Enessa Natural and Organic Skincare

I love learning about lines that aren’t mainstream that I haven’t tried before. After hearing glowing reviews from my very particular and beyond informed facialist friend Tjaden about Enessa, I knew I had to give the line a look. After my EvanHealy disaster during my last pregnancy, I’ve been scared to try lines that use essential oils and clean ingredients for fear it isn’t enough to keep breakouts, wrinkles, and discolorations away. Tjaden assured me that Enessa’s ingredients were not only clean, but also mindful of the skin and what ingredients work synergistically to create results in a natural way. She was impressed, and after giving them a try so am I.

Their basic packaging and dated website don’t speak for the quality of the line and the brilliance of the products whatsoever. I saw results in my skin upon the first use, especially with my new obsession, the Seaweed Bio-Exfoliant. It’s a sage colored paste that smells like earthy lavender that exfoliates and purifies the skin. I leave it on for a few minutes to get a mask effect and I also use it as a spot treatment for any breakouts. It’s so ridiculously softening for the skin that I resist the urge to use it every day and night. It’s just amazing.

enessa

Their aloe-based Monoi Soothing Cleanser has really solidified what I always preach about cleansers. I tend to gravitate toward cleansers that have some sort of glycolic or lactic or something in them because I want that added benefit, but after using this cleanser I can see that I was needlessly drying my skin out and that tight feeling after cleansing that I’m so addicted to isn’t a good thing. It makes my skin really comfortable and soft and clean without stripping or drying.

enessa 2

I’m also in love with their PlantCel Lifting Serum which is rich in plant-based actives that are meant to repair the skin at a cellular level. It’s basically an antioxidant, exfoliant, radiance-enhancing super serum that uses plant technology instead of chemicals to get the skin glowing. I’ve found that when I wear it I don’t need to wear as much foundation because my skin looks great. I’m hoping it helps to keep my melasma in check during this pregnancy as well as give some great long-term benefits as well.

Enessa PlantCell Lifting Serum

Worth mentioning that I didn’t get to try: Clove Acne Control, a clove and jojoba oil spot treatment to zap zits without any drying or irritation, and also their Diminish-Scar Treatment to minimize the look of scars.

Things I Buy: Ole Henriksen

When I was pregnant one of the first things I did was switch out my skincare. Goodbye Retin A and all the other hardcore products that keep my face properly sanded down and presentable. See ya later good skin- or so I thought. After some research I found that AHA’s, lactic acid, and a most natural exfoliating ingredients were safe to use so I looked into Ole Henriksen, a brand I’d been sent to review in the past and always really liked. I remembered their natural-yet-effective spin on skincare so I bought Sheer Transformation for a light moisturizer that would also aid in keeping dark spots away. (Sidebar: there’s no stopping that melasma when it comes on, you just have to wait until after the baby is born to tackle it and let it fade out on its own.)

Fast forward to today when I’m out of nearly everything and need to actually buy things because all of the samples on my desk are for skin types unlike my own. I remembered how much I loved my Ole Henriksen so I headed into Sephora to grab another Sheer Transformation. I had also read great reviews on their Walnut Complexion Scrub ($24) which I tried first on my hand- it’s gritty but not too chunky and foams up so I grabbed a jar of that too. I’ve also wanted to try the Invigorating Night Gel ($45) which is a big fave among Sephora reviewers for keeping pores cleaned out and skin really clear and bright. My Sephora bonus gift was Ole too! Small sized Truth Serum Collagen Booster, Ultimate Lift Eye Gel, Sheer Transformation, and Invigorating Night Gel.

I’m always excited to try some new skincare especially when I already know I’ll love it.

Check out the line HERE at Sephora.com.

20130429-175356.jpg
In my car after Sephora- the car is parked of course..

MyChelle: NASA Technology, Q&A, and Great Skincare the Natural Way

MyChelle has something other companies wish they had- NASA-grade technology to prove their skincare actually works. VISIA is the imager that gives an in-depth 3D look at your skin’s true condition so their team of professionals can provide some direction as to what products might work best with your skin. Want proof that their line actually work? Come back to a local Whole Foods where they’ll bring the machine by to see exactly how their products have helped your skin by using the imager once again for a side by side look that’s irrefutable. It’s a bold move and one that would only be done by a company so sure of their line’s effectiveness to prove that their natural-based line can stack up against all the rest.

I had a chance to ask Kristine Carey their VP of Marketing a few questions recently about the line and here’s what she had to say.

Me: Can natural products and treatments really be more effective than their mainstream counterparts?

MyChelle: You can see the visual before and afters from using our products that prove positive results that occur both on the surface of the skin and at the cellular level. Our VISIA Complexion Analysis program is our proving ground that MyChelle is effective. We offer a free VISIA Complexion Analysis consultation at Whole Foods Markets in various locations shown HERE.

Me: How does the Apple Brightening Serum stack up to a more mainstream treatment like Hydroquinone for fading dark spots?

MyChelle: The Apple Brightening Serum is Mother Nature’s solution to sun damage. This unique serum is loaded with nutrient dense ingredients including:

• Apple Fruit Cell Culture (PhytoCellTec™), a revolutionary ingredient in skin care that stops chronological aging. This is the first topical product to protect human skin stem cells and delay the natural aging process by maintaining the activity of skin cells.
• Apple Fruit Extract (Applephenon™) is shown to contain ten times the level of polyphenol found in ripe apples which maintains youthful skin. It’s also rich in malic acid to refine and rejuvenate.
• Nonapeptide-1 (Melanostatine®5) is a biomimetic peptide (mimics body’s natural response) shown to reduce hyperpigmentation by preventing activation of tyrosinase and blocking melanin synthesis.

The Apple Brightening Serum is like a two for one deal because not only are you diminishing hyperpigmentation but you are also minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.

Hydroquinone on the other hand, is considered the mainstream topical ingredient for inhibiting melanin production and reducing surface spots on the skin. This is not a natural ingredient and it is considered safe by many, but it’s not to MyChelle standards. The Food and Drug Association in September 2006 recommended that products containing hydroquinone be sold only with a prescription due to their opinion that it posed certain health risks (more about that HERE.) MyChelle chooses not to take the risk when there are natural options that are just as effective.

Me: How does the Clear Skin line compare to products like ProActiv?

MyChelle: A daily regimen of cleansing, toning and nourishing is the key to effectively balancing acne-prone skin. An over production of sebum (oil) and lack of proper exfoliation boost the overgrowth of blemish-causing bacteria and oil.

Most blemish treatments on the market today create an unhealthy cycle for the skin that includes episodes of severe dryness followed by periods of extreme oiliness. Harsh chemical ingredients are shutting down the sebaceous glands which ultimately dry out the skin. Once you stop using these products your sebaceous glands rev back up and leave the skin extremely oily congested.

The Clear Skin Teen Anthology is an effective, naturally pure, blemish treatment plan specifically formulated for youthful skin with active ingredients that include 6% Sulphur to draw out bacteria and oil, Zinc Sulfate to heal and protect, and Totarol an anti-viral antioxidant that effectively reduces acne disturbances.

The Clear Skin spot treatment is the perfect product. It will not only help minimize the breakout but it also helps to heal redness and inflammation. This line is easy to use and insures healthy, beautiful skin.

Me: What’s your most popular product?

MyChelle: Our Perfect C Serum with Buddleja Plant Stem Cells because it’s highly effective and provides visible results. It has an advanced formula to protect the skin’s health while combating the signs of aging. A potent 17% dose of clinically proven L-Ascorbic Acid helps to strengthen collagen and improve skin texture. Buddleja Plant Stem Cells protect against photo-damage and oxidative stress through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. L-Ergothioneine boosts cellular energy and helps interrupt the stress that destroys elastin.

Me: I love a good self tanner since I’m SPF obsessed. Tell me about your Del Sol Sunless Tanner.

MyChelle: Del Sol sunless tanner builds a beautiful glow within hours of applying. It’s made with:

• Dihydroxyacetone (Sugar) – A simple carbohydrate that is derived from beets and sugar cane for a sunless tanning action to give the skin a sun kissed glow.
• Erythrulose (Sugar) – A high performance self tanning agent derived from plant keto-sugar that encourages an even, long lasting tanning effect and protects against UV damage while keeping the skin hydrated.

It has a delicate aroma of citrus and smells nothing like the typical sunless tanner smell. It’s so easy to apply and feels light on the skin. You can reapply daily to build deeper color or use as need to maintain a summer glow all year long.

Click HERE to find MyChelle at a store near you.

Yay Himalaya Neem Cleanser, Boo EvanHealy

When I first found out I was pregnant I was freaked out by changing my skincare routine. Hey later, Retinol. See ya around, Benzoyl Peroxide.. I’m so screwed. Hardworking acids and harsh yet effective treatments were commonplace for my can-take-anything skin so the thought of using just nuts and berries for 9 months had me in a panic. Coming off Botox was bad enough, but now the thought of my true, chemical-free face being revealed was too much to bear. I was doomed to many months of breakouts without any reasonable relief. Always favoring a natural solution first, I headed over to Whole Foods in search of something safe.

Recommended to me were two things, one I love and will buy over and over again- it’s this Himalaya Neem Face Wash, a lightly foaming cleanser I use with my Clarisonic daily. It looks a little like an aloe gel without a discernible scent and works great with natural ingredients, and costs like $7. Sold.

Also highly recommended (as in she practically forced me into buying) was this EvanHealy Blemish Kit $34 containing their Pomegranate Repair Serum, Tea Tree Gel Cleanser, Blemish Treatment Roll-On, Green Tea Clay, and Lemon Thyme Facial Tonic Hydrosol. I found the line to be a shining example of what’s wrong with natural and organic lines. Sure on paper the ingredients used are supposed to be antiseptic and healing for blemish-prone skin, but in practice nothing worked and the scents were gag-inducing – especially the Pomegranate Repair Serum. My skin was decidedly worse after a few faithful weeks of use, it caused a massive breakout that my skin hasn’t experienced before or since I stopped using it. Total waste of money. I can’t speak for the rest of the line, but as far as this kit goes, I’d say there are far better options out there.

I did eventually put together a safe, effective skincare routine (which you can find HERE) that has worked perfect – my skin hasn’t looked so good as is has these past 8 months. Maybe it’s my foreskin cream? I’ve found that I need a little bit of science mixed in with nuts and berries, that’s just how my skin rolls.

What are BB Creams?

Have you heard about the BB Cream craze? BB Creams (short for blemish balm or beauty balm or beauty base) were first developed for women whose skin was left bruised, raw, and red from lasers and other surgical treatments. These creams were made by doctors to soothe, heal, and protect delicate skin with the added bonus of breakthrough invisible coverage to hide the irritations without having to use any traditional concealers or foundations.  Essentially they’re unique, lightweight coverage creams with sunscreen and other skin benefits built right in. BB Creams are a true marriage of skincare and color – and are often found in the skincare section and not with makeup. They’re traditionally offered as a one-size-fits-all in terms of color using a universal shade that blends into your skin tone perfecting and seamlessly covering redness instead of masking a it the way a foundation does – it reminds me a little of Philosophy’s The Supernatural which gave similar instant results (see my review and photos HERE). You’ll also see some with a PA+, PA++. or PA+++ sunscreen rating (+++ being the best) which tells you how effective the SPF is in guarding against UVA rays – the nasty ones that breakdown collagen and age the skin.

If you like a full coverage foundation you might find that these aren’t enough so use them as a primer to get more skin benefits than what basic silicone formulas provide.They’re really different from anything else out there so go to Sephora where the selection is the best and ask for samples of a few before you commit. I also want to try Lauder’s new BB Cream they’ve incorporated into their Daywear collection which I’ll review separately once I give it a try. For now, here are the 3 I sampled at Sephora and the pros and cons of each.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream $37:

-Pros-

Oily skin can benefit from its mattifying properties.

SPF 30

A good shade (01) that would work for very fair skin tones – the lightest I found.

-Cons-

It was the heaviest of the 3 and it settled into the skin making pores look more noticeable.

No PA rating.

I couldn’t figure out what the added skincare benefits were (what a BB is all about).

Their site refers to it as a ‘weekend makeup’ along the lines of a quick tinted moisturizer, but it’s called a BB. Not sure if it’s a true BB or just marketing.

Its radiance was a little unflattering (at least on my skin) where it bordered shiny instead of healthy.

Overall:

I liked the thick, creamy texture and easy blendability. It’s probably best for those with good skin who favor a tinted moisturizer or quick powder for their daily routine.

Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA ++ $38:

-Pros-

Great skincare benefits (help for fine lines, dryness, and large pores), which is what a BB should offer.

SPF 27 and a PA++ rating

It has a natural formula without parabens, phthalates and other chemicals.

It did give my skin an immediate boost.

Good coverage.

-Cons-

It has these tiny bits of shimmer that, although slight, might not be a fit for oily or mature skin.

Like most BB Creams, the one shade isn’t for very fair or very dark skin tones.

Overall:

This was my favorite and the only true BB of the bunch, it made my skin look better and covered redness well. It’s something I would buy and recommend to those looking for quick and easy coverage.

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm Multi-Benefit Skin Care Makeup $32:

-Pros-

Shade range; if you have darker skin you’ll have the best luck finding a color to suit you here.

It gave the most coverage of the 3 I tried, almost as much as some foundations.

You’ll get a pretty glow from its finish.

-Cons-

It does contain some vitamins and minerals, but overall it really is more of a quick makeup than a true BB Cream.

No PA rating and an SPF 20, the lowest of the 3.

Overall:

These are along the lines of what you’ll begin to see more and more of – a foundation with a built in primer and less of a BB Cream but marketed as such. It’s not a bad thing since I really liked the look and coverage, but if you want more of the skin treatment this one will leave you wanting more. Best for those who want great coverage from a tinted moisturizer and don’t care as much for the added skincare bonuses.

A few others to consider:

Sephora now carries Dr Jart’s signature BBs which are favorites in Asia where competition is big. Check out their Premium BB SPF 45 PA+++ $39 for more mature skin and the Water Fuse BB PA++ $32 for normal to oily skin. They’re both great for the skin formulated without synthetics and are exactly what BBs are supposed to be – skincare/makeup hybrids.

Garnier launched the first drugstore BB for just $13 that comes in two shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. I’m can’t find its skincare benefits (or SPF), but it’s getting some good reviews for its light, even coverage. Look for it in the skincare aisle, not next to the makeup.

What to look for in a BB Cream:

- Sunscreen, PA ratings are a bonus.

- Vitamins and minerals.

- Enough coverage so you aren’t using concealer or anything else over it (unless you want to use it as a primer).

- Adequate moisture for your skin.

- Added benefits whether it be for skin lightening, acne, moisture, or whatever- find one that’s helping to target what your skin needs most.

For a full listing of the popular Asian formulas, check out THIS article from 08′ before the US versions hit the stores.

Melvita Argan Oil and Such

I couldn’t wait to hit up Melvita during our Cali trip, I needed another big bottle of Argan Oil which I picked up last year in their Newport store and used it slowly until I couldn’t milk another drop out of the bottle. Even with all of the argan oils I’ve tried, I still love theirs the very best. It’s so soothing on the skin and you just need a little to really moisturize. You can use it on both skin and hair but since they don’t have a store in Denver, I hoard it like it’s gold and just use it as a body moisturizer. It’s a light, EcoCert (Europe’s organic certification) formula that feels like silk. With help from Moroccian Oil’s popularity, argan is now the ubiquitous ingredient touted as a cure-all for everything from wrinkles to eczema and even healing old scars. I think it’s a miracle for KP- those bumps on the backs of your arms that are so annoying and hard to get rid of. This is the only treatment I’ve used that really clears them up for good. It is pricey ($56 for 6.76 oz or $25 for 1.7oz) but it’s pure – only 100% real Argan Oil not mixed with anything else which is what you’ll want to use to see some type of results.

I tried a little of their Ultra-Nourishing Body Balm and of course loved it. I’m not typically a fan of body balms and heavy creams – they usually feel like lard to me, but this one was so softening and non-greasy that I knew I’d use it all the time. It has the most perfect, thick texture so you just need a little to keep your skin feeling smooth all day. The only caveat? It smells exactly like that pink ‘bubblegum’ flavored antibiotic we took as kids – remember that? Well if you don’t, good – you’ll think it smells just fine.

Nigella Oil (which I never heard of before) is cold pressed from seeds of a flowered plant that has apparently been used for centuries to relax sore muscles and purify the skin so they suggest using it on oily and breakout prone. I’ve used Suki’s face oil (which they also recommend for acne) for a long time and really love it’s ability to reduce sebum production and give just a really light hydration. Suki’s oil is a half ounce for $32, this oil is $19 for 1.7 oz and it’s organic. Face oils rule – they’re so light and without the needless creamy bases of glycerine or whatever else – they’re just pure beneficial ingredients that are great for the skin.

So far, Melivita stores are only in Newport Beach, San Francisco, and Seattle with one coming to New York soon. Subscribe to their newsletter to get sales notifications (which they have often) since you’ll probably need to order online to give it a try. I’d would suggest against the haircare line, which I felt was totally worthless and not worth the money at all. Stick to the oils and hydrosols, two things they’ve perfected making.