My Journey into Korean Beauty, An Education

Recently I’ve been swept into the K-Beauty trend or Korean Beauty trend. “Is this were you use a gajillion products in your routine?”/ “Isn’t that the same trend that’s pushing snail slime?” You ask? To which I say – yes, all true. The Korean Beauty trend has gained a lot of attention from the now ubiquitous serial-killer looking sheet masks seen all over Instagram to the focus on a disciplined, multiple product regimen.

I decided to explore this trend more in depth because I wanted to see for myself where the truth stood between hype and results. Would using such uncommon ingredients be more beneficial? Is the multiple product approach better than one that is streamlined?

It was a little daunting at first when hearing about 10-step routines and just the categories (cleansers, toners, essences, serums, pressed serums, oils, ampules, moisturizers, sheet masks, rubber masks, splash masks – OH MY!) alone are enough to intimidate any beginner or novice. I enlisted the help of natural K-beauty purveyor Glow Recipe which provides handy , informative guides and insights on latest trends as well as Sokoglam‘s Charlotte Cho who is a wonderful source for all things K-Beauty.

It was through watching their videos, reaching out on Instagram and a couple of e-mails back and forth that I was able to form my insights which is that like any beauty regimen, the Korean Beauty regimen is all about what works for you. For the most part, the reason for so many steps is because the K-Beauty philosophy is comprehensive rather than tedious and purposefully overwhelming. After researching the products and categories, I believe it’s really important to think about everything holistically in terms of how products will interact with each other and what they bring to the table independently.

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One of the first things I noticed was that despite those uniquely out-there ingredients, most of the ingredients list tend to be fairly common and not that different from what one might easily find in a Sephora store. Take for example the snail goo sleeping mask from Missha (Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask) shown above. Sounds pretty cool right? The actual product is really just a rich creamy lotion, no hint of goo but an abundance of synthetic fragrance. In my experience, there wasn’t anything that distinguished it from other moisturizers despite being called a sleeping mask. I suppose in this regard overnight moisturizers might as well all be called sleeping masks and day time moisturizers, activity masks?

What I did gravitate toward was Glow Recipe, a site where products are really celebrated from being uniquely different. While the brand curates “natural” offerings, the green beauties out there may notice some iffy ingredients such as PEG’s but in general I didn’t see too many bad ingredients. Think of this purveyor as carrying brands akin to Origins, REN, Grown Alchemist, where they’re not entirely ‘green’ but a daliance isn’t going to be ideology shattering either. I love how enthusiastic the ladies at Glow Recipe are with sharing their latest finds in which each product is given a chance to shine – their latest discovery is the Aqua Peel which is an acid treatment applied through a soaked over sized Q-Tip, pretty cool right?

With Glow Recipe, I found that the Whamisa line really spoke to me and I purchased their Organic Flowers Toner [Deep Rich] which is described as a bouncy essence like hydrating step and Organic Flowers Facial Oil which I purchased purely to see how Korean oils may differ from ones we purchase here. The Organic Flowers Facial Oil reminded me of the Acure Oil in terms of packaging and was noticeably light and quick absorbing. As a fan of face oils and being spoiled by brands like Odacite and Yuli that just can’t be beat when it comes to freshness, nothing about the Whamisa Oil stood out to me per se although it proved competent as a night time oil (it contains citrus oils which automatically classes it as an evening only product for me).

Still, the toner immediately found its way into my routine, nestled between cleansing and a fine botanical mist. I found the emollient texture to add a certain bit of moisture cushion which is much welcomed during the winter. I also like that it relies on Aloe Vera, botanical extracts and natural fermentation which is something we see in green beauty as well.

In fact, I recognized that a lot of things that worked for me with Korean Beauty also worked in line with green beauty from the reliance of high quality ingredients, plant based actives and designing a comprehensive system focused upon individual skin conditions. I was able to take the teachings of K-Beauty and apply it to my fairly green top shelf:

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My evening K-Beauty inspired Green routine starts with double cleansing. In Korea and Japan, women believe that to take off the layers of the day requires a multi-step process starting with the make-up, sunscreen and water-proof products. This is usually an oil based cleanser and in my case on light days, I use an oil-based cream cleanser like In Fiore’s Treate. After the surface is cleared, it’s time to really cleanse and freshen the skin and Korean beauty usually incorporates a light foaming, pH balanced cleanser that is usually SLS and alcohol free. Of course, for this step I use my beloved Yuli Halcyon Cleanser, which I find to use much higher quality and advanced ingredients – I really do consider it to be THE gift to us green beauty fans.

Now that skin is bare and fresh, I acid tone with First Aid Beauty’s Radiance Pads to give a gentle resurfacing which only helps skin absorb more moisture to follow. This is the most gentle acid toner I’ve used and it was recommended by a reader (thank you!). Next I use 3 drop-fuls of Whamisa’s Organic Flowers Toner and press into my skin in upward circular motions. This gives my skin a good moisture base to build from. Then I follow with Tatcha’s Luminous Deep Hydration Serum to really amp up the hydration factor with hyaluronic acid and Okinawa red algae which is very deeply moisturizing as the name suggests and gives skin some bounce. Next, with my skin loaded up from the water, glycerin, hydrating actives and hyaluronic acid, I mist it with MUN’s No.11 Rejuvenating Rose toner which is based on water and rose water (which the aforementioned actives will bind to skin) and also contains hyaluronic acid. In Korean Beauty, this is the pressed oil/ampoule stage so I press 1.5 to 2 pumps of Yuli’s Liquid Courage antioxidant serum to my skin as it is the most concentrated product and I want to give time for my skin to absorb all of the good stuff. Liquid Courage itself contains a unique ingredient in the form of a bio-ferment of black garlic which kicks up the antioxidant capacity, and don’t worry I can confirm that there is no unpleasant garlic odor, only a soft neroli fragrance. With serums, I allow one to two minutes for it to absorb before continuing.

During this time I diligently apply my Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum which is one of my favorite as it contains peptides, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid as well. I do a dot on each ring finger and dab across my under eye. This Eye Serum relieves that bit of tightness that I sometimes feel and sinks in quickly. I press any leftover product to my smile lines and around my lips.

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As the final step I use Tatcha’s Soothing Triple Recovery Cream which locks in all that hydration and itself is formulated with the highest concentration of colloidal oatmeal which is a very powerful anti-inflammatory. This anti-aging moisturizer also contains Indigo extract and is based on water and olive based squalane. The Soothing Triple Recovery Cream also does not contain essential oils and coupled with the colloidal oatmeal has won the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

So while I know this might look like a lot immediately, once each step is broken down everything starts making sense in their place. So what began as an exploration of a new trend really just showed me that it was a different take on the tried and true: do what works for you! I’ll likely continue to incorporate some things from Korean beauty because they’re quite playful and out of the box with product ideas and a lot of things actually work very well, however I’ve come away with a deeper appreciation for high quality ingredients that us green beauty fans have treasured all along.

The Cleansing Game Changers

One of the first posts I wrote on here was about how my search for the elusive “perfect” cleanser led me on the journey toward becoming the skin care aficionado that I’ve become today. Although my heart (and bank account) skips a beat for the next new serum, the purest of oils or the dreamiest of lotions; I find myself most moved by the power of a good cleanser.

Cleansing is one of the trickiest things to get right as effective can often mean drying, while hydrating cleansers may well cause clogged pores and more build-up. And while we all have our philosophy for what cleansing regimen works (Oil Cleanse, 4-2-4 In Fiore, Powder formulas, etc), the truth is that most cleansers are made to excel in only certain areas.

Consider the following as a comprehensive cheat sheet for the best of the best broken down by type.

Beauty Idealist Cleansers

Cleansing Oils & Balms

Some prefer to leave the two in their own category but ultimately when a balm is heated upon contact with skin, it becomes an oil so at the end you’re still oil cleansing. Oil Cleansing is extremely popular within the green beauty world and outside of it, is regarded more as a make-up remover. In fact, oils work under the principal of pulling water-resistant sunscreen and make-up off of skin by bonding with the oil bases in those products. This makes them particularly effective as a night-time cleanse. However, the cleansing is rather superficial and further cleansing is necessary for skin to work its best so even if you’re one of those “oil and done” types – try to add in a second cleanser at least twice a week to truly get rid of all the bad stuff.

Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil: gentle, subtle and a sight to behold, this cleansing oil is light yet substantial when it comes into contact with make-up. The emulsifying ingredients mean this oil rinses clean after it has done its job, leaving your skin surface clear and free of residue. (Mini Review Here)

de Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm: Everything about this balm is nirvana from the oh-so-soft buttery texture that melts into skin to the most beautiful of aromas – if you are searching for a cleansing balm, this needs to be at the top of that list. This is a balm I apply and will just sit, massage and enjoy while watching ‘scopes or catching up on tv. Although emulsifier is included in the rich-formula, I still recommend cloth removal to make sure everything is rinsed off.

Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover: Well… this is quite a mouthful of a name isn’t it? But it’s easy to see why Green Beauty fans the world over are so in love with this oil: it’s green, it’s effective and it feels great! Again – this oil will emulsify upon contact with water which means my 3 favorite best in class oil based cleansers all emulsify with water and that is no coincidence. I’d say the very fact that this oil contains an emulsifier elevates it ahead of the green beauty pack because the worst thing is to be left with oily residue from your cleanser – giving your 2nd cleanser more work to do. (Review Here)

Cleansing Milks & Creams

These are kind of hybrid that usually contain oils/waxes yet also surfactants (a.k.a the things that act as detergents). I recommend milks and creams for those with very dry and sensitive skin. The cleansing power is middle of the pack but it likely will not cause your skin to freak out either.

In Fiore Treate: A very gentle cleanser described as a “floral milk,” this cleanser contains both water based ingredients and oils. The texture is very light and creamy. It can be applied onto wet or dry skin depending on how lazy you are how you feel. It seems to work better in removing make-up on a drier surface while the wetter version feels better afterward as though dilution with water makes it gentler yet more thorough. The floral jasmine smell is actually very subtle for an In Fiore product where the rest of the line of facial care products smell positively like perfume oils.

Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser: I originally sampled a travel version of this cleanser and fell in love with it. I finished it up in under 1 week which meant the 200 ml bottle was destined for a spot on my beauty shelf. If I had to choose between Kahina or In Fiore’s cream cleansers, I’d pick this one: it’s more economic (lower price and larger size!) and I felt like the cream held together longer whereas the In Fiore would start to separate as I was within weeks of finishing it. This cleanser contains what I consider to be the most subtle fragrance of all cleansers on this list yet it isn’t boring, it’s a very light fragrance that gives it a sophisticated feel.

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser: Alright so I can’t talk about the cream cleansers without mentioning this one right? It was pretty much THE product of 2014 that catapulted Aurelia onto the scene. As far as polish goes, this contains bells and whistles, as I originally reviewed. Yet a year removed, I have to say I find myself opting for either In Fiore or Kahina when I want a cream cleanse and when I want to indulge in a massage, it’s de Mamial’s balm (above).

Cleansing Powder 

These are for the “my skin feels dull and congested, please just shed!” moments where purposeful exfoliation is necessary. While some powders can have a rough and abrasive texture, the two I recommend manage to get the job done without irritating skin.

Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder: Someone once told me they purchased this from Sephora because it was the only product to have all 5 star reviews and I don’t find that hard to believe. Tatcha’s Polished Rice Enzyme Powders somehow get that layer of dead skin cells off without making skin feel like it just went through a thorough exfoliation. There are four comfort levels for each skin type (Classic, Dry, Sensitive and Oily). Sensitive is seriously gentle and feels like rubbing a creamy pillow onto skin, yet when you’re done you’ll notice the effect of the exfoliation all the same. Oily is serious business, blackheads and congested pores along the nose are no match – two uses for me was all it took. (Mini Review)

de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate: Okay, I want to live in the de Mamiel studio because all of her products smell like bottled happiness. Although this too is a powder, the scent will stay with you after you turn this into a paste- and that is not a bad thing! Consider this a gentler version of May Lindstrom’s Clean Dirt only instead of spices, you get roses, chamomile and calendula. The powder can be used alone a la Clean Dirt, and it’s also suggested to mix in with a cleanser which I’ve done as well. I prefer using it alone because the ingredients are so good that I don’t want to dilute it.

Cleansing Gels

These are the performance powerhouses that go deep to penetrate skin. They’re sometimes referred to as the 2nd cleanse in green beauty but I think they should really be thought of as the cleansing step after make-up removal. Cleansing gels are all about performance so they’re not going to coat your skin in residue but they also won’t leave your skin with the “I just lotioned myself” feeling after which for some can feel unnatural. A good formula is one that does not have soaps, alcohols, sulfates as these are the culprits that dry out skin and mess up skin’s pH. Look for low to non foaming gels with good slip for best results.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip: This is an odd one – I originally found much to be loved yet when I continued using it I found daily use made my skin pretty flustered as I soon developed dry patches and break outs. This one earns a spot though because it’s great as a strong cleanser when your skin is misbehaving due to its seriously powerful mix of clays and anti-microbial plants. But when everything is good with your skin – leave it sitting on the beauty shelf, it looks good there anyway.

Grown Alchemist Gel Facial Cleanser: This cleanser perhaps comes closest to my former cleanser holy grail Ren’s Rose Centifolia Cleanser before they got bought out and the formula completely changed! Although the existence of citrus oils isn’t that great for day use, I still quite love this for its gentleness and the subtle plant fragrance. The inclusion of rose and aloe vera makes it very gentle on the skin.

YULI Halcyon: The only green cleanser to make it into this category, and no small feat either given the seriously advanced high-tech ingredients required to pull this off. My original review of this cleanser led to it being one of the most discussed products EVER on this site. As a cleanser, this is beautiful: intelligent ingredients that are gentle on skin, boost the moisture barrier and manage to give it a clean almost ‘nude’ relaxing feeling; as a beauty product, this is genius: a green formula featuring cleansing action through peptides (!!) and “hybridized fruit enzymes” do the heavy lifting. As an admitted beauty junkie – I  live for discovering new products, however this is the cleanser I keep coming back to and each time I’m reminded why I won’t be without it.

Hopefully I’ve covered the cleansers you love or are curious about – please share any cleansers you think would be great to add to this list. One thing is for certain and that is that whatever type of cleanser you like, there is a truly best in class green option available – what an achievement!

Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream

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When Kahina announced several months ago that it was releasing a night cream, my ears perked immediately. Truth be told, I had long since given up on green moisturizers, finding (what I consider to be) their over-reliance on waxes and butters undesirable for a girl like me who could break out for the slightest of reasons. The moment this night cream was released, I read the ingredients list like a hawk – lo and behold not a single wax in sight and the only butter was a breathable shea butter located further down the ingredients list than any green moisturizer I had seen.

Real talk: I put the Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream through it’s paces. As a beauty junkie who has been let down by too many green moisturizers in the past (Pai, Tata Harper – casting some shifty glances your way), it’s important for me to write a review from true real-world experience which I believe requires extensive use and not just first use/impressions that many editors and bloggers tend to give.

This following paragraph should tell you how the rest of the review is going to do: I originally wanted to write this review closer to winter when many are looking for a good moisturizer to add into their routine, but here we are in the middle of September. Why? Because I find it nearly impossible to not use up my jar of this delicious cream. It’s seriously a race at this point to write this post before I finish out the jar and end up taking pictures of an empty container. And I’m not the only one to blame, my mom virtually stole it from me when she visited for 2 weeks and I had to ask for it back! That is how good this stuff is!

Kahina Night Cream

Now let’s actually talk about this wonderful Night Cream! Like all Kahina products, it’s scented with a careful hand attuned to sensitivities which means it’s delicate, balanced, and beautiful in a very sophisticated and subtle way. I’m not fantastic at describing fragrance components but I can say that it smells fresh with soft notes that are an homage to the moisturizers roots in the wine country.

Kahina Night Cream

The texture is something many people have asked about because while this is a very nourishing cream, it’s deceptively light and silky. This is not one that you’ll need to warm in your hands, it’s a buttery fluid texture that is just right. That is very important because many people assume moisturizing = heavy and this is just not the case. I’d say any skin type can use this moisturizer and see good results because of the superb ingredients used.

Now let’s discuss results: first of all – this is moisturizing, let’s just get that out of the way. It does what it’s supposed to do which is moisturize skin and it does it beautifully, easily replacing any mainstream luxury lotion on the market in this regard. This seemingly simple task is actually quite an accomplishment for a product to comply with strict green standards, so I want to make everyone aware of how truly in awe I am that Kahina has managed this feat. Oh and also with all its bells and whistles, it just feels so damn good that I pretty much consider this the Bentley of moisturizers.

Red Wine Grapes

To achieve such excellent results, Kahina Giving Beauty uses their signature argan oil and the anti-aging red wine grapes which also makes this a very global product that incorporates two places very important to it’s founder: Morocco and Napa Valley. Argan Oil as we know is high in Vitamin E which smooths skin while Red Wine Grapes contain clinically proven concentrations of antioxidants resveratrol and polyphenols which address signs of aging. In this regard, it isn’t just a luxury moisturizer but rather an anti-aging moisturizing powerhouse. I also want to call out Aloe Vera Juice the first ingredient which is probably why this is such a soothing cream as well as Blue Tansy, one of the “hit” ingredients from summer known as a particularly effective anti-inflammation ingredient.

A jar of Night Cream retails for $105 (50ml) which I understand can be a bit intimidating. But listen: this IS the Bentley of moisturizers after all. I think it’s solid enough for people hesitant about green beauty to use and those of you making the switch from your La Mer and La Prairie moisturizers should make this your first stop as it delivers better long term results in a similarly elegant package. For those of you on the more economic side, I will just say this: you can still get good moisturizers at lower price points but if you ask me for my absolute favorite regardless of price, it would be this.

Kahina

So in short: this is THE moisturizer to have in my book and in fact when people ask for recommendations on a good, clean moisturizer, this is the one I’ve been recommending. If you’re on the fence, the great news is that Kahina now has samples of their products and many of their retailers including Spirit Beauty Lounge offer custom sample services so you’ll be able to try this in some way. Not only do I think this is one of the best products in the green beauty world, I would consider it to be one of my favorite products in general. Clean, proven ingredients and wonderful results make this a winner.

My day with Kahina Giving Beauty

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I recently had the chance to check out Kahina‘s full line in person. As a luxury green beauty buff, it was my version of a playground: the entire range at my disposal! Here are my quick notes on the entire range from my limited time with them:

Kahina Giving Beauty Cleanser: A white creamy cleanser, almost no scent. Turns milky with water with no foaming or lather. Would probably be great for dry or sensitive skin. ($56)

Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist: Very light and refreshing, no strong fragrance but smells slightly of rose and aloe – feminine yet subtle enough for men to enjoy as well. I could see this being a staple item because it felt moisturizing without being heavy. ($46)

Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Lotion: I’m not one to willfully experiment with lotions due to my skins ease with breaking out but a few pumps of this lotion convinced me this might be the next item to give the full test run. It felt light and hydrating without heavy fragrance (a recurring theme with Kahina that is welcomed in my opinion), and I feel like this might be wonderful over an oil or serum. ($62)

Kahina Giving Beauty Serum: I think this is Kahina’s version of a facial oil. It’s a dark and earthy oil that I think will be an upgrade for those who want something a little more fancy than Kahina’s renowned Argan Oil. ($90)

Kahina Brightening Serum: Read my review here.

Kahina Antioxidant Mask: Read my review here.

Kahina Eye Serum/Eye Cream: Okay so I played around with both to get an idea for who each product is for. The eye serum is light and sinks into skin. The eye cream is thicker and has longer presence on skin. Both are hydrating but the eye cream is what you want for dryness and more intense repair. The eye serum is great as a lighter weight product that may however be more active. ($78/$65)

Interesting note: the Eye Cream and Antioxidant Mask jars were nearly depleted so I definitely think those are the customer favorites.

On the whole I found the range to be very well made, the scents were always light and subtle, the textures were just right, and all products had great moisturizing qualities. After playing with the entire range, the products on my list are definitely the eye serum, facial lotion and toning mist.

Lighten up! Kahina Brightening Serum

*Product generously and lovingly provided by Kahina Giving Beauty, review is completely my own*

When I received a bottle of Kahina’s Brightening Serum in the mail, I was so excited! I love Kahina for their gentle, nurturing products which always do their job AND keep skin very pampered. I reviewed their Antioxidant Mask earlier, and ended up getting a full size of the product at work. In fact, I just used it last night because my skin was feeling very listless at the end of a grueling dead week before finals! Now onto the Brightening Serum!

Kahina’s Brightening Serum refines skin tone, evens out pigmentation, and increases luminosity. It does so with a blend of White Lily, Japanese Wakame Seaweed, Maritime Pine, Green Tea, and Argan oil, high in antioxidants. The serum is very milky in texture and consistency. The scent is composed of essential oils of Geranium, Lavender, Sandalwood, as well as Spearmint and Rosemary extract – therefore it has a fresh pine/mint scent. Kahina’s products are known to be great for drier and more mature skin types, but I found that I could basically use this serum as a moisturizer for my skin type. I apply two pumps all over my face day and night and it is enough to keep my face moisturized. I think the combination of Shea butter, Argan Oil, and Hyaluronic Acid are the key moisturizers which are enough for my skin type. 

I’ve been using this serum for 4-6 weeks as recommended and although I don’t really have pigmentation problems right now, I notice that my skin truly does look more luminous and bright. Even in the dull winter, my skin looks fresh and awake. I could not help but think how much better of an investment this is than the traditional brightening products you see from Shiseido (White Lucent Brightening Cream) or Clarins (Brightening Night Cream), not only do you get the results, but you’re also treating your skin well in the process with a very clean formulation.

One usage caution: for those with oily or blemish prone skin, start out using the Brightening serum every other night and gradually build your way up to see how your skin handles the serum. I noticed slight redness/bumps my first week along my cheeks and jawline and reined back my frequency of usage, and have now controlled/adjusted usage so that I do not get that type of reaction. I think we just have to figure out how to make the products work for us. I still think this is better than the non-clean products on the market like Shiseido and Clarins whose formulas cause me blown out cystic acne, irritation, and unbalanced skin, so take my tip for what it is but don’t let it scare you from trying this if you are looking for a product that will give you luminous, bright skin.

The Essential Clay Masks

(L) Kahina Giving Beauty Antioxidant Mask Sample;
(R) Aesop Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque

I’ve been on an obsession with masks recently and I’ve noticed they seem to be divided among two camps of “purifying” masks and “nourishing” masks. My skin is at that stage where a mask that is solely purifying is not enough since I need that extra something to make it glow, and a mask that is purely nourishing is too rich for my blemish prone skin. So I started paying more attention to clay masks.

Kahina’s Antioxidant Mask and Aesop’s Primrose Masque aren’t like the pore-vacuuming clay masks of yesteryear that left skin irritated and stripped. These masks infuse skin with nutrients like antioxidants, nourishing botanical oils, and minerals that give skin a wonderful glow while decongesting pores.

Aesop’s Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque has an earthy, green scent that won’t offend most senses. The product is a hardened clay so you will need to use the heat from your fingers to liquefy it a little so it melts easily on the face. It uses Kaolin clay and Bentonite, which are very ancient traditional cosmetic ingredients used to draw out toxins and impurities. There is also Evening Primrose Oil, Rose Canina Fruit Oil, and Sage Oil which provide antioxidants, Vitamin E, and hydration.

I found this masque a little messy to scoop since it is a little hard, which is why the sides of the bottle are a little messy. But applying on the face was a breeze. My skin didn’t really feel anything when I had it on, even when it dried, my face wasn’t stiff and stone-like. I love that upon drying, it turns to a white crust on top of the skin so it washes off very easily and cleanly. The only thing is it wasn’t as strong as the mask by Kahina in drawing out impurities and hydrating. 

Kahina’s Antioxidant Mask utilizes Rhassoul Clay, which is a mineral rich clay mined from the Atlas mountain region in Morocco. This type of clay is very rich in skin friendly minerals such as silica and magnesium. Kahina’s Antioxidant mask is richer in hydrating and nutrient dense ingredients such as Argan Oil, Sunflower seed oil, Acai Fruit Oil, Pomegranate seed Extract, and Rosemary Leaf Extract. I love that Argan Oil, which Kahina is known for, is included so high in the ingredients list because it balances out the drawing properties of the clay perfectly so your skin is being nourished as well. There are definitely more antioxidant rich ingredients in this formula which is important for repairing your skin.

Upon using this sample, I noticed the mask is significantly lighter than the Aesop mask. The clay scoops very easily onto my finger and applies effortlessly onto my skin. Because it was so easy to apply, I really didn’t need a lot of it to cover my entire face. I noticed some granules in the formula which provide gentle exfoliation. The scent is interesting, it shares a definite clay scent with the Aesop product but this product has undertones of key botanical oils of Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Geranium which is very refreshing. I felt a little bit of a tingling sensation along the pores next to my nose so I knew this product was more active than Aesops. Upon washing the mask, I found that it turned into almost a foamy cleanser. I was pretty surprised at that! I felt that despite being a stronger purifier, this also left my skin more nourished, most likely due to the more abundant number of skin repairing antioxidant actives. I was also surprised after washing off that my skin was a little flushed, not red in an irritated way, but a healthy glow showing that there was some circulation to my skin. 

I think both products are wonderful with the edge going to Kahina due to higher quality of ingredients, more abundant ingredients, and a more effective product that both purifies and nourishes. Ultimately both will provide great detoxification and carry good antioxidant nutrition, so you can’t go wrong!

Aesop Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque ($47) 

Kahina Giving Beauty Antioxidant Mask ($62)

Green Beauty Event Shopping List

I don’t know about you, but as a girl with one foot firmly planted in the luxury beauty market, and one foot planted in the clean beauty market – I couldn’t be more excited about some of the luxury brands participating in the 1st annual Green Beauty Event on Fashion’s Night Out! I will of course be working, so those of you in New York – please feel free to stop by Neiman Marcus where we will be hosting many events and giving away lots of prizes! Before my shift though, I’ll be eagerly taking advantage of the promotions offered by each brand, here is a shortlist of what I plan to buy:

Kahina Antioxidant Mask ($62)

I love masks and I love antioxidants, is it any wonder this product earned a spot on this list? I’m at the age now where I need to decongest skin while I can’t have anythign too drying/harsh as I need to start worrying about the first signs of aging so this seems like the perfect product. I also want to keep the jar for future use- I don’t know what I’ll use it for but it looks really neat.

Kajer Weis Lip Tint ($48)

Clean product? Check. Beautiful colors? Check. Slick packaging? Check x 100. This is a product that is not only well formulated but the gorgeous mirrored metallic sliding container is one of the most distinct, eye-catching packaging I’ve seen in a long time. I do hope the pigmentation and wear time are sufficient – I will definitely post a review after I’ve had enough time with this.

YULI Mr.Incredible ($78)

Been a fan of this line and the quiet storm they’ve generated since launching. The Mr.Incredible product is the ultimate luxury shave oil that I plan to get for my boyfriend who up til now only just transitioned from shaving creams to olive oil. I ordered a sample before and the scent is HEAVEN, kind of like my boyfriends current Tom Ford cologne only it is completely natural. I also really like that it also really takes care of skin besides just for shaving so he can use it daily.

Dr. Alkaitis Purifying Facial Cleanser ($65)

I’m always on the hunt for cleansers, and I’ve been meaning to try Dr.Alkaitis for some time now. I thought the cleanser would be the best product since it is described as both gentle and deeply cleansing which is important for me since I find that deep cleansing products often leave my skin ‘tight’ and dry which only causes my skin to overproduce oil soon after. I’m really curious if the organic castile cleansing base will be similar to Dr.Bronners or if the additional ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Skin Repair complex will add in some nourishment.

La Bella Figura Under Eye Repair Serum ($115)

I haven’t met an eye serum yet that has done what I needed it to: moisturize, firm/lift, erase dark eye circles, and enliven. At my age, I don’t have under eye bags or even crows feet  (luckily) but I do feel the undereye area get fatigued more easily now and when I don’t get enough rest, sometimes I look like a panda.

This natural beauty promises to tackle tired eyes, dark circles, and smooth facial lines. I have high hopes for this product since the ingredients list looks well put together with coffee beans, rosehip, tomato, and blue tansy.

YULI Panacea Elixir ($36)

This is my addiction. Plain and simple. The flower hydrosols, the antioxidant rich actives, the fresh earthy scent – this elixir feels like spraying living nature on your face. It is such a rush of energy when you’re tired throughout the day. I also noticed that if I spray just this on my face at night and go to bed, newly forming blemishes die down. I don’t know how it does this, but the decongestant/detox qualities of this product are no joke. My skin just feels better and pores look refined. I’m definitely stocking up on this stuff.

Vapour Organic Beauty Soft Focus Foundation ($48)

I love my current Koh Gen Do foundation, but the truth is – it isn’t a ‘clean’ product although based on the retailer literature I have access to, I did see that it is low in silicones compared to other foundations. I’ve decided to try out Vapour Organic’s Soft Focus foundation because if it can live up to the promise, it sounds amazing. There is light reflective technology to conceal the appearance of lines, pores, and wrinkles, and organic Pumpkin/Papaya complex actually moisturizes skin as you have your foundation on. There are also anti-inflammatory ingredients, skin brightening actives, and no chemicals! If this does work, it will most likely replace my mainstream Koh Gen Do, Armani, and Chanel foundations -so we will see if it can rise to the occasion! 

What products are on your shopping list?