By Megan Schwarz.
Seed to Serum.
I have a deep love for all things South African. This probably stems from the time I spent living just outside of Cape Town. Though the six months flew by in a flash, it was enough time to solidify my fondness for the culture, people, and land. I have found nowhere as spectacularly breathtaking as South Africa. The landscape is incredibly diverse, featuring deserts, mountains, and everything in between. And don’t get me started on the wildlife (my absolute favorite thing!) – water buffalo, big cats, penguins, baboons (looting through the trash). I jumped at every opportunity that brought me closer to these beautiful creatures. (There are pictures of me riding elephants and ostriches to prove it!) Okay, okay, I’ve gone completely off topic. Well sort of…
I want to introduce you readers to a line that has captured my heart over the past month. Each product is crafted in such a way that the scents, textures, and ingredients seem magically elevated beyond the usual fare. This is not the type of love that grows over time; this was immediate, certain devotion.
Let’s dive into the particulars!
First up, the Neroli Infused Marula Oil. This is a great example of what I was talking about above – a product that is so deceptively simple on its face, yet radiates luxury, skill, and craftsmanship upon application. The texture is warm and viscous, enveloping the skin, and then seamlessly absorbing in to it. This was unexpected, because my past experience with marula oil left me disappointed (and my skin very, very dry). Once again, it becomes quite clear that the quality of an oil matters. African Botanics sources their marula oil through a fair trade organization in South Africa that supports the community, as well as the environment. The women in this collective crack the marula nuts by hand and cold press the kernels, yielding a highly nutritious, pure oil. Marula oil is particularly rich in Vitamin C, which protects skin from environmental aggressors and imparts a spectacular glow. I use this oil at night and find that it gives my skin a noticeable, lit-from-within radiance. As if that weren’t enough, the scent of this oil will leave you speechless. It’s somehow earthy, spicy, and citrusy all at the same time. Difficult to describe, this oil is something that you just have to experience. In one word, it’s AWESOME.
The Pure Marula Cleansing Oil is another such treasure from African Botanics. Recently launched, this rich cleansing oil glides easily over the skin, never tugging or pulling. I found that it easily removed my makeup, including my favorite Kjaer Weis mascara. Once you are finished massaging this cleansing oil over your skin (which may be a few minutes because it feels that good), it rinses easily with water. No muslin or wash cloth necessary. Yes, dear readers – a cleansing oil that rinses with water. To me, that is the very definition of luxury. This cleansing oil combines nutrient-dense oils – marula, baobab, and moringa – with AHA fruit acids – bilberry, pink grapefruit, sugar maple, sugar cane, and lemon – to deeply cleanse and nourish, while also gently exfoliating. The addition of AHA fruit acids is perfect for congested, acne prone, and dull skin types. And don’t get me started on the scent. It’s the perfect combination of sugary sweet and tropical vacation. (Note that Kim Wallace reviewed this cleansing oil and found it irritating when applied to the eye area. I did not experience any irritation, but everyone’s peepers are different so keep this in mind if you have experienced any sensitivity in the past.) In short, this cleansing oil is a keeper and one that I will definitely be repurchasing (and repurchasing and repurchasing).
Another recent launch, the Marula Mineral Cleansing Mask is like a trip to your fancy neighborhood spa in a jar. Don’t get me wrong, I love mixing my powder masks, but sometimes it’s nice to have a decadent, pre-mixed version in your arsenal. This mask combines clay, oils, stem cells, green rooibos tea extract, and perhaps most fascinating of all, African Resurrection Plant extract. The Resurrection plant manages to flourish in the dry Kalahari Desert and this unique resurrective ability is harnessed in the extract. This extract stimulates, protects, and re-texturizes the skin, leaving behind a more youthful, luminous complexion. This non-irritating, non-drying mask is a pleasure to use. I found that it gently detoxifies without the tightening effect of traditional powder masks. In fact, I would consider this a hydrating mask as well. I think that it would be perfect for sensitive skin types, as well as anyone looking for a little indulgence.
And then there is the Marula Firming Botanical Body Oil. Boy, does this nourishing body oil smell GOOD. It combines exotic carrier oils, including marula oil, watermelon oil, baobab oil, sasha inchi oil, coffee flower oil, and tamanu oil, with stunning essential oils like coffee, rose, vanilla, and neroli. The result is a gorgeous, lightweight oil that pleases the senses, while hydrating and improving the skin. (It’s about time that we started to treat the skin on our body with the same love and care that we treat our face and neck.) Though the texture of this oil is very light, I found the moisturizing effect to be long lasting. I think this oil would be perfect on its own in the summer months, but may require a little layering boost during the dreary, dry winter (luckily those months are almost behind us, fingers crossed!) Overall, it’s a wonderful, non-greasy product that I find myself reaching for after every shower.
I am so thrilled with the consistency in quality of the African Botanics products that I find myself eager to try everything else that this line has to offer. (Especially the Marula Firming Botanical Balm and Resurrection Eye Creme.) Highly recommended!
Seed to Serum: www.seedtoserum.com