Wednesday 16 September 2015

Therapi | Orange blossom & honey

I have to admit this review is a bit of surprise for me. I don't buy face creams, with the exception of sun care, every single face cream that I have has been a gift. I decline all face creams offered for review, the reason is simple: my face rarely likes them, and well I know that oils and balms work for me, so there is simply no point. However, I have zero control on what gifts I receive, or what is inside goodie bags at events. In one such generous goodie bag I found Therapi honey skincare Orange Blossom moisturiser. While my normal sensible self wanted to pass it on to someone else, the fact that I heard so much about it, combined with how luscious the formula felt on my hand when I tried it earlier that evening (over a year ago now, and I still remember how intrigued I was), I decided to keep it for myself. Even the fact that my personal facial skin nemesis, jojoba, is quiet high up on the list, was not a strong enough deterrent. I didn't take the plunge straight away, I kept picking it up and putting it down for a few months, hesitating, thinking that it would probably best to give it away. Obviously I did not, and after first use it was clear that my skin did not like it. I filed it under the "leave and learn, and seriously stop making the same skincare mistakes over and over", and resigned to use it up as a body moisturiser (since skin on my body is not that fussy).

A few weeks after first trying the cream, however, I was talking to Lynda from wonderludting, and she shared with me that she was using the Rose version of the cream as a treatment, and her skin was glowing (you can read about her experience here). This was a lightbulb moment for me, but my own method is a little different from hers, although most definitely similar, and she obviously gets the credit for this idea. I spread a layer of cream over my face, not too thick but more than what I would use to moisturise. Do my usual things in the shower, and as I'm washing off shampoo, I let the running water wash of the cream. I only do this in the evenings, as my skin appears a little flushed straight after, I follow it up with some floral water and a few drops of a soothing oil blend (so nothing overly active). On waking up my skin looks like I had a day at the spa, as if I used an exfoliating treatment or something, followed by a hydrating mask. This seriously has become my favourite treatment, and I've been using it once a week on days I wash my hair, alternating with another product (I always have something on my face when I wash my hair to give my skin some protection from the hot water). 

The texture is seriously rich, and luscious, this product is very concentrated, so if you use it as intended you don't really need that much. The jar is 50ml at present costs £30, and you need to use it up within 6 months after opening. It is made with 91% organic ingredients, certified with Soil Association. I have been using it as a treatment mask for about 3 months once a week, and I'm maybe a little over half way through the jar, so for me it works out really well (especially since some other resurfacing treatments cost more and have less amount of product). Naturally I was trying to figure out what in this has been giving me such great results, so for those of you that enjoy knowing exactly what is in your products, let's have a look at the ingredients list (otherwise be my guest and skip to the 'conclusion' part of this review).

Aqua, Rosa Damascena Flower Water*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Polyglyceryl-3 Rice Brannate Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil*, Mel (Honey)*, Lecithin*, Amorphophallus Konjac Root Powder, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder*, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Flower Oil*, Jasminum Grandiflorum (Jasmine) Flower Extract*, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Gluconate, Parfum*, Linalool+, Limonene+, Geraniol+, Farnesol+, Citral+ * Organic + Naturally occurs in essential oils

While this is a moisturiser, I'm looking at the ingredients in terms of how I use this product, so from a perspective of a mask. As this is a cream, and all creams are a mix of water and oil, naturally, the top most ingredients are water based: water and rose flower water. Rose water is considered to be soothing, and water is water, it is here to provide a lighter texture to the product, it doesn't really do anything by itself, it's what it's mixed with that matters. The oils that would be in greatest quantity in this cream (obviously I don't have the access to actual quantities used, it's a bit of educated guesswork) are jojoba, technically a wax, and apricot kernel oil. Both have great affinity with skin, provided you are not sensitive to these in particular, and actually work really well when used in oil cleansers, so they will help to gently purify. After emulsifiers I see sunflower, coconut and hemp oils, again these would work fab in a cleanser and hemp oil in particular is great for skin with sensitivities as its great at balancing, and is supposed to have anti inflammatory properties. Lecithin is an emollient, but it's likely used for texture. Konjac powder is used for unique texture and feel of the cream. Aloe leaf juice powder (mixed with water could be the same strength as aloe juice), as the first ingredient in this cream is listed as water, it probably is a less strong concentration though. In general aloe vera has naturally occurring salicylic acid, which is absolutely great at keeping blackheads away. Sea buckthorn is one of my favourite oils, as it is so full of antioxidants and is just fab at giving your skin a radiance boost. The essential oils are: sweet orange, bergapteen free bergamot, and neroli. All these are absolutely fab at balancing oily skin as well as smelling fab, these are not photosensitising (I triple checked in my EO safety encyclopaedia). Two flower extracts used are Jasmine and Calendula, both are certified organic, the jasmine extract in particular is different from absolutes, and hexane would not be used in this method or it wouldn't get organic certification. Gluconolactone is polyhydroxy acid, which by itself is a gentler form of acid than AHA and doesn't penetrate as deep due to molecular structure, often used as leave on exfoliant in skincare, together with Sodium Benzoate (which happens to be the next ingredient), they form a broad spectrum preservative.

Now to the fun part, preservatives. If you want to have a cream product in your arsenal, be it body, face or cleanser (or any product that has liquid in it, with the exception of some flower waters), it is going to have preservatives. Even face oils and waterless balms often have preservatives, depending on types of oils used, to extend their shelf life. To start with, some carrier and also essential oils oxidise quickly (citrus essential oils is one example), so to prevent that in a skincare formula, they are often paired up with antioxidants like vitamin E (which could be natural or synthetic). However, with a water based products antioxidants are not going to cut it, you need to have something that would prevent your creams going mouldy and protect it from bacteria for awhile (and you can't really see bacteria multiplying in the face cream as most are not visible to the naked eye). Preservatives extend the shelf life of a product that otherwise would last somewhere between a few days and maybe a couple of weeks, and would have needed to be kept in the fridge at all times. Let's not forget that if product is in a jar, you are potentially introducing bacteria into it every time you are opening it as they are present in the air, and most definitely if you are using fingers to scoop it out. I'm not trying to give anyone nightmares, just trying to illustrate that unpreserved water based products are not an option. Now the grey area, broad spectrum preservatives themselves. In this cream, while glucolactone is natural, sodium benzoate isn't, even though both are used in food as preservatives, and are allowed to be used in products under the organic cosmetic certification. At present, for certain types of products, synthetic preservatives are unavoidable, certain people can have reaction to different synthetic preservatives, but again ingredient sensitivities are very personal, you won't know until it happens. Not all preservatives are suitable for different formulations, so they are normally chosen for the formula of the product that the brand is trying to achive. If you want to avoid all synthetic preservatives and 'derived from' ingredients in your skincare, you really need to choose waterless products, or products with high concentration of alcohol which might not be suitable for everyone, as the amount of alcohol used to preserve water based products can be drying. Obviously science doesn't stay still, and maybe in the future there will be a better options. There is a concern with combining vit C and Sodium Benzoate, so I wouldn't use a vit C serum layered with a product that contains this preservative.

While this is never going to be a daily product for me, as a weekly treatment I absolutely love it. I also really appreciate that the jar is glass, and that the box has FSC stamp, meaning at least some recycled paper was used to create it, and the inks used for printing are vegetable based. 5% of Therapi profits go to support bee conservation. Scent is strongly that of neroli, aka orange blossom, I find it relaxing and soothing. The texture is absolutely lovely, if I take a little to rub on my hand it absorbs super quickly, only leaving softness behind. For anyone who enjoys face creams, I think it would be a lovely addition to their beauty routine.

Have you tried anything from Therapi? Anything on your wish list? Let me know in the comments.

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