Luxe Botanics

A botanic skincare line scientifically formulated to allow nature to nurture your skin.


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Ancient African Remedies

In celebration of Africa Day this month, we’re going back to its roots. Literally.

You know what this means… adventure time.  Bust out your explorer hat, and come along with us as we venture into the far depths of Africa where its rugged environment boasts some of the most nutrient-rich and ecologically diverse ecosystems out there. Over 30,000 plant species to be exact. But don’t worry, you won’t be quizzed, and we’re not going to run through the whole gamut. Just one in particular.

We’re looking at you Kigelia Africana. And it was definitely love at first sight.

Found on the tropical riverbanks of southern Africa, more specifically in Malawi, this one-of-a-kind tree bears its fruit in the unique shape of a sausage. Stop, smile, proceed. It’s an understandably hard-to-forget (but much endeared) fruit amongst the local communities.[1]

Looks aside, the powerful effects of the fruit extract were obvious early on. Traditionally, African healers first used the sausage-shaped fruit to treat fungal infections, boils and even more serious diseases such as leprosy, pneumonia and skin cancer.

 

Kigelia Africana Ancient African Remedies Luxe Botanics

 

Its richness in antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds make it a great candidate for fighting diseases that could cause serious ailments. To top it off, its natural firming properties help to stimulate collagen, plump skin and minimize fine lines. So when it came to choosing a hero ingredient for our core botanicals this was an easy choice.

Our Kigelia africana is Certified Organic by the Soil Association and handpicked by the local community in Malawi, and as one of our core botanicals, it brings a strong roster of guests to the table when it comes to ingredients. The Luxe Botanics Clarifying Serum and Clarifying Moisturiser go straight down to the very core of your skin’s DNA to calm, repair and balance your skin’s microbiome while minimizing those pesky blemishes and unannounced flare ups. Yep, hello and promptly goodbye.[2]

Ancient African Remedies Luxe Botanics

Perfect for those with a combination of oily, irritated or sensitive skin types, Kigelia’s powerful properties are fused with the probiotic goodness of lactobacillus ferment which help to rebalance your skin while niacinamide and peptides restore your complexion to the glowy and firm state you always remembered it to be. Wink wink. Need we say more?

Well, yes. Just one more thing. Since we’re celebrating all things Africa, this seems like the perfect time to mention our Kigelia Clarifying Serum won Best Indie Skincare for this year’s Beauty Industry Awards. Talk about powerful, right?

So, what do you say? Are you ready to put nature’s clarifying soother to the test?

Naturally Yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1]http://pza.sanbi.org/kigelia-africana

[2]http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1379490086_Olatunji%20and%20Atolani.pdf

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THE IMPORTANCE OF CREATING A SKINCARE RITUAL

What does your skincare ritual look like? 

Ok, we’ll be honest with you, this is sort of a trick question.  You might not have a skincare ritual.  Not yet.

It’s ok, we understand.  Life gets cluttered, our brains get cluttered, our inboxes get cluttered.  The thought of stopping to reassess the nuances of your beauty routine – or start one – when you’re so busy you just left your car keys in the fridge might seem indulgent.  But here’s the real kicker… that’s exactly WHY you should have a beauty ritual.  Relax, we’ve got your back.  And your front in this case.

Once upon a time, this whole thing didn’t seem like a far-fetched notion.  From Mary Queen of Scots swearing by wine baths (One might wonder if her version of a bubble bath was filled with sparkling wine…) to Cleopatra’s milk and honey facials, beauty rituals have been around for a while.  And why mess with a good thing?

Setting aside some specific time for yourself might seem crazy (Here’s the thing- it’s not).  But this habit is grounded in self-love and a commitment to your own wellness.  Friendly reminder: It’s not vanity, it’s sanity.

A wellness ritual is a commitment to a practice and to ourselves.  It’s a hands-on, purposeful experience.  When we create a skincare ritual, it is about pausing to be present, to align (or maybe realign) with our feminine self and nourishing ourselves in ways that are much more than skin-deep.

Cue the “But wait, there’s more” moment… There’s tons of research out there pointing to the positive effects of ritual and the power of intention as not only useful for our mental wellbeing, but for the healing effects on our physical bodies.[1]

It’s easy to make excuses about how there’s not enough time to take care of ourselves.  But prioritize a positive skincare ritual… is it any different than eating well, meditating, going to the gym… you get our drift. It is stress reducing and confidence boosting.[2]

So are you now ready to create a skincare ritual of your own? Great! How you ritual is up to you!  It’s a good old different strokes for different folks situation. It’s about tuning into what you’re feeling in that moment.  Go on, picture it… the feel good sensations of massaging a facial oil into your skin, the spritz of a mist refreshing your mind and soul…  Feel free to let out a relaxed exhale now. Ahhhhh!

We are all capable of building a habit around tuning into our body and slowing down for a few minutes each day (pinky swear).  Stopping to honour your wellbeing and mindfully pause is the ultimate form of self-respect. Feeling better might just, in turn, allow you to be more productive, keep stress at bay and give more freely to others.  Now that is totally worth celebrating.

So, go forth and love yourself silly.  To all you beautiful women out there- celebrate you, celebrate one another, celebrate your community, celebrate Mary Queen of Scots and Cleopatra.  To us, every day is Women’s Day.

 

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004979/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18596974


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Luxe Botanics Joins The Clean Ribbon Alliance

A Pledge from the Luxe Botanics Team

At Luxe Botanics, we believe in Nature to Nurture, using the beauty of plant powered medicine to enrich skin health.

Marking February 4th’s #WorldCancerDay, we are proud to share our commitment to non-profit charity The Clean Ribbon, standing alongside the likes of Rêve en Vert, FROM Clothing, PRITI NYC and Virtue + Vice to support research into everyday chemicals commonly found in personal care products.

Independent scientists will investigate whether certain ingredients we are exposed to in clothing dyes, cosmetics, skincare and grooming products may contain potential carcinogens. Results will be published on The Clean Ribbon’s online information portal www.cleanribbon.com allowing the public to make healthier grooming and fashion choices for themselves and their families.

Pledging 1% of all Luxe Botanics’ serum sales to the cause, the allegiance rallies to the cry #keepitclean.

The Clean Ribbon’s Board of Trustees includes Philanthropist Lady Charlotte Lyham, Wellness Expert Shanon Hoffman, Al Thani Foundation CEO Sara Saud Al Thani and ELUXE Magazine Editor Chere Di Boscio.

Thank you for your continued support of Luxe Botanics and the causes close to our heart!

Naturally yours,

 

The Luxe Botanics Team


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New Year, New Complexion: Your Skin Purging Questions, Answered!

No matter how trite New Year’s Resolutions may seem, you can’t deny that January inspires a desire to start anew with a clean slate. Perhaps it’s all the extra dessert and alcohol during holiday parties or the additional time we take to step back and reflect on the bigger picture. Whatever the reason, there’s no better time than now to make positive changes—your skin, included.

Many people start the new year with a detox—a promise to focus on healthy foods and more exercise. As we all know, the impact of these changes aren’t seen overnight. A new dedicated workout routine or whole-foods diet takes time for your body to acclimatize and manifest positive changes. Similarly, a clean, naturally oriented skincare routine involves time, patience, and yes, purging!

Over time, toxins and unhealthy substances accumulate in your body. Although your body is naturally equipped to detox itself with various organs like the liver and, yes, the skin, modern lifestyle has increased the rate of toxin stockpiling through factors such as pesticides in food and unnecessary chemicals in skin care. This means the natural detox process occurs more slowly than the toxin buildup process.

The good news is—just as your body can begin to heal after consuming organic greens on the regular, your skin can restore itself when you nourish it with clean, nature-derived ingredients.

Rather than switching everything all at once, swap out your beauty products one by one, to give your skin time to adjust as well as avoiding waste. The transition doesn’t always look pretty at first, but it’s worth the wait and effort. Definitely experiment to find what really works for you and which products delivers the best results. Beauty boxes are  great way to sample a range of natural skincare to carefully curate a beauty ritual that’s perfect for you.

Got more questions about a natural skin detox? Here are the top ones we get asked so you can rest assure your skin will restore back to its healthiest, happiest state.

 

Does my skin really purge by breaking out after using a new detoxifying skincare product? 

Not always, but yes! We know it can be discouraging to see pimples pop up when you begin using a new skincare treatment that embraces wholesome, natural ingredients, but it can actually be a sign that the product is working—and working well. Products like those in our Kigelia Range, may cause what many people refer to as a “skin purge” because of its powerful clarifying properties.

When you use a purifying skincare treatment it essentially speeds up the blemish-formation process, unveiling the breakouts “hiding” under your skin in the form of clogged pores. Your skin purges toxins, and since there’s quite a bit happening all at once, the blemishes manifest at the same time. But, the great news is that this is not acne (a more long-term condition and a separate issue altogether) and your blemishes will go eventually away.

With consistent use, natural skincare can keep your skin blemish-free and beautiful.

 

How long does it take for skin to detox?

It generally takes two to three weeks for skin cells to completely renew and get rid of the pore-clogging particulates. It’s a pain, but totally worth the wait once you see newly clear and glowing skin.

 

What do I do (and not do) when skin is detoxing?

Most importantly, resist the temptation to quick fix the purging breakouts by touching, picking or using an exfoliator. This will only exacerbate the problem. Simply stick to your cleansing, misting, serum and moisturising routine.

Once your skin is acclimated, make sure you exfoliate gently with either a mild chemical peel containing naturally derived alpha hydroxy acids like lactic acid (which is derived from milk) or a soothing physical exfoliator with spherical agents (like jojoba beads) that won’t cause microlacerations in skin. This is important so you can get rid of dead skin cells and other impurities to pave the way for following treatments.

 

What do I do if my skin is irritated? 

If you notice a rash, itchiness, redness, stinging or any other uncomfortable responses, this could be a sign of an allergic reaction—not purging. An allergic reaction is most often experienced within the first 1-2 days of using a new product, but can also occur with repeated exposure. Discontinue using the product if you suspect it’s more than a skin purge.

 

What else can I do support my skin during its detox?

  • A switch to a diet filled with vegetables and whole foods will transform your energy levels and mood, and it will revitalize your skin too! Focus on healing, anti-inflammatory foods rich in antioxidants and other nutrients, including essential fatty acids. There’s plenty of research showing foods high in vitamins A, C, D and E in particular can improve the state of your skin (don’t get overwhelmed—just think colors of the rainbow, like carrots, green, leafy vegetables, bell peppers and blueberries!).

  • Be sure to check the EWG shoppers guide on the dirty dozen and clean fifteen to ensure you’re avoiding unnecessary pesticides.
  • Make sure you consume gut-friendly foods or probiotic supplements, as research is showing more and more that a healthy gut is linked to healthy skin. Eat foods rich in probiotics such as coconut water or milk kefir, sauerkraut and fermented vegetables like kimchi.
  • Drink plenty of water and hydrating herbal tea to flush out toxins and get skin ready for rest of the year.

A good night’s rest improves overall complexion by regenerating skin cells and reducing breakouts thanks to the fact that while we sleep, our stress levels drop. They don’t call it Beauty Sleep for nothing!

Want to learn more about our skin detox rituals? Drop us a line at hello@luxebotanics.com and we can tailor one just for you.

Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

Naturally yours,

 

The Luxe Botanics Team


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Survival Skincare For The Holidays

The most festive time of the year can also be the most stressful—but your skin can glow brilliantly as the lights on your tree or the candles on your mantle. Between buying gifts and traveling, make sure your complexion stays alive and invigorated with these three simple skincare rituals.

Revitalize Thirsty Skin

In the thick of winter, anyone’s skin (even oily) can experience water loss causing patchiness, dullness and dehydration. One of the best ways to quench skin’s thirst is with our simple two-step ritual.

  1. Infuse skin with Marula Hydrating Serum for an instant rush of balanced, restorative hydration (the citrusy scent alone sends us to our happy place!), while soft, lightweight textures of nourishing oils give skin a huge boost of nutrition.
  2. Complete with a layer of Camu Brightening Moisturiser, containing super-plumping sodium hyaluronate (a natural substance that retains 1000 times its own weight in water) and vitamin C for skin that lights up every room!

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Combat Climate Change

Well, not exactly. But, if you’re going from one temperature to another another—whether it’s from indoor heating to a windy blizzard, or from an icy zone to the humid tropics—your skin may need to find its balance again. Care for skin by applying Kigelia Clarifying Serum which calms redness and re-centers skin taking it back to its optimal healthy state. Then layer with Marula Hydrating Serum to restore natural oils and strengthen the skin’s delicate lipid barrier easily damaged with fluctuations in temperature. Remember, a strong skin barrier is the key to more vibrant, luminous and happy skin!

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Stay Fresh En Route & In-Flight

As you jet-set to warmer destinations or visit family, the recycled in-flight cabin air can easily parch skin, causing it to wither or get gloomy. Exit the runway with picture perfect plumped-up skin by spritzing your face with Camu Brightening Mist, flooding skin with droplets of sodium hyaluronate and Damascus rose water for instant hydration and vitamin C-loaded Camu camu berry to boost radiance.

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Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team


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The Power of Thankfulness (and Why It’s Healthy for You)

“Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally ‘count our blessings,’ give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.” Shakti Gawain

 

With the holidays coming up, it’s natural to think of all that there is to be grateful for in life. Yet sometimes, it feels like we only stop to acknowledge our blessings one day out of the year – on Thanksgiving – despite the fact there are reasons all around us to be thankful all year long.

We can benefit physically and mentally from pausing, even for a few minutes each day to reflect on our lives and everything that makes living wonderful and worthwhile. No matter our personal circumstances, if we just give it a try, we realize that there are plenty of things to be thankful for, whether it be our health, our friends and family, our jobs, or even just the fact that we’ve been given another day to live and appreciate the world with all of its myriad wonders. Thankfulness and mindful, meditative moments are like little doses of medicine that can actually prolong life and improve well-being, and science backs it up! When we take the time to express gratitude, our body releases natural endorphins, boosting dopamine and serotonin. It is exactly what antidepressants do, but the difference is it’s 100% natural! It may take some practice, but it is possible to get into the habit of daily thankfulness and meditation, and both your body and mind (and skin!) will thank you.

Thankfulness Improves Physical Health

A 2012 study evaluating 1,000 Swiss adults found that cultivating a spirit of thankfulness resulted in fewer aches and pains and a greater overall feeling of health.[1] This was found to be in part because grateful people were more likely to take care of themselves by exercising and getting regular check-ups, and they were also more likely to seek help for their health when necessary.

Thankfulness Improves Psychological Health

Grateful people have been noted to be less prone to depression and anxiety, while also experiencing fewer feelings of resentment, jealousy, anger and regret. One study evaluating degrees of religiosity found that spiritually grateful people were far less likely to face problems associated with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, stress, phobias and addictions.[2] As a knock-on effect, improved psychological health can also improve physical health, as people who experience less stress in their lives are less likely to deal with pain and more likely to have a stronger immune system.

Thankfulness Helps You Sleep Better

A good night’s rest is essential to good health, while a lack of sleep is linked to increasing stress, weakening the immune system and upping the risk for certain diseases and illnesses. A 2009 study involving 401 participants, 40% of whom suffered from clinical sleep disorders, suggests that the most grateful participants had better overall sleep quality, were more likely to fall asleep faster and had less daytime fatigue after waking up.[3] The reason for this was because thankful people were more likely to have positive thoughts before falling asleep, such as counting their blessings. Meanwhile, people who had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep were more likely to suffer from negative thoughts that kept them up. A good night’s rest has many beauty benefits as well, improving overall complexion by regenerating skin cells and reducing breakouts thanks to the fact that while we sleep, our stress levels drop. They don’t call it Beauty Sleep for nothing!

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Meditation Reduces Risk of Heart Disease & Stroke

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, and finding ways to prevent it is of utmost importance. Meditation has been proven to actually reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. A 2012 study involving over 200 high-risk participants asked individuals to take a class promoting better diet and exercise habits or take a Transcendental Meditation class. Over the next five years, researchers discovered that among the participants who took the meditation class, there was a 48% reduction in overall risk of heart disease, stroke and death. The results were associated with “lower blood pressure and psychosocial stress factors.”[4]

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Meditation Relieves Stress & Strengthens Immunity

Stress, especially chronic stress, can weaken immunity, making us susceptible to all kinds of illnesses. Stress can also have a very negative effect on the skin, causing acne, eczema and psoriasis, or exacerbating these problems. A Harvard Medical School study found that practicing meditation and meditative activities like yoga actually impacts mitochondrial energy production, consumption and resiliency, namely improving them.[5] This then improves immunity as well as reaction to stress. For skin, this has double benefits, as less stress will result in less breakouts and inflammation, while a stronger immune system will also allow your body to fight problems like acne from within.

It can be tempting to disregard the concepts of thankfulness and meditation as a bunch of nonsense, but science doesn’t lie. It’s clear that both thankfulness and meditation have research to back them up as legitimate approaches to staying healthy, active and at our best. And the best part is that you can practice thankfulness and meditation for free with just a little bit of work. Of course, if you’re prone to negative thoughts, it can be difficult to rewire your thinking process, but not impossible. Meanwhile, the benefits are certainly worth the undertaking.

 So, what are you grateful for this holiday season?

At Luxe Botanics, we are immensely thankful on a daily basis for our fair-trade partnerships with producers who respect nature and the land they tend by utilizing sustainable farming methods. Sustainability is increasingly crucial in a world where our natural resources are finite and becoming moreso with each passing year.

Of course, we are also massively thankful for you, our tribe of mindful living warriors, who understand and appreciate the importance of sustainability, practice it in their own lives and work to do their part to make sure our planet is healthy for many generations to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23139438

[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12611831

[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19073292

[4]http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/14/mind-over-matter-strongest-study-yet-shows-meditation-can-lower-risk-of-heart-attack-and-stroke/

[5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23650531


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The Science Behind Natural Skincare

Happy World Science Day! We’ve come a looong way as humans. From conquering the heights of space travel to curing illnesses. Science has allowed humanity to progress beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors. But with all innovation, inevitably comes some scepticism. In skincare, one of the most persisting questions posed is the manufacture of synthetic ingredients: are they a good thing or are they harmful?

Einstein said, “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”

As you know, we’re Mother Nature’s biggest fan, but, we’re also a great believer in science and that remarkable things can happen at the intersection between both.

 

Are Natural Ingredients Better Than Their Synthetic Counterparts?

The truth is, even when a synthetic substance and its natural counterpart possess the exact same molecular structure, there can still be some differences between them. Despite the word “synthetic” having negative associations, synthetic doesn’t necessarily mean bad—as long as an ingredient is effective while produced and sourced in a responsible, safe and sustainable manner.

To understand, let’s take a closer look.

 

Synthetic Ingredients In Skincare

In the case of vitamins (like the powerhouse trio vitamin A, E and C), many used in skincare are synthetic. Manufacturers typically turn to these ingredients because they are often more cost-effective and easier to source. Some synthetic ingredients are also usually more stable, with longer shelf lives than natural ingredients.

If we take the example of Vitamin C, it has many beauty benefits: it can lighten dark spots, neutralize free radical damage and help fight wrinkles. This mighty vitamin is usually processed for use in skincare products.  The closest form to natural vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid and is made from corn starch, corn sugar or rice starch. Then there are natural extracts like our beloved Camu camu berry, which contains more vitamin C than acai and oranges.

But, when it comes to results, natural vitamin C seems to have an edge over L-ascorbic acid. In one study from 2001, researchers found that “delivery of topical L-ascorbic acid into the skin is critically dependent on formulation characteristics,” meaning it had to be formulated at a certain pH level to have any effect on the skin. [1] The same study also concluded that two types of synthetic vitamin C, didn’t even penetrate the skin in order to bring about any of the positive effects of vitamin C.

In this instance, nature wins if ingredients aren’t formulated correctly.

But remember, even though an ingredient is natural it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always more effective either.

Let’s take a look at another example: natural Vitamin B3, also called niacinamide, has similar results on the skin as synthetic Vitamin B3 which we derive from beets and legumes as a more plentiful source. There are also peptides – protein fragments made up of amino acids – most of which in skin care are artificial, that companies use to help stimulate collagen production to minimize wrinkles and plump up complexions. At Luxe Botanics, our peptides, are created using sustainably sourced natural palm kernel oil and coconut oil, which perform with equal efficacy as a natural peptide.

So you start to see in certain cases that synthetic Ingredients come up trumps, and to understand that not everything is black and white. It all comes down to doing your homework.

 

Natural Or Synthetic?

So. What to do? In the end, bear in mind that just because an ingredient wasn’t literally dug up or picked in nature doesn’t automatically spell unsafe or ineffective. Sure, there are plenty of skincare products out there with fillers and other synthetics that do more harm than good, but there are exceptions. What you should be looking at is the effectiveness of the ingredient (does it perform the job it’s supposed to? How does it formulate with other ingredients) and making sure the environment isn’t at risk due to its production.

Scientific advances today mean we have the tools to create high-tech natural beauty synthesised from natural and organic bases like never before; where delicate, botanical ingredients are not compromised but can be enhanced. It’s this pursuit of discovery which scientists thrive on.

At Luxe Botanics we select our core botanicals based on peer-reviewed data published in scientific journals. But even this is not enough if we don’t then look carefully at the ingredients we formulate with, each which must have an individual purpose. By taking time to understand the perfect synergy of ingredients, balanced in precisely the right proportions, this is the harmony we strike between science and nature.

For more info on high-tech, plant based ingredients in our skincare take a look at our earlier blog on ingredients with purpose.

 

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11207686