Organic Skincare: Antipodes Skincare

During my recent trip back to Vancouver, I discovered a new organic brand from Whole Foods that would help me with my eczema. I have struggled with perpetual eczema flare ups that would leave my face, neck and body with tight, dry and sensitive skin that would be flaky and leave my skin scarred with light brown scars that looked like a warpath all over my body.

I was at my wits end.

I gotta admit, while La Mer does work for healing my eczema flare ups and I have sung praises for its entire line on my website, my bank account is still reeling from the damage I caused 🙁

While I was waltzing down the aisle of Whole Foods in the skincare section aisle, I discovered a full line of organic skincare by a New Zealand  brand that does not use any artificial fragrances, parabens or preservatives. Since I was going makeup-free — well, foundation-free at least — to avoid irritating my skin any further, I was able to test drive the products right on my face. I mean, at the time my logic was that my skin was already in the midst of a flare-up, I might as well see if the products will ease the itchiness or if it will do nothing.

Pretty dangerous I understand, but again like I said, I was at my wits’ end.

Good thing I took that risk because I was sold right there and I procured a happy set of products right then and there when I realized that Antipodes products does not contain:

  • genetically modified (GM) or genetically engineered (GE) ingredients
  • synthetic fillers or silicon derived ingredients
  • artificial colours or artificial fragrances
  • sodium lauryl sulfates
  • mineral oils
  • petrochemicals
  • animal ingredients (except honey and beeswax from living bees)
  • parabens; ethyl-, methyl-, propyl-, butyl-.

Without much further ado, here’s what I took home with me that day from Whole Foods:

Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serumimg_1651
Volume: 30ml
Price: CAD53.99

Housed in a dark glass dropper bottle, this light oil-serum is amazing in its texture for dry-sensitive skin that just needs a little more lovin’ <3 Although most people use a couple drops for their face, I actually use a full pump for my face, neck and décolletage as I feel that proper skincare should be beyond just taking care of my face and so I like to extend the hydration and any anti-aging benefits beyond it. I love how light and hydrating the serum was without feeling like it would clog my pores; for someone who has dry, tight and sensitive skin, this was a godsend as it delivered a burst of hydration and moisturization without aggravating my eczema patches on my face and neck. I wish this would come in a bigger bottle since I use it for more than my face and  I definitely  would repurchase this in a heartbeat <3  In fact, after I took a look at the ingredients from the Antipodes website itself, it just made me love the product even more:

  • Blackcurrant fruit oil: Rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and GLA
  • Goji Fruit extract: Rich in amino acids, needed to build protein and repair skin
  • Raspberry Seed oil: Rich in essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and 6, nourishing
  • Hibiscus flower: nature’s skin brightener and gentle exfoliator

As noted on the bottle, this serum is meant to be used in the evening because of its main effect to heal dry and damaged skin, and it’s scientifically proven to stimulate elastin production in human fibroblast skin cells, which means it helps regenerate skin cells that were previously damaged.

Hosanna H20 Intensive Skin-Plumping Serumimg_1655
Volume: 30ml
Price: CAD69.99

Another serum that I picked up was this intensive hydration serum that I used during the day; housed in a brown glass dropper bottle, I used a full pump of this product on my clean skin after using a toner and Treatment Lotion, and I topped it off with the Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream. In terms of its texture, I liked how it absorbed quickly into my skin without leaving a sticky, tacky feeling to it; however, based on my skin’s needs, I feel like I would use this serum during the spring/summer months as it felt like it was just another layer on my skin when it was dry and sensitive during the winter. I didn’t feel like it made my skin feel extra hydrated, but it didn’t hurt at all to have it on my face during the day either; it just didn’t have that WOW factor for me during this particular period of time. In addition,  there is quite a distinctive herby scent to it that wasn’t especially pleasant but it wasn’t off-putting either.

I took a look at the ingredients from the Antipodes website itself just to be clear about what I’m putting onto my skin:

  • Lavendula Angustfolia (Lavender) Distillate**
  • Cyathea Medullaris (Mamaku Black Fern) Leaf Extract
  • Vitis Vinifera (Vinanza Grape Grapeseed) Extract
  • Naticide (Natural Preservative)
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Essential Oil Fragrances Of French Rose Oil And Cardamon: Benzyl Benzoate*, Cinnamyl Alcohol*, Citral*, Citronellol*, D-Limonene*, Eugenol*, Farnesol*, Geraniol*, Linalool*

(*Component of Essential Oil; **Certified Organic Ingredient)

All in all, I would repurchase this product to use for the spring/summer months <3

Rejoice Light Facial Day Creamimg_1658
Volume: 60ml
Price: CAD52.99

Housed in an aluminum squeeze tube, this day cream is quite hydrating and moisturizing for my skin when I use it to finish off my skincare routine. Given that this cream is packed with manuka, avocado, macadamia and jojoba, this product really helps with moisturising and healing the skin. Although described as being light and non-oily, this moisturizer looks and feels like a thick cream but it went on light and it was absorbed quickly; personally I quite like how thick it feels to the touch because I have dry skin but at the same time, it didn’t leave my skin greasy to the touch. The only aspect that irks me is how sweet this cream is from the almond and vanilla in the ingredients; I’m not one to shy away from dessert at all but I wasn’t too keen on sweet-smelling skincare. Despite the scent, I quite like to have this as the alternative to my other holy grail, the La Mer Moisturizing Cream.

Finally, I’d also like to note how I like how travel-friendly these products are as they are in cute dropper bottles for the serums and a squeeze tube for the cream 🙂 All in all, I would be very happy to repurchase all of these items and then some to help keep my eczema-prone skin happy, hydrated and moisturized <3

Fleurance Nature: 100% Argan Oil Review

Fleurance Nature: 100% Argan Oilimage

Price: HKD325
Volume: 50ml
Type: 100% Argan Oil

My skin has been going through a (very) dry spell as of late and it’s showing with my skin because my makeup just isn’t sitting right on my face; it looked dry, cakey and flakey even with a light layer of BB cream.

I had to get to the bottom of that situation and so I went to my trusty friend, Google, and looked up reputable skincare brands that had facial oils that would:

  1. a) sort out this situation STAT,
  2. b) work with sensitive, combination-dry skin.
  3. c) not make me break out like there’s no tomorrow.
  4. d) not contain fragrances or scented essential oils (a personal preference, and apparently, it’s not a good idea to include scented essential oils as they can overstimulate sensitive skin and make it even worse.)
  5. e) not break the bank 😀

When I got to Googling, lo and behold, I was faced with a plethora of options. A PLETHORA. I decided on using Argan Oil as I’d always been curious about it and I wanted to use something simple, pure, unrefined, cold-pressed and organic. As I went to various “organic” or “natural skincare” stores, I couldn’t help but notice the fact that not a lot of these brands carried pure oils; a number of them had the mixed oils (of which it would be priced at a whopping HKD400-500 for a small 30ml bottle), ones with fragrances or essential oils added in for a more “therapeutic” or “aromatic” experience. Personally, I preferred to get pure organic oils where I can safely use with a peace of mind knowing that nothing has been added to it and I can eliminate potential chances of irritating my skin with it.

I finally popped by my local Watsons and decided to get this 100% Argan Oil from Fleurance Nature, a French brand focused on organic, fragrance- and paraben-free skincare. I felt that in Hong Kong, this was a relatively fair price to pay for a 50ml bottle of pure Argan Oil from a company that held their products to a high standard to obtain all the right certifications for organic products. I’m noting Hong Kong in particular because certifiable organic products are hard to come by and stores that cater to that kind of products for healthy living (i.e. my one love, Whole Foods <3) are far and few in between, if any at all 🙁 This definitely makes me miss home even more 🙁

When it came to application, I’ve tried the following:

  1. soaked a cotton pad with my regular toner — alcohol-free in my case — and add two drops of the Argan oil onto it before swiping that all over my face and then proceeding with my skincare routine; I felt that this was a great daytime method just before my makeup to moisturize my complexion without greasing it up)
  2. once I finished swiping my face with a toner — again, alcohol-free — I added two drops of the oil into my palms and then massaged it onto my face BEFORE my serum(s)
  3. after my serum(s), I massaged in a couple drops of oil on my face BEFORE sealing all that with my regular moisturizer
  4. mixing a couple drops of the oil directly into my moisturizer before massaging it all onto my face
  5. using the oil alone as my moisturizer.

I really could do no wrong with any of the above methods with my new Argan oil addition to my skincare 🙂 What’s most important is that you use the method that your skin is comfortable with at the time and to test out what kind of oils work for your skin and what actually doesn’t 🙂 I’m curious about the idea of oil-based skincare now… <3

*Salcura Bioskin Face Cleanser Review

*Salcura Bioskin Face Cleanserimage

Price: GBP12.99
Volume: 200ml

My skin can be a bit finicky to deal with at times, as extreme weather conditions can and will — with a vengeance — make my face and skin break out into itchy, red patches that subsides into flaky patches that take absolutely forever to stop flaking and return to a semblance of its former self. This means that I can’t comfortably enjoy vacations in the snow or the sun because I know what may become of me afterwards (or even during that time).

Le sigh.

As such, during my itchy patchy days, I prefer to use natural and organic skincare that contains no fragrance (as per normal days as well) and they are able to actually do something about my itchy patches without me reaching for hydrocortisone, in addition to keeping the area well hydrated and moisturized. Recently, my skin took a slight dive as my dry and itchy eczema patches came back as a result of the recent weather changes. Since they reside on my chin and the surrounding area around the mouth and stretching slightly towards my jawline and making its way up, I was a sight to behold.

I was near tears every morning because on one hand, I wanted the damn patches gone immediately but on the other hand, I knew that putting on hydrocortisone cream on them only makes the skin thinner and the rebound come back faster than you can imagine. 🙁

Introducing the Bioskin Face Cleanser from Salcura; made from 97% natural products including Sea Buckthorn to help with healing and repairing the skin, rosemary for cell renewal and Jojoba oil for some good moisturizing properties. Being a marigold, sunshine-y colour, upon dispensing the product from the no-frills plastic bottle, the cleanser was soothing yet invigorating with both its low-foaming property and cool gel-like texture; I used this in the morning as per my usual routine where I like to use gel/lightweight cleansers to lightly wash the sleep off my face.

I’ll admit, it was a little surprising to see a gel cleanser be such a happy colour, but rest assured that it did its job right and well; free from SLS, parabens, artificial fragrances and harsh chemicals, this cleanser helped keep my sensitive, combination-dry skin feel hydrated even after washing my face, as my skin normally feels a little tight and dry afterwards. The eczema patches weren’t exacerbated or dried out even further, and instead my skin felt…some semblance of happiness despite its condition. That on its own is a win for me. <3 Seeing as I was curious as to what made my skin happier during this time, I looked up the ingredients list:

Purified Water (Aqua)
Coco-Glucoside
Cocamidopropl Betaine
Carbomer
Starflower Essential Oil (Borago officinalis leaf extract)
Green Tea Leaf Extract (Camellia sinesis leaf extract)
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana leaf extract)
Phenoxyethanol
Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus annus seed oil)
Beta-Carotene
Potassium Hydroxide
Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoids kernel extract)
Rosemary Essential Oil (Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract)
Mineral Solution (Sodium Chloride)
Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil (Citrus paradisi peel oil)
Ethylhexyglycerin
Caprylyl Glycol
Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer
Argan Oil (Argania spinosa kernel oil)
Jojoba Essential Oil (Simmondsia chinensis seed oil)
Limonene

Ladies and gentlemen, I may not be a scientist but the majority of these ingredients are great hydrating and moisturizing properties to have in a cleanser, not to mention that the company’s mandate is to use high quality and natural ingredients while avoiding ingredients that are widely accepted to be unsuitable for sensitive or problem skin. Another plus for me! <3

Finally, in addition to having a healthy balance of Omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9, this cleanser is safe to use for those who have dry and sensitive skin, as well as those who are pregnant and breastfeeding 🙂 This is great news for all those moms out there who need something soothing yet safe to use during this crucial stage in their child’s life 🙂

All in all, it’s pretty safe to say that I’m keeping this in my arsenal for my regular morning cleansing routine as well as my safe-zone product for when my skin is misbehaving 😀


*Disclosure: Although I was provided this product for review purposes only, I have not been compensated for this post. The reviews and opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way by the company as a result of receiving this free product.

Nature’s Gate Awapuhi Ginger + Holy Basil Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner Set Review

Nature’s Gate Awapuhi Ginger + Holy Basil Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner Set

Price: HKD98 (Set) | HKD66 (Individual)
Volume: 532ml each

imageContinuing with my Nature’s Gate hair care run, Citysuper was running a
promotion on their shampoo and conditioner sets and I picked up a new set from Nature’s Gate line. As noted before my hair used to be very dry and easily tangled. Being silicone and cruelty-free, this shampoo is meant to add volume to fine hair; I’ve noticed that this product works as well as well-known popular volumizing shampoos.

Similar to the Hemp + Argan Oil shampoo, this one also has a gel-like consistency and a light and refreshing tropical scent; the conditioner has a similar scent but the texture is light and creamy smooth. I’ll note here that the shampoo’s scent disappears fast and you don’t actually smell the herbal spiciness once you’re done blow drying your hair unless…you constantly smell your hair I guess 😀 In addition, I also noticed that it does produce quite a bit of nice, fine lather as compared to some other organic/herbal shampoos; I personally like and prefer having lather in my shampoos and cleansers as I feel that it’s…got better cleaning power as opposed to those that don’t have any LOL. In addition, I haven’t experienced any irritation or dryness on my scalp or the back of my neck. As my hair is naturally stick straight and it tends to look flat at times, my hair feels so soft and thick after consistently using this line! When I round brush my hair with the dryer after using this shampoo and conditioner my hair is soft, shiny, and full of volume!

For those of you who are interested, here is a list of the ingredients from the manufacturer:

Water (Eau), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Glycerin, Hedychium Coronarium Root Extract, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Borago Officinalis (Borage/bourrache) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Ascorbic Acid, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry/cerisier noir) Bark Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria/camomille) Flower Extract, Betula Alba (Birch/bouleau) Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula/souci) Flower Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops/houblon) Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail/prêle des champs) Leaf Extract, Quillaja Saponaria Bark (Soap Bark/buisson à savon) Extract, Algae Extract, Ocimum Sanctum (Holy Basil/basilic sacré) Leaf Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Polysorbate 20, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Caramel.

In addition, the manufacturer notes that this product is Vegan, Non-GMO, paraben-, gluten-, soy- and cruelty-free as well as being free of sodium lauryl/laureth/coco sulfates, phthalates, butylene glycol and artificial colors.

All in all, if you’re into using organic products or you have a sensitive scalp, give this shampoo and brand a shot — for the price point it’s at, the sheer volume you get and the fact that it’s on sale quite often at local supermarkets, there’s really not much to lose <3

Nature’s Gate Hemp and Argan Oil Nourishing Shampoo Review

Nature’s Gate Hemp and Argan Oil Nourishing Shampoo

Price: HKD96 (Sale Price) | HKD108 (RRP)
Volume: 946ml

imageCombined with my sensitive, combination-
dry skin, I feel like my scalp has the same issue: dry, prone to slight itchiness and flaking during the winter — yet I just can’d do the Head and Shoulders set because it’s a little too strong and it makes it even…itchier. To throw into the mix, shampoos with a high mix of man-made fragrances can be a hit or miss for me; when I say “miss”, I mean it would irritate my scalp more than my nose. Needless to say, as much as I would love to try the shampoos and conditioners that give most girls a nice flowery or perfumed scent — come on, who doesn’t want their hair to smell a little bit like heaven — I think of my poor scalp and I just stop. right. there. There have been some organic shampoos in my shower that just never made it to my must-repurchase list — not even Holy Grail status, just how I could depend on it to work and make my scalp happy — simply because I didn’t feel like it cleaned my hair right or it smelled…weird. Funky. Hippie-like. LOL

So, where do I go from here?

Mama Cappuccino actually introduced me to this brand as she came across it at Citysuper, a local supermarket chain in Hong Kong, and she thought it’d be a good idea for me to try something more natural and organic on my scalp. After several months of using this shampoo, it has completely transformed my hair. My hair used to be very dry and easily tangled. Being silicone and cruelty-free, this shampoo has a gel-like consistency, and actually smells kind of spicy. In fact, it reminds me of smells like a nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and ginger. This might sound like Old Spice or something rather manly, but I actually like it more than sweet, cloying, flowery or fruity scents; I’ll note here that the shampoo’s scent disappears fast and you don’t actually smell the herbal spiciness once you’re done blow drying your hair unless…you constantly smell your hair I guess 😀 In addition, I also noticed that it does produce quite a bit of nice, fine lather as compared to some other organic/herbal shampoos; I personally like and prefer having lather in my shampoos and cleansers as I feel that it’s…got better cleaning power as opposed to those that don’t have any LOL. My hair became less easily tangled and my scalp didn’t feel itchy or dry — this is probably in part to the Argan Oil component in the formula. I will note here that this shampoo might be too moisturizing for anyone with fine hair or no issues with dryness, however, and that they would be better off choosing another shampoo from Nature’s Gate. In addition, I haven’t experienced any irritation or dryness on my scalp or the back of my neck. Once I blow dry it, my hair is smooth with good volume as my hair is naturally stick straight and it tends to look flat at times.

For those of you who are interested, here is a list of the ingredients from the manufacturer:

Water (Eau), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Glycerin, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil, Panthenol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Borago Officinalis (Borage/bourrache) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Tocopherol, Ascorbic Acid, Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher’s room/fragon épineux) Root Extract, Pimenta Dioica (Allspice/piment de la Jamaïque) Fruit Extract, Pilocarpus Pennatifolius (Jaborandi) Leaf Extract, Silybum Marianum (Sage/sauge) Seed Extract, Sambucus Nigra (Elder/sureau) Flower Extract, Chrysanthemum Sinense Flower Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Polysorbate 20, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Citric Acid, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Caramel.

* Phthalate free/sans phthalate

In addition, the manufacturer notes that this product is Vegan, Non-GMO, paraben-, gluten-, soy- and cruelty-free as well as being free of sodium lauryl/laureth/coco sulfates, phthalates, butylene glycol and artificial colors.

All in all, if you’re into using organic products or you have a sensitive scalp, give this shampoo and brand a shot — for the price point it’s at, the sheer volume you get and the fact that it’s on sale quite often at local supermarkets, there’s really not much to lose <3

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