Everyone, not just pinup girls, wants their skin to be clear and healthy. Sadly, due to environmental factors, internal health, sweat, cosmetics and external bacteria, this is not always easy to achieve.
I recently decided to revamp my skincare routine, as it had become too minimal and I often skipped over doing important steps. I’ve also recently run out of the cleanser I was using, so this was a good time to try something new.
The first step I took was actually to start taking probiotics. I know, that doesn’t sound like something skincare-related. But good internal health, and particularly good gut health, has been found to influence your skin’s texture and clarity. So I popped into my local supermarket and picked up a six pack of probiotic yoghurt drinks for AU$4.
While I was at the shops, I scoured the aisles of the chemist, looking for a suitable skincare brand to try. For me, the ideal brand would:
- Be Australian made
- Include no Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (artifical foaming agents that tend to irritate skin and clog pores: a no-no for people with Rosacea, like me) or artificial fragrances (also irritating for Rosacea)
- Include no petrochemicals (I’m an environmental scientist in training: petrochemicals suck)
- Have recyclable packaging
- Not be tested on animals (this is a tricky one: when a product says “not tested on animals”, it means that the final formulation has not been tested on animals: the individual ingredients may very well have gone through animal tests. But most of the common ingredients used in skincare and cosmetics were tested decades ago and so are not retested nowadays. I’m ok with ingredients that have been tested in the distant past, as I don’t want my eyes bleeding or my skin falling off from an untested ingredient!)
Luckily for me, the chemists had a huge markdown on a trial pack of products from the brand Kosmea. Marked down from AU$49.95 to just AU$20, the pack includes six products from the Kosmea range: perfect for trialling how my skin reacts before committing to full size bottles. I was sold on trying this pack when I read that Kosmea:
- Is Australian made
- Contains no mineral oils, artificial colours, petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, SLS/SLES (those artificial foamers we talked about), or animal ingredients
- Is not tested on animals
- Has recyclable packaging
Yay! However, keep in mind that this range of products is heavily based on plant extracts and that some people are sensitive or allergic to such extracts. It’s always best to learn what your own skin reacts to! Likewise, just because something has “chemical” ingredients in it, doesn’t make it bad.
The six products included in the trial pack are: Clarifying Facial Wash; Daily Facial Exfoliant;Purifying Cream Cleanser; Hydrating Rosewater Mist; Radiance 24/7 Youth Boost oil; and Replenishing Moisture Cream.
Here’s the science bit: feel free to skip!
When I got home, I decided to pull up my trusty list of the comedogenic ratings of different oils and skincare ingredients – this is a rating of how likely each ingredient is to block your pores and give you pimples, with 5 being the worst for skin and 0 being the best for skin.
The Clarifying Facial Wash, for instance, contains ingredients which have the following ratings and purposes:
- Water (0)
- Caprylic Glucoside (cleansing agent)
- Glycerin (humectant – keeps the product moist)
- Algin (a mineral thickening and stabilising agent) (4)
- Glycol Distearate (helps stabilise the blend)
- Lilly Pilly fuit extract (antibacterial, source of Vitamin C)
- Lemon Aspen fruit extract (skin repair)
- Davidson’s Plum fruit extract (antioxidant)
- Desert Lime fruit extract (antioxidant, source of Vitamin C)
- Quandong fruit extract (source of Vitamin C)
- Wattle Seed fruit extract (pore refining, anti-inflammatory)
- Rosewood wood oil (antiseptic and antibacterial)
- Rose flower water (anti-irritant)
- Rose Hip seed oil (1) (essential fatty acids)
- Rose Geranium oil (tightens the skin)
- Green Tea (reduces inflammation)
- Macadamia seed oil (skin softener)
- Glyceryl Oleate (helps stabilise the blend)
- Glyceryl Stearate (lubricant and helps stabilise the blend) (3)
- Potassium Sorbate (preservative that kills microorganisms and stops product going “off”)
- Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (preservative that stops the product going “off”)
- Linalool (natural scent)
- Geraniol (natural scent)
- Citronellol (natural scent)
As you can see, many of the “natural” ingredients don’t have official ratings. But you can also see that this product avoids harsh artificial irritants and cleansing agents, and instead focuses on a mixture of Austrlian native plant extracts; stabilising agents (to stop the ingredients separating out) and non-paraben preservatives (to stop the product growing dangerous fungi and bacteria).
On to the review!
The first thing I noticed when using these products is how nice and fresh they smell. They’re not overpowering, but have a very green scent, with a lovely hint of rose and lemon. Secondly, thank goodness, I can report that the exfoliator does not use plastic microbeads! (Those little suckers end up in the ocean, adding to the masses of plastic drifting around the Pacific). Instead, rice bran powder is used to allow for gentle exfoliation without tearing your healthy skin, as some rougher natural exfoliants can do.
After using the clarifying wash my skin didn’t feel tight or oily, just clean and refreshed. And you need just a tiny bit- around half the size of a 5cent coin – to wash your whole face. I also found that the exfoliator was quite gentle, so you could definitely use it every day, even on sensitive skin. My practice now is to cleanse my face in the morning, then cleanse and exfoliate at night, before moisturising.
The Rosewater spray can be used to set your makeup, or refresh your face throughout the day. I personally really like the Rosewater scent, which is soft and not overpowering. I like the idea of keeping this in the car or my bag for freshening up midway through the day. The scent makes its use feel like a quick little act of pampering.
The replenishing moisture cream soaks into the skin well and doesn’t leave a greasy film behind, as some moisturisers can do. Again – a little goes a long way. This moisturiser contains a lot of ingredients that draw and retain moisture in the skin, so it is an effective long-term moisturiser, not just a temporary fix.
I like to use the cream cleanser on days when I’ve caught the sun a bit or my skin is otherwise extra sensitive and in need of care. Like the clarifying wash, a little of this cleanser goes a long way and you only need a dollop about the size of a 5cent coin. The fresh, green scent makes washing your face a sensory pleasure. The cream works well to remove makeup, too, so if you choose to do so, using the clarifying wash in the morning and the cream cleanser at night is a good routine.
The Radiance Youth Boost oil is designed to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, a moisturiser after cleansing. With Rose Hip, Seabuckthorn, Pomegranate, Camellia and Apricot oils, it is an effective moisturiser for dry skin days. I was worried that use of this might leave my skin feeling heavy, but it seemed to absorb quite well.
All in all, I can’t find anything bad to say about the Kosmea line of skincare. It is effective, economical, earth-and-animal friendly, and Australian made. I’ve now settled into a routine of cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising and have seen a reduction in redness and breakouts. I definitely recommend Kosmea, especially if you can get your hands on a trial size “Discover Kosmea” set to ensure that the natural extracts work well for your skin.
Kosmea is available from their website, and from stockists such as Terry White Chemists and David Jones.