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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Sustainability That Goes Beyond Skin Deep

Our guiding philosophy at Luxe Botanics has always been Nature to Nurture. It’s what we set out to do when on the hunt to find the intersection between science and nature. And it’s what drives us every single day to source only the finest, nutrient-rich core botanicals for healthier skin.

For us, sustainability is the code we live by. Every step of the way is completed with intention and care — from harvesting each rare and natural ingredient, to the conscious innovation we use in production methods, all the way to ensuring every component of our packaging is able to be recycled — no step is unaccounted for and no waste is left behind. You might say, it makes our world go round (in every sense!).

But what exactly is sustainability?

Shall we start from the beginning…

Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations. [1]

Ok, sounds promising. But what about the benefits?

  • Reduces waste and your impact on the environment
  • Saves natural resources
  • Addresses social issues and improves the livelihood of individuals and communities
  • Saves money on the life of your products
  • Creates work for local suppliers
  • Creates a market for sustainable goods to help the economy grow and creates more jobs [2]


The berry that keeps on giving

For superberry botanical, Camu camu, our pursuit for sustainability starts at the source. Organically grown, as with our other core botanics Marula and Kigelia, Camu is hand-picked with extreme care (figuratively and literally) for its ability to benefit humans, nature and is at the top of its class when it comes to Vitamin C and broad-spectrum antioxidants, warranting its title as nature’s brightening powerhouse.

LB Camu 2.png

Sure, the power of this beauty is evident after giving it a try for yourself, but what is hard to see at a bottle’s glance is the home-hitting effects on the communities who harvest it as well as the environment they protect and nurture for future generations. Through our partnership with NGO Fitovida we’re able to provide specialized education and training to the local communities in Brazil so they can safely explore the country’s biodiversity. Our efforts ensure continued use of the Brazilian biome in a safe and sustainable way. All in a day’s work, for a fair-trade wage. Now that’s enough to brighten anyone’s day!

As you can see, our mantra of Nature to Nurture has deep roots and our mission (should you choose to accept) is to spread this throughout the world. We’re so happy you could join us for the ride because we’re just getting started.
Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] https://www.epa.gov/sustainability/learn-about-sustainability#what

[2] https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/benefits-buying-sustainable-goods-and-services


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How to Balance Blemish Prone, Sensitive Skin (Without Making It Worse)

For those with both sensitive and blemish-prone skin, trust us, we know how difficult it can be to successfully remedy this. The trouble, for the most part, lies in the fact that sensitive skin is innately more fragile and requires special care, but common methods to eradicate acne often lead to dryness, further sensitization and, ultimately, even more breakouts. It’s a vicious cycle that is hard to know how to break, annoyingly frustrating and quite frankly upsetting.

 

The Causes Of Sensitive, Blemish-Prone Skin

Sensitive skin is genetic and is characterized by a thin epidermis with generally lower amounts of pigment. (If we get technical, sensitive skin should not be confused with sensitized skin, which is caused by skincare habits and lifestyle. For the purposes of this article, we’ll reference both as sensitive skin.)

With sensitive skin, the protective lipid barrier (the outermost layer) experiences water loss and also allows more irritants, allergens and microbes to get through instead of shielding them out. When these penetrate into the skin, they can cause inflammation, flaking, itchiness and redness. The result is a more negative reaction to certain topical skincare treatments that are too aggressive, leading to even more redness and irritation.

Whether blemish-prone skin is caused by a multitude or combination of factors like excessive oiliness, hormones and stress. Diet can play a role, too: Some research shows that certain high-glycemic carbohydrates can be responsible for blemishes.[1] A pimple essentially forms when a pore becomes clogged with excess oil, or sebum, and dead skin cells. Then, bacteria comes in and inflames the clogged area, leading to a ripe, red pimple. Definitely not cool.

While they’re two separate conditions, sensitive skin and blemishes often come hand in hand. Because of its thinner lipid barrier, sensitive skin deals with more irritants passing through into skin, including bacteria, and the declining ability to heal itself. At the same time, conventional treatments, like chemical peels and harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, typically require further sensitizing of skin to tackle blemishes, which ultimately wreaks more havoc on skin. And so begins the vicious cycle of irritation and breakouts.

 

How To Treat Sensitive, Blemish-Prone Skin

Sensitive skin should be treated with kid gloves—but that doesn’t mean you’re only left with ineffective solutions.

Although this will be hard to do, prioritize the sensitivity first. Because zits are often considered more aesthetically unpleasing, people tend to focus on eliminating their bumps and breakouts without considering the compromised nature of skin. But here’s the thing: As long as your skin is frail and vulnerable, your pimples will likely return—with a vengeance. On the other hand, if your skin is strong, it’s able to get rid of and prevent the blemishes much more efficiently.

To relieve your sensitivity, first make sure your skincare techniques aren’t aggravating. Avoid over-cleansing (limit cleansing to once or twice a day) and use gentle chemical exfoliators instead of physical scrubs, which may have jagged granules that will cause small tears in your skin when rubbed all over.

Second, avoid harsh skincare products that include commonly irritating ingredients like preservatives and fragrances. Your best bet is to turn to natural ingredients while avoiding more traditional treatments like benzoyl peroxide or harsh acids which, as previously noted, can be very harsh and strip sensitive skin.

Plant sources, particularly nut oils like jojoba or marula oil, have been known to reduce skin’s natural oil production by promoting a healthier natural balance of oils, allowing for hydration without fear of blemishes springing up. Chamomile oil is another great one to help soothe and calm skin. The good news is that there are also natural treatments that are specifically effective against pimples without making the condition worse. Ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera and Kigelia africana are ideal because they get the job done without inflaming or otherwise irritating.

 

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a tried-and-true method known for its ability to destroy pimple-causing bacteria.[2] Many people find success dabbing a small amount onto the affected area, leaving it on overnight. When using any type of skincare treatment, always do a patch test first to make sure you won’t develop any adverse reactions, especially if your skin is sensitive. Tea tree oil is much gentler than benzoyl peroxide but can still lead to dryness if used excessively, so use it cautiously.

Tea Tree

Aloe Vera

The ultra-gentle aloe vera helps reduce the manifestation of pimples thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.[3] Moreover, it has moisturizing effects that are especially good for sensitive skin, which can lean toward dryness. Studies have even found that drinking aloe vera can lead to a decrease in the number of blemishes on the skin.[4]

Aloe Vera

Kigelia Africana

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our darling Kigelia africana extract. The plant has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to have a firming effect as well. Studies have found that both the root and fruit of the plant have antibacterial and antifungal compounds.[5] The antibacterial property is key, as it is what will help fight the bacteria that causes pimples, reducing the amount of it residing on the surface of your skin. Another study found that in addition to antibacterial properties, Kigelia africana also has wound-healing abilities.[6] This “wound-healing” quality can potentially help accelerate the reduction of blemishes in both size and intensity.

As a bonus, the flavonoids (substances in plants that protect from UV damage) in Kigelia africana provide antioxidant protection, fighting off free radicals, which are unstable atoms that damage skin cells and accelerate ageing. Furthermore, Kigelia africana is soothing and moisturizing, ideal for sensitive skin that is easily irritated and prone to redness and dryness. Kigelia africana is gentle but powerful and effective, reducing pimples while keeping skin soft, nourished and calm.

Kigelia africana

 

Coming to Terms With Sensitive, Blemish-Prone Skin

Sensitive, blemish-prone skin can sometimes feel like a scourge, but it need not be! Knowing the right products and ingredients to use can make all the difference. Sure, it may require some more diligence than treating normal skin, but it’s not impossible as long as you know which ingredients to avoid and which to embrace. Just remember to respect your skin, and it will reward you by glowing with clarified radiance.

 

Curious to find out more on Kigelia africana? Read about the unsung hero of perfect skin in our earlier blog.

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/1/107.full

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17314442

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/

[4] http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ajcn.2014.29.34

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8792668

[6] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/aps/2013/692613/

 


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A healthy skin routine – why you should have one

I just love that feeling when you wake up and know you have a day at the spa ahead of you. You begin to imagine the massage, the facial, the steam room, the mud bath, the pool, some healthy food, and hopefully a glass or two of champagne with your best girlfriends. That was how I woke up this weekend – full of excitement and looking forward to relaxing. We spent 4 hours in a fantastic spa, surrounded by nature and the occasional peacock, enjoying being pampered and lazing by the pool. When it was time to make our way to dinner, we showered and commenced the inevitable skin care routine that would help us continue to look fabulous into the evening.

 

My first shock came when I realised I was the only one who had brought a full suite of skin care products. So naturally, I offered to share. I convinced one of my friends to try my hyaluronic acid serum – fantastic for plumping the skin – and then our Luxe Botanics Camu Brightening Serum – to help maintain that healthy spa glow. She happily applied them and then began to walk away. I called after her: “don’t you want any moisturiser?” She replied, almost laughing: “you want me to put on another layer?” I found myself staring back at my friend in disbelief – she wanted to go out without any moisturiser on?

 

In that moment I realised that even my friends, who hear me talk about skin care all day long, didn’t really know what to use or how to use it. This moment explains so clearly why I do what I do and why it makes me happy. I want women to become wellness conscious, not just with their health, but also with their skin. To that end, and inspired by the recent Sarita Coren article on Ayla beauty, I want to explain a few things I believe are key to good skin care:

 

Cleanse

Cleansing well is the first step to good, healthy skin. And I don’t mean over cleansing – there are many brands out there that will tell you that you must double cleanse, but honestly this is 90% marketing in the hopes you will need to buy more product sooner. The only reasons to cleanse twice are if your skin is horribly dirty (think playing in the mud) or if your cleanser isn’t working well for your skin. Most of the time you need a pre-cleanser along with a normal cleanser. This is because pre-cleansers have a different function to normal cleansers – generally they are used to gently remove makeup, oil and dirt from your skin while still preserving your skins natural barrier. Your normal cleanser is then used to cleanse deeper into the pores and provide a clean base to start your next step.

On a side note – many people advocate using a toner to rebalance/ balance your skin after cleansing. Personally, this is not something I have seen any benefit from. I honestly believe if you are using the right cleanser, which shouldn’t strip or dry out your skin or remove your natural barrier, then you shouldn’t need a toner.

 

Exfoliate

This is my favourite part of my skin care routine for the simple reason that after I exfoliate, my skin feels like it did before teenage acne attacked me.

There are 2 major categories of exfoliants, each with a different use:

  • Abrasive (the ones you can feel the scrub, think of jojoba beads, rice bran, etc)
  • Enzyme (the ones that tingle – AHA (glycolic acid), BHA (Salicylic acid), other fruit/ plant based acids)

Abrasive exfoliants are used for superficial exfoliation – like when you need your skin to be super smooth for that date – and are more like a polish. If you have irritated or acne prone skin an abrasive is not recommended as it can inflame the skin even more, and generally people with acne tend to over exfoliate. However, a gentle abrasive is good for dry skin

Enzyme exfoliants are used for deeper exfoliation and these sometimes can take days before your skin will peel. They can be used for all skin types, as they are non-abrasive, but should still be used with caution until you know which type works for you. I’ve left a glycolic peel on too long before and ended up looking like a peeling lizard 3 days later. Not a sexy look.

If you have very sensitive skin you may skip exfoliation products all together and rather use a delicate sponge or facial brush, however if you are willing to try a product start with a gentle enzyme exfoliant.

Exfoliation is important because not only does exfoliation leave the skin feeling smooth and soft, but it also clears away dead skin and stimulates repair. So don’t skip it!

 

Preserve

The most important step after cleansing is applying the right serum. This all depends on your age, skin type, time of day, what you plan to do that day, where you live, what time of year it is, etc. However, it’s important to target 2 key areas with your serums:

  • Hydration (hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, caprylic/ capric triglycerides, natural oils)
  • Protection (Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, retinol, resveratrol, ferulic acid)

You can alter the strength of these ingredients in your serums accordingly but investing in serums that cover these 2 key areas will do wonders for your skin. In varying strengths and combinations these will address everything from oily to dry, dull to uneven, ageing and wrinkles.

 

Hydrate

Hydration is the key step in keeping your skin balanced. However, this is also the step most of us get wrong. Either we over or under hydrate. And we forget that this needs to change based not only on the seasons or travel, but also day to day. I am especially guilty of this.

Throughout my years of acne I assumed that the more hydrated my skin was, the oilier it would be, so I used the lightest moisturisers I could find. When in fact, it was actually oilier because I was depriving my skin of vital hydration and it was desperately trying to compensate by over producing natural oils. You will also find this happening when you use stripping acne products such as those containing benzoyl peroxide (who honestly thought applying peroxide to your skin was healthy?). The “aha” moment came for me when I was in a dermatologists office, on yet another round of roaccutane, wondering why my skin wasn’t getting any better. We together figured out that I was using too little hydration to support my skin. Once I upgraded my serums and moisturisers my skin calmed down completely.

Conversely, when I have had IPL in the past I’ve been told to layer on the hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, vitamin C and heavy moisturisers to facilitate the healing. But every time I do this I end up with more closed comedones than I started with. I have learnt that the key is to intensely hydrate in the first 2-3 days – after that I need to take my skin back to a more moderate routine.

 

Protect

This last step cannot be missed! Sunscreen is your best friend and the soundest investment you will make in your skin. I’ve heard every excuse for people not using sunscreen – ranging from “I don’t like the texture” (so try a different brand) to “but I work inside all day” (First of all I hope you get to see some sunlight in your day, but even if you’re outside for less than 30 minutes sunscreen matters, and not just on sunny days). Sunscreen is the most cost effective way to preserve your youth and your skin health. I worked for years in melanoma clinical trials and it was severely depressing to see so many preventable cases of skin cancer.

 

Overall, remember that your skin has mood swings too – it can go from dry to oily and back to dry multiple times in the day depending on your environment (aircon, humidity, cold), stress levels, exercise levels, diet, and many other factors. The best thing you can do for your skin is analyse it every day and then decide what to apply. Take time to review your skin and learn what works best for you.

The Luxe Botanics Team