I called 2018 the year of the hydrating serum, and although hydrating serums have continued to gain popularity in the green beauty world in 2018, my favourite category of 2018 was ‘essence.’ Essences have existed in the green beauty world since the start, but this year saw brands take them to a whole new level. For the uninitiated, essences are almost like a cross between a toner and a hydrating serum. I like to use them after cleansing and before serums, oils, balms and moisturisers, and they infuse a suppleness to the skin that mists and toners don’t. My top three essences this year were African Botanics Infusion Micro-Liquid Serum, Agent Nateur holi(Water) Pearl and Rose Hyaluronic Toner and In Fiore Made In Japan Transparence Botanical Water Concentre. Although none of them are actually marketed as essences, they work like essences from Asian brands that drench the skin with moisture, without any heaviness or tackiness.
2017 was an amazing year for green beauty. Green brands became more popular than ever, and it stopped being a niche segment of the beauty industry. Mainstream bloggers began promoting smaller indie brands alongside big names like Estee Lauder and L’Oreal. Big department stores like Neiman Marcus started recognising the potential of green brands and collaborated with indie brands to curate personalised selections.
From a green beauty perspective, the biggest trend was a welcome shift away from face oils. 2016 was the year of face oils; and it was amazing to see green beauty brands expand their offerings in 2017 to include more hydrating products. In fact, I’d call 2017 the year of the hydrating serum because they were everywhere! Brands, beauty stores and influencers began waxing lyrical about the benefits of hydration (and how it differed from ‘moisture’), and it became one of the hottest beauty topics on Instagram!
Below, I’ve selected my top picks of 2017. While some of them were released in 2017, a number of them were selected because I discovered these new-to-me products in 2017.
Powder cleansers/exfoliators are a relatively new category. They are very travel-friendly (no leaks or spills; no air travel regulations), and I love how easy it is to control how exfoliating you want them to be. I’m travelling to India next week, and I know the Rodin Cleanser will be travelling with me everywhere.
Here is my edit:
Rodin Olio Lusso Facial Cleansing Powder: Linda Rodin is always ahead of the pack. She brought out her cult face oil in 2007, way before facial oils became a ‘thing’ in the West. And hers was one of the first American brands to introduce a cleansing powder. Inspired by a cleanser she encountered in Japan, when mixed with water, these white granules transform into a soft, luxurious mousse. The bottle is very architectural (a homage to an art deco-era New York monument?) and impossibly chic. It looks very small, but you only need the tiniest amount to wash your face. Unlike the rest of the cleansing powders I’ll be reviewing below, this is more of a cleanser than an exfoliator. The granules dissolve fully in water and there is just a very mild exfoliating action. It foams well (without sulfates, of course) — so well that this is the sudsiest cleanser in my collection right now. I generally don’t like foaming cleansers, but I love this. It’s very gentle, non-drying and effective (it removes basic makeup, sunscreen etc., but heavy makeup will require a pre-cleanse with a balm/oil). In addition to being a great cleanser, it smells totally lush (jasmine and neroli, just like the face oil). Highly recommend.