Before I get back to makeup biz niz, let me quickly introduce a natural skin care brand I discovered while stocking up on the hubs and I's favorite veggie burgers and salad dressings from Healthy Options (a natural/organic shop that sells food, skin care, candies and all things healthy!). In the United States, I believe this is sold in Whole Foods.
I stumbled upon this when I was at the peak of my skin care fixation and am literally magnetized by any skin care brand. First, I've never heard about this brand. Second, in-store promotional marketing worked on me (the line had a separate stand that featured all their products). Third, I'm glad I snuck away from the veggie burger decision-making stage with my husband to chance upon this brand.
Andalou Naturals is a brainchild of skincare developers and innovators that have worked in developing products for several natural brands before such as Avalon Organics, Alba Botanica and Sonoma Soap Company. The brand has different lines targeting different concerns — they have Anti-Aging, Clarifying, Brightening. I'm particularly interested in their brightening line so all my purchases so far come from that line.
What drew me to this product (among the wide selection) are these key words —
GLYCOLIC, BRIGHTENING and PUMPKIN.
Since I've compulsively read up on skin care, I've been obsessed with using products that contain AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids. They're a group of natural acids found in food that are used for moisturizing and removing dead skin cells — in short, a chemical exfoliant. It differs from the abrasive and harsh exfoliants we know of such as St. Ives Apricot Scrub which is a physical exfoliant. Examples of AHAs are glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid. They penetrate the skin and slough off dead skin cells without irritating the skin.
However, for glycolic acid to work its magic, as for all AHAs — they must at least be in a concentration of 6-8%. And since most manufacturers don't put their concentrations in their labels, it's really hard to know if the AHA will be even effective at all. To give me an idea at least, I check whether the AHA is listed within the first 3 specified ingredients. If not, then it probably isn't in the proper concentration.
In this product, glycolic acid is listed ninth, which means that its concentration may not be in the proper percentage. What made me still want to purchase the product were 2 ingredients listed in the first five — pumpkin and manuka honey.
Pumpkin is reported to contain Vitamin A that hydrates, smooths and softens and Vitamin C that fights free radicals and generally brightens dull skin. I know of pumpkin peels and facials that cost an arm and a leg!
Meanwhile, Manuka Honey is all the rage for its antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits which is great for acne-proned skin. However, for this miracle worker to perform, the honey must be declared as an 'active' which means it must have a Unique Manuka Factor of 15 and above. In this product, as it is again not listed, I have no way of knowing if the manuka honey is indeed active.
I applied the gel-like pumpkin puree on my whole face and let it sit there for 10-15 minutes while I scoured the net for Andalou Naturals products. It has a strong pumpkin smell that you either like or don't like. It's not the sweet Thanksgiving pumpkin pie smell which put me off but minutes into the process, I forgot about the off-putting scent already. After 10-15 minutes, I then rinsed it off with warm water.
Holy. Moly. Tony. Moly. I couldn't believe my eyes when I pat my face dry after rinsing. My skin was brighter, softer and definitely much smoother — with evidently reduced redness around my nose area, which is easily prone to irritation. I couldn't stop touching my face all throughout the night just to see if the effect was worn off (lulz).
Maybe it was my extremely low expectations that elicited this sort of ah-ma-zing results. But even my husband, who can't tell the difference when I wear NARS Orgasm vs. NARS Laguna (blush vs bronzer) told me I looked more 'radiant'.
Also, I've used masks before, the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask for one, raved about by many but didn't experience this instant brightening and smoothing effects. I've also used some Face Shop masks that were okay in terms of hydration, but nothing spectactular in the smoothing and brightening front. So I definitely didn't expect these kinds of results — especially from a 'natural' mask (yes, call me an organic product skeptic). But I was definitely floored with this one.
This is great for those who aren't using AHAs / BHAs yet and aren't exfoliating too often. Don't expect the same wow results I had when you're already sloughing off deads skin cells weekly. I used this when I haven't applied any chemical nor physical exfoliant for two/three weeks prior.YES! Indeed. In a heartbeat. It's one of those products I want to run off to the store to buy a back-up of. I tried to google reviews on this and discovered that Makeupalley users rated this a 5.0. A perfect 5! Well, there's only been a few users who've reviewed it but still. It actually makes me want to create a MUA account and add to the glowing reviews.
PRICE & WHERE TO BUY
PHP 700 something in Healthy Options stores locally
$14.95 in Whole Foods groceries in the US