Multi-functional skincare products are nothing new, but when their provenance hails from the Caribbean, you can’t help but be intrigued. Theresa Edward, founder of UK-based eco-luxury beauty brand Skin Alchemists, draws inspiration from her childhood in St. Lucia, while introducing modernity to daily skincare routines.
“Alchemy is based on transformation. It is my intention and mission to create game-changing, performance-driven luxurious skincare, using ancient traditions & aromatherapy, which create a safe space for you to love your skin through self-care rituals” Teresa Edward, Skin Alchemists founder
For a period of time Theresa has worked for an international skincare brand, which was one of the early pioneers of ‘clean’ skincare. Through her work she became interested in reading labels and researching the ingredients. She was also surprised that many of the so-called ‘clean’ ingredients weren’t so ‘clean’ after all. Inspired by her own childhood and life’s journey as a woman, Theresa became determined to replicate the natural benefits of ingredients, herbs and plants and started creating her own skincare. She formulated using ancient remedies and utilising potent plant alchemy.
“It was about creating the most effective multi-functional products, using fresh & organic plant ingredients that would have a transforming impact on skin & health” Theresa Edward, Skin Alchemists founder.
After several months of research, Theresa assembled the team which understood her concept and inspiration for the brand. She also started her collaboration with an esteemed international aromatherapist Michelle Roques-O’Neil. She placed quality, transparency and integrity at the core of Skin Alchemists, as well as made sure that the products are 100% vegan. Theresa crafts unisex products that are suitable for all skin types (however, due to high concentration of essential oils, doing a patch test first is recommended, if you have sensitive or reactive skin). Formulation, testing and refining of the formulas took two years and the brand was finally launched in 2019.
Ingredients: Theresa sources her ingredients quite carefully, looking for the best suppliers and sourcing directly from the farmers, when possible. Some come from St. Lucia, others from the Caribbean basin and Europe. Her premium cold-pressed Cacay Oil is sourced from a cooperative in Columbia. Rosehip hails from a small, family-run farm in Bulgaria, which makes their oil once a year..
Packaging: all of the products are packaged in Miron glass, which helps preserve the ingredients by keeping the sunlight out. The outer packaging is made by a family-run business in England. Sesenne, rejuvenating facial elixir, that is brand’s consistent best-seller, is packaged in an eye-catching pyramid shaped box, an ode to the Pitons, St. Lucia’s two volcanic spires. All the packaging is fully recyclable and/or up-cyclable. Theresa also suggests that it can be used as a pencil holder or a keep-sake box for the little trinkets. You can also purchase mini versions of the products.
“Romance your skin with the exotic experience of The Humble Warrior. Let him cleanse away environmental debris, whilst infusing your cells with antioxidant protection, restoring elasticity and clam to even the most delicate complexion.”
This complete cleansing oil offers an armoury of 14 cleansing & healing oils under one pump. Intentionally formulated to double up as hair & scalp therapy, a massage oil, an after bath or shower oil, after sincere, beard oil, as well as cuticle oil, it’s quite a hard worker ( I sense Michelle’s influence here).
You can use it in the morning and at night, but personally I prefer the latter. It’s also a lovely cleansing oil to use after a sweaty workout, as it will remove make-up, dirt, impurities, dead skin cells and sweat, while refreshing your senses and giving you a gentle energetic “nudge”.
According to Theresa, “its ‘oil pulling’ for your skin in a masterful blend of large & small molecule oils which together help life up and lift off the make-up and environmental pollutants off the skin. It contains Castor Seed Oil, chosen for its anti-inflammatory properties; Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Neroli chosen for healing benefits they bring to the skin, as well as a potent aromatherapeutic scent.
Cleansing Ritual: shake the bottle and pour the oil into the centre of your palm. Gently rub palms together to warm up the oil, bring the palms closer to the face and take three long, leisurely breaths. Then massage the oil into face, neck and décolletage to stimulate circulation. Remove the oil with a warm muslin, flannel or face mitt.
This cleansing ritual will help stimulate sluggish circulation and improve lymphatic flow, while dissolving stagnation. It will equally help to detox connective tissues. At the same time plants extracts will gently, yet effectively dissolve excess sebum and deep cleanse the pores without disrupting skin’s natural balance. I find this oil ‘rich’ enough, so you don’t need a huge amount of it.
- Camelina Oil – high in plant sterols
- Andiroba seed oil – used to heal skin conditions in the Amazon
- Hemp seed oil – contains high levels of omega fatty acids
18 Active Botanicals: Safflower | Castor | Palmarosa |Hemp | Andiroba | Tamanu |Hyssop | Melissa | Coconut |Amyris | Geranium | Lavender |Bergamont | Meadowsweet |Bay West Indian | Ylang Ylang |Rosemary | Clove | Nutmeg
Theresa’s Tips on using “The Humble Warrior”
“Warm a few pumps between your hands and really massage all over your face. Massaging helps stimulate blood flow and lymphatic drainage to the face, so get in. After massaging remove any residue with a warm flannel or muslin. This step also adds a gentle exfoliation to the process. A few times a week add a Gua Sha tool to the massage process. I like really hot showers, which is drying to the skin, so I usually add a good layer of Humble Warrior before I get into the shower to create a protective barrier.”
I also add a pump to an old mascara brush and comb though my eyebrows to help them grow lush and thick. Once a week I will add a generous amount to my scalp, put an shower cap and wrap my head in a warm towel for a hot oil treatment, then shampoo off.”
“Say It Out Loud: I Cleanse It All Away” is a great mantra, whether talking about the worries of the day and seeing them disappear down the drain pipe or letting go of past emotional traumas”Skin Alchemist face cleansing mantra
I very much enjoyed testing this humble and humbling oil. In part because of the name, in part of the unusual scent which introduced another intriguing layer into my daily skincare routine. It stood proudly on its own merits, cleansing the skin and making the skin feel nurtured and clean. I also enjoyed introducing it into my evening yoga or meditation practise, by gently rubbing a drop or two into my temples, tops of the feet (as tempting as it was to nourish the soles of my feet, I abstain from doing it when on my yoga mat, so not to slip and slide, instead of moving through asanas with control. I also like massaging it on the insides of my wrists, to act as a reminder to be grateful and humble.
“Let’s journey to an exotic island in the sun. Step into a rainforest or tropical flowers & spices. Listen to a bird burst into song of the queen of roses. SESENNE is deeply rooted in heritage & inspired by a cultural icon”Theresa Edward, Skin Alchemists founder
A 100% natural facial oil was crafted from wild-harvested, pure, essential & cold-pressed oils. It contains a therapeutic Caribbean botanical blend that has been passed down through generations of Theresa’s family. Aimed at repainting, nourishing & rejuvenating the skin, while calming sensitivity, as well as brightening up the complexion, over time you can expect to notice improvement in evenness and natural glow of the skin.
The Ritual: warm a few drops of the oil between your hands, inhaling the exotic aroma. Swipe your hands over the face, then push & press the elixir into the skin, extending it to the neck & décolletage as well.
Opulent oils of cell-reviving Rose de Mai, Jasmine and Rose Geranium lightly perfume your skin. Illuminating Lime and Carrot Seed help to diminish lines and even out skin tone. Healing Calendula and Yarrow restore and rejuvinate skin, with wrinkle-fighting Frankincense improving skin’s elasticity. Anchored in a base of nature’s known retinol Cacay Seed Oil & blended together with other powerhouse botanics of Rosephip, Blackseed and Chia seeds, Prickly Pear, Pumpkin & SeaBuckthorn, the formula offers healing and renewing properties. It also includes Coq 10, an enzyme produced naturally by the human body and found in every cell and tissue. It plays an important role in a number of biological functions, including antioxidant protection and deep penetration into the skin matrix & helping create collagen & elastin.
Another interesting element of this elixir is the inspiration behind its name (it also reminds me of the French fashion brand Sezanne). Named by Theresa after Sesenne Descartes, it reminds us of an incredibly talented St. Lucian singer and cultural icon who was full of life and deep appreciation of everything happy and joyful. Sesenne sang lustily and untiringly to the delight of those who had a chance to hear her perform. According to Theresa, one of Sesenne’s greatest assets was the genuine warmth of her personality, generous disposition and attitude of service before her personal needs. A gracious woman, a queen of joy, soul and sound.
Theresa’s Top Tips on Using Sesenne
Sesenne Oil is best absorbed on a slightly damp skin, so use right after your shower or washing your face. You can also use with a face mist. I’m testing some amazing hydrosols for an upcoming product, so I’ll mix a pump or two of hydrosol with about four drops of Sesenne, inhaling the scent first and then massage it all over face & neck, right down to the décolletage. I pass my hands through my hair after, to add any remaining oil residue to the hair shafts. I also tend to get dry cuticles in the winter or whenever I’m on long flights, so I always rub a drop of Sesenne onto my cuticles to keep them moist.
There is a lot to be said for simple skincare routines, as well as skin formulations with few ingredients, but there are equally plenty of products that have more than a few active components with a powerful overall synergy.
28 ingredients of Sesanne: Cacay | Safflower | Jojoba | Rosehip |Prickly Pear | Black Seed | Pumpkin seed |Tamanu | Sea Buckthorn | Calendula |Nettle | Melissa | Red Clover | Nutmeg |Tumeric | Geranium | Yarrow | Rose | Jasmine | Frankinsense | Myrrh | Lime |Clementine | Ubiquinone | Carrot Seed |Cocoa | West Indian Bay | Cedarwood
There is definite strong feminine energy emitting out of Sesenne facial elixir, so when you apply it to the skin, something subtly changes around you. Being a woman has never been easy, but this product balances the feminine and masculine in the sense of power and strength that is confident, but not agressive. The inner confidence of this product passes on to you invisibly, once you massage it into your skin.
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