As the beginning of the new year goes, we set intentions and resolutions. But instead of setting up big goals, how about focussing on the little things, like being more committed to masking and scrubbing your face? Not daily, god forbid, but weekly. Doing both will help the skin look better (irrespective of the decade you are in) and allow for some extra moments of peace and quiet that we all need more than ever. I have been putting Ipsum new Enzyme Micropolish and Hydrating Skin Mask to good use in December in order to be able to review them during the first month of the New Year.
Intriguingly by her own admission, Janet Hayward, Ipsum founder, worked on Micropolish ‘for a shorter time than usual because my formulator already showed me some amazing results – even on sensitive skin – with a fine blend of rice powder, kaolin & salicylic acid (derived from tree bark).” This combination of ingredients in itself might not be unique, but the key element in this instance for Janet was getting the balance right. Another vital aspect was choosing enzyme exfoliation “because it is gentle, yet thorough, without being abrasive”.
Time and time again I see face scrub formulas that are harsh even for normal skin and what many consumers tend to forget is that something that feels ‘effective’ because of its grainy texture that “works extra hard”, can actually cause micro damage to the skin and lead to irritation, sensitivity or even damaging skin barrier. Janet’s comment on that topic is something that I have mentally put on my ‘skincare advice board’: “I am not comfortable with ‘scrubbing’ my face often with mechanical exfoliators that contain microscopic solid particles, which have sharp angular edges and could cause micro-tearing, when massaged over the face. Perhaps with the exception of jojoba beads, which are spherical and are particularly effective when it comes to body exfoliating, with fine grade jojoba beads.”
IPSUM Best Skin Enzyme Micropolish
After cleansing the face (I’ve been interplaying with Ipsum’s Best Skin Cleansing Oil balm, Odacite’s Montana Harvest Oil Cleanser, Bloomeffects Royal Cleansing Jelly or Tata Harper Softening Cleanser as the first step), I would put a teaspoon of Best Skin Enzyme Micropolish into the palm of my hand, add a few drops of water, mix it and then gently massage it all over my face, neck and even tops of my shoulders. The finest texture of this product is very much ‘unlike’ the scrub and truly is an apt description of what it does to the skin – polish. Feather-light, yet revealing a clearer, softer to the touch skin. Subtle, gentle, efficacious – how skincare should ideally be. This facecare product clarifies the complexion, making lacklustre skin look brighter – a better version of itself with regular use.
Caviar Lime, an ingredients native to Australia, breaks down dead skin cells and helps to boost skin’s natural cell renewal process, while Lemon Myrtle deeply cleanses the pores and Hibiscus, Sandalwood and Calendula sooth, smooth and protect. With colder months of the year upon us, this is something that skin invisibly appreciates, as heat, cold and lack of hydration (we tend to drank less water when its cold, rather than hot) take their negative toll on skin’s appearance.
Even though Janet is British, Australia has been her home for many years and so its not at all surprising that through her products she spotlights and showcases Australian native plants and their multiple benefits. Caviar Lime is very small, finger-shaped lime with thin skin. When you break it open, the little ‘caviar pearls’ burst out and with them… a high concentration of vitamin C and other amazingly potent antioxidants, like Ferulic Acid. The AHA action comes from this supercharged fruit that melts away dullness and buildup of the skin caused by environmental impurities & dead skin cells. AHAs also have brightening and hydrating benefits! This micropolish is even perfectly suited to sensitive skin.
Lemon Myrtle adds pore-cleansing benefit, as well as astringent quality for the extra fresh feeling. Sandalwood & Lavender bring anti-bacterial and anti-microbial benefits and uplifting, refreshing zingy scent makes me think of fresh air and citrusy fresh juice. I also can’t praise enough the almost mediative texture that makes me want to massage and massage the polish all over my face, neckline and décolletage. Soothing the skin and the senses, meditation on better looking skin within minutes and then smiling with satisfaction at the reflection in the bathroom mirror, before turning the lights off.
IPSUM Best Skin Hydrating Mask
Face masking won’t replace a regular visit to the facialist, but using masks to give your skin some extra weekly TLC can only work to your advantage. Ipsum Hydrating Mask with Australian pink clay is a fine powder unlike any other I have tried. Firstly is silky smooth and perfectly, almost blindingly white. This mask is finer-textured than powder sugar and naturally rich in unique Australian minerals. Expect deep cleansing, soothing, hydrating and conditioning of the skin like a pilates session, which conditions the body.
Clay on its own is a powerful detoxifying tool in your skincare arsenal. You can mix this powder mask with water (I recommend using bottled or filtered water), but I particularly enjoy the combination of this mask with Ipsum Cleansing Oil balm and then delighting myself by what feels like a science experiment of mixing the two together. A clear gel-like texture of the cleansing balm mixed with perfectly white powder – with a few turns of a wooden spoon or spatula the colour changes and turns vividly pink. When you will apply it to the skin, the colour becomes almost rusty pink, with orange undertones, like the earthy soil you see in nature. When you mix it with this cleansing balm, it forms a smooth paste that won’t drip off your face and will be easy to wash off twenty or so minutes after application. No mess and practicality of application are important elements of skincare, I hope you will agree .)
Its hard to believe that this mask has only two ingredients – Australian pink clay and Iron Oxide – yet this simplicity gives your complexion a boost of radiance and softness within the space of under half an hour. There are plenty of skincare products with INCI list well beyond ten ingredients, yet if you have the knowledge and can source high-quality ingredients, you CAN experience the luxury without compromise – and you won’t have to choke at the price of the product.
While using those two products, I was also reading a book about various crafts, including woodwork. A comment by an artisan who makes furniture got stuck in my head. He passionately described using different grades of sanding paper, while working on each piece, be it a chair, a table or a bookcase. There was immense pride and passion when it came to refining everything that he crafted or carved and particular attention when the process moved from a lower grade of sanding paper to a much higher one, as the wood became smoother and item closer to completion. And as I was weaving my words into this post a thought struck my head – why don’t we pay closer attention to how we choose our skincare and which brands we support? Does the synergy between the skincare or body care brand and individual consumer flow? Are we perfectly aligned in how we view things?
It might seem like an unusually ‘deep’ thought when it comes to writing about skincare, but I catch myself thinking about it more and more often. It’s not only what our skin likes and needs – it’s also the emotional aspect of how we feel about the brand and what we associate it with. Choose wisely or choose impulsively – but do pay attention to the end result. The appearance of your skin and what emotions this or that brand brings out in you.
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