It may not be so immediately obvious to the casual onlooker, but there is a heated battle raging inside the beauty industry. On the one side, mammoth corporations who insist that laboratory-produced chemicals are perfectly safe for the cautious consumer (and who can prove otherwise?). On the other side, equally big yet self-acclaimed and even professionally labeled vegans, animal right activists, tree-huggers and naturalistic fanatics that claim their “natural” (and often unproven) products are by far superior. It would be fine if both sides fought fairly, but the problem is that they’re after the same clients, meaning, they’re out for blood. That same casual onlooker now finds herself in the middle of a propaganda crossfire, with questionable facts and dramatic animal cruelty posters flying overhead like heat-seeking missiles. How is she to choose?
There is, however, a middle ground. Not exactly a no-man’s land, niche cosmetic manufacturers are a sort of safer haven. A beauty asylum, if you will. If you’re willing to fork out the cash, they offer makeup and skin care with ingredient lists you can trace, typically a mixture of natural and specifically selected synthetics. They’re accountable, truth-worthy, and more than anything, honest (many seek to educate rather than straight up sell). No massive marketing budget means products have to speak for themselves, and word-of-mouth is their top choice for advertising.
US-based Kypris is one of those smaller companies with a big heart, providing a mass-market alternative to skin care and body care. Founder Chase Polan created her brand with the slogan, “Beauty with soul, supported by science.” Her relatively limited range is carried in stores across North America and even in the UK, and she does offer a samples pack that comes with a 15% savings coupon so that you can try things out risk-free. I was sent two of her star products for review consideration, which I put to the test over a period of several weeks. You have to understand, I use and review so much skin care on the regular that if something doesn’t work for me right away, I will not give it a second chance. I was especially critical of the proposed routine: just two items instead of my regular 10+. Below you’ll find my honest review, and find out if you’re better off purchasing the pair or a selection of unidentified mass-market products.
Antioxidant Dew ($67*)
The claim: “Botanical emulsions made to be mixed and matched for your desired results” (from the included pamphlet). This gluten-free serum features a “featherweight texture” for “deep hydration.” Created for ultra sensitive skin, regularly shaved faced, and basically everyone else for AM and PM (they’re a little vague on this). The formula contains 26 active natural ingredients including Hawaiian sea algae (a favorite of Algenist), rose (one of Fresh’s star ingredient), and reed. Also includes sunflower seed oil, aloe leaf juice, and rosemary leaf extract.
My thoughts: First, the packaging. Have you ever seen a more beautiful bottle? All of Kypris’s skincare comes in glass containers so that plastic never comes in contact with your skin. The swirly designs in gold and white on the royal blue background remind me of The Vagabond Prince, a niche perfumery also from the States. I wish there was a pump instead of a dropper, but that’s just a personal preference. The serum comes out opaque white like the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. As a fragrance first blog, I have to admit that I hate the smell of this one. Maybe because it is intended for sensitive skin they didn’t add any fragrance, but I wish they did! All those ingredients create one unpleasant starchy aroma that made me dread putting it on. However, I have to admit that after just a few days I began seeing results. My pores, normally crater-sized holes in my cheeks, tightened up dramatically. My skin felt supple and well-hydrated, never dry or tight (although a tad tacky). If you can get past the smell I’d confidently recommend this as a light morning and night treatment for a younger demographic, especially for the price (most best-selling serums at Sephora are currently retailing at around $80-$150*).
1,000 Roses Beauty Elixir ($225*).
The claim: “100% active, reparative beauty oils formulated by skin type with clinically proven, natural actives” (from the included pamphlet). The essential oil of 1,000 organic Bulgarian roses repairs to deliver “dewy, glowing, rose-petal-soft skin”. Stabilized vitamin C brightens, lightens and tightens skin, while vitamins and essential fatty acids (such as pomegranate seed) reinforce your skin’s natural barrier to lower moisture loss. Also includes virgin coconut oil, grape seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, prickly pear seed oil, black raspberry seed and cranberry seed oils.
My thoughts: This is the bomb! Forget every other oil on the market and order yourself a bottle. Yes, it even justifies the high price! I’ve tried a platoon of facial oils in the past, including the popular Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil and Tarte’s Maracuja Oil, but nothing quite compares. This deep gold oil is thick and creamy yet sinks into skin like silk. Not only does it immediately nourish and quench dry, dehydrated skin, it actually gives you a healthy and enviable glow without looking greasy. The best part? It smells fantastic because of all that rose oil! Fans of Jurlique’s Rosewater Balancing Mist will love pairing the two. This is a hidden gem for sure; only thing to keep in mind is you need very little – massage just 2 or 3 drops for the entire face (while complementing yourself, as per website recommendations). Love! Together the two were rich enough to replace my entire previous routine of treatment, moisturizer, essence, etc.
So what have we learned today? Is it that natural equals better? Not necessarily. How about powerful ingredients in winning formulas can dramatically change your skin and give you the results you want? Well, that’s what beauty with soul, supported by science is all about. Big thanks to Stephanie for organizing this review, I can’t wait to see what else Chase comes up with in the future.
*Prices true at time of writing.
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