Sunday, July 15, 2018

My thoughts on the Mahalo Blooms face steam

One of the most recommended skincare tips for dealing with oily, clogged skin is to perform regular steam sessions. And while I've been doing this for many years now, I found no real joy in doing this. It always felt a bit mundane and oftentimes I would skip it and jump to the more interesting steps such as masking and serums.

Until I had in my hands the Mahalo Blooms... the glammed-up version of an insipid face steam. Released as part of the 'Winter Grace' holiday collection early this year, this was available for a limited period only, I think in Feb-March. So, when my aunt asked me what I wanted for my birthday around that time, I chose the Mahalo Blooms.

Of course, everything Mahalo makes is lovely but had I wanted to try this steam especially after looking at its ingredient list (given below) but more so because Maryna, the owner of Mahalo Skincare, makes the freshest of skincare combined with exquisite aromatherapy benefits. I knew I was in for a treat!

hibiscus, holy basil, marigold, jasmine, rose, cornflower, linden, chamomile, cloves, orange peel,
cinnamon, yarrow, chrysanthemum, lavender, geranium, ylang ylang

One look at the ingredients and you know the scent is going to be beautiful. I wasn't disappointed when I first opened the jar and breathed in its aroma; it's such a complex spicy + floral scent. Sometimes, I treat myself by opening the jar and breathing in deep.

Now onto the performance...

The steam claims to to repair, rejuvenate, balance and purify, and is a perfect step to add in any home spa ritual. Since I don't go to salons for facials (haven't gone in years, as I have all the tools and products necessary to do my own facial at home plus I think everyday skincare is a better way to invest in your skin), a steam session at home is such a great step to achieve clear skin.

I truly enjoy the ritual of boiling a pot of water, adding a tablespoon or so of the steam and watching the seeping process. It's so soothing to the senses!

But the cherry on the cake is what it does to the skin. After the steam session, I always perform extractions and my skin looks so much clearer and smooth to the touch. One session per week is enough to give me clear, smooth skin for the next seven-eight days. My current skincare routine, which I have pared down drastically, as part of a personal experiment, is also helping in keeping my skin clog-free. I can honestly say that the combination of a steam + the right kind of skincare routine does wonders.

I'm now looking forward to trying the Earthwise Beauty Selene steam, which is said to be reparative for acne-prone skin, plus you all know how much I love Earthwise Beauty products. I had tried a sample of their Aphrodite steam previously and loved it. It was so hydrating and soothing for stressed-out, knackered skin.

Bottomline: invest in a good facial steam, especially if your skin is prone to clogging. The results are instantaneous and beneficial in the long run. Have a great week ahead!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

EMPTIES + MINI REVIEWS (Earthwise Beauty, Honua Skincare, Lepaar, Just Herbs)

Nothing like an Empties post to make you feel accomplished, right? After my last Empties post, which was in March this year, I have returned with a few more used-up products along with my mini reviews on them. Most of these products I have reviewed in depth previously on this blog so I'll link up wherever applicable. Nevertheless, if you have specific questions, please ask in the comments below. :)

Hawaiian Beauty Water by Honua Skincare:
My thoughts on this gentle, all-natural liquid exfoliant are mentioned here, but you'd see that my opinion on this exfoliant treatment toner hasn't changed much. I still think that my skin is too resilient to notice any exfoliating effect from this product. That said, it may be a good option for those with sensitive skin, who want to try exfoliation but are feeling unsure about it. After using up half of the bottle's contents, I used the remainder to spritz on my face to prevent certain clay-based masks from drying up too soon. It seemed to work well when combined with other skincare products such as the Earthwise Beauty Frightening Green Mask, Blackstrap Molasses Mask, etc. The Hawaiian Beauty Water has gorgeous ingredients such as hibiscus, coconut water, papaya enzymes, willow bark, witch hazel and more. I only wish it worked on my skin!

Earthwise Beauty Cistus and Moonlight Face Mist:
I love this mist to bits! Previously reviewed here on my blog, the scent of this mist is completely unique and unlike anything else on the market. The floral, honey-like scent laced with a touch of green makes up for a such a soothing ritual, be it in the mornings or at nighttime. In the morning rush hour, this slows me down for a brief few seconds and in the evening, it calms my frazzled, often overworked self. Performance-wise, this hydrates my skin without leaving behind a greasy after-feel, which so many other mists do because of the inclusion of oils. This is yet another product that is free of essential oils. I'm so glad to see Ava repackage this mist into a 100 ml bottle because the 60 ml runs out pretty soon.

Earthwise Beauty Ambrosia del Cerrado:
This was my first bottle of the Ambrosia del Cerrado from Earthwise Beauty and like every other product from the line, this doesn't disappoint. Although Ava describes this as a moisturiser, I think it also has slight treatment-like properties. What I mean is, it doesn't just hydrate the skin but also lightens spots when used consistently over a period of time. In a way, it's a grown-up moisturiser. The colour and the scent are so refreshing, but what I appreciate more are the ingredients and the performance. It's one of the few green beauty products out there that is free of essential oils and therefore safe for everyone to use. The Ambrosia also pairs very well with Earthwise's Ruby Facial Oil (also free of essential oils), sharing not only a few ingredients such as pequi and buriti oils but also the scent profile, obviously due to the same ingredients. I love to mix the Ruby oil with the Ambrosia into an emulsion, which is what I reach for when I'm short on time. My Ruby oil is long gone but this moisturiser is still good on its own. I'm currently on my second bottle of this. You can find my review on this here.

Just Herbs Gotukola Indian Ginseng Rejuvenating Beauty Elixir Facial Serum:
Previously reviewed here and here, this is my second-time purchase of this serum. I was blown away by it the first time around, and I'm still blown away by it. The serum is a potent combo of deep yet lightweight hydration (thanks to the Indian Senna seed extract) and brightening (mostly due to liquorice). The only thing one needs to keep in mind is, don't use this as a moisturiser. It is formulated as a serum for a specific reason. The botanical hyaluronic acid in it requires that you top it up with a regular moisturiser otherwise the hyaluronic acid in it will draw moisture out of your skin; the serum therefore needs to be 'sealed in' with something on top of it. Also, if you don't use a moisturiser on top of this, it leaves a slightly sticky feeling (similar to conventional hyaluronic acid) which is not pleasant.

Lepaar Skin Precious Face Oil:
Included in a Boxwalla beauty box last year, this face oil is lovely, with a lush scent and feel and a performance that matches its aesthetic value. When I used it alone for several days (as recommended by the brand) I noticed it gave a brightening effect similar to the Earthwise Beauty Ruby Face Oil (also included in one of the Boxwalla beauty boxes). While the Ruby has a spicy, tropical scent, this has a fruity and cookie-like vanilla-ish scent rounded off with a grown-up frankincense. I also like to mix this with the Ambrosia del Cerrado and sometimes even with the Farizad's Veil sunscreen powder. Although it doesn't have the tint of the Ruby oil, it doesnt't leave too much of a white cast despite that. While the Ruby is more easily available, I don't see the Lepaar products stocked at too many online retailers.

Earthwise Beauty Sungod Mask:
This powdered mask is quite unsual. Ava's intent behind this was to create a skincare product to address overexposure to sun and skin aging through the use of sun-reminiscent botanicals. While I loved the glow it gave me, I don't think I used it long enough to notice any remarkable effects, considering I had a sample jar, which lasted 2-3 uses. Ava does mention on her site though that this is not a short-term brightening mask but rather a long-term skin investment.

That's it, folks! I'm quite happy that I have cleared up some more space on my skincare shelf. These two empties posts have also been a good exercise in figuring out the overall patterns in my usage of skincare and my preferences. I am now more aware of what I tend to lean towards in terms of ingredients, scents and textures, and what my topmost priorities are from a skincare product. My ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of skincare that I buy; less is definitely more. This also means fewer Empties blog posts in future (hopefully). 😃