Along with pretty much everyone else this past month, I caught a cold. It was just a garden-variety headache and congestion - nothing to write home about. However, my face did not take too kindly to the constant chafing of tissues. The entire region south of my eyes and north of my neck became varying degrees of raw, and I developed a red skin moustache. My skin was like an outward expression of the havoc that was being wreaked inside my body. It was around this time that I discovered Walker’s Apothecary, a beauty haven in Jersey City that offers specialized services and well-curated products, including an in-house range.

I got my hands on Walker’s Apothecary Skincare Sampler, which showcases the Marine Peel, the Chamomile Soothing Gel, the Green Coffee Moisture Masque, and the Super Moisturizing Serum. The latter two products sounded like music to my congested ears. Intense moisture paired with uplifting botanicals was just what the doctor ordered for my irritated skin. Because each formula is 100% natural, I didn’t have to fret about parabens, petrochemicals, artificial fragrance, or other sensitizers adding fuel to the flame.

As directed, I applied the Green Coffee Moisture Masque on clean skin. Its formula is loaded with green bean coffee extracts, vitamin B5, and gentle emollients like glycerin, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, and olive oil esters. In a lesser product, all these natural oils might make the skin appear greasy or shiny, but this mask balances them out with montmorillonite, a mineral-rich natural clay. Montmorillonite clay minerals occur in very fine-grained particles that carry a negative electrical charge. When they come into contact with acidic toxins carrying a positive charge, the clay particles absorb these impurities and hold them in suspension until the mask is rinsed off. The overall effect it has on the skin is both smoothing and firming. After washing off the mask, my skin felt fully hydrated, and moreover, it looked like I just had an expensive facial.

The Green Coffee Moisture Masque drew out the toxins from my skin and healed some of the inflammation, but the ravages of my cold would not let my skin relax. I typically need to apply moisturizer the instant I’ve dried my face after cleansing, but after removing the mask, my skin survived much longer than usual. Nonetheless, patches of dry scales and flakes eventually cropped up around my nose and chin. I turned to the Super Moisturizing Serum to see if it would live up to its name.

I usually shy away from serums when my skin is particularly parched since their gel or liquid-like consistency tends to dry out my face even more. But I could tell that Walker’s Apothecary serum would be different. It spread over my sickly skin like a lightweight cashmere blanket, luxuriously coating the dried out crevices and chapped areas on my face’s lower hemisphere. Its creamy, yet airy, texture reminded me of Wilava Vitamin C Serum. Both manage to satisfy the skin with enough lasting hydration to stand alone, but also play well with others (including sunscreen, makeup, and a more heavy-duty moisturizer). Once the serum had absorbed, my skin looked well-nourished, more balanced, and undoubtedly healthy.

Based on its cheery ingredients list, it should be no surprise that the Super Moisturizing Serum made my skin sing. Instead of artificial lubricants like silicones, which give a temporary illusion of conditioning, the serum is built on natural emollients (i.e. jojoba, safflower oils, glycerin, shea butter, provitamin B5) that actually nourish the skin instead of deluding it. Vitamin E, vit C ester, and green tea extract  deliver antioxidants that help delay cellular aging. Several antioxidant-rich seaweed extracts, carrageenan and laminaria, make an appearance, along with various aromatic essential oils. There are also noteworthy contributions from botanicals like the herb centella asiatica, which boosts circulation and collagen production, and ginkgo biloba, which acts as an anti-inflammatory.

In the past - before I got smart about skin care - my gut reaction to a cold-induced raw face had been to smother it in petroleum jelly, undeterred by the fact that it never seemed to heal my skin. I was creating a protective barrier over my skin without feeding it with the nutrients needed to thrive. I now know that sick, thirsty skin craves moisture therapy in the form of natural ingredients, not chemical copycats. With the addition of the mask and serum from Walker’s Apothecary into my dry skin routine, I have traded in my red skin moustache for a fresh-faced glow all over. Sniffle season may be nearing an end, but my skin will be relying on Walker’s Apothecary year-round.

Green Coffee Moisture Masque Ingredients: Purified water, glycerin, montmorillonite (natural clay), green bean coffee extract, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, allantoin, DL-panthenol (vitamin B-5), olive oil PEG-7 esters, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetearyl alcohol, stearic acid, DMDM hydantoin and iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, xanthan gum, natural fragrance.

Super Moisturizing Serum Ingredients: Purified water, jojoba, safflower oils, glycerin, isononyl isononanoate, cetearyl glucoside, shea butter, carrageenan, PCA, tocopherol acetate, ascorbyl palmitate, wheat amino acids, green tea, grapeseed, centella asiatica, laminaria, ginkgo biloba, cordia verbenacea extracts, grapefruit, geranium, rosewood, cinnamon, evening primrose oils, DMDM hydantoin and iodopropynyl butylcarbamate.