Fragrances often contain more questionable chemicals than skincare, so I gave up synthetic fragrances around the same time I made the switch to green beauty. Prior to that, I was a perfume junkie with a sizeable collection of weird and wonderful niche perfumes (I used to love brands like Frederic Malle and Comme des Garcons). I’ve been on the hunt for complex, interesting and long-lasting fragrances ever since, and this post will focus on some of my favourites so far.

Strange Invisible Perfumes:

One of the most respected names in green perfumery, Strange Invisible Perfumes create fragrances that are as sophisticated as their mainstream cousins. Created by Alexandra Balahoutis, these complex fragrances are handmade in Venice, California, and packaged in exquisitely-crafted weighty bottles. I’ve tested three or four of their fragrances, and my favourites so far are Aquarian Rose and Magazine Street. 

Aquarian Rose is an airy, aquatic rose scent. The rose has good staying power, but it has a breezy quality that stops it from smelling like something your grand-aunt would wear. The aquatic quality of the scent comes from the unexpected addition of aniseed-y marjoram. I’m usually not a fan of liquorice/aniseed notes, but it is cleverly used to give the composition a warm yet refreshing herbal kick. Sandalwood gives it heft and staying power. This has been my signature scent for the last two years, and I love it. Despite being rose-heavy, the scent is very unisex. It is worth a try, even if you don’t particularly care for rose fragrances. 

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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.

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Most of us lead fast-paced lives. I find that the more stressful my life becomes, the more I’m drawn to everyday rituals that force me to slow down and give time back to myself. San Francisco-based luxury skincare label, founded by modern-day alchemist Julie Elliott, takes self-care rituals to new heights by creating seductive products that evoke the opulence of a bygone era. She uses her deep understanding of aromachology and uses natural ‘perfumerie as medicine.’ Intensely perfumed using high-vibrational floral extracts, oils, and essences, her products combine ancient wisdom with modern technology to create thoroughly singular creations that, according to their website, ‘stimulate the senses while offering hydrating and curative effects.’ All housed in beautiful red glass (a nod to the colour of glass originally used by alchemists, who considered the colour of blood to represent life force), these creations make no concessions to the fact that some us may be too time-poor (or just plain tired) to spend half an hour every evening on a skin ritual.

I’d been meaning to explore the line for a very long time, but I’d never known where to start! Julie solved this problem for me by surprising me with a very large, beautifully packaged box of treasures containing the entire ‘foundation collection:’ a selection of nine signature In Fiore treatments designed to be used cohesively or layered on top of each other. I’ve been using these products on and off for the last two months, and I’ve been enjoying their unique approach to skincare. Before I go into the reviews, I’ll briefly go through the order in which you’re meant to layer these products. This layering order, they claim, will maximise the potency of their products and yield the most visible results (while also reducing congestion). The order is: 1) Oil, 2) Toner, 3) Serum, 4) Cream, and 5) Balm.

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I felt like I could get away without a toner when I was using creams and lotions, however, now that I’ve been staying away from creams and relying entirely on oils, serums and balms to mositurise my skin, I absolutely need one. Creams/lotions are emulsions of oil and water, so, unlike oils, they absorb into the skin readily. Oil-based products need a water-based carrier (a.k.a toner/mist/essence) to create a micro-emulsion to deliver these oils deeper into the skin.

Ideally, I like my toners to be more viscous than water and have some softening/exfoliating/brightening benefits. Also, while I like a spray system that delivers product evenly, I am not a fan of ultra-fine mists. These ultra-fine mists work well as makeup or purse sprays, but I find that they don’t work well before a serum. I like my toners to drench my skin with watery goodness so my balm/oil just glides on the skin without any resistance. View Post

IMG_5650I have acne-scarred skin prone to hyperpigmentation, so I’m always looking for products that smooth and brighten my skin. I thought Kypris Elixir III was amazing, and while I still love it, these three products below take brightening/scar reduction to a whole new level for me. I’ve listed the products based on my order of preference, however, this is not the order I apply them. I double cleanse (Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser + Regenerating Cleanser), follow with a few spritzes of In Fiore Toning Essence and then use a pump of The Little Alchemist Ultra C Radiance Serum. I use the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask once or twice a week, and use it as an overnight spot treatment whenever I get a pimple. View Post