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Having suffered from acne for pretty much as long as I remember (and finally beating it at the age of 27…) means that I’ve always been into skincare. That, of course, doesn’t mean that my choices were always wise. As a teen, I’ve fallen victim to countless DIY recipes, back then found in magazines (most of it took place pre the Internets, kids!).
I did horrible things to my skin, some of which included applying baby oil all over my body and lying out in the sun all day (competing with my cousin to see who can get a better tan), rubbing raw lemons on my cheeks or, using harsh sponges, scrubs and brushes on my skin, twice a day.
For the last year two years or so, one of my favorite cleansers has been MUN’s Akwi Purifying Cleanser. I’ve fallen in love with double-cleansing a while ago, and this cleanser gives one of the most luxurious face-cleansing experiences, ever, while soothing dry and irritated skin. The Anarose Hydrating Toner and the Aknari serum are also staples in my routine (you can read about them in more detail in my Acne/Accutane posts: part 1 and part 2).
Isn’t this the prettiest bottle of a cleansing water you’ve ever seen?! I was introduced to Girl, Undiscovered a NZ beauty brand, at the end of last year and I am so impressed with the two products I’ve tried. The branding itself really spoke to me- aside from beautiful, natural, ethically sourced ingredients Girl, Undiscovered comes in beautiful packaging I could stare at for hours. There’s just something magical and stunning about these gorgeous, earthy tones.
Their Under the Waterfall Crystal Cleansing Water* is “untouched by the outside world” and sourced at depths of 160 meters. It’s incredibly gentle and leaves the skin feeling soft and balanced. Hands down one of my favorite cleansing waters I’ve tried so far. I always have the same concern when trying products of this kind: blotchiness. For some reason, my skin is very picky when it comes to products as simple as cleansing waters, and a lot of them leave me looking red and blotchy. Not this baby right here; it actually does quite the opposite, leaving my skin looking and feeling soft and fresh. To make this cleansing water even more unique and special is the combo of two powerful crystals that create positive energy: rose quartz (one of my favorite crystals!) and citrine. I mean, if there ever was a product that I felt was designed with me in mind… it’s this one.
Oh, and the Stumbled Across Paradise Face Mask*? Yup, just as amazing. You might have seen me mention it/use it on my Snapchat. If I were to use one word to describe the way this mask makes my skin feel it’d be: energizing. It’s formulated with Burmese thanaka, Balinese virgin cold-pressed coconut oil, and wild, soothing New Zealand kanuka honey. This mask is a bit of a multitasker that brightens, softens and exfoliates all at the same time so it’s a perfect pick-me-up that can be used up to 2-3 times a week.
Since going off Accutane I did notice that my skin is still a bit dry and reacts to products differently than it did in the past. I’m still using Tazorac to keep my pores clear and occasionally rotate it with Retin-A micro (if you have extremely oily skin and can get a prescription, try it, you will be amazed!). This sometimes does leave my skin dry and patchy, so serums, gels, and creams have become my best friends. Some of my natural beauty favorites are:
–Wabi-Sabi Botanicals Formule Intesif No. 5 Blemish Correct*- this serum/beauty elixir detoxifies and balances skin, while also healing breakouts and is made with organically grown ingredients. I love using this after moisturizer- you only need a tiny bit of product (literally less than a half a pump) to gently press all over your face and neck. The brand itself makes a meaningful difference in the lives of women, so when trying their products you don’t just get better skin, you actually get to help celebrate and empower other women.
–True Moringa Lemongrass Face + Hair + Body Oil– I’m pretty sure I already talked about this gem of an oil a few months ago. It is an amazing multi-tasker that you can easily incorporate into your beauty routine by adding a few drops to your moisturizer, body butter, or rubbing a drop or two between your palms and massaging it into your damp hair. I love the simple ingredients and the soothing, hydrating feeling this oil gives me every time I use it.
–Monastery Made Gold Botanical Healing Serum– red raspberry seed, filtered avocado, macadamia nut, vitamin E, evening primrose, rosehip seed- that is some of the good stuff this serum is packed with. I think that *healing is a very proper word to describe this product. Funny thing; when I first introduced it into my skincare routine a few months ago, I noticed that my hands all of a sudden looked very soft, smooth and even-toned. See… if you don’t already know this about me, I’m one of the most accident-prone people you’ll ever meet. I constantly get all sorts of cuts, scratches, burns, and bruises on my hands (especially when cooking…) and while my face looooves this serum and the way it leaves it feeling, my hands love it even more. I just noticed that with regular use, all those random cuts and bruises healed much faster. A little bit goes a very long way with this serum; I always rub the excess into my nails, cuticles, and hands. I also love the incredibly delicate, rosy scent this serum leaves behind. I’ve tried a few products from this wonderful brand, and this one is hands down my favorite (no pun intended).
–Khus + Khus Blossom Face Serum– if you’re looking for a serum that truly nourishes your skin, this might be the one. The Blossom Serum sort of does it all; it helps with dryness, hyperpigmentation, acne, sensitivity- it’s just magical. I love massaging this serum into my skin and neck, really taking my time while gently working it in. It’s one of those skincare products that feels incredibly luxurious, soothing and soft and it makes your skin feel almost as if you just had a good facial.
–Soapwalla The Balm– okay, so this is more of a balm than a serum, but it literally melts into your skin, just like a serum would, despite having a semi-solid texture at first. You can use this all over your body, not just your face. It’s formulated with some of my favorite ingredients like Jojoba, moringa and prickly pear seed oils. This balm never leaves my bedside table- it works magic on dry skin.
Two “clean” brands that are more well-known are definitely REN and Juice Beauty. Ren’s new Ready, Steady, Glow AHA toner is one of my favorite products at the moment and I already talked about it in this month’s Lovin Lately. Juice Beauty’s Oil-Free Moisturizer also made this list- it’s a nice product for those who have acne-prone, but dry skin.
One of the things I love most about natural beauty products is that they almost never irritate my skin (some, which contain natural fragrance like essential oils can cause a bit redness/irritation). I (obviously) don’t use natural or “clean” beauty products exclusively, but there is definitely a bunch of them that I love- especially in the skincare department. The really cool thing about most natural beauty products is that a lot of them are hand-made and are created by indie brands- most of which make it a priority to give back to the community, while also making sure that the ingredients are sustainably sourced.
These days, in the “beauty” world, a lot of products and brands are highly “hyped up” and we often give in to that hype, looking at things like packaging, without first paying attention to more important aspects like ingredients or how the products are actually created. I love that indie brands, like some of the ones mentioned in this post, are becoming more and more popular. It’s so important to support brands like these- the work that they do is truly inspiring.