own formulations. It was only then that she was able to finally find a product that suited her fussy skin type. This ultimately lead to the creation of hop & cotton, bringing customised skincare to the everyday consumer “Ididn’t have the intention to start hop & cotton when I first got into formulation” she explains. For Ee Ting, creating her own product was a last resort for her problem skin after struggling for 10 years. “Customisation allows me to combine ingredients into formulations that are right for every individual customer. It was the only way I got results for myself and for many others”.
The process of creating bespoke beauty products always starts with the solid understanding of a client's needs and wants. Many tailored beauty brands often give customers a skin quiz whereby questions on their skin type, product preferences and what they like to use are asked. “Their skin type, conditions, concerns and product preferences will guide us in our selection of ingredients to use” Ee Ting explains. For hop & cotton, it is from there that the magic starts to happen, where the team of cosmetic chemists will start looking at the individual skin needs of the consumer and create a product that not only targets their concerns but also suits their preference in terms of texture or even product type. The beauty of bespoke tailor-made beauty products, especially those of the skincare variety is that anything is possible – all that is required is an idea and skincare concern to target.
The hop & cotton process. Image Courtesy of hop & cotton
However, creating tailor-made products for consumers is not at all as simple as it may sound. At times, a lack of understanding or education from the customer can create some small hiccups in the formulation process. “Sometimes what the customer wants is not what is good for them. For example, they could be blemish-prone but want a really thick heavy moisturiser; or suffer from dermatitis but request for fragrance in their products” Ee Ting reveals. To overcome this, she likes to go through with her clients in detail in what they are getting. In this consultation, Ee Ting tries to find out exactly what it is that this clients requires. She also will explain to the customer, her reasons of why she wouldn’t recommend certain ingredients or textures before she begins the manufacturing process. Being a bespoke beauty company, personalisation in both product and service is important and making sure the customer is educated is a real passion for Ee Ting herself (check out her amazing posts on skin here). “It is also important for the people customising your products to not blindly fulfil every request but know what’s best for you when you don’t!” she states.
Technology has been a huge factor in making bespoke beauty products accessible to the wider consumer market at affordable prices. However, creating a sound business model based on this customisation, is still what makes this technology so very new to the general consumer. As Ee Ting explains, “the biggest hurdle for customisation has been (and still is) the high cost that comes from both product development”. In creating a bespoke beauty product such as a foundation or moisturiser, there is no mass production. It is one formulation dedicated to the single individual it was designed for. Product design is just as unique as the person itself and if done correctly, no two people will have the same product – it is a premium in which the consumer pays for. Whilst the rapid innovations in technology has allowed the programs and devices that aid in the manufacturing process to run more efficiently, many small bespoke start ups spend much of their resources on the part that cannot be automated – the formulation side of things. Ee Ting explains that the integral part of creating a bespoke formulation ‘relies on the knowledge, experience and creativity of the cosmetic chemists’.
When asked about ingredients that she herself, enjoys working with, Ee Ting gushes over humectants,“I love humectants as they are the only type of ingredients that are capable of directly increasing our skin’s water content”. She believes that they are largely underrated as they don’t have much of a ‘story’ but in saying that, Ee Ting believes that hydration can make the biggest difference to the skin. “I (also) am obsessed with functional materials such as thickeners, gelling agents and emulsifiers”, she claims. For her, they can make or break a product by directly contributing to its feel, consistency and texture – a sentiment that I myself, completely agree with. For Ee Ting, “formulating high-performance products with excellent application experience is very important to me”.
The Smooth Operator face exfoliator - love this ingenious packaging!
There is no doubt that customised skincare products are not cheap, as the final product is not mass produced and relies heavily on the expertise of its formulators and cosmetics chemists. For a custom made hop & cotton moisturiser, a 40ml bottle start at AUD$168 and whilst it is a serum and moisturiser in one, it is understandable that not everyone can go rushing to purchase a custom made beauty routine a sentiment that Ee Ting herself agrees, “usually, the larger the extent of customisation, the higher the cost. Although completely customised products can be pricey, you don’t actually need many products in your routine as each customised product can replace multiple steps in your routine if it fulfils those same functions”. For those who are just starting out on bespoke skincare or have a budget to stick to, Ee Ting expresses the importance of function and not the type of product. She believes that sometimes the type of product will reflect its function, like a cleanser or an exfoliator. However, there are products that she believes can have ‘overlapping’ functions, these include things such as serums, essences, masks and moisturisers. Believing in a less is more philosophy, Ee Ting says “You don’t actually need all of these products. In fact the less number of products you use, the less you subject yourself to irritation and congestion”. Her biggest tips? Streamline what you wish to have customised into products that can do the following 3 functions well: gentle but thorough cleansing, non-abrasive exfoliation and finally hydration. Whilst these may seem quite basic, she believes that you will be surprised how much difference products tailored exactly to your skin can make.
When looking into customised products, Ee Ting also advises that “not all customised products are made equal as ‘customisation’ is not a defined term in the industry. Different companies customise to different extents, so it’s good to be aware of what level of customisation you are getting”. Customising could mean a variety of things, it could be quite simply adding ingredients of choice such as a fragrance, extracts, active ingredients (ie. Vitamin C) to a selection of ready-made bases of creams, serums or oils. It could be picking from a large range of products to form a ‘customised routine’ or it could be a complete customisation that starts from product formulation through to manufacture.
Interested in creating your own bespoke beauty product or routine? Definitely have a look at hop & cotton as Ee Ting and her team of experts will be able to assist and guide you along your own bespoke skincare journey. Its a genuinely fun process and prices range for AUD$58 for the Foam Party Cleanser to AUD$208 for a more complex moisturiser. Alternatively, the get the whole routine (3 steps!) for AUD$283!
Well, not too long ago the eventful year that was 2017 came to an end - what a year it was! For me, 2017 marked a year of new chapters (I got married!!), new adventures (an interstate move) and new opportunities (exciting new roles at work). It threw many challenges my way but with new challenges, it is an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
One of the goals that I had in 2017 was to use up more product and with that in mind, I was inspired to write more empty posts throughout the year. I have really enjoyed writing these posts as it gives me an idea of what I have used up, what products I really did love using and also a great way for me to communicate what I thought of products, as I can't review everything in detail. I usually struggle to hit empty with products but I found by trying to create an Empties Post every month, I am more motivated to use what I have already opened more. The end of 2017 was a busy one for me, and I managed to use up a few recurring favourites at the end of the year, discover some brilliant new products and of course use up things that perhaps were not quite for me.
*** Please note that anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted to me with no expectation of a review. I’ve written about it due to the fact it’s well...empty!!
Oribe Gold Lust Repair and Restore Shampoo
This shampoo is amazing. It smells beautiful, is gentle for my sensitive scalp, SLS free AND keeps my looking and feeling healthy and shiny. There is a reason why I have completely converted to the Oribe range - it is just that good when it comes to hair care. I love this shampoo, its pricey but my hair has never looked or felt better or healthier and a little does go a long way. The full size of this lasts me 4 months with daily use and I have and will continue to repurchase - this is a holy grail/ride or die/best thing since the invention of chocolate for me when it comes to haircare.
The Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Conditioner can be purchased from Beautylish for USD$49 for the 250ml size, AUD$69 from Adore Beauty and £48.00 from SpaceNK UK.
Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Conditioner
Every shampoo must come with a just as amazing conditioner and the Gold Lust Conditioner is the perfect partner to the Gold Lust Shampoo. This effectively keeps my hair soft, silky, smooth and also plays a part in its shine and health. Like the shampoo, the Oribe Gold Lust Conditioner lasted me a little over more than 4 months, with daily use and I will continue to repurchase as my hair absolutely loves this and has never looked more healthy and shiny. Again, this is quite expensive but I don't think I will ever be without it.
The Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Conditioner can be purchased from Beautylish for USD $52 for the 200ml size, AUD$72 from Adore Beauty and £48.00 from SpaceNK UK.
This product doesn't really need any introduction - it is by far one of my favourite night time serums of all time. It's a real testament to just how much I love this serum as I have now finished my 2nd serum in the past year. It is a holy grail for me and for a more in-depth review, I have written one here.
A 30ml bottle of the African Botanics Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum will cost USD$160 from African Botanics, GPB£132.00 from Cultbeauty and AUD$233 from Mecca Cosmetica.
Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation Shade 143
When it comes to foundation, I have to admit that the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation is so very underrated. As a long time lover and user of foundation like NARS Sheer Glow and Chantecaille's Future Skin - I would say that the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation is now one of my favourite liquid foundations that I have ever used. Why? The colour, feel, finish longevity and packaging makes this foundation a stand out for me.
When applied, the Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation glides on effortlessly on to the complexion. Its texture is quite similar to NARS Sheer Glow and it can be applied via brush or via hands. I find that for an everyday look, I tend to use my fingers for application and for when I go out, I will use a flat brush for a more 'made up' look. The finish that this foundation gives a gorgeous, natural dewy but not too dewy look. Its definitely not matte but it does give the skin that subtle, dewy, natural glow without looking shiny. For me, it is perfect as I generally do not like matte finishes and have stayed away from super dewy foundations in the summer. In terms of weight and coverage, this foundation definitely is a light to medium finish. A little is required for application of the face but for a more heavier look, it is most definitely buildable. I love the fact that this does not oxidise on my skin either. I also love that this foundation doesn't catch on to dry patches and really does just give the skin that flawless, my skin but better look and feel.
I find that this stays on all day when using primer and whilst I may get shiny towards the end of the day, a little powder or blotting never hurt anyone. In terms of packaging, Koh Gen Do have nailed it with the Aqua Foundation. This comes with an actual lid and pump - there is no need to buy any additional extras and there is no fear of leakage when travelling. I don't understand why companies just can't include a pump like this with all of their liquid foundations - it really boggles my mind.
If you have yellow/golden undertones or Asian skin, I would highly recommend looking at the Koh Gen Do range. This, after all, has been created by a Japanese makeup artist and the colours are fantastic for Asian skin - even those yellow based darker shades (a rarity for a lot of Japanese brands!). I sometimes find it really difficult to be matched due to my yellow undertones but the colour range from Koh Gen Do have been perfect for me.
The Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation can be purchased from Koh Gen Do directly and from Sephora for USD$66 for a 30ml bottle. For those in Australia, this foundation can be purchased from Adore Beauty for AUD$76.
Ausceuticals Vitamin B (Niacinamide) Serum*
I am a huge fan of niacinamide as a skincare ingredient, it works so well on my skin and it really does work wonders to brighten and even out my skin tone. I have often been asked for a recommendation for a well-priced niacinamide serum after my in-depth reviews of Rationale's Niacinamide Serum and The Ordinary's Niacinamide Serum which look at this ingredient on both ends of the scale. After almost a year of searching, I think I have found a fantastic, mid-priced Niacinamide/Vitamin B serum that is potent and has worked well for my skin. This is none other than the Ausceuticals Vitamin B Serum which contains 10% niacinamide, liquorice root extract and green tea.
After using the Ausceuticals Vitamin B Serum on a daily basis for about 3 months, I found that this serum helped to keep dullness at bay, brightening the overall complexion, evening out the skin in tone and texture and overall helped to maintain healthy, glowing skin. I found that the serum was gentle, it didn't irritate my skin as some actives can and it was so easy to incorporate into my daily morning routine.
The other fantastic thing about the Ausceuticals Vitamin B Serum is, of course, the price - it is priced at a fantastic AUD$39 (about USD$30 and they do ship the USA) for 30ml directly from Ausceuticals and has an extremely clean ingredients listing that would impress the clean/green beauty lovers out there as well as those who appreciate active skincare products.
Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray*
When it comes to hair products OTHER than shampoo and conditioner, I am a little wary (okay, I am just flat out lazy). I don't really 'style' my hair and when I do it usually just includes a little wave. To give you some context as to my hair - I have thick Asian hair which has its pros and cons. One of the biggest cons to my Asian hair is that I find it is SO hard to give it that textured, gritty look and when I wave my hair, the curls tend to fall by the end of the day. To counter this I sometimes find myself using sea salt spray and hairspray to give my hair that texture and hold, however, I do sometimes find that the combination of the two is just too much product for my hair.
Enter the Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray which gives my hair a little bit of texture, a little bit of hold and a little extra shine. I quite liked using this product as it gave my hair some texture without it looking matte and 'crunchy' that some salt sprays can do. Instead, it gives my hair just enough texture and grit to give my Asian hair that tousled perfectly 'messy' wave and a little extra hold minus the hairspray. It also smells delightful for an aerosol product, like all Oribe products it has a beautiful scent. I have repurchased this!
If you love the smell of mango smoothies or the tropics then the Sol Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum (pronounced boom boom) cream might be the moisturiser of choice for you. This was kindly given to me by the lovely @skinmusings who received it in a Cult Beauty bag. It smells like the beach, summer and tropical sun in a jar and all I really want to do when applying this is to drink a tropical smoothie or a pina colada. Other than its heavenly tropical scent, the Sol Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream also works quite well to soften and smooth the skin once applied. For me, it works like a body butter in terms of giving the skin a rich boost of hydration but unlike a body butter, it absorbs fast into the skin.
The Bum Bum cream does have some claims of helping to tighten the skin due to the added ingredient of guaraná, however, I honestly don't think it is a miracle cure for sagging skin or cellulite. For me its just a really great body moisturiser, with a scent to die for that work well the smooth and keep the skin glowing. I don't think I would go out of my way to purchase this but the scent really is just delicious.
The Sol Janeiro Bum Bum Cream starts at the 75ml size and is USD$20 from Sephora and GBP £18.00 from CultBeauty.
How did you go with empties in 2017? Do you think you managed to use up more products than previous instead of hoarding and keeping? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments section below.
Hello, hello! It's been such a long time since I last posted. I am so sorry. It's been a very hectic few weeks for me. For those who do not know, I recently started a new job and with any new role, there is a lot of new things to learn. My brain unfortunately just hasn't had the capacity to write any blog posts as of late as when I come home from work, I am literally brain dead! However, as I am now settling in, you will see and hear from me much more often. It is so nice to be back writing on the blog though and we are well into the silly/festive season.
It's a little scary to think that Christmas is not too far away (with just a little over a week to go!) and that 2017 will come to an end soon (is anyone else wondering where has 2017 gone?). Isn't it crazy that we begin a new an exciting 2018 in a little over 2 weeks? Whilst we are well into the festive season, I know many of us are still Christmas shopping and looking for some beautiful gifts for our loved ones. As a skincare lover, I adore sharing my passion with my friends and family and often find myself purchasing skincare related gifts for my family and friends. With that in mind, I thought I would share some gift ideas for those special people in our lives and of course, a little splurging for ourselves is always necessary.
For Your Mother/Mother in Law
I find mothers extremely hard to buy for. My own mother is next to impossible to buy for, let alone my mother in law! I have always found that purchasing luxurious items that they would not necessarily buy for themselves as gifts a hit. Think luxurious textures, beautiful packaging and heavenly scents in items that they would use on a daily basis, such as hand creams and body lotions. It really makes that daily routine transform into more of a ritual and a pamper session - something everything mother needs!
Chanel La Crème Main
Image Source: Chanel Beauty
I always try to think of things that my own mother wouldn't buy for herself and luxury hand creams is one of those items which I know she would never splurge on. Nothing exudes luxury like Chanel and with the release of their most recent hand cream - La Crème Main, it makes a perfect gift for the woman who has everything or wouldn't necessarily splurge on themselves. What makes La Crème Main different from other hand creams? Well, to be honest, it really does come down to its sleek and beautiful packaging, an innovative tube design perfect for on the go application. However, the formula is also quite beautiful too - a lightweight, fast absorbing hand cream that feels velvety, luxurious and rich on application makes a welcome addition to a woman's handbag.
Chanel's La Crème Main comes in a 50ml tube and can be found on Chanel online or most major department stores for USD$50.
African Botanics Marula Botanical Body Cream
Image Source: African Botanics
For me, African Botanics is one those brands that I want to introduce everyone too due to its beautiful, luxe formulas that work. If you have been following me for some time now you will know that I am a die hand African Botanics fan. This Christmas, I will be introducing my own mother to African Botanics - I have actually purchased her the Marula Botanical Body Cream as a little introduction to one of my favourite brands and perhaps be a passion we can both share throughout 2018. My own mother loves a good body cream (unlike me, she religiously moisturises from top to toe every day) and I with a beautiful whipped texture like the African Botanics Marula Botanical Body Cream, I couldn't resist in introducing this in her daily routine. It's luxurious, new (for her) and beautiful in feel and texture, this cream would be a real treat for any loved one.
I love buying gifts for my besties - its always so much fun as my friends either have similar tastes as myself when it comes to beauty or is the type of person who is curious about skincare/beauty but would never think of buying it for themselves. My sister, on the other hand, is an early twenty-something (who makes me feel SO OLD!) who is just starting to discover beauty products and is in that fun phase of discovering not only her own sense of self and style but what works for her. When I buy presents for my friends or my sister, I love to pamper them with new beauty discoveries or beautiful products which I know they will love or appreciate.
Clean Beauty Subscriptions
Beauty subscription boxes are such a cost-effective and brilliant way for the girl in your life who has always been there for you to discover and indulge in new beauty products. My personal favourites are clean beauty boxes like Boxwalla and The Art of Organics, which curate really unique, niche and of course 'green' indie beauty brands. Each box is loaded with so much value and is brilliantly curated with some fantastic products.
The Boxwalla December Edit - A Brief History of Timeless Things. Image Source: The Boxwalla
The Boxwalla Green Beauty Box is always brilliantly curated, with this month's December box featuring beauty products from around the world. Your bestie or sister would be so thrilled with a super luxe oil from Australian brand, Lepaar Skin, an eye serum from Spanish skincare brand Dafna and of course a candle to soothe the soul by Rebel and Mercury. The Boxwalla boxes can be purchased as an ongoing subscription starting at USD$49.95 per month or as a one time box which will retail for USD$59.
The Art of Organics Moonbeam Box (which has SOLD OUT). Image Source: The Art of Organics
Clean beauty mavens at The Art of Organics also create an amazing edit of clean beauty products and this month's December edit was no exception. In the most recent edit, subscribers had the opportunity to experience a moisture mask by green beauty pioneers, Kahina Giving Beauty and a lash booster by Lunar Nectar. Each and every Art of Organics boxes blends so well the old with the new, constantly introducing new, niche green beauty brands as well as well-loved favourites. Its the perfect green beauty discovery box for the bestie or the sister in your life. The Art of Organic boxes offer several different options for subscriptions, starting at USD$39 per month, billed monthly to a full years subscription for USD$429.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3 Palette
Image Source: @hourglasscosmetics
The annual Hourglass Palette is such a treat for the beauty lover or someone who just enjoys beautiful things. This year's limited edition Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3 is just as beautiful as ever, encased in luxurious looking rose gold. This year's edit features the best of old and new, with three of their best selling powders and also an additional three exclusive new powders to help create a natural looking, flawless glow. I have religiously purchased every single palette that Hourglass has released for both myself and for family and friends due to the fact that these palettes are just so beautiful but also quite practical and travel-friendly. It's basically a look in a palette with a finishing powder, blushes, bronzers and a highlighter all in one. Its a real treat for the sister who absolutely loves makeup or that friend who is often on the road and needs to look fresh and flawless always.
The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3 Palette can be purchased from Sephora or Hourglass online and retails for USD$80.
Jordan Samuel Skin's Oily Prone Favourites
Holiday Gifting - Jordan Samuel Skin's Oily Prone Favourites Image Source: Jordan Samuel Skin
If there is one brand which I have introduced a plethora of my friends to this year, its Jordan Samuel Skin. Why? His range is perfect for both beginners and seasoned skincare lovers alike due to his simple yet effective skincare products (we all know I am quite the fan). With the release of his limited edition gift sets, what better way and time to introduce your bestie or sister to a great range of affordable yet effective products?!
Jordan Samuel Skin's Oily Prone favourites is that perfect introduction as it features two fantastic products, his infamous Hydrate Serum (you can read about my love affair with this here) as well as Jordan's relatively new, but oh so wonderful Performace Cream (I talked about this here too) which help to keep skin hydrated, plump and radiant. Friend has dry skin? Don't fret, they can still use these products too - perhaps just suggest for them to use an additional drop of oil for extra oomph. This set is a wonderful way to get that special girl in your life into some fantastic skincare products as Jordan Samuel's skin does rest of the convincing for you - yes its that good.
Jordan Samuel Skin's Oily Prone Favourites are exclusive to Jordan's online store and retails for USD$60.
For the Office Secret Santa
The office/workplace Secret Santa is often one of the toughest presents to get due to restricted budgets and seriously...what do you get that person in accounting/finance that you barely speak to? In instances like these, I always like to play it safe - stocking fillers are always something I look into and these are some that I would be happy to receive.
Aesop Resurrection Balm
Image Source: Aesop
Aesop is a gold mine for gifts. This Australian brand (yay for the Aussies) is the perfect pit stop for all things gifting and a present for the secret Santa is an absolute breeze with Aesop's infamous Resurrection Balm. This. Smells. AMAZING and works wonderfully as a luxe hand cream without smelling overtly feminine or masculine as Resurrection exudes a beautiful deep and complex citrus scent. Its a great little beauty product for gifting and both male or females will loves this, as it not only is so nourishing but also smells fantastic too.
Aesop's Resurrection Hand Balm can be purchased from Aesop for USD$27 for a 75ml tube.
Byredo Cotton Poplin 70g Candle
Image Source: Byredo
This is my go-to candle when I am unsure as to what to get someone. I truly believe you cannot go wrong with a beautiful Byredo candle as it is so sleek, minimal and incredibly luxe. The small 70g candle is also a perfect addition to any room or office desk and Cotton Poplin is possibly one of the most inoffensive and universally pleasant scents available, reminiscent of fresh, clean laundry. Its light, extremely unisex and smells so very fresh. The smaller size is a perfect stocking filler whilst also feeling quite luxe.
The Byredo Cotton Poplin 70g candle has approximately 14 hours burn time and can be purchased from Barney's New York for USD$35.
For the Man in Your Life
Getting The Mr to use any sort of skincare is extremely difficult. However, I do find that his interest in skincare and what products to use has actually grown (we've stepped up from cleansing to moisturising!) and he is genuinely interested in what masks I am using. I am also finding that he sometimes enjoys a masking session himself, even if he doesn't ever admit it. If the man in your life isn't afraid of a skincare routine, these are the products that I would be looking in to.
Moroccan Neroli Shaving Duet
Image Source: Aesop
When it comes to beautifully packaged gift sets for men, Aesop does such a fantastic job with their minimal, apothecary-inspired bottles which house all sorts of skincare goodness. Their Moroccan Neroli Shaving Duet is another prime example of where Aesop get things so right with their presentation - a gift that a gentleman would be happy to receive and their partner would be delighted to purchase. The Moroccan Neroli Shaving Duet doesn't just look suave and luxurious, the Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum and Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion that come in this duo also work a treat to soothe and calm down the skin during and after a shave.
The Aesop Moroccan Neroli Shaving Duet features the Moroccan Neroli Shaving Serum and Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion, both in a 60ml size and can be purchased from Aesop for USD$80.
Omorovicza Mix and Match Travel
Image Source: Omorovicza
Omorovicza is luxury skincare brand that creates some beautiful textures in their skincare products and is often highly regarded by skincare queen Caroline Hirons. I, myself, love their Deep Cleansing Mask and their cleanser due to the fact they give a deep clean without stripping the skin of essential oils. The other great thing about Omorovicza? Their products are unisex, meaning that the man in your life can also enjoy using these luxurious skincare products.
One of the brilliant items that Omorovicza offer is their Mix and Match Travel kit, whereby you can pick 3 deluxe size travel products to create a personalised gift pack. Its a perfect idea for the gentleman who is constantly travelling or for someone who is a little unsure as to what they will enjoy from the Omorvicza range. If I were to make one up for The Mr, I would for sure include the Moor Cream Cleanser (Travel 30ml), Soothing Shave (Travel 30ml) and the Balancing Moisturiser (Travel 30ml) to give him a some sort of routine and a shaving cream because well, all men need a good one don't they?
The Omorovicza Mix and Match Travel kit is a selection of deluxe sized samples hand-picked by yourself and can be purchased on the Omorovicza website for USD$75.
We sometimes get quite stressed around the silly season due to well, Christmas shopping, wrapping up a work year and of course preparing our lives for the upcoming holidays. Its sometimes quite easy to forget to sit down, relax and just treat ourselves to a little something. Here are some suggestions of products that you might like to treat yourself to this season.
Mintd Box The Ultimate Winter Skincare Guide
The lovely ladies at Mintd Box really have mastered the art of creating the ultimate luxury beauty box and their Ultimate..
There are a few brands out there which continuously bring out products in which I cannot fault - I am sure that many of you will agree that Jordan Samuel Skin is one of those brands. A skincare range that adopts the less is more philosophy, the brand welcomed some new additions to the line recently - one of them being a moisturiser. I was incredibly lucky to have been gifted some of these recent new additions and I have found that over the past few weeks I have been often reaching for Jordan's new moisturiser called The Performance Cream.
In true Jordan Samuel fashion, this moisturiser isn't about cutting-edge high tech technology, instead, it adopts an 'it just works approach'. Fuelled by carefully thought out ingredients, Jordan Samuel Skin's The Performance Cream is everything that you could ever want in a moisturiser.
***Please Note that this item was gifted to me with no expectation of a review or a mention. I have just really enjoyed using this product and get constant questions about it that I just had to share my thoughts! All opinions in my blog posts are my own, honest opinions!
What Is It:
Jordan Samuel Skin's The Performance Cream is a simple yet effective moisturiser that is designed to be worn on its own or it can be mixed or layered with other skincare products.
What Does It Do:
The Performance Cream is a blend of peptides, olive and chamomile extracts that help to keep the skin hydrated and calm, whilst also working to keep skin in the most optimal condition.
Jordan Samuel Skin's The Performance Cream reminds me very much of Hydrate - simple in concept and ingredients but ever so effective. This moisturiser has become a staple in my skincare routines due to its ease of use, texture and finish. Its lightweight formula works so well layered with other products and also works wonderfully mixed in with oils and also alone. The Performance Cream is no shrinking violet, as straightforward as it might seem, this moisturiser works well to moisturise the skin but also to lock in and seal all the other skincare goodness applied earlier.
Like Hydrate, Jordan Samuel Skin's The Performance Cream has a short, succinct ingredients listing. It takes advantages of ingredients such as green tea extract, squalene, glycerin, chamomile extract and of course the technology of peptides (there are three in this formula). Whilst short in length, like with any Jordan Samuel Skin formulation each and every ingredient serves a purpose, there are no fillers here. Unlike most traditional moisturisers, The Performance Cream doesn't just use water/aqua/eau - instead, it takes advantage of the power of green tea and uses Green Tea Water as its first and main ingredient. I am personally a huge lover of green tea, both in consumption and also in skincare. It is well documented that green tea is filled with antioxidants and more recently, research suggests that green tea extracts can aid in reducing oxidative stress on the skin (from environmental stressors like pollution) and also have anti-inflammatory benefits for the skin. The chamomile extract included in the formula works very much the same way, helping to calm and soothe the skin. Ingredients such as squalene, jojoba esters and sunflower seed wax work as extra nourishment for the skin, as these oils and waxes, not only moisturise the skin but also help the skin to be replenished of vital fatty acids and nutrients. To give The Performance Cream a little extra oomph - Jordan has also included 3 different peptides in this beautiful moisturiser which aid in reducing issues such as fine lines and help to smooth and plump the skin, keeping it looking healthy and hydrated. Finally, the addition of ingredients such as Glycerin, help to improve hydration of the skin as it acts as a humectant, working to draw water to the skin, locking in layers of other serums and working to keep the skin hydrated, soft and smooth. It is obvious that The Performance Cream isn't a super high tech moisturiser, but it doesn't aim to be - it is a workhorse moisturiser that can be used in almost any circumstance and successfully does so.
In terms of actual performance, The Performance Cream does not disappoint. It is a really hydrating moisturiser if used on its own, working to plump and hydrate the skin. However, this cream was designed to be used with other products with no interference and I believe this is where The Performance Cream really shines, especially if you like to layer various products or mix your moisturisers with oils. The Performance Cream plays nice with pretty much any and every serum or oil I have used and works quite well to 'lock' everything in without feeling like you do have several layers of skincare on the complexion. Using a retinol? The Performance Cream is a perfect companion as it helps to soothe and hydrate the skin. Is skin feeling a little dry? Again, mixing the moisturiser with an oil gives it an extra boost of nourishment without feeling like a greaseball. I find that when I use The Performance Cream, my skin feels immediately hydrated, moisturised and smoother in appearance. When used in the evening, I find that the Performance Cream further enhances the skincare products used in conjunction with it and my skin looks noticeably more radiant, revitalised and refreshed when I wake up. In the daytime, The Performance Cream works well on top of my skincare, it doesn't all or pill and it sits perfectly underneath my makeup and primer. It provides the perfect canvas for makeup as it smooths and plumps the skin in all the right places whilst giving the skin a natural, dewy glow. In a nutshell, The Performance Cream is a great moisturiser without the bells and whistles. It was designed to work with other products to further enhance their results and it also works to hydrate and moisturise the skin - and it does it extremely well.
What I love about The Performance Cream is just the texture and feel of this moisturiser - for something so simple in terms of ingredients, it really is quite cosmetically elegant in terms of how it feels on the skin. A little goes a long way with this and it spreads so easily over the skin and sinks in so effortlessly into the complexion. It doesn't leave a film or a thick greasy feeling, and instead, my skin has a subtle dewy glow to it. I also find that The Performance Cream is quite weightless on the skin. On warmer days, I don't feel like a grease ball when using this and I find that overall it works pretty well to balance my combination skin. If I had to compare the texture, I would say that The Performance Cream is in-between Sunday Riley's Tidal and Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Cream. It is no way heavy and is of the perfect consistency to mix in with other oils and serums.
Like with all Jordan Samuel Skin products, The Performance Cream has no scent, it is fragrance-free, so for those who are sensitive to scents, this isn't a product that you will need to worry about. In terms of packaging, The Performance Cream comes in a travel-friendly plastic tube that doesn't get messy and is a relatively hygienic.
Jordan Samuel Skin's The Performance Cream is a fantastic, easy to use moisturiser that just simply works. It is relatively fuss-free in terms of ingredients and it works so well with other products, whether they are layered on or mixed in with this moisturiser. It is a great moistuirser for pretty much anyone - a skincare novice who just wants to invest in a good moisturiser or a skincare aficionado who has a wide array of products. The fact that The Performance Cream can be utilised in so many different ways is what makes this moisturiser so 'universal' as it can be tailored to fit most skin types and routines.
Being priced at USD$38 for 60ml, I think Jordan Samuel Skin's The Performance Cream is not only great value for money but also a solid moisturiser for the skin. Its texture, solid ingredients list, ease of use, the way it keeps skin hydrated and the fact it can be mixed with so many different combinations and products is what makes this relatively simple moisturiser so special for me. This is another clear winner from the Jordan Samuel Skin range.
Repurchase YAY or NAY:
I was extremely lucky to have The Performance Cream gifted to me, however, once I have used this up I would repurchase this again in a heartbeat. I love the way this leaves my skin feeling and I love the way it can be mixed and matched and 'tailored' to my skincare needs. It's a definite yes to repurchase as it truly is a masterpiece.
Jordan Samuel Skin's The Performance Cream can be purchased directly from the Jordan Samuel Skin website for USD$38 for 60ml.
Have your tried some of Jordan's new releases yet? What did you think of them? I would love to hear your opinions in the comments section below!
Ever since I started my blog over a year ago, I have been extremely lucky and blessed to have met, connected and spoken with some of the most amazing people. I have met people from all walks of life – fellow bloggers, fellow skincare fanatics and of course those amazing creatives who have founded and created some of the amazing skincare brands that we love.
It was a little over a year ago, where for 6 months, life took me to Shanghai, China. It was there that I had the incredible opportunity to cross paths with Ervina Wu, co-founder of 5YINA. Those who may follow me on Instagram may have seen – I am a huge fan of the 5YINA skincare range. This love affair started when I first discovered the brand and its interesting approach to skin health - it was skincare based on traditional Chinese Medicine and the seasons. I have been extremely lucky to have tried quite a bit of the range already – the brand’s oils and hydrolats are just exquisite, everything from the scent, the texture, the interesting ingredients and of course the performance. It is also very well known that I do enjoy using the brand's Divine All Seasons Bio-cellulose Sheet Masks and these were used quite a bit in the lead up to my wedding earlier this year.
Like with any other skincare brand, over time the range is expanded and recently 5YINA released their very first cleanser, the Divine Bio-Adaptive Cleanser. I was extremely lucky and had the opportunity to try and have a play with this cleanser before it had been officially released. I am a cleanser junkie as it is one of my favourite step in my skincare ritual and the 5YINA Divine Bio-Adaptive Cleanser was really quite divine in almost every way possible.
*** This item was kindly sent to me from the brand with no expectation of a review or a mention. I just have really enjoyed using this cleanser over the past few months and just had to share a bit of the love. All opinions are my own, honest opinions.
What Is It?
The 5YINA Divine Bio-Adaptive Cleanser is a creamy cleanser that becomes oil like once worked into a dry complexion.
What Does It Do?
Designed to help balance the skin, the 5YINA Divine Bio Adaptive Cleanser helps to give the skin a radiant glow as it is formulated with purifying plant extracts and pearl powder to help brighten the skin. Its cream to oil consistency helps to keep the skin feeling nourished and not at all feel stripped.
The Divine Bio Adaptive Cleanser has been a product that has been in the pipeline from 5YINA for some time now. From using this cleanser, I can see why it has taken so long for the brand to develop this – its quite a unique formulation which I find is such a treat for both my skin and that overall ritualistic cleansing experience. It is a product where you can tell that a lot of time and thought has gone into creating it as every element of texture, scent and how it performs hits my checklist of what I expect in a cleanser.
What I thoroughly enjoy most about 5YINA’s latest creation is its texture and consistency. It has a lot to do with how this unique cleanser performs. When you pump the Divine cleanser into the palm of the hand you are met with a brown creamy like emulsion. However, it doesn’t stay like a cream for long. Once applied onto the face and worked into the skin, the Divine Cleanser melts into a beautiful oil-like consistency. This helps to create an enjoyable cleansing ritual as this oil-like texture makes it quite wonderful to massage and work into the skin. The oil-like consistency also helps my skin to feel quite nourished when I work this into my skin. Throughout this gorgeous emulsion, I also found little powder like grains. These little grains are a pearl powder and help to gently exfoliate and buff away any dead skin cells and impurities. The pearl powder can in no way over exfoliate the skin, there is just enough to really lightly buff the skin and the powder itself is so small and not in any way harsh. I personally found that the light addition of this powder added a little bit of ‘grit’ to my cleansing ritual and I highly enjoyed the sensory feeling of it on my skin.
When cleansing is complete the 5YINA Divine Bio Adaptive Cleanser washes off the skin with such ease. I find that with the addition of water, this emulsifies into a milk and completely washes off the skin without leaving any residue. What the Divine Cleanser leaves is a visibly brighter complexion that feels cleaner, fresher and has a little bit of a glow to it. I find that this cleanser helps to gently exfoliate the skin with its use of pearl powder and lactic acid. Paired with the addition of oils such a camelia seed oil and safflower seed oil however my skin feels balanced, nourished and not at all stripped or sensitive. However, I did give this cleanser to another friend to use and whilst she loved the feel of this on the skin on application, she felt the cleanser was a little drying once she had washed this off. I generally like to use this as a second cleanse – I wouldn’t waste this beautiful formula as a first cleanse, it’s too special.
The 5YINA Divine Bio Adaptive Cleanser also is formulated with a plethora of herbal and plant extracts that have Traditional Chinese Medicinal purposes dating back centuries. Some of these include moringa, job’s tears, wild chrysanthemum, liquorice root, peony root and bai zhu. Moringa, is rich in fatty acids such as oleic acid and antioxidants, making it fantastic for protecting and nourishing the skin. However, its speciality lies in cleansing, Moringa is considered to be an excellent cleansing agent for its ability to remove dirt from the skin. The use of chrysanthemum is not just limited to a delicious tea, as studies have shown that it has excellent qualities in water retention and also to help from UV induced skin damage. Peony root, another Traditional Chinese Medicinal plant has been used for centuries to aid with sallow complexion, menstrual problems, chest pain, headache and dizziness, however recent studies have also shown that it can play a role in helping to control inflammation of the skin. These are just some of the plants and extracts used in the 5YINA Divine Bio Adaptive Cleanser and it is clear that that from these ingredients, each one has been handpicked for their protective and nourishing properties for the complexion. On top of these unique extracts, the Divine Bio Adaptive Cleanser has also taken pH into account, this beautiful cleanser has a pH of 5.6-5.8, which is in the realm of optimal pH levels for a cleanser.
The scent is such a delight for the senses as it is quite complex. I find that this has a slight earthy and herbal scent to it (reminiscent of my Grandmother’s herbal soups) that isn’t overpowering. The scent is so unique, so complex and something that I enjoy very much as it brings true delight to my senses but also a little bit of nostalgia. The packaging of the 5YINA Divine Bio Adaptive Cleanser is also quite travel friendly as the cleanser is housed in 60ml opaque milk glass bottle. The cleanser is also dispensed by a pump mechanism which can be 'locked' when not in use. I love pumps that lock as it makes my travel bags so much easier to maintain whilst travelling. It truly is a wonderful travel companion. In terms of pricing, the Divine cleanser is on the reasonable side of pricing when it comes to green beauty cleansers - at USD$38 for 60ml.
5YINA’s Divine Bio Adaptive Cleanser for me is quite a special cleanser as it hits the nail on the head for me in so many ways a cleanser should. I love using this and I love taking it with me because it is both easy and so incredibly enjoyable to use.
Repurchase YAY or NAY:
Overall, I have really loved using the 5YINA Divine Bio Adaptive Cleanser in my skincare routine and most definitely in my recent travels. Its cream to oil to milk consistency makes it a wonderful and easy travel companion but its complex scent and texture help to elevate the cleansing experience. No matter where I am where I am in the world, I feel like the all-important cleansing ritual still feels special when I use this. There is no doubt that I love using this cleanser, it unique formulation and the way it leaves my skin feeling after using it makes me feel makes it possible one of my favourite cleansers out there. I love it so much that I will be planning a future repurchase of this soon (this was kindly gifted to me).