January 28, 2016

Andalou Naturals - Revitalizing Lash + Lid Makeup Remover, Blossom + Leaf Toning Refresher

Purchased items.

I suffered through terrible acne as a teenager, and have had fussy skin since then, so I don't tend to experiment a lot with my skincare, but I do like to try new versions of the kinds of products that work for me overall. 

Two categories that I'm especially into are 1) oil cleansers and 2) hydrating toners. 

My skin just doesn't tolerate foaming-type cleansers very well, getting drier, more fragile-feeling and more prone to breakouts the more consistently I use them. Oil cleansers, especially the kind that rinse off, are a better bet, though they're obviously not all created equal. Some tend to make me break out (sweet almond oil, you luscious-smelling bastard), and some have an overly aggressive emulsification that doesn't just rinse off the oil in the product, but my skin's natural oils as well (hello, Bride of the Mummy).

As for hydrating toners, I think they're just the most versatile product. Skin feeling pretty balanced? A spritz in the morning layered with a light oil on drier spots is enough to keep my skin fresh without adding the weight of a moisturizer. Need more help? Mix some more drops of facial oil with a spray of toner in the palm of my hand to make a light emulsion, and press into the skin for a beautiful, healthy glow. Skin looking like a vanilla pound cake after applying foundation? A few passes of toning spray and I look like a human being again. A toner loaded with skin-loving ingredients is my slinky black shirt - I can make it work for me in almost every circumstance.

So since I'm trying to find more "green" and "natural" ways of doings things in my life (while still making the grade in terms of being evidence-based), I decided to try a couple of those options from the brand Andalou Naturals. (This isn't a brand I was familiar with until recently, but I came across them on www.well.ca.)

Andalou Naturals - Revitalizing Lash + Lid Makeup Remover, Blossom + Leaf Toning Refresher

Andalou Naturals - Revitalizing Lash + Lid Makeup Remover, Blossom + Leaf Toning Refresher

The formulations sounded interesting, though the fruit stem cell thing is a bit of nonsense.

This is the claim the brand makes:

"Fruit Stem Cell Science® renews skin at the cellular level. Award-winning Malus Domestica (Apple) and Solar Vitis (Grape) Stem Cells provide ‘universal’ cells to energize skin cell function for enhanced immunity, longevity and vitality. Fruit Stem Cell Science® accelerates the skin’s own ability to repair and replenish health cells effectively replacing older, weak and damaged cells. These universal cells become activated skin cells and elasticity and resilience are restored."

Eh. Fruit stem cells sound like a perfect blend of green and science-y, but stem cells can't survive in a cosmetic formulation to do anything like what's being claimed here. It's possible that eventually stem cells will be used in skincare applications, but the research isn't there yet.

If you're inclined, you can read more about their claims here, but personally I give it all a big ole side-eye.

That said, they are full of other nice, effective things, including antioxidants and skin-soothing and skin-repairing ingredients.

Revitalizing Lash + Lid Makeup Remover: Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Glyceryl Stearate, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Cocoate, Biotin, Hyaluronic Acid, Ginkgo Biloba Extract*, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate (Licorice) Extract*, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Oil*, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos), Hibiscus Sabdariffa and Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extracts*^ Non-GMO verified *Organic ^Fair Trade

Normally I wouldn't be too fussed about "fancy" ingredients in a cleanser (since the potential benefits are shortchanged by the length of time the product remains on your skin), but this is the kind of cleanser that gets massaged in for a while, so I'm willing to give them a bit more weight.

Jojoba is nice oil for facial application, as it's usually kind to reactive skin and the texture feels fairly luxurious in a formulation. Biotin is in here to supposedly boost your lashes, but I don't see it doing much of anything in this kind of application. The plant extracts in here are anti-irritants (liquorice) and antioxidants, and the rose hip oil is a nicely nourishing oil as well.

This is marketed specifically as a product for removing eye makeup, and they recommend applying it to dry skin, massaging lightly and wiping away with a cotton pad. Used this way, I found it only moderately effective. It got most makeup off, but didn't make much of a dent in my Marc Jacobs eyeliner, for example. I found it was a better when I added in a bit of water to emulsify, but only marginally. As such, I wouldn't recommend it to be used primarily as an eye makeup remover, especially if you tend to wear heavier, more waterproof makeup.

That said, I found it really lovely to use as either a second all-over facial cleanse in the evening, or as my morning cleanse, when I didn't have to worry about removing a ton of gunk. I found it left my skin fresh and soft, and not feeling stripped. I'm considering it as a replacement for my currently-used Clarins Extra-Comfort Cleansing Cream, which is unfortunately not cruelty-free.

Lash + Lid Makeup Remover, massaged in.
From top to bottom: Le Metier and Kat Von D liquid liners, Marc Jacobs eyeliner, Urban Decay eyeliner. 

Wiped away.
From top to bottom: Le Metier and Kat Von D liquid liners, Marc Jacobs eyeliner, Urban Decay eyeliner. 

Blossom + Leaf Toning Refresher: Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Lauric Acid, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Resveratrol, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos), Hibiscus Sabdariffa and Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extracts*^, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Aurantium (Petitgrain) and Geranium Maculatum Oils* Non-GMO verified *Organic ^Fair Trade

I'm on the fence about glycerin in my toners - sometimes I like the extra boost of hydration, and the extra glow it gives when used over makeup, sometimes I can't stand the sticky feeling it leaves behind. This formulation omits it, and instead gets some hydration benefits from panthenol. It also includes lauric acid, which comes from coconut oil and actually has anti-inflammatory and anti-acne benefits, as well as great antioxidants in the form of Vitamin C, Resvetratrol and CoQ10, and the aforementioned plant extracts. It also does contain Petigrain and Geranium essential oils, which may have some anti-bacterial benefits in the amounts present, but for me mainly serve to give the mist a delightful herbal scent. If you're sensitive to fragrance, do be aware that these may be an issue.

I really like this toner. I love how my skin feels after using it, and I find the scent more pleasing than the Caudalie one everyone seems to adore. If I were to nitpick, I would suggest making the nozzle deliver a finer spray for the purposes of setting makeup. (It's not like it's spitting at me, but it could optimally be a finer, more diffused mist.) Since I don't assume that's how most people would use it though, it's a teeny tiny quibble.

Overall, I'm pleased with my foray into Andalou Naturals, and will likely try more. Especially if Well.ca runs any more discount codes. (They're are 17.95$ CAD each, at regular price.)

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