African Botanics FLEURS D’AFRIQUE – INTENSIVE RECOVERY OIL REVIEW


African Botanics has been nailing it lately. When I first wrote about them (see review for their mask), I did not foresee that they’d go on to release a steady stream of hit after hits with an impeccable eye on design & packaging (the new Neroli Infused Marulia Oil calls my name). Today, African Botanics is beloved by the ultra-luxe Violet Grey editors and is frequently seen on Instagram in the photo editorials of the chicest influencers. I believe what catapulted African Botanics really started with one product – the Fleus D’Afrique – Intensive Recovery Oil. The striking black frosted semi-translucent glass bottle combined with the most high powered, sought after ingredients in the skincare game became the skincare version of capturing lightning in a bottle, and soon everyone was mesmerized by the $250 face oil.

I know – you’re probably thinking “$250!? What? Why!” – so let’s get to it:

What it is

Night-blooming flowers are merged with powerful anti-aging actives in this restorative face oil. Indigenous plants from the most remote regions of South Africa have adapted to survive the harsh challenges of their environment, making them ideal for skin exposed to urban stress, UV damage, and pollution. Utializing advanced anti-aging technology, this light oil reduces fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes, dark spots, redness, and dryness in all skin types.

The African Oil Complex, including extracts of baobab, damask rose, immortelle flower, and jasmine grandiflorum, provide omegas 3, 6, 7, and 9 to fight signs of aging. Marine micro-algae, retinol, vitamin c, and CoQ10 are anti-wrinkle actives that refine, calm, and provide antioxidant protection. Formulated without parabens, silicones, or synthetic fragrances. Calms inflammation, redness and irritation from breakouts, sun damage and environmental exposure. The skin is left luminous, more youthful with increased firmness, elasticity and clarity.

What’s in the bottle?

Citrillus Lanatus (Kalahari Melon)* Seed Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula)* Seed Oil, Jasmine Grandiflorum (Jasmine) Flower Oil, Adansonia Digitata*, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Rosa Moschata (Rosehip) Seed Oil, Caprylic Capric Triglyseride, Cylindrotheca Fusiformis (Microalgae) Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Helichrysum Angustifolium (Immortelle) Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Myrothamnus Flabellifolius (Resurrection) Extract, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos)* Extract, Bulbinella Nutens (Bulbinella) Extract, Schinziophyton Rautanenii (Mongongo)* Oil, Cyclopia (Honeybush) Extract, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Calendula Officinalis (Marigold) Flower Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C Ester), Retinol (Vitamin A), Rosmarinus Officinalis Extract. *Wild-Harvested.

What struck me most was the high concentration of Jasmine and Rose essential oils, as well as the very unique ingredients including microalgae extract, CoQ10, Vitamin C, and Retinol. And if you’ll notice, they’re not “plant derived” either, we’re talking full-on Vitamin C and Retinol. The top two ingredients form the base which is Kalahari Melon Seed Oil and Marula Seed Oil which are signatures of the South African inspired and produced line.  Beyond these call outs, it’s important to note the roster of ingredients including baobab, rosehip, and immortelle which would be stars in their own right in any other formula. The fact is, there is no other oil on the market that has ALL of these ingredients blended in a singular formula. The result is a face oil unlike any other, super concentrated and powerful with the most luxurious fragrance. Once you use it, you’ll understand that the $250 comes with value, as no expenses were sparred in getting only the best ingredients into the bottle.

Impressions


It is no exaggeration to say that African Botanic’s Fleurs D’Afrique was love at first drop. The pump dropper is a luxurious choice and equally as addictive, the golden oil teasing through the black frosted glass is a divine sight to behold, and the immediate floral aroma emanating from the bottle before a drop is even dispensed is sensory heaven. I knew from day one that it would be hard to go back to life without it.

I use about 5 drops for my entire face and I only use it at night due to all the active ingredients. My boyfriend would ask if I was wearing perfume because that is how potent and beautiful the scent profile is. Because of the high level of actives, and the relatively lightweight base oils, this blend is definitely on the lighter side which is why anyone can use it. I consider this an oil-based serum rather than a “face oil as moisturizer” as it is meant to be active rather than simply moisturizing. All of the ingredients are meant to do something rather than sit on your skin, which is the goal when you’re spending $250.

With that said, the results of Fleurs D’Afrique are immediate and long lasting. The superpowers of Vitamin C, Retinol, CoQ10, Microalgae work alongside high quality oils to tackle every issue from anti-aging concerns and pigmentation, to acne and sun damage. It’s powerful in that way where you know it’s just reworking your entire skin, simultaneously working out fine lines and breakouts. In fact the first few times I used it, my skin was flushed and tingly afterward as it really is a powerhouse that let’s you know that the ingredients are working. When I used this oil throughout winter, my skin consistently looked glowing and rested. To be honest, I’m not surprised, this is literally a merger of a high quality skin pampering face oil with an anti-aging treatment, so in one step you get your retinol, Vitamin C, CoQ10 treatments and a face oil. $250 for a multi-treatment doesn’t seem so bad now, right?

Final Thoughts

I know face oils are a dime a dozen these days, but this one broke the mold. This is one of the all time greats as far as I am concerned. Fleurs d’Afrique is as powerful as it is beautiful. Your senses will be taken by the beautiful frosted black glass bottle and the golden oil that peaks through, then when you open the dropper you’ll immediately be floored by the most exquisite aroma of jasmine and rose oils. Your skin will be in for quite a ride with a combination of retinol, vitamin c, coq10, marine algae. This just might be the most powerful oil in existence. Yes, at $250 it is quite an investment but anyone who buys skincare has the question in the back of their mind “is the best money can buy?” and I have to say, when it comes to face oils, this is it.

African Botanics’ Fleurs D’Afrique is available at:
Credo Beauty
Cult Beauty
Violet Grey

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What I’ve Been Using: Nov/Dec

Hello readers! It’s been a longer time than I expected since I last wrote a post. There have been a lot going on in my personal life that I do not share on here or anywhere really. But some things do not change and that is my love of beauty products.

I have been working my way through products and based on your e-mails of “what should I use?” I realize the importance of providing product feedback in a more cohesive routine manner rather than leave them in an individual bubble.

So here is what I’m loving:

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African Botanics Fleurs D’Afrique

Holy crap you guys, this is a face oil on steroids! African Botanics was not kidding when they released this “intensive recovery oil” which contains marine micro-algae, retinol, vitamin c and CoQ10 in ONE SINGULAR BLEND! The scent is incredible and it’s not a surprise considering Jasmine Essential Oil and Rose Essential Oil are ingredients 3 and 5! This is over achieving. For anyone who has ever questioned the effectiveness of a face oil, try this and let me know if you still feel the same way. I seriously think this stuff is divine and savor each drop that comes out of the beautiful bottle. Pictures do not do it justice, just bring this up to a light to see the golden oil through the black frosted glass, it’s a thing of beauty. I could only use this 2-3 times a week at the beginning because it was so strong, which is another thing, sensitive skin might want to look at a calmer option like their Pure Marula Oil. But for those of you who just want to put a high quality buffet of actives on your skin in a face oil form, look no further. Buy this, enjoy, you’ve met your perfect match.

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Lina Hanson Global Treasures Balm

The first time I saw this balm on Lina Hanson’s Instagram, I knew I had to have it. Sure we’ve seen balms by many a green brand at this point but I was captivated by the gorgeous color and gold specks! Then I looked at the ingredients list and discovered the green color came from matcha, the gold from real 24K gold, and the inclusion of pearl powder. Gaahhh.. what a creation! When it arrived, I excitedly opened the jar and it was the beauty junkie version of what I imagine it would be like to meet a hot guy off of Tinder. “Ohhh that’s how the color looks in person and omg there are those gold specks!” I took a deep inhale and was welcomed with a warm, chocolaty note. I wrote Lina basically saying “Yeah it looks just as amazing in person but how are you not telling people how good this stuff smells?!” I’ve been saving this balm for winter to use on dry spots. But the real secret is how well this works as an eye balm. It doesn’t tug or pull, and gives the perfect emollient feel that lets you know that it’s working to get your skin buttery soft. My eye serums have been replaced by this gem.

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Tatcha Overnight Memory Serum Concentrate

This embodies the innovative and quirky aspects of Asian skincare with a bouncy memory serum texture. Overnight Memory Serum is an ultra-concentrated form of Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist which means it is very very hydrating and absolutely packed with the rejuvenating powers of the mist. It is recommended for overnight recovery and I consider it to be extremely effective in combating dry winter air. Tatcha is made in Japan and I think of this as a very luxurious pressed serum/essence, as it is a very concentrated and nutrient packed product that delivers results like a serum. A little does go a long way with this and I use the gold scooper that comes with the jar which measures out the perfect amount. It kind of feels like breaking the super soft Japanese tofu over your skin and I say that in the most fun way. If your skin doesn’t handle moisturizers well (hello acne prone ladies) but needs that surge of moisture in the winter, this is the product you need. On a final note, check out how bouncy it is!

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Yarok Feed Your Volume Shampoo

I’m making my way through green shampoos and the latest stop is at Yarok which I have heard so much about. I believe it was Spirit who praised the way this smelled and although I enjoyed Rahua, I wasn’t completely in love with the palo santo scent so I had my eye on this for a while. I was pleasantly surprised by the gentle and light aroma of the shampoo. The way it smelled and felt reminded me of a fruity syrup. This shampoo was not drying at all, and made my hair feel and look great. I do not think it is really strong enough for my scalp though because it gets oilier quicker. With that said, I still really like this shampoo, my hair seems healthier and it just feels good. I find myself running my hands through my hair often because it just seems healthier. Many organic shampoos lack those chemical ingredients that give hair that “sheen” and “luster” but this brings it back with good ingredients which is incredible. I’m going to continue forward and see if my scalp situation sorts itself out – if it does, this will be a keeper.

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Yuli Metamorphic Elixir

When winter arrives, Metamorphic Elixir comes into play in a big way. If any green brand is going to pack in performance alongside the highest quality ingredients, it is Yuli and Metamorphic means business when it comes to hydration in the form of a botanically derived hyaluronic acid that is most compatible to the form of natural present hyaluronic acid in our skin, plant powered retinol alternatives (immortelle flower and frankincense which are both highly rejuvenating are literally ingredients 3 & 4), as well as the humectant glycerin which is a common ingredient however theirs is derived from fatty acids found in coconuts. Also if you love roses, this is flowing with a complex of roses with damask rose as the 2nd most abundant ingredient and also including a very rare white rose which smells soft and delicate. I think it was Chalkboard Mag that called this rose water on steroids for this reason. I first took the plunge to Metamorphic Elixir after hearing The Hermes Hippie and Rebecca Bailey of NMDL both  rave about it and it was love at first mist for me as well. A good face mist is like crack (I assume.. not speaking from experience), you just can’t get enough and already start dreading running out before you’re half way through  – that is exactly the relationship I have with this elixir. Add this to your winter regimen, it’s the tall drink of water your skin has craved.

Kari Gran Review: 3 Step System

In an industry where everyone is boasting, it’s refreshing to meet a line that places its philosophy as delivering what amounts to as “the little black dress” version of skincare. Kari Gran, based out of Seattle is a green brand focused on the less is more approach of simple yet elegant solutions centered around plant oils.

I know there are many choices when it comes to purchases, and Kari Gran makes it quite easy and compelling with a Starter Kit of the essentials: Cleansing Oil, Lavender or Rose hydrating Tonic, Essential Serum & new Three Sixty Five SPF 28 in really chic UV bottled travel sizes.

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So here’s a quick rundown:

Kari Gran Cleansing Oil: This is a non-emulsifying cleansing oil, meaning it’s best to follow with a 2nd cleanser or with a washcloth. As with all cleansing oils, apply to dry skin and massage away. The texture of this oil is the perfect thickness that doesn’t leave skin greasy but also isn’t like a dry oil that just disappears into skin after a few seconds. I like cleansing oils to be viscous enough that there is some cushion and this delivers on that effect.

The simple ingredient list of only 5 ingredients is very high quality, unlike other cleansing oils where beneficial plant oils are toward the middle of the ingredients list.

Ingredients: Sunflower Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, Lavender Oil, Tocopherol
All oils are organic

Kari Gran Lavender Hydrating Tonic: This tonic is available is in lavender or rose. Since the cleansing oil and essential serum have a dominant lavender fragrance, this tonic was a fantastic middle step. I actually really enjoyed this tonic and felt it was excellent as a setting spray and layered well with the essential serum.

The ingredients list for this is even simpler: 3 ingredients – distilled aloe vera leaf, organic glycerin and organic lavender. But unlike other lines where simple compositions can feel incomplete or a little too DIY-ish, this feels well done.

Kari Gran Essential Serum: The essential serum is Kari Gran’s answer to face oils. In here there are actually 15 plant oils, among them, my favorites are camellia oil, rosehip oil, calendula oil, and essential oils of lavender, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang. The scent works with the rest of the line and I’d describe it as more of a blend between lavender and ylang ylang, though on the floral fragrant side in a good way.

Ingredients list: Organic Camellia Oleifera (Camellia Seed) Oil, Organic Rosa Canina Fruit (Rosehip Seed) Oil, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Organic Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Organic Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Organic Olea Europaea (Olive), Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) & Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Oil, Organic Olea Europaea (Olive) & Organic Arnica Montana (Arnica) Oil, Organic Lavandula Hybrida (Lavender) Oil, Wildharvested Boswellia Sacra (Frankincense) Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Oil, Jasminum Sambac (Jasmine) Oil, Organic Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn Seed) Oil, Organic Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Tocopherol (Non-GMO Vitamin E from Sunflower).

Summary:

What I’ve found is that Kari Gran really nails the texture, whether they’re using 3 ingredients or 15, the products go on the skin and feel just right. You never feel lacking, as the products provide a polish and elegance that belies that often times sparse ingredients list. The compositions really do work like minimalist little black dresses and for that reason, I’m inclined to recommend them for everyone as they would just fit so effortlessly especially at their fairly reasonable price points.

MUN No.1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum Review

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It’s fascinating to me how the deceivingly simple face oil can be so intricate and complex. On paper its just a mix of plant oils blended together yet to experience a well made blend in person is something else entirely. Each blend maintains its own character, personality, and tells their own story. Case in point, the cult beauty product from make-up artist Munemi Imai, MUN No.1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum. This luxe oil earns my respect for the risks it took. At $95 for a mere 0.5 oz (15ml) of oil, founder Munemi Imai’s confidence lies in the blend of 3 seemingly simple yet powerful 100% organic oils: Argan, Bulgarian Rose, and Prickly Pear Seed. These are oils that have been seen in other products but never in such a stripped down way that really calls to focus the individual power of the three oils.

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Argan is already an established super star in the beauty world, launching lines from Josie Maran to Kahina Giving Beauty. It’s many uses have been heralded by Moroccan women for centuries, yet have only been appreciated by the Western luxury beauty shopper recently. There really isn’t anything Argan doesn’t do, it’s the most pure all in one skin care ingredient that moisturizes and heals and softens (thanks to high Vitamin E).

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Bulgarian Rose is one of my favorite fragrances. It’s just so luxurious and the aromatherapy benefits are plentiful. In this blend, Bulgarian Rose takes the front seat in the scent department. I read in an interview that in creating this oil, Munemi needed an oil to balance the scent of the Prickly Pear which wasn’t the most palatable, and after lots of trial, this rose was chosen. It’s obvious that she did her research well because this fragrance is fantastic. It reminds me of those fresh rose soaps made locally when I was a child. It first appears strong, almost spicy then levels off. Between the precious bottle, orange hue, and this fragrance, the entire experience feels very special.

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Prickly Pear Seed is one of the rarest, most expensive oils, and it is said to heal and brighten skin, essentially making skin appear healthy and glowing. It is packed full of every good thing skin could want or need and is what I consider to be the most special part of this serum and one of the best ingredients for skincare in general.

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This serum is an anti-aging product that targets wrinkles and fine lines while toning complexion. I believe the argan helps to smooth and soften lines/wrinkles along with prickly pear seed which also makes the complexion better. Although the serum is prescribed as night time product, one can use it during the day as well. I personally keep it for night as I think the smell is wonderful for bedtime and I want to save what precious drops I have of this oil.

Now onto my personal experience..

munI found this oil to be so thoughtfully made. The confident blend of 3 oils works well in creating a minimal yet worthy product that is well rounded and versatile. The fruity scent of rose is a little on the spicy side but calms down to remind me of very fresh rose soaps, so it smells clean and fresh. The texture is actually thicker than I expected, more so than May Lindstrom’s Youth Dew which itself is good for dry skin. Although it is thicker than expected, I did not have any breakouts and the serum worked very well with my skin. It kept my skin very hydrated, even allowing me to forego moisturizer during the oddly cold winter/spring transition in New York.

I follow the instructions to a tee, applying a toner like Yuli Cocoon Elixir to get skin damp and conditioned before applying just 1 pump of the Youth Serum. This minimal routine really gave my skin a break. After 3 weeks of use, I have to say, it is a joy to use this serum each night. Being welcomed first by the fragrance then by the three organic oils as they sink into skin, it truly feels like a luxurious experience. I also discovered this serum to be great around the under-eye area as Prickly Pear Seed Oil is known to reduce dark circles.

Now onto the price. For those of you who love a well made luxury product, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in this serum. I know there are also people who will only shell out this kind of money ($95 for 0.5 oz) for something that can deliver miracles. If you’re in this camp, I’m just going to be honest that you may find yourself feeling a little uneasy. There are times when I use this that I think $95 for three oils is a bit much but I value that extra bit of polish and attention that separates this brand from a simple DIY. Results wise, this serum is very good and each of the wonderful superstar ingredients is given adequate opportunity to shine  but where it really excels in my opinion is with reactive, sensitive skin. As this serum only contains 3 (very high quality and beneficial) ingredients, the chances of something setting off a reaction is VERY VERY LOW. It’s also good for those who like to hop from product to product because the pared down ingredients list really helps give skin a break, almost like a juice cleanse for skin. I don’t imagine anyone will find this serum to cause breakouts or adverse reactions unless you happen to be sensitive to Argan, Rose, or Prickly Pear – in which case, it’s best to just skip this and similar serums all together.

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I wish the bottle could be 1 oz instead of 0.5 oz but that’s neither here nor there, and a bottle of this serum can last a good 2.5 months. As someone who enjoys splurging on luxury beauty products, I found MUN’s Dream Youth Serum to be a wonderful addition to my growing collection of oils. It has a special place as an effective minimalist product on days where I want to give my skin a break without depriving it.

Have you given this very special serum a try? What is your take?

RMS Beauty Oil

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My love for face oils grows with each new product I test. There is some debate whether face oils are technically serums, and I firmly believe they belong in the serum category. Serums are super-concentrated products for skin with a higher amount of active ingredients than moisturizers (which primarily moisturize), so in this regard face oils are essentially the active, concentrated parts of serums without any of the chemicals. Case in point, look at the ingredients list on any bottle of Estee Lauder or La Mer serum, you’ll see plant oils in the mix.

With that aside, I have had my eye on RMS Beauty Oil for a while now because 1) no citrus oils or ingredients that can cause photo sensitivity 2) beautiful packaging. RMS Beauty was created by makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift, who counts models like Miranda Kerr among her friends/clients. I kind of think of her as a green beauty version of Linda Rodin. Her organic Beauty Oil is marketed for all skin types and contains Buriti Oil, Jojoba Oil, Rose hip Oil, and Tamanu Oil which are high in vitamins and antioxidants. Rose hip is a powerful anti-aging oil, Tamanu is very regenerative, while Buriti Oil (one of Rose-Marie Swift’s favorite ingredients) protects skin from sun damage. 

The Beauty Oil is unique in a couple of ways:

  • Its fragrance is mainly composed of Vanilla, which took me a while to appreciate as it just felt a little off at first. I would describe it as Vanilla sweetness plus something a bit off like a blend of plants that didn’t quite work and smells a bit not fresh. Thankfully the scent is light and quickly dissipates because I feel like the scent when it first comes out of the bottle is not something I want to smell every day.
  • It is a wonderful oil that can be used during the day as Buriti protects from sun damage and there are no citrus oils
  • There are herbal extracts such as Ashwagandha and Turmeric which are popular herbs used in Ayurvedic healing to restore strength and vigor.

The performance of the oil left nothing to complain about. Although it appears heavier at first, the oil absorbs quite quickly and is suitable for oilier complexions. After a while of using this, I would actually place this among the lighter oils I’ve encountered, and recommend it for those with combination-oily skin. Those with normal and dry skin will most likely need to apply a moisturizer over this serum which I don’t think detracts from the quality of the oil. 

I’ve used my fair share of luxury face oils and this is one I would recommend. It caused no breakouts, sinks quickly into skin, and has good simple ingredients that although aren’t groundbreaking, will most likely refrain from irritating skin. The hesitation about the scent is a personal opinion that may not be yours. It’s a simple face oil that does what it says.

$74/bottle:
Spiritbeautylounge
RMS Beauty

The Winter Rose: Favorite Face Serums with Rose

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This was going to be a huge transition to cold-weather post but as I started thinking of products, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share something that I think everyone should indulge in for winter, a face serum/oil, specifically one that is gorgeously dressed with notes of rose. I love face oils, they’re so concentrated nature means that each blend carries a distinct scent. I can almost instantly recall each oil I smell in a blind test. Each time I encounter a rose scented blend, my heart skips a beat. The Queen of Flowers carries a regal air and there is just something luxurious and decadent about the rose that communicates indulgence for the skin. Not only that, but rose oil is very beneficial for skin. Here are a few of its uses:

  • Great at soothing irritated or sensitive skin
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits that reduce redness and inflammation that can cause harm to skin
  • Delivers intense moisturizing properties as the small molecules can penetrate deeper into skin
  • Eliminates harmful bacteria and impurities
  • Antioxidant rich to protect skin and provide anti-aging benefits
  • Stimulate regeneration and healing of aged and damaged tissue
  • Energizes on a cellular level
  • Has the highest vibration energy frequency of any essential oil
  • The aromatherapy has been shown to treat depression and boost a feeling of happiness

What better treat for skin and what better indulgence for the winter? The following are a few of my favorites.

MUN No.1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum

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Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Argan Oil, & Moroccan Rose Oil. This Moroccon sourced blend might have 3 ingredients, but they each deliver confident results and a subtle, refined fragrance. Prickly Pear and Argan are both very faint oils, Argan can smell a little nutty but it does not have a dominant profile, Prickly Pear only has a slightly richer scent almost like an eraser, which allows the Moroccon Rose to shine. A pure and fragrant essential oil that defines the scent profile of this trio. The scent is luxurious, calming, and sophisticated, lingering for just the right amount of time before dispersing.

Ila Face Oil For Glowing Skin (Click here for a  full review)

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There are products for people who like rose, and then there are products for the rose obsessed- this will delight the latter for sure. I described the scent in my previous review as “a hundred roses and their leaves and branches, other times its cloying overpowering nature just knocks me out“. Which should either excite you or illicit fear depending on how you feel about using fragrant products on your face. This isn’t for the conservative or shy, but rather for those looking for a bold and glorious rose statement. A hint: if all your candles are rose and your perfumes are rose, you will probably want to add this to your collection.

May Lindstrom The Youth Dew (Full review coming soon)

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May Lindstrom’s The Youth Dew has a less straight forward but still powerful rose scent with dominant notes from the Rose Absolute, Rose Geranium, and Bulgarian Rose essential oils. Unlike the aforementioned serums, this beautiful scent is more complex and evolving. I would describe the fragrance almost like a mix between rose and fruit roll-up (I mean that in the best way). Not that fruit roll-ups are known for their fragrance but there is a distinct sweet fruity scent (anyone else want to back me up on this?) about this oil that brings me back to the joys of unwrapping the candied treats in elementary school. What is really interesting about the scent is that each time I think I can pinpoint it, I discover something new and it is never like how I remembered it. This is what I find so fascinating and addictive.

YULI Modern Alchemist

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YULI’s Modern Alchemist captures an evocative and intricate blend with a distinct top note of Bulgarian Rose. Its expansive, aqueous Rose floral note gives a faint glimpse of nectar-like sweetness, which is then undercut by hints of fresh, light green notes including Green Tea to form a delicate, balancing act that is both luxurious and decadent without being cloying or overbearing. A testament to their fresh sourcing and production philosophy, somehow utilizing just one rose ingredient, the ode to rose is astounding in detail, encapsulating the entirety of the fresh rose: petals, nectar, stem, and all. This captivating fragrance profile is much like the brand: unique and subtle but endlessly intriguing and demanding of attention.

The best part of this list is that all the products use a natural rose essence which is very expensive and rare. This stuff is leagues better than the synthetics in many perfumes as it contains the full bodied aromatic profile of the rose and nutritional benefits.

Have you tried any of the aforementioned serums? What are your favorite scents?

Ila Face Oil for Glowing Radiance

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I’ve mentioned Ila before as one of the top British green beauty brands with gorgeous spa grade products, clean formulas, and lovely packaging. Although my first foray into the brand with their body lotion had hits and misses, I’m still very interested in the brand as a whole so I requested a sample of their Face Oil from Spirit Beauty Lounge. Ila’s Face Oil for Glowing Radiance is what I consider their masterpiece product because Spirit Demerson refers to it as the “QUEEN” of all face oils that delivers radiance and vibrancy like nothing else. A lofty title, so naturally, my interest was piqued.

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The sample came within a little booklet reminiscent in coloring to the full sized product, bright pink and metallic text. I feel like this packaging is so chic and looking at it makes me feel like I’m starring at a luxury product with attitude. The ingredients list is simple and straight forward:

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wild-grown argania spinosa kernal (argan) oil*,
rosa canina (rosehip seed) oil*,
santalam spicatum (sandalwood),
rosa damascena flower (rose otto) oil,
tocopherol extract (vitamin e oil),
citronellol**,
farnesol**,
linalool**.

While it isn’t revolutionary for argan oil to be used as the base, I do appreciate the simplicity of the formula. Argan is so widely used because it is a wonderful and versatile ingredient that all skin types will love. The product description summarizes the ingredients as such: The essential oil of damascena rose otto deeply regenerates and nourishes the skin’s cells and imparts glowing radiance while argan oil and rosehip seed oil are high in anti-oxidants and fatty acids to fight wrinkles and help skin cells to regenerate.

The scent of the product is an overt obsession to the fragrant Rose oil. People will either love this scent or find it overwhelming. I know that my girl Lola from No More Dirty Looks cannot stand it. I can understand both sides, sometimes I find myself enjoying the very natural complex scent almost as if I can smell a hundred roses and their leaves and branches, other times its cloying overpowering nature just knocks me out. I hesitate to use this during the day just because I find the fragrance to be too much where I can catch a strong whiff with every inhalation, but at night it is just fine as a luxury oil before bed. I really enjoy the rose scent but I feel like they took this idea of a fragrant rose and dialed it up too many notches for the normal buyer.

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The oil is a darker yellow almost orange color and the texture of this oil is difficult to gauge. I think the cloying nature of the oil makes it ‘feel’ thicker than it probably is as you’ll constantly feel as though the oil is sitting on top of your skin since the scent takes a long time to dissipate. With that said, this sample doesn’t come with a dropper to properly control the amount dispensed but I did my best to keep it to what would amount to 3 drops. I had tiny little breakouts along my hairline and a cystic breakout near my chin after about 3 days of use (day and night). My skin also seemed oilier during the day but at night it was just fine since I suppose most of the excess oil is wiped on my pillowcase. I didn’t have any issues with dehydration but it seems that this oil isn’t a good fit for my skin. I did notice that my skin in the mornings appeared smooth and without any redness but during the day it led to an oilier complexion which probably contributed to my breakouts.

Overall I’d say looking back on my experience, this is a wonderful facial oil if you have normal-dry skin not prone to breakouts and you love roses (as in can’t get enough!) – if that is you, well, I think I’ve helped you find your forever oil. For me, this oil actually works for my skin when used as a nighttime moisturizer because it helped take care of the scent and oil production, leaving my skin very calm and happy in the morning, but it was not suitable for day time use for me. At $110 for 1oz, this is quite costly for a simple oil that I can only use at night, so I don’t think I will be buying the full size. But for those of you who do decide to spring for a full size, I have to say that the pump-button style dropper is sooo cool so please invite me over so I can play with it!