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My Latest Natural Skin Care Discoveries

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October 27, 2015 Reviewed by Marta 14 Comments

My personal mantra is that the good should outweigh the bad. Actually this probably extends beyond skin care to behavior, men, books…. Life in general. As you have gathered, I am not a purist and will overlook a few flaws if there mostly good things and some of my new favorites — Dr. Dennis Gross, SimySkin, Apothederm — fall into this category. However, I’m also sensitive to members of the Truth In Aging community who want their products to be free of nasties and not have to check up on dubious looking ingredients. Well, this year there have been some great discoveries of natural, pure yet effective products and here is a round up.

Pure Glam

It is so hard to find genuinely natural hair care products. Too often they are nothing more than a few token botanicals mixed in with harsh surfactants. Or they might be natural but leave your hair feeling as if it was doused in swamp weed. What a welcome surprise to come across Pure Glam. The brand is about more than hair care, but I went straight for the Pure Glam Waves Sea Spray ($26). It’s the healthiest hair spray I have ever come across without compromising its beachy waves hold. The only downside is that my husband stole it and won’t give it (he have never used any kind of hair grooming product before). The Pure Glam Performance Luxury Wash Shampoo and Daily Conditioner ($26.99) have algae, artichoke, wheat and more. Plus the results gave tester Jeanne the confidence to grow her hair into a new style.

ExPürtise

ExPürtise was launched this year filling a gap in the market that lies between anti-aging products that are full of synthetics and petroleum-based fillers and organic/natural products that don’t have the hard-working actives such as growth factors, peptides and retinols. The Effective Anti-aging Eye Serum ($65 in the shop) and the Face Serum ($120 in the shop) have growth factors and collagen-boosting peptides, vitamins including the more uncommon vitamin K, as well as organic botanical extracts. Even the latter push the envelope with daisy stem cells that are meant to contribute to the longevity of cells. There are absolutely no nasties and even the preservative is radish root ferment.

Oh, and did I mention that they work? A little goes a long way and, and as our reviewer Gina put it, they don’t top Botox, but they do deserve a 5-star rating.

I Pekar

New brand I Pekar has just emerged from a reformulation. The first iteration didn’t quite get the balance right between the 100% raw honey and the practical need for a cream that didn’t separate. It was a telling illustration of how hard it is to pull off a really, completely natural formulation and how stabilizers, emulsifiers and silicones can make a formulator’s life much easier. But I Pekar has come back from the drawing board with a stable formula that hasn’t been compromised by any of those things.

The signature honey is still the active ingredient and shares with peptides, vitamins and antioxidants. The light, whipped cream formulas are stable and, best of all, give the skin a lovely glow.

SimySkin

Completely natural cleansers are difficult to formulate, as chemical surfactants do the cleansing and foaming part. SimySkin is a new discovery of mine that formulates without parabens, mineral oil, synthetic colors, synthetic fragrances, soap, or sulfate. The Exfoliating Scrub ($40) is marred by a harsh preservative, but otherwise is a happy blend of anti-aging actives and the same goes for the Anti-aging Cleanser ($40). The serum and moisturizers are a little more compromised and couldn’t be called all natural, but even then the good far outweighs the bad.

Moana

New Zealand conjures glaciers, sparkling lakes, exotic indigenous ferns and, of course, kiwis (fruit and bird). This is home to Moana, a new skin care brand that is as pristine as those lakes and based on a form of red algae that gives, for example, the Serum ($119.50) a dose of marine glycans that comprises almost 100% of the formula. Other ingredients of note are awakawa, a bitter-tasting shrub that is a natural anti-inflammatory as well as anti-bacterial, and harakeke, a kind of flax full of omegas.

SkinOwl

SkinOwl’s other mission statement is to go beyond skin care and “deliver a core component of total self-care.” So far, I have only tried the SkinOwl Eye+ ($46 in the shop) and although only the herbal base and cucumber distillate are organic, the formula’s carefully chosen ingredients live up to the brand’s values. This is a great eye cream (although it is more of a solid gel) and has a ton of amino acids, a botanical alternative to hyaluronic acid and MSM. Look out for more reviews of the SkinOwl range in the coming weeks.

  • November 5, 2015

    by Rachel

    I have another one for you, Marta. : ) True Nature Botanicals- The Pacific Line. Getting lots of rave reviews by green bloggers. Apparently, it is especially great for aging skin that also has breakouts (which is lucky me). Hope you will check it out! Would love to know what you think.

  • October 30, 2015

    by Rachel

    Thank you, Marta! Good to know about Ozmorovicza- that's why I love this site. Yes, I meant Blissima : ) and looking forward to the reviews.

  • October 29, 2015

    by Alina

    Marta, this is what I use from Moss. Their Zen Psychic Acne Oil treatment is the best spot treatment for acne that I was able to find. My son uses it too and has helped him get rid of a nasty cystic spot. The Renewal Matrix Scar is supposed to help with acne scars: I use it on my chin twice a day and my acne scars have definitely subsided. But I believe that this has also been because I am not getting that much acne anymore. I credit Moss' Clear Resolution Balancing Face Oil, which I use in the morning, mixed up with their powder sunscreen and with a serum from In Fiore. I mix them in a tiny "soy sauce type" bowl and I get, in one layer, acne protection, sunscreen, antioxidants, a mattifying effect and no nasties. Everyone is different, but these products have worked really well for me. I would get a cyst on my chin every month with probability one, and I have not had any since I started using their products. If I get a small pimple, it typically goes away much faster with the Zen. If I pop it (I know, I know....), the Zen helps heal it quicker than it would be the case without it. Now, with all this said, my overall face oil at night is either Vintner's Daughter or Aria by La Bella Figura. These two are hard to beat for antiaging effects. Note that I am 45 (so a few days older than 30 :-)) and I have tried MitoQ, Sciote, Brad, and many other products, but for now I have been purchasing and repurchasing these natural brands. Just my two cents, but hope that helps.

  • October 28, 2015

    by Kelly

    I'm curious about clary sage oil and would love to try it. Clary sage is very calming as an essential oil. It balances hormones and improves circulation and used as a fragrance it can enhance one's ability to sleep and de stress so I'm curious as to how it performs on the skin. I'm assuming it can soothe inflamed skin and reduce acne. I've used organic rosehip oil alone and combined with a night cream for anti aging, rejuvenating and hydrating properties. It works very well. Plumps the skin.

  • October 28, 2015

    by Anna

    I loved your article. I was surprised I did not see Mineral Fusion. Have you tried their line? The are gluten, cruelty, paraben Free, artificial color, fragrance and talc free : and Hypo-allergenic - and their products work! They have anti-aging ingredients and their formulas have really helped my skin. Thank you again for the great article!

  • October 28, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Rachel, we have Pai and May Lindstrom on our radar and hopefully will be testing soon. We do try to have a strong focus on anti-aging and not just natural and on that basis Osmia doesn't really cut it, although they look nice. Ozmorovicza does have synthetic preservatives high up the ingredient list, alcohol (which Europeans seem incapable of formulating without) and fragrance, the anti-aging ingredients look solid though. I am guessing you mean Blissoma, which had in the shop for a while, and we reviewed Tata Harper a few years ago and its probably time to revisit. Thanks for the ideas and keep them coming.

  • October 28, 2015

    by debra j.

    I just started using NAHAIA Active Organics from New Zealand.

  • October 27, 2015

    by Rachel

    This is a very timely post! I have spent the past week researching natural skincare and I have to say it is very overwhelming. I definitely plan to check these out.

    A few other names that kept coming up in my relentless quest for quality products: Tata Harper, Pai, Blossima, Osmia, May Lindstrom, Nude, and Ozmorovicza. Anyone tried these or are they on the radar for review?

    Thanks for a great forum.

  • October 27, 2015

    by imelda

    I've just reached a milestone and my skin is now beginning to really show how it's loosing the elasticity and glow that it used to have. The YBF Private Reserve Oil that I tried a while ago worked quite well but it was just a bit pricey. Perhaps with this more affordable Skin Owl Clary Sage, I could get back to using luxurious yet simple skin oils and see that radiance on my skin once more.

  • October 27, 2015

    by Mimi

    I have used and am still currently using the SkinOwl Eye gel which I really love. It is beautifully soothing, de-puffing and I find it tightens and moisturizes my upper lids and lower eye area. This is the first product that I have used where tightening and moisturizing have been combined in....usually I find that tightening tends to also have the unfortunate side effect of drying but not with SkinOwl :-)! The smell is lovely as well reminding me of cucumber spa water....it appeals to the senses as well!

    I would love to sample the SkinOwl Clary Sage Beauty Drops - I love oils and serums finding that they absorb into my skin more effectively than a cream that sometimes doesn't seem to penetrate as deeply. Many thanks!

  • October 27, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Alina, thanks for the Moss tip. I took a look and the products seem lovely. But I am wondering if there are enough anti-aging ingredients for my 50-something skin. They look more suited to 30-somethings. What do you think?

  • October 27, 2015

    by Karen S.

    If a wise old (anti-aging) owl is on SkinOwl's product label, and particularly the Clary Sage beauty drops, then I'm all for trying them. There is a method in the marketing that appeals to those of us bent on trying oils that deliver, and ol' wise one clenches the deal. I utilize natural oils in my cleansing and moisturizing routine that have included grape seed, jojoba, argan, emu and a host of others, so I would enjoy switching to something like the Clary Sage for a change of pace and derive the benefits of its moisture content for dryness issues.

  • October 27, 2015

    by Alina

    Marta, you NEED to try Moss skincare. I use almost exclusively natural brands now and this has been a standout. It's the only natural skincare that effectively deals with acne and does so while providing a luxurious experience. Also, I have not tried any of SkinOwls products but I do use oils extensively and I would love to try a new one.

  • October 27, 2015

    by Linda

    I absolutely love the Skin Owl Eye+! Because it is reasonably priced, I did not know that it would be such an effective eye cream. However, it lifts and tightens and smooths the skin under the eyes immediately. I am hoping that there is a cumulative effect over time as well. I keep mine in the frig, because the cold activates the cucumber, which increases it's effect. I just take a tiny dab and put it under my eye in the morning, and then a couple times throughout the day because it feels so refreshing.

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