Discovering and sourcing the highest quality, results-driven ingredients the organic world has to offer was the first step on Pai Skincare's path to creating its new Echium & Amaranth Age Confidence Facial Oil. Pai was very selective in creating this ten-oil blend, combining high quantities of the actives that have the most concentrated benefits and that each deliver something unique to the skin.
Since Pai is one of my favourite skin care brands, I was beyond excited to road test Age Confidence Facial Oil. No surprises here: It's my new obsession. I use it on damp skin in the evening and wake up refreshed and glowy. Hydrating without being oily, it's quickly absorbed and leaves my skin super soft and calm. And have I mentioned how lovely this oil smells? Like lemons and sunshine.
The ten star ingredients:
Echium: The richest known plant source of gamma linolenic acid and stearidonic acid—unique and powerful forms of omegas 3 and 6. The anti-inflammatory properties of these acids help keep sensitive skin types calm and clear.
Argan oil: Boasts high levels of antioxidant vitamin E and omegas 3, 6, and 9, which heal and restore the skin as well as protect it from environmental damage.
Guggul oil: Has the ability to increase the skin’s metabolism for a brighter, revitalized complexion. It inhibits the enzyme that breaks down collagen, and also protects the skin’s strong and supple support system.
Kukui oil: Contains a unique blend of omegas 3 and 6, which strengthen and repair the skin’s essential moisture barrier.
Borage oil: Contains high concentrations of the richest essential fatty acids around, which actively plump cells while simultaneously restoring hydration.
Amaranth oil: One of the only plant sources of unparalleled moisturizing agent squalene, which vastly increases skin suppleness and elasticity to soften and prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
Macadamia oil: Replenishes the skin’s essential level of palmitoleic acid—an enriching oil produced naturally by the skin that depletes with age.
Sea buckthorn oil: Rich in antioxidants, pro-vitamin A, and a rare form of omega 7 that nourishes the skin and aids cell regeneration.
Plum oil: Bursting with oleic acid, linoleic acid, vitamin E, and pro-vitamin B5, plum oil dramatically improves the skin’s elasticity.
Grape seed oil: Helps to regulate and maintain healthy, balanced skin while protecting collagen and delivering high level of essential fatty acids.
As with all Pai products, Echium & Amaranth Age Confidence Oil is suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive and/or aging.
Fresh Faced grade: A+
Sometimes it's easy to forget (even for a beauty retailer like me) that skin care and cosmetics often have a "best before" date. Expired makeup and moisturizers can cause skin irritations and eye infections and even just plain ol' pimples—stuff most of us could live without. And I'm often asked if organic and natural products have a shorter shelf life than drugstore and department store brands: Do they go "off" more quickly, since they're made without the synthetic preservatives found in conventional products? To find out, I went directly to the source: the creators of a few of Fresh Faced's best-selling brands.
Mairin Cipolla, marketing manager at Kahina Giving Beauty, says a good rule of thumb is to consider whether or not a product is easily contaminated by fingers or lips or other body parts. So, for instance, if your eye cream comes in a jar and is applied with your fingers, there is substantial contact with air and skin and more chance of contamination. These products should ideally be replaced every 6 months. If, on the other hand, your moisturizer comes from a pump bottle or your serum from a dropper, the products will generally be more stable for a longer period of time (say, a year).
Pai Skincare's organic moisturizers have a 18-month minimum shelf life. And provided you store them in a cool, dark place like your bathroom cabinet, they could last as long as 36 months, thanks in part to air-tight packaging and a number of natural ingredients that provide excellent protection from bacterial growth.
You're in luck when it comes to makeup. Mineral cosmetics are at a distinct advantage in terms of shelf life. Alima Pure makeup contains nothing but pure minerals, which means they have no expiration dates. "Bacteria cannot grow in minerals, and so as long as you don't introduce any contaminants (water or other 'organic' matter), they will last indefinitely," says Alyson Hancock, regional sales manager at Alima.
Vapour Organic Beauty products last 2 years, according to account specialist Tia Cozart, although the company has done some recent research that suggests Vapour has an even longer, 30-month shelf life.
It's also worth considering that active skin care ingredients (think antioxidants or hyaluronic acid) can lose potency over time. I choose not to sell bulk or oversize products at Fresh Faced for just this reason. Better to buy small amounts more often than have a large bottle of moisturizer or serum that might sit on your shelf for a while and lose efficacy.
There are a few things you can do to prolong the life of your favourite eye cream or facial oil. Store them in a dry, dark area, away from direct heat and sunlight. Wash your hands before touching products with your fingers, don't add water or oil, and avoid sharing makeup. To keep your mascara fresh, pull the wand out just once—pumping it can trap air and bacteria. Use the following guidelines to make sure you—and your skin—are as fresh as can be.
Moisturizers and cleansers in pump bottles: Toss after 1 year.
Creams and cleansers in jars or pots: Toss after 6 months.
Facial oils and serums with dropper dispensers: Toss after 1 year.
Toners with pumps or spritzers: Toss after 1 year.
Lip colour: Toss after 1 years, or if gloss or lipstick starts to look and feel cakey.
Mascara: Toss after 3 months.
Nail polish: Toss after 1 year.
Eyeliner pencil: Toss after 18 months; sharpen before each use.
Liquid eyeliner: Toss after 3 months.
Of course, if a product's smell, colour, or texture has changed, or if it has been exposed to prolonged heat, you should definitely replace it.
The end of a year always brings a proliferation of best-of lists (what a great year 2012 has been for green beauty!), so I thought it appropriate to share my favourite products in one last post in what has been an exciting and fulfilling year for Fresh Faced. Since I launched the shop on Earth Day back in April, I've been awed and inspired by the response Fresh Faced has garnered from across the country. Thank you, Canada! I have great plans for 2013, including new brands, new shop features, and a pop-up store or two, and I promise to stay focused on my goal of providing superior service, outstanding products, and a great e-commerce experience for Canadian consumers who are passionate about what they put on their skin. And now, without further ado, here's my list of the best in Fresh Faced beauty from the year that was.
ILIA Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner and Lipstick
ILIA lip products are the perfect marriage of organic ingredients and modern hues—and they come in a luxe stainless case you can be proud to stow in your most stylin' bag. Since these arrived in the shop in early December, I've been obsessed with Tinted Lip Conditioner in Bang Bang—and I'm not normally a lipstick wearer. C'est magnifique!
Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser
Tata Harper's reputation certainly preceded her; I expected a lot from her high-end natural line, and I wasn't disappointed. I've been using Refreshing Cleanser on my combination/sensitive skin for a couple of months now and my skin is clear, clean, and hydrated. It doesn't foam, doesn't leave a film, and doesn't dry out my skin—plus it smells deliciously fresh and fruity. It might be a bit pricier than you're used to, but a little goes a long way (I'm barely a quarter of the way through the 4-oz bottle I started in November).
Green Beaver Certified Organic SPF Spray
It might seem an odd time of year to think about body sunscreen, but Green Beaver's SPF27 Spray blew away the competition last summer, so my list wouldn't be complete without it. It couldn't be easier to apply and is nonwhitening, fragrance-free, biodegradable, vegan, and super moisturizing. Zero chalky sheen! Broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection from a mineral sunscreen made right here in Canada.
Pai Skincare Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream
Full disclosure: UK-based Pai Skincare was a big part of the inspiration behind Fresh Faced. I was so impressed with the brand's top-quality skin care line made from super-clean ingredients that I wanted to sell the stuff myself! The Geranium & Thistle Combination moisturizer is my daily go-to hydrator (and my husband's, too!); it's nourishing and glow-inducing and won't break the bank. What more could a gal (and her man) want?
Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer
Finally, a line of organic, natural makeup comparable to Sephora brands. Illusionist Concealer's stick format makes it a cinch to apply, and it covers redness, dark circles, and blemishes effortlessly with a luminous natural finish. Oh, and an honourable mention definitely belongs to Vapour's Mesmerize Eye Colour—I'm a big fan of cream eye shadows, especially as I get older, and this one is perfect for a quick morning pick-me-up or layered for depth.
One Love Organics Skin Savior Beauty Balm
This all-natural balm is such a versatile multitasker, I'm not sure how I lived without it. A makeup remover, cleanser, illuminator, hair tamer, and head-to-toe moisturizer, its thick, waterless formulation (only 10 ingredients!) is super soothing and nourishing. If you're a mineral powder devotee, you can also use Skin Savior to create your own custom treatment foundation. In short: It's a revelation.
Kahina Giving Beauty 100% Argan Oil
Facial oils are hands-down the greatest achievement in beauty of the past decade (in my humble opinion, at least!). I use Kahina's minimally processed, fairly traded organic argan oil as a nighttime treatment and my skin thanks me for it. It feels luxurious going on—light and non-greasy, but incredibly moisturizing, and suitable for my combination skin. And I love seeing the chic violet-glass bottle on my bathroom shelf—what can I say, I'm a sucker for nice packaging, and in this case, the external matches the internal.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2013!
I was thrilled to see a good number of Fresh Faced brands and products recognized in the 2012 Organic Beauty Talk Awards. Check out below which products were awarded for their amazing natural goodness—"the best of the best while trying to ensure the purest of the pure," as OBT says.
Best Natural Facial Line for Sensitive Skin (suitable for all skin types): Pai Skincare
Best Natural Face Moisturizer: Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer
Best Natural Face Serum: Lina Hanson Global Face Serum
Best Natural Eye Cream: Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme
Best Natural Mineral Makeup Line: Alima Pure
Best Natural Liquid Foundation: Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation
Best Natural Eyeliner: Lavera Soft Eyeliner
Best Eco-Friendly Nail Polish: butter LONDON and Priti NYC
Best Organic Body Bar Soap: Dr. Bronner's
Best Natural Deodorant: Soapwalla Deodorant Cream
Organic Beauty Talk also held voting for Reader's Choice Awards, and the winners are...
I just read a post online that started with "Are you concerned about wrinkles, sun damage, and dry skin?" I mean, isn't that kind of a no-brainer? I can't think of a single woman who wants skin that could be even remotely described as damaged, dry, or wrinkled. Rather than slathering my face in potentially toxic "cosmeceuticals" like retinol creams, alpha hydroxy and glycolic acids, skin whiteners, and peptide complexes, though, I'd prefer to coax out my skin's radiance with the natural help of good ol' Mother Earth.
Sometimes a less-than-perfect complexion is the result of genetics; sometimes we can blame age, sun exposure, or an unhealthy lifestyle. Whatever your concern—be it dry skin, pigmentation problems, or sun damage—an all-natural, gentle skin care routine can help heal past wounds and allow your skin to reclaim its natural moisture balance. Most of us need no more than four good-quality products in our daily regimen to achieve smoother, hydrated skin.
Your cleanser is really the first step to taking good care of your skin. To help heal damage or prevent dryness, look for creamy, soothing cleansing lotions (rather than gels), which contain high concentrations of oils, water, and emollients. Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser's high concentrations of vitamin E and fatty acids in argan oil, combined with organic willow bark and papaya extract, replace moisture loss, eliminate toxins, gently tone and exfoliate, and brighten skin. I also love Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. Suitable for all skin types, this alcohol- and detergent-free cleanser is bursting with omega 3 and vitamins A, B, and E to replenish the skin's natural moisture barrier.
Approach exfoliation sparingly—those of us with dry or damaged skin probably only need to exfoliate once a week, twice at the most to help slough off dead skin cells and reveal newer, smoother skin below the surface. If you have especially sensitive or reaction-prone skin, a Pai organic muslin facecloth might be all you need. Massage a few pumps of your favourite cream cleanser onto damp skin and remove with a warm, dampened muslin cloth using a circular motion to gently exfoliate. Or mix One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Mask with warm water or cleanser, gently massage into face and throat, and rinse. Its soothing silk peptide, milk powder, and pineapple enzymes will polish away dead cells and help protect new ones.
Facial Oil or Serum:
Hands down, my facial oil is my favourite skin-care product. Used on their own or added to moisturizer, oils can penetrate deeply to restore hydration and cure—rather than cover—dryness. They're definitely a superhero when it comes to repairing damage and replenishing moisture:
Choose a moisturizer based on your skin type and personal preference, avoiding the usual nasties like phthalates, synthetic fragrance, siloxanes, and propylene glycol (rest assured that no Fresh Faced products contain these ingredients!). The idea is to heal, rather than hide, whatever ails your complexion, and the best way to do so is by following a pure, natural skin care routine.
As much as I'm enjoying cooler nights and humidity-free days of September, these mild changes in weather signal the approach of fall and winter—in other words, months of cold and dry. Just as you pack away your summer dresses and pull out those sweaters and coats, your beauty routine needs a reboot, as well.
Keep your skin looking (and feeling) beautiful in the face of seasonal climate change with Fresh Faced's fall skin-care tips:
1. Two words: gentle cleansing. Consider switching to a cream-based cleanser, which contain higher concentrations of oils, water, and emollients. I like Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser or Suki Moisture-Rich Cleaning Lotion. Or try an oil-based scrub, such as Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator, to reap the benefit of exfoliation with the bonus of feeding your skin with hydrating oils.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The best time to feed your skin is directly after cleansing, as soon as you step out of the shower or bath. It helps seal in whatever moisture your face has already absorbed. I'm a huge fan of facial oils and serums, which can help calm the skin and regulate oil production. Oils can be used to supplement your daily moisturizer or on their own, no matter your skin type.
3. Be aware of changes. If you've been prone to oily skin all summer, you might notice it evening out as the temperature drops. And if your normal summer complexion becomes dry, adjust your go-to products accordingly.
4. Remain diligent about sunscreen. Sun protection is essential year-round. This one's not negotiable.
5. Give your hands some extra love. All that handwashing may be good for your health, but it sure takes a toll on your skin, especially as the air begins to lose humidity in the fall. Keep your favourite hand cream handy—even consider tossing one into your bag for on-the-go treatment. I am seriously into Revolution Organics All-Over Body Balm for just this reason (I have them stashed all over the place: in the car, by the kitchen sink, on my desk, etc.).
6. Protect your lips. Find a non-petroeum-based lip balm and start moisturizing early to prevent dry and chapped lips. My absolute favourite is Pai Bergamot Lip Balm, but all of Fresh Faced's lip treatments are lovely, effective, and petroleum-free.
Months ago, while waiting for a facial, I overheard an esthetician tell a client, "I healed my sun spots and acne scars with rosehip oil." My interest was piqued, to say the least: What, no expensive laser treatment? No chemical peels? Healed by nature? Sign me up!
Rosehip seed oil, or "rosa mosqueta," is extracted from the seeds of a wild rose plant native to Chile. It has been used by the people of Chile for centuries, but only recently been recognized in other parts of the world for its anti-aging and skin healing properties. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing scars, wrinkles, and dryness; and in helping repair damaged skin cells and promote skin regeneration.
In other words: it's perfect.
The benefits of this natural wonder come from its high levels of vitamin C, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, and retinoic acids. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production and helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Essential fatty acids have been shown to reduce scarring and promote cell regeneration, and retinoic acid (vitamin A) penetrates the skin to improve moisture levels, skin tone and texture, and pigmentation. Rosehip seed oil is a "dry" oil, which means it soaks into the skin easily and does not leave a greasy residue. It is more potent—and less expensive—than other popular face oils, including rose otto. And anyone can use it, even women with sensitive skin conditions like rosacea and acne.
Rosehip seed oil can be used in its pure form or incorporated into a lotion, facial oil, or cream. See what all the fuss is about with these Fresh Faced buys: