I found a new oil and it’s changing my life

If you know me, you know the struggles I’ve faced with my complexion throughout the years. My teenage years were filled with oily, pimply skin and harsh acne creams. When it finally cleared up, I was left with a ton of acne scars, awkward combination skin, and random breakouts that could strike at any moment.

A couple years ago I stumbled across rosehip oil, and it helped with some of the issues I experienced, but it wasn’t my complete solution. I still dealt with breakouts and oily skin at the end of a long day. Then about six months ago, my mom got me hip to witch hazel wipes, and that has truly been a life saver. I saw a noticeable difference in my complexion, my makeup started going on smoother, and I was less oily throughout the typical day. But, throw a stressful week of work at me and I still found myself trying to fend off a painful zit with spot acne treatment or even resorting to — gasp — popping them. I figured keeping this routine was as good as it was going to get for me. Boy, was I wrong.

My December Ipsy bag seemed like nothing out of the ordinary. A lip treatment that reminded me of a milder Carmex, a pricey concealer brush (honestly the item I was most excited about), an eyeliner that I haven’t even opened yet, another highlighter to add to the growing collection… and then there was this tiny 0.23 fl oz bottle of maracuja oil from Tarte Cosmetics.

maracuja

So, my first thought was WTF. Ever since discovering rosehip oil, I’m always down for the latest and greatest face oil, but I’m used to buying oils from brands like Aura Acacia or Trader Joe’s…and I’m not necessarily all that trusting of one sold by a cosmetics line. Second, my friend just told me about a bad experience she had throwing an oil on her face all willy-nilly one night, only to wake up with her eyes swollen shut. I was hesitant to say the least, but did some light research on it and figured I’d give it a shot. After all, it was called “Pure Maracuja Oil” and the only ingredient was 100% maracuja oil. What could be the harm in trying it out? It was the best decision I ever made.

This shit has no joke changed my life. I can recall a night in my late teens, it’s seriously still so clear in my mind: I stared closely at the details of my face, all the craters and scars and blemishes, and cried so helplessly because I thought the damage to my face as a result of my struggles with acne were going to be permanent. And I’ve since accepted that fact. But in just two months of use, my acne scars are fading; my pores are shrinking; and my breakouts are fewer and father in-between. I even had the start of a painful zit just before Valentine’s Day (one that even my witch hazel wipes haven’t saved me from in the past), I applied the oil day and night… and. The. Zit. Disappeared. My friends are starting to notice the change in my complexion. They told me they thought the scars were permanent too. So what the hell is this magical oil?

Maracujá is Portuguese for passion fruit, and maracuja oil can be derived from either the passion fruit flower itself or its seeds — the benefits and properties, no matter the derivative, are very similar.

According to Tarte’s product description:

  • maracuja oil: rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin C for firmer, brighter, smoother skin; helps promote active skin recovery and rejuvenation while delivering maximum hydration

Product performance: This powerful, precious skincare oil is cold-pressed from the maracuja fruit, naturally rich in brightening vitamin C and replenishing essential fatty acids to nourish, protect and feed your skin. Harvested from the best in nature to restore balance and harmony, you can apply a few drops of this daily moisturizing face oil to quench dry skin and seal in hydration, as the gentle multi-tasker helps calm excess sebum production on oily and acne-prone skin. You can also mix it with your foundation for enhanced moisture and anti-aging benefits with a dewy, radiant finish. The weightless, hypoallergenic formula helps firm and soften without clogging pores, and works to provide an antioxidant barrier against environmental attack.

In a 6-week consumer study of 53 women,

  • 96% of women saw an overall visible improvement in skin
  • 91% of women saw a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • 94% of women saw a visible improvement in skin texture
  • 94% of women thought skin appeared renewed and rejuvenated.

So, my next question is, why is Tarte Cosmetics the only company selling this miraculous product? One website suggests, “only one crop is harvested each year by the amazonian women… Tarte has a cooperative in the Amazon that supports the women of the region.” I wasn’t able to find any information to support that claim, though let’s be real, I didn’t look that deep into it.

I would categorize it as a dry oil, as it absorbs into the skin quick and leaves no oily residue. The smell is pretty neutral, and you aren’t using enough of it at once to really notice it at all. It’s not cheap: a half-ounce bottle will cost you around $15, and 1.7 fl oz at a small discount, $45 (it’s like a $3 savings… yes, I did the math). But 2 drops per night is all you need to experience the multitude of benefits. Attached to the cap is a convenient pump-action eye dropper to help you really control how much you use. My Ipsy sample from December (less than a quarter-ounce) lasted me until last weekend, and I used it every single night.

I can’t say enough good things about my experience using this miracle oil. If you have issues like me, or if you are even just looking for a good nightly product to lock in moisture and even out your skin…

What are you waiting for? 

maracuja3

*Worth noting that no one even paid me to write this. That’s how much I love this shit.

Time for a lesson in witch hazel

So you might recall a post I did last year about my newest skin obsession, rosehip oil. I still use it on a daily basis and am still reaping the benefits of elasticity and much-needed moisture to my face. I’ll admit, though, I’ve still been experiencing breakouts… to the point where I actually went out and bought some salicylic acid spot treatment. Yeah… no one ever mentioned your mid-twenties would be spent battling both acne and wrinkles. Ugh. Anyway. It hasn’t been ideal.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago, my mom started going on and on about some wipes she found in the store that she swears by; something she called witch hazel.

Hazel0149

Um. What? When I think of witch hazel, I think of that character on Looney Toons. I honestly thought witch hazel was like a weird name for a supplement, like St. John’s Wort. And let’s just say my mom believes anything Dr. Oz tells her, even after he got sued for giving people false information. Like a ton of times. All that taken into consideration, I did some research, asked around, tried it out for myself… now I can confidently say that after three weeks of use, this shit should be sold by the ton.

Okay, so… what is it?

Witch hazel is a plant. Easy enough. The leaves, bark, and twigs of this plant are used to produce an astringent that can be used for various medicinal purposes. The essential oil is not sold separately as a consumer product, simply because the plant does not produce enough essential oil to make that production viable. Most witch hazel that is on the shelves is distilled with either water or alcohol, depending on the use you want out of it. From what I’ve read, if you get it in liquid form as witch hazel water, that is more for ingesting, and anything distilled with alcohol is used either as a liquid or wet wipe as an astringent centered around skin care.

I’m currently using these towelettes by Dickinson’s, which can now be found at almost any drug store and grocery store in the skin care aisle. The ingredients include: All Natural Witch Hazel (Containing Natural Grain Alcohol 14% and Witch Hazel Extract), Benzethonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.

HUP-00024-1

And… what do I do with it?

Let me preface this by saying my research only goes as far as uses for these astringent towelettes.

First and foremost, it is used as a natural astringent. It has the ability to remove excess oil from the skin and to minimize the appearance of pores. This aids in treating and preventing blemishes and acne from forming. I have been using the Dickinson’s wipes every night after removing my makeup and have realized my pores (which are normally huge) have noticeably shrunk down. My make up looks better and better sitting on my skin every day, and even when I go makeup free, I don’t worry as much. Stress and premenstrual break outs are not nearly what they were a month ago.

It also has  skin-tightening  properties and can help reduce swelling on the skin. This makes it ideal for brightening and firming the skin around your eyes, shrinking swollen/varicose veins, minimizing the appearance of bruises, and even relieves hemorrhoid pain. I’ve read that it is like “nature’s Neosporin,” so it can be applied to minor cuts and scrapes to disinfect, stop bleeding, and help the healing process.

As if that wasn’t enough, this stuff is the best after-sun treatment I’ve ever used. Never mind those expensive aloe- and cucumber-based lotions… there is aloe added into the wipes that I buy, but even the all-natural aloe gel I have never gave me these kind of results. After spending hours in the sun one lazy Saturday, I applied it to the redness on my nose and on my thighs where I got more sun than intended. It immediately took the burning sensation and tenderness out, and by the end of the night most of the redness was gone! I woke up the next morning feeling fine. I think this particular experience caused me to be a true believer in this shit.

And there are still more uses! I’ve also read it can relieve the itch from insect bites–though, I still have not tested out this theory yet (only because my Skin So Soft works so well I haven’t really gotten bit much this summer, thankfully). My coworker said when she was younger, that’s what her mom used to use on her for mosquito bites. Another use is razor burn and skin irritation, which I have tested, and it definitely helped in the bikini area. Not any more than using Listerine though (astringent hack, btw). WedMD says that it is “possibly ineffective” for treatment of itchy and inflamed skin (i.e., eczema or similar rash), and hydro-cortisone seems to be a better option. But either way, I’m convinced this stuff is a god-send. Like, why don’t more people know about it?

Is there a downside to this magnificent product?

The only con I’ve found thus far is the smell of the towelettes I use. The “signature botanical scent” they mention on the packaging doesn’t really do it for me.

And honestly, with all these benefits, if that is my only complaint… why are you still reading this? Go to the store and get some!

 

 

Let’s talk about rosehip oil

The Issue.

My entire life, I’ve avoided applying oily products on my face like the plague. If a moisturizer or a face wash did not come with an “oil-free” disclaimer, I refused to buy it. My skin was extremely acne prone from the time I entered my teens until around 17, and aside from avoiding oil, I basically treated my skin like it was indestructible. Benzyl peroxide, salicylic acid, you name it, I applied to my face day and night. I willfully put acid on my face hoping it would clear up my acne. My skin was so damaged that even when my acne cleared up and went away for the most part, I still had these scars on my skin that one day (in tears) I accepted would be there forever.

I wish I had known back then what I know now.

My skin would feel really, really dry every morning after I showered. I always assumed that was a good thing, since I thought my acne was being caused by oily skin. All the products I applied to my face were supposed to dry it out, so I figured I was headed in the right direction. I avoided using moisturizers or lotions on my face unless my face was so dry it actually hurt. Regardless, by the end of the day, I was blotting oil off my face and wondering where I went wrong.

The Misconception.

I started opening myself up to the idea of applying oil to my face when I purchased an oil-based eye serum from my friend, Erin, in February (review of the serum here). Erin informed me that the biggest misconception floating around is that oil is bad for your skin. I avoided it so haphazardly in my youth, that I put this terrible stigma on the mere thought of oil getting anywhere near my face.

What I failed to realize is that if my skin felt dry before my day even started, that meant it was literally craving moisture. Because I didn’t do anything about my dry skin, my body started to produce oil to make up what I was lacking. Hence, the grease pit on my face by time the day ended. My body was trying to tell me it needed moisture, and if I wasn’t going to listen to what my body was saying, it would try and compensate on its own… but in these kinds of situations, the body often overcompensates, leaving the skin too oily and thus very prone to clogged pores and breakouts.

The Solution.

For the past few months, I have replaced traditional moisturizers and nightly creams (which I still only used sparingly into adulthood) with this Organic Rosehip Oil with Vitamin E. Rosehip oil is distilled from the seeds of the Rosa rubiginosa or Rosa mosqueta species of rose. A cold-press extraction method separates the oil from the hips and seeds. Vitamin E oil is sometimes added to prolong the shelf life (like in the one I’m using), and you can also refrigerate it to keep it from spoiling. I apply one pump of this amber-colored magic all over my clean face before bed and before makeup application in the morning. It’s considered a “dry” oil, so it absorbs into the skin fairly quickly, and it gives me a chance to give myself a mini-face massage morning and night.

20150518_211853

Within the first week of daily and nightly application, I immediately noticed my face wasn’t as oily at the end of the day as usual. While washing my face, I can feel how much smoother my skin is since I started… it’s finally getting the moisture it’s needed all these years. The true test, my skin tends to get extra oily around a certain time of the month, but I didn’t experience any premenstrual break outs for the first time in forever. I’m also beginning to notice my makeup application is getting easier each day I use it. After about six weeks, my skin tone is becoming visibly more even. I was even complimented on how great my makeup looked two weeks into starting use… but I didn’t apply it any differently than I normally do. My skin just looks better!

The long-term benefits I’ve read about are enough to keep me using this for as long as my skin is loving it. Prolonged use will aid in wrinkle prevention and anti-aging, skin firmness and elasticity (which is something I’m already starting to notice), it will lighten and fade scars and blemishes on the skin as well as reverse sun damage. Plus it’s organic and all natural, so you’re not putting chemicals directly on your face (sorry, teenage face for applying acid directly onto you). I’m still baffled at how much improvement I have seen in such a short time using it.

Bonus: after cleansing face and before applying rosehip oil, dilute some apple cider vinegar in filtered water, apply to cotton swab, and use as an all natural toner!★

The Lesson.

Oils fucking rock! Don’t discredit the power they hold. At a price of around $10 every three months, I’ve effectively replaced expensive moisturizers, wrinkle/anti-aging creams, and regenerist serums all with one natural product. A couple caveats I’ve found in my research if you decide to incorporate rosehip oil into your daily skin regimen–while it will help with acne scars and breakout prevention, it should not be applied to active acne (though your apple cider vinegar toner can☺). Also, while it helps reverse sun damage, it does not offer protection from the actual sun–still use an SPF daily!

Keep in mind, there is literally an essential oil alternative for everything that ails you. Migraines? Lavender and peppermint oil. Bad allergies? Eucalyptus oil. Insomnia? Lavender and neroli oil. Sore muscles? Peppermint oil. Foot odor? Tea tree and lemon oil. Keloidal scar? Vitamin E oil. Seriously, I could go on forever and ever and ever and ever about how great oils are. Do some research–I promise it’ll change your life.

url