It turns out beauty really is skin deep and thanks to a renewed interest in age-old herbs adding them to our daily beauty routines is probably a good idea!
Adaptogens are unique herbs and plants that do wonders when we eat them. But more and more we are seeing their benefits when applied directly to the skin.
I caught up with one of my favourite green beauty formulators and the genius behind Stark Skincare, Jessica Lafleur, for the lowdown, you can read the interview below the review of her super-natural kickass products!
I’ve been exclusively using this entire collection (pictured above) for about 2 months now and I have to say my skin has never felt better. Each one of these products smells clean and effective, I know that sounds weird but it’s true! Jess is big on scent and so am I, and she’s nailed it!
The collection is formulated especially for the urban dweller (me) and it gets the job done ladies. Jess has formulated her own special concoction called EVERGREEN (read more below) and I have to tell you it’s freaking AMAZING!!!
All of them are seductive, dream-inducing blends that I simply can not get enough of!
AURORA CLEANSE + HYDRATE BALM
Is well, the bomb, or in this case, the balm. This highly nutritious, water-less balm has the unique concept of being both cleanser and moisturizer, making life simple and beautiful with an aromatic companion, with rich blood orange and spicy, earthy notes. From solid to liquid, clear to opaque, cleansing, moisturizing, uplifting and relaxing; an ultra-versatile cleansing & makeup-removing balm that rinses clean, or can be left on the skin to soothe and moisturize.
CITY RECALIBRATING OIL
This is a really beautiful face oil. It’s lightweight and sinks into my skin perfectly. It’s hydrating and calming too. I have used this during the day in place of moisturizer, it’s paired so well with the tonic and it packed full of antioxidants.
A fresh-scented defensive shield from the urban elements. Replenishes nutrients lost in the skin due to city-living, while strengthening the skin’s natural defences. Contains Stark’s unique EVERGREEN Complex, an infusion of 7 adaptogenic, collagen-boosting herbs.
PETRICHOR PURIFYING TONIC
This is one of my fav toners, it’s gentle and hydrating and smells so so lovely! I also love the fine mist the sprayer creates, which really helps to distribute this product evenly on my skin. I think this is the perfect hydration layer to use underneath the City Recalibrating Oil and the scents really compliment each other well.
More from Jess below.
What does adaptogenic mean?
Adaptogens are a group of herbs that help the body and mind adapt to life’s stressors with greater ease. They help you adapt!
Not all adaptogens work exactly the same, and some work for different people and not for others so finding your magic potion is best done with the help of an herbalist, but incorporating a few in your life, especially when anticipating a stressful period (such as a big work project or training for and recovering from a marathon) can be a very useful tool. You can also use one type of herb for prolonged daily use to help your body adapt, or you can use an herb when you’re having a particularly rough day. Adaptogens have been, for me, the most life-changing way I’ve used herbs. Some of the most common adaptogens we see on the market these days are Ashwagandha, holy basil, and ginseng. As someone who has used herbs and adaptogens as part of my health and personal care routine for years, it seemed like a natural element to introduce to Stark.
How do you use it?
At this time, I take a daily blend of herbs for my adrenals in tincture form, and when my mind is particularly chatty at night and I need a little more silence up there, I use my all-time favourite herb, skullcap, also in tincture form. Not that I recommend it to everyone, but skullcap is my personal jam. It’s important to figure out what works best for you with the help of a TCM or Ayurvedic practitioner or a naturopathic doctor or western herbalist. Ingesting herbs is powerful! I also recommend Yogi Tea. I have found that of all the medicinal teas, theirs are the most effective, the easiest to find, and completely delicious.
Why did you want to focus on the city dweller?
As far as the health of our skin is concerned, the city environment is one of the harshest climates it’s forced to endure. Pollution, artificial indoor climate control, dust, UV rays bouncing off buildings at all angles and not to mention one of the biggest culprits of all, stress and the hormones that it causes, are all things we need to contend with daily. This isn’t natural for us! Our skin is our body’s largest organ, and so closely tied to our mind, it can benefit from the gentle use of adaptogens in a similar way that ingesting them orally can. With climate change and urban living, our skin needs all the help adapting with grace as it can get!
Explain your Evergreen complex?
I infuse 7 different herbs into a medium of either an oil blend or organic vegetable glycerine, depending on which product I am using it for. I then let it macerate for weeks and weeks, and then I triple- filter the infusion. It’s a very lengthy process! Some of the herbs I use are specifically adaptogens, such as Rhodiola root which is a strong antioxidant and can help sun-damaged skin recover, and other herbs that would help skin produce more elastin and collagen under stress, effectively undoing some of the damage cortisol inflicts, such as Labrador Tea, and still other herbs are chosen for different reasons such as soothing properties or for a skin-brightening effect. All in all, I mostly choose rugged, Northern plants that have to live through extremely harsh climates and have the mechanisms to survive all kinds of environments. As a Canadian, I feel this is a useful skill to have. 😉 EVERGREEN is found in my City Recalibrating oil, Eclipse Activated Cleansing Gel, and Petrichor Purifying Tonic.
How can we really figure out our skin type?
I feel people are too hung up with giving their skin type a label, just as we are generally too hung up on labels, but they do provide a useful shortcut to figure out generally what our bodies need. Maybe your skin is often oily and acne-prone, but that doesn’t mean that your skin will be that way in a few months, or even days, from now. Sometimes we get into a routine and use products for a certain skin type for so long that forget to make sure our skin hasn’t changed! I think it’s important to check in with your skin as often as possible. Ideally, you would check your skin every morning before doing anything to it and look for clues and listen to what it’s asking for. Is it thirsty and needs more plumping hydration? Does it want to be lubricated with beautiful seed oils? Is it time for a mask, and if so, what kind of treatment would it like? Is it hot? Cool? Damp? Dry? And what’s the weather like? Is it a scorching hot, zero humidity day or is it pouring rain? Is there a (god forbid!!) blizzard out there? Then it’s about anticipating what your skin will need and supporting it appropriately. I call it “listening to your skin”. This doesn’t mean you need a ton of different products! It’s actually more about deciding what not to use on a particular day, and about figuring out what in your skincare arsenal is actually working for you and what is just superfluous.
Thank you, Jessica, this is no typical skin care line, I really hope you will give it a try!
*This post isn’t sponsored though I received the products for evaluation from each of the featured brands. I would never ever talk about brands I don’t love and use myself. EVER!