In the last year as I have explored more green beauty brands and products, there are two brands that have risen to the top of my go-to list. In the first of what will be two posts, I am going to review them, and as you may have guessed, this post is dedicated to African Botanics.
Based out of Santa Monica California, but honoring and utilizing the rich biodiversity of southern Africa, African Botanics was founded by South African couple Craig and Julia Noik in 2012. The vast majority of the ingredients in African Botanics products are wild harvested and the company applies advanced techniques in extraction and encapsulation by partnering with university labs and various research teams in both South Africa and Europe.
Many of the plants that African Botanics incorporates into its products have been used for time immemorial by the hunter-gatherer cultures of Southern Africa, the Khoisan, and San. I have been fascinated by their culture and their intimate knowledge of the plants in their landscape, which have been the key to the survival of one of the oldest groups of people on Earth. I highly recommend Elizabeth Marshall’s book “The Harmless People” if you have any interest in cultures.
Now I am going to start this line exploration with the first product I purchased from African Botanics, the Pure Marula Cleansing Oil. Marula Oil, along with Moringa and Baobab oils also present in the cleansing oil, has anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in antioxidants. Before missionaries tried to stop certain traditional cultural practices the women of Namibia and South Africa used Marula oil as lotion and in certain cultures, a bride would apply Marula oil all over her body on the day of her wedding. I highly recommend reading African Botanics’ overview of Marula Oil which details the source, the science, the harvest of Marula. I think part of what attracted me to green beauty brands is their (well, some brands at least) utter devotion to the ingredients in their products and the source of those ingredients. The Pure Marula Cleansing Oil has an utterly divine smell, which I attribute to the vanilla, which can help reduce redness, a common skin complaint of mine. I use the Pure Marula Cleaning Oil every other night (interchanging my two go-to oil cleansers is my technique to preserve them longer) as my first step in cleansing. I use a wet flannel washcloth to help remove the cleanser and the dirt and grim it just removed from my skin.
I am still new to using the Buchu Botanical Enzyme Polish, but as far as a physical exfoliant goes it seems pretty dang good. The Buchu plant only grows on the Western Cape of South Africa and has been known as a medicinal plant by the local Khoi people for centuries and some exciting scientific trials are underway in utilizing the plant’s effectiveness in treatments for a handful of serious infections. The polish uses sun-dried Buchu as well as crushed Baobab fruit alongside granules of volcanic minerals to provide the physical exfoliation from the polish. They seem to do the trick in removing dead skin giving me a brighter look after my cleanse. As the name suggests, the polish also contains Papaya and Pineapple enzymes, which help clear the skin’s pores and also contribute to that brighter look. As with all exfoliants you should only be using this product 2-3 times a week.
Now, the Rose Treatment Essence. I first tried the Rose Treatment Essence on a trip, where I packed a number of samples I had accumulated. As a side note, when you order any product straight from the African Botanics website you will find a number of little sample packets included with your purchase when it arrives. I enjoyed the hydration factor that the product provided my skin on that trip, so I purchased the full-size when African Botanics had their Cyber Monday promotion this year. The Rose Treatment Essence pumps out as a gel but melts into the skin upon application. This is another product that helps with redness and inflammation, but it also has a brightening and plumping effect. Featuring rose-water and aloe extract, I turn to this product as an instant hydration booster, which my dry plagued and often tired-looking skin craves.
The Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum I was beyond psyched to receive in my Boxwalla Beauty box, (as well as the next product, the Recovery Oil below). This product is great for skin that has experienced sun damage (yep) and has dark spots (yep). After my bike tour in Puglia this summer I noticed that I developed some darker discoloration around my eyes, much to my annoyance. This product does have Retinol, (also known as Vitamin A), and you should pay attention to how it affects your skin. Retinol can be used every evening, but it if you have not used a product with retinol in it before, or do not use retinol often, you might want to slowly work yourself up to that point. This serum does not irritate my skin in any way, and I currently use it 2-3 times a week (in the evenings only). The darker skin around my eyes is lightening up a little, not gone completely yet. The Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum contains Swiss Garden Cress Liposomes, rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that inhibits melanin formation (aka pigmentation or dark spots) by shutting down reactive oxidants generated by UV in the skin cells which can cause pigmentation.
Another African Botanics product I received through my Boxwalla Beauty box subscription is the Fleurs d’Afrique Intensive Recovery Oil. This oil is highly concentrated with a number of active ingredients, including Baobab flowers and Jasmine Grandiflorum, both night-blooming flowers that help fight free radical damage to the skin. You know earlier when I mentioned the utter devotion to ingredients found with some green beauty brands, what can exemplify this more than sourcing a flower at dusk? This oil also contains retinol and is an ideal choice to follow the Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum in your evening routine. Similar benefits found in the serum are also present in the Intensive Recovery Oil, containing active ingredients that can help reduce dark spots and fine lines on the skin. I tend to gravitate to this oil at night versus the daytime. The oil itself feels light and does a nice job of absorbing into the skin. I never have a greasy look some oils give me (which is usually not a bother if it is before bed).
Visit my Instagram @thedetoxface for my review of African Botanics Firming Botanical Body Oil. The Firming oil is amazing, and I am not too far from finishing my bottle. If there is one way to demonstrate how much I am into African Botanics’ line of products it is that I bought a body oil from the line in the first place. I tend to splurge on facial products, so the fact that I went for the body oil is the case in point. I have never purchased a body oil from any brand, and at this point, I am not sure I will, when I really dig the Firming Botanical Body Oil from African Botanics.
That raises my last point about the African Botanics line. The products put out by African Botanics are not inexpensive, they tend to run price-wise, on the very high-end of green beauty brands, but I have not been disappointed with any of the products purchased. In fact, I have been extremely impressed and immediately concerned with how I will support my new-found obsession. As a plug for the Boxwalla Beauty box subscription, a bi-monthly $49 can have a really lovely and amazing product, like the Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum, or the Fleurs d’Afrique Intensive Recovery Oil, both of which I received in two separate beauty boxes, show up at your door for a fraction of the cost. If you have considered purchasing an African Botanics product but have not felt confident about making the splurge I can assure you, you probably will not be disappointed.