Our Rating: 5 stars

Early in September, I took a trip to the UK to visit family and friends and couldn’t resist conducting a little research into what is hot in British skincare. I didn’t find much that was new and interesting but wandering around Covent Garden in London I came across a shop with a bright, modern apothecary vibe called The Organic Pharmacy. I bought a bottle of Rose Plus Brightening Complex ($189 in the shop) and loved it from the moment I opened the bottle. More than five weeks later, I can’t say enough good things about it.

Rose Plus Brightening Complex is a rich moisturizer with a heady, but still fresh, floral scent. My husband noticed it immediately and appreciatively (a good and rare sign). It makes me think of summer, puts me in a good mood and is testament to the phrase “coming up smelling of roses.” More importantly, Rose Plus makes my skin look pretty and plump. Fine lines are smoothed and overall everything looks a little firmer and tighter.

The Organic Pharmacy was started about 10 years ago by a husband and wife team. Margo Marrone trained as a pharmacist specializing in herbal medicine. Her skincare products are packaged with a clean, simple elegance. Most importantly, they are packed with natural ingredients and eshew toxins. Rose Plus Brightening Complex is a good example of The Organic Pharmacy’s approach to formulation – mostly botanicals and ones that give visible results.

The firming effect I notice when using Rose Plus may be due to the very first ingredient. It is New Zealand fern, which Maoris used for centuries for wound healing. Recently, it was found that the leaves are rich in polysaccharides. Once fern extract is applied on the skin and water has evaporated, the polysaccharides form an elastic film that tightens the skin. It seems to be for immediate gratification rather than lasting effect, but at least it is natural.

Phospholipids are a favorite ingredient of mine and I am pleased to see them play a dominant role here. They attract water and hold on to it, plus they retain their structure when applied and because of this are sometimes called a “second skin.” There are several vitamins in Rose Plus, but I am attracted to some of the more exotic botanicals such as kigelia africana (with its gorgeous bat-pollinated flowers and bizarre monster sausage-like fruit). It is an antibacterial, a “significant” (in the words of one study) anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.

Now what about skin brightening botanicals – I assumed there must be some since this product’s name is Rose Plus Brightening Complex. Well, there is mulberry, which prevents hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase. But I was especially intrigued to discover that jack fruit has also been found to be a tyrosinase inhibitor that is more potent than kojic acid, according to one study.

Although there is behenyl alcohol, I don’t find this moisturizer irritating. Overall, there is nothing nasty here at all, although it should be noted that Japanese honeysuckle is a controversial ingredient that is used as a preservative and with similarities to parabens.

I have also tried The Organic Pharmacy’s shampoo and I have to confess that I didn’t love that. Nonetheless, Rose Plus Brightening Complex has won me over and I am eager to get to know more products by this company.

Ingredients: New Zealand Fern (Cyathea Cumingii Leaf Extract), Honeysuckle (Lonicera Japonica), Aqua (Water), Phospholipids , Behenyl Alcohol , Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis), Vitamin C (Ascorbyl Palmitate) , Lemon (Citrus Limonum), Mulberry Leaf (Morus Alba), Hibiscus (Hibiscus Sabdariffah), Kigelia Africana (Kigelia Africana), Jack Fruit (Artocarpus Heterophyllus Seed Extract), Papaya (Papaya proteolytic enzyme), Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Rose Hip (Rosa Canina) , Cucumber (Cucumis Sativa), Marigold (Calendula Officinalis), Sunflower Oil (Helianthus Annus) , Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera) , Acai (Euterpe oleracea berry), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Maltodextrin, Disodium Phosphate, Glyceryl Stearate, Aloe (Aloe Barbedensis), Rye Alcohol, Soybean Sterols (Glycine Soya), Honey (Mel), Ceteryl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lactic acid, Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis).