By Maribel M.
Pyto Afriq is a South African skin care company focused on developing high-performing botanical products, favoring small scale sustainable resources that support the communities that depend on these plants. Aloe Ferox + Ultra Hydrating Facial Gel ($140) is the only product the company offers so far. Claiming to be suitable for all skin types, particularly imbalanced, dry, mature, stressed and sun damaged skin, I was very excited to try this out. I’m in my early 30s and my skin is dry and prone to broken capillaries, so I am constantly trying out products that will keep it nourished and calm throughout the day.
The main ingredients in this product are aloe ferox, organic buchu and rose geranium leaf oils, all of which are meant to hydrate, nourish and protect the skin. Aloe ferox is the South African counterpart of aloe vera, and according to Phyto Afriq’s website, has five times the mineral content and is richer in nutrients than the traditional aloe we know. Aloe ferox is a naturally-occurring humectant and is high in glycoproteins, polysaccharides and amino acids.
Buchu, considered to be one of South Africa’s most important therapeutic plants, is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For those sensitive to smells, I will say this product has a relatively strong herbal fragrance when applied to the skin, which can be attributed to the buchu leaf oil. While the smell doesn’t bother me, it’s something to consider. Rose geranium is known in assisting detoxification and balancing the skin while — bonus! —uplifting the mood.
While the ingredients list is relatively short, phenoxyethanol and sodium hydroxide are included, which can be irritating to the skin. I would advise performing a patch test before applying to make sure one’s skin is not allergic to any of the ingredients. It is free from herbicides, insecticides, petrochemicals, toxic compounds, parabens, or phthalates.
The product comes in a beautiful green-colored glass bottle with a pump, which makes for easy application. The product itself is a gel consistency that absorbs nicely into the skin without leaving a residue and really does keep my skin hydrated all day, even under all my makeup, which is the true test for me. I’ve been using the Ultra Hydrating Facial Gel daily for two months instead of my usual moisturizer, and I haven’t felt the need to change or stop using it.
Being a product junkie, I am not easily impressed, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised by this facial gel. At first, I wasn’t sure this product was going to be hydrating enough for my skin, since in my experience, facial gels are better suited for oilier skin types. Although I’ve enjoyed using the product and will continue to use it until its finished, I’m not sure I would pay the high price to use it again, as I feel its worked nicely as a hydrator for my skin but not much else.
However, I do think it’s great that the proceeds from every bottle sold are used to support the communities that harvest the ingredients found in the product. All in all, I’ve definitely enjoyed using this product and it’s one that I would continue to use if the price wasn’t so high. I would look forward to trying out any products the company develops in the future.