We are all works in progress, but while some choose to be static, others just bream with ideas and desire to implement them. A brand is often a reflection of a person or people behind it and recently I had the pleasure of meeting with Laura Rudoe, founder of S5 Skincare, who also has another brand in her creative portfolio, called Evolve Organic Beauty. I have written about Evolve a while back ( please click here, if you want to go back in time, both for Evolve and the way my own website looked ) but recently the brand had a transformation and instead of a duckling, a young swan seems to be emerging.
Evolve was a good brand but its branding wasn’t premium and it wasn’t a raving success, so Laura pragmatically re-examined things and at some stage even considered pulling the plug on that project, but fate had the pleasure of intervening. The branding changed, the engagement with the customer became closer and more personal ( you get regular updates, discount offers, suggestions for products to try, suitable for your own skin type ) and the products expanded – Laura and her team carefully note which products become popular with customers, what smells and textures they respond to and if something doesn’t work for customers, the product might be discontinued. Through the constant dialogue with existing customers and focus groups, ideas and new products emerge, initially in small runs and then, if demand continues, it becomes bigger. After all, it is important to be flexible, to listen to customer feedback ( I wish more brands took notice and became more personal, instead of pretending to be so and pushing what they want to sell, which might not be exactly what the customer needs ).
Evolve had a soft launch last May, launched officially in September and now they seem to have gained customer trust, as well as attention from press and bloggers around the world ( the brand is available in France, at Mon Corner B, as a European example, as well as US organic store Credo Beauty, which is a fantastic concept and retailer ). Laura and team Evolve are developing lots of interesting ideas, so that was one of the points of focus of our conversation with Laura, as well as new products in development, one of which I am particularly excited about due to its originality.
Laura, who is a mother of three, and whose youngest child is under one, came to the meeting with her little one, yet she managed to cover all the points and answer my endless questions, while also keeping an eye on her daughter. Some women just have innate focus and ability to make the balance between motherhood and career look easily achievable, making the rest of us ponder in wonder how it’s possible to make it look so effortless.
Laura continues to work with her business partner Violaine, who is based in France and her London team is all female, so the skincare does not all have female perspective in its DNA, it also factors in demand of our skin at different ages, from blissful stage when we are carefree to the changes that motherhood or maturity bring.
Another appealing point about Evolve is that not only you can order a set of samples to try the products and experience their textures, smells and effect on YOUR skin, you can also buy products in travel sizes, which are perfect,t not just for travel but for trialling the product for longer – my face mask ( review here ) lasts a good few weeks ( if used weekly ) and the lip treat ( one of my favourite Evolve products thus far ) has lasted a good few months, so Evolve ‘miniatures’ are not just practical, but generously-sized.
On this occasion, instead of doing detailed product review, I though I would go through the Evolve products that I have tried in the last few weeks, in order to share with you my impressions and hopefully giving you something to contemplate, as you are getting ready for your summer break.
FOR THE FACE
Lip Treat, 30mls, £10: this lip balm is quite solid and comes in a glass jar. You need to put your finger in and try to warm it up, as it is quite solid. It has a lovely orangey smell and softens lips beautifully. I find its solid texture practical for carrying it in your handbag or on your travels, as it won’t ‘leak’ into your make-up bag, but some might find the ‘sizing’ a little too large.
As to the ingredients, there are three worth mentioning: shea butter that is rich in multiple vitamins (it provides essential nutrients to the skin and assists collagen production that make our lips and skin plumper in appearance). Cocoa butter is known for its emollient qualities, so your skin is not only protected, but moisturised as well. Orange Essential Oil boosts the mood and helps increase the blood flow to the skin.
Gentle Cleansing Melt ( comes in two sizes, 30ml & 100ml): best suited to normal or dry skin, this flowery smelling gel promises to nourish and protect your skin barrier, while getting rid of make-up and daily grime. I used a 30ml size and was somewhat annoyed that I had to hold the bottle upside down for the product to come out – that’s just my own practical observation.
It has a balmy texture when you put in on your ‘dry’ skin and it does feel nice to massage your face with it, while and then rinse it off with warm water, when the ‘melt’ becomes milky and reveals clean and soft skin, without the drying side-effects. It is a nice product to use in the summer, especially if you are spending the day outside or on the beach, but its vanilla smell might be a little too strong before bed-time, so might work perfectly in the morning and help you wake up. If used in the evening, cleaning your face with a flannel or bamboo cloth will add a gentle exfoliation benefit.
A noteworthy ingredient here is baobab, which many of us have been consuming internally in the last couple of years, due to its high Vitamin C content. Baobab is well-known for its amazing benefits for the skin, as it contains calcium and Vitamin A. Baobab oil helps to rejuvenate skin cells due to its high antioxidant content, thus assisting our skin protection against free-radicals.
Fresh Face Facial Wash, comes in two sizes, as above: If you have combination or oily skin, you might like this gently foaming Facial Wash with organic purifying Papaya. It was formulated to detoxify and rebalance normal, combination & oily skins. Natural sugars cleanse away impurities, organic papaya enzymes exfoliate, organic aloe vera softens, leaving skin clean, smooth and supple, while natural Goji Berry extract defends against pollution.
The wash comes in a bottle with a spray nozzle and one or two pumps of this liquid, gel-like formula are enough to cleanse both face and neck (apply to damp skin ) but you can also extend it to the decollete and by using cold water you can help you skin remain firmer for longer, as it boosts circulation – a simple but effective trick that was used by my grandmothers. I like this product’s aloe vera fragrance & texture, which is light, refreshing and makes the skin feel well-moisturised, even before you apply serum or moisturiser.
Hyaluronic Serum 200, comes in two sizes, 10ml travel size and 30ml: This pure clear serum for normal to dry skin contains 200 mg hyaluronic acid per bottle, hydrating skin from within and plumping up fine lines and wrinkles. With its delicate organic rosewater fragrance, it also appeals to our feminine side. When you apply it to your skin, it feels like lightly bouncy water drops and sinks into your skin almost instantly. Since I received my order, I have been known to apply it sometimes on top of my make-up, mid-way through the day, to plump and hydrate my skin externally, while making sure I drink water to hydrate my insides. This one is a definite winner for me.
Miracle Face Oil ( two sizes, as above ): I will be honest, generally I shy away from products that have ‘miracle’ in its name because I don’t mind life miracles, but I don’t expect miracles from skincare. This face oil sample came as an extra with my order, so I gave it a go. The oil itself is light-coloured yellow and has a light texture as well. It promises to nourish your skin and contains natural retinol from Organic Rosehip and antioxidants from Organic Argan oil to regenerate and revitalise mature and dry skin.
I have normal skin but as the oil is quite ‘rich’, even though it sinks into the skin quickly and without leaving an oily residue behind, I would personally use it when my skin feels a bit dry, during hot summers or cold winters, applying it in the evening, so it can assist skin’s night-time rejuvenation process. Additional benefit includes Organic Blackseed oil, which not only nourishes, but also helps reduce signs of skin irritation. The oil’s delicate fragrance, created by fusing revitalising organic rose otto and soothing organic vanilla, will help create some extra good vibes, before you start your active day, if applied in the morning, or in the evening, just before bedtime.
For the Body
Tropical Blossom Body Polish, two sizes: This oil based & soap-free body polish contains fine particles of organic sugar to buff skin to smooth perfection and natural Tahitian coconut Monoi, macerated in exotic Tahitian blossoms of Gardenia. Natural sugar extracts, combined with water, turn this clear balm into a creamy milk that rinses away to reveal smoother & clearer skin. Expect to carry around a delicate veil of hibiscus on your skin during the day .)
I find that body scrubs are best applied to dry skin & always make sure that I focus on areas that tend to be particularly dry, like knees, elbows and soles of the feet. When you have scrubbed yourself all over ( I omit my neck, as prefer to use a loofah or bath mitt on it ), add warm water and wash the scrub off, admiring your softer, rejuvenated skin. I use body scrub as and when I need to, as I do daily skin-brushing, but once or twice a week will make sure that your skin looks good all year round and not just before you are ready to go on your summer holiday/
This scrub leaves the skin feeling nurtured and soft ( because it contains Tahitian Manoi and sweet almond oil ), so you might not even need to apply your usual body lotion or oil to the skin after scrubbing. However if you do apply the body oil, make sure you do it on a slightly damp skin, for more effective moisturising.
Evolve team’s Tip/Warning: make sure your hands are dry when applying the polish, so you don’t add water into the full-sized jar, thus creating an environment for potential bacteria dwelling in it.
Sunless Glow Body Lotion, two sizes, 60 ml & 250 ml: this one is a really exciting product, as with the dire weather we have been having in London, the skin looks pasty pale and makes one feel quite blue. I always look for products that have a more natural content, even though James Read does make products that add colour to your skin even, as you sleep – in that respect, it is always good to have choices.
I tan quite easily, but after winter I want my skin to have a healthy glow, which regular body scrub isn’t going to achieve. This rich body lotion is designed to give the skin a gradual tan over a number of applications, so you can build up the colour you want, from light to a deeper one, depending on your skin type and colouring. After taking a shower and using a scrub, paying particular attention to dryer areas, towel dry your skin and massage the lotion all over the body. A very subtle tan will appear after one application, so you can build up the colour the following day, if you so desire. Just don’t forget to pay particular attention to knees, elbows and feet, so they don’t give away your beauty secrets by revealing different shades of brown .)
This lotion contains organic papaya, which smoothes the skin and prepares it for summer or moments when you want to reveal healthy, glowing skin. There is also organic aloe vera, which helps to soothe any signs of redness or irritation and shea butter, which nourishes the skin and helps to replenish the skin when dry. Another ingredient worth mentioning here is Erythrulose, which is berries-based red and sour tart sugar. It works in tandem with the keratin in our skin, leading to a gentle and subtle darkening of the skin.
Satin Leg Gloss, two sizes, 60 ml (press top ) & 100 ml (spray bottle): With warmer sun rays, we tend to shed layers and favour dresses and skirts over trousers. But what to do if your legs look pasty ?
Evolve’s dry body oil is designed to give legs a glossy, high shine finish & that is exactly what it delivers. Organic Camellia Seed Oil, known for its moisturising properties, Bisabolol (extracted from chamomile plant) and Organic Castor oil impart a satiny gloss to the skin without any greasiness, so you can apply it quickly in the morning or in the evening, before going out, thus boosting confidence about the way you look. Mineral mica and titanium add sparkle but it is very subtle, so you won’t look like a glitter-ball. No tights, just beautifully smooth, glossy skin, that smells upliftingly of flowers – so all you need, if a pair of gorgeous ballerinas or sophisticated heels to showcase your pins to perfection.
Superfood Shine Shampoo & Conditioner ( travel & full-sizes, £4 for 60 ml, £12 for 250 ml ): haircare was only added to Evolve range of products recently but I think it will be a good competitor for Weleda and Balance Me haircare. Harnessing the power of the African superfood Baobab’s proteins, which deeply nourish & condition, as well as boost shine, enjoy the bubbly lathering ( due to natural cleansers derived from sugar and coconut ) and uplifting fragrance of this shampoo. The shampoo also contains organic pomegranate extract, that should protect your hair shaft from heating and styling damage and aloe vera, that will help sooth the scalp. I enjoyed trialling this shampoo but after lathering and washing my hair, I find it hard to brush it, unless I apply conditioner & this conditioner doesn’t seem to be enough for me, even though I have normal hair. So while I like the effect of the shampoo on my hair, leaving it soft and manageable when dry, the conditioner just isn’t for me, however Evolve’s Nourishing Hair Elixir ( it also comes in two sizes, 10 ml & 30 ml ) seems to do the job instead.
A weightless hair serum was developed for those, who have frizzy or flyaway hair, so those of you who have fine hair will be familiar with this description. Formulated with organic Baobab, Argan and Monoi to nourish and protect, it is presented as a 100% alternative to silicone.
Combining the lightness of a serum and the richness of oil, it feels very pleasant to the touch and even fragrances your fingers, as you spread a couple of drops on short-to mid-length hair or three or four if you have long hair. I apply it on my towel-dry hair, from mid-length to ends and make sure it doesn’t go on my scalp or roots, as that can make hair look and feel greasy when dry – so do make sure, you brush your hair accordingly.
Arian oil has been used by women in Africa for generations and many attribute their beautiful hair to the nurturing effect of argan oil. Extracted from the crushed Argan fruit kernels, Moroccan Argan Oil is a natural remedy for restoring hair and keeping cuticles moisturised. It is rich in Vitamin E and fatty acid and is easily absorbed, leaving hair protected from further damages. I have to say that I don’t know many western women who have ravishingly gorgeous hair, compared to African or Arab women, but I do like this product and so does a friend of mine, who always bemoans her frizzy hair and who has noticed an improvement after using this serum after washing her hair for about three weeks. So all I can say, is order sample sizes and ‘beautify’ yourself – through trial and error we find products that work for our skin, hair, body and make us feel nurtured in the privacy of our own homes. Beauty not only comes from within, it also requires time, patience and wisdom of not running after every new product launch blindingly. What appeals to me with Evolve, is they seem to respond to modern women’s demand for personal customer service ( my personal thank you goes to Freya, who is charming, prompt and very helpful ), as well as products that come in different sizes and aim to deliver what they promise – no gimmicks, no miracles, just passion for ingredients, formulas and being a woman in the ever changing world.
To find out more about Evolve Organic beauty, please click here