Plant Powered Beauty
As regular readers may have noticed I am becoming ever more passionate about the power of plants - both on our plates and in our skincare - not to forget my recent post on biodynamic wine. Fortunately, more niche brands are coming to the fore, packed with honest-to-goodness plant medicine, without the toxic nasties that we now know are destroying our planet and our bodies. And while there are many great natural products on the market, it's the smaller authentic brands that stand apart to me anyway. They are real, honest and they deliver.
Amy Galper, Founder of the New York Institute of Aromatherapy and aromatherapist Christina Daigneault's Plant-Powered Beauty really is the ideal starting point for those on their natural skincare journey. Overflowing with information, simple recipes and practical tips using Mother Nature's superstars once you start experimenting your skin, your body and your head will realise that you just can't live without them.
Clean Natural Skincare
Browsing the shelves of natural skincare stores Credo and Boston-based Follain on a recent trip to the US, I stocked up on my latest skincare finds including the amazing fresh vegan, seaweed based Osea from Malibu, clean herbal skincare from Farmaesthetics Rhode Island farm, African-inspired-LA-based African Botanics and California's Marie Veronique, long synonymous with all things fresh, natural and organic.
Osea is a real winner. I have just finished my and already ordered more. The minty aroma really is addictive, especially first thing in the morning, as it instantly wakes me, leaving my face feeling super clean. While the label suggests its suitability for oily, congested skin, this potent blend of USDA Certified Organic Algae and Cypress oil, Tea Tree, Peppermint, and Rosemary leaves my middle years skin feeling super clean, refreshed and ready to face the day.
When launched in 2002, the mission of founding chemist Marie Veronique was to deliver safe skincare that works. Many years later, this holds true and the massive press accolades speak for themselves. I was particularly intrigued with this clean skincare brand's hero Gentle Retinol Night Serum, that safely squeezes a mighty 7% retinol into the product (the most my skin usually tolerates is 0.5% retinol) so I had to try this for myself!
Retinol is a natural form of vitamin A, a key skin ingredient that boosts collagen production and speeds cell turnover, especially overnight while our skin cells repair. Retin-A (and other similar prescription products) are synthetic derivatives of vitamin A. Lots more on skin's essential ingredients in my latest book: GLOW: Your Complete Four-Week Plan to Healthy Radiant Skin. Retinol has a much milder effect on the skin, so adverse reactions are rare as the team at Marie Veronique explain: "We moderate potential irritation with sodium salicylate, a powerful anti-inflammatory, which allows us to use higher concentrations of retinol (7%) than you’ll find in other retinol products. The retinol is encapsulated so it can exist in a low pH environment without degrading. In addition to vitamin A, we use the other vitamins necessary for skin repair including L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and vitamin E—to maximise the synergistic benefits of all three vitamin powerhouses. The end product delivers the same results as a Retin-A product but without the irritation." I can attest to that!
Brenda Brock, Farmaesthetics founder and formulator, first sold her handmade herbal skincare preparations in 1999 at an organic farmstand in rural Rhode Island and today her full line of 100% natural skincare can be found in the finest spas and retailers in the world. The entire collection of tinctures, serums, oils and mists (in their chic apothecary-style bottles) is made using whole-herb ingredients sourced from American family farms. I tried the fine herbal cleanser and it delivers just as it says - honest to goodness, fine gentle cleansing (ideal during the warmer months). My teenage daughter uses the anti-bacterial, anti-microbial herbal Blemish Tincture to heal breakouts.
The Almond Blossom Organic Body Wash and Midnight Honey Bath and Body Oil both sound divine - watch this space for my review!
This eco-luxury skincare collection honours the thousands of years of traditional African medicinal knowledge created from the need to survive and protect the skin from the harsh African environment. The full collection sounds divine, but I sampled the Nutritive Molecule Serum - a rejuvenating powerhouse of antioxidants (think 3 types of Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid), Resveratrol and algae formulated to brighten and improve the skin’s texture, providing a strong protective barrier against pollution and cellular damage.
The Fleurs d'Afrique intensive recovery oil and the Marula oils are next up once I manage to get my hands on them!
Well, so far so very good! As my foraging for the very best in plant-powered skincare continues, you will be the first to know!