I’m always intrigued by French beauty products, (or even those with French names). They make me think of the elegant Montrealaises, with their long, tousled brown locks and glowing skin, whom I would spot shopping in the beauty section at the Jean Coutu pharmacy around the corner from my house in Montreal’s Plateau Mont Royal. The products also make me think of my French aunt’s medicine cabinet, filled with bottles of lavender-infused potions, which I would peek into when staying at her farmhouse in France as a girl.
So when Biossance, a non-toxic Berkeley-based beauty company (with a decidedly French name) sent me three of their products to try, I was intrigued.
The first thing I did when I learned of the line is enter the product names into the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database. And Biossance is a winner: its beauty goodies generally receive a 1-2 rating from the non-profit organization dedicated to consumer health and safety.
Biossance’s calling card is a signature ingredient made from sugarcane called Squalane, which the company describes as a “mega moisturizing molecule that instantly hydrates while locking in essential moisture.” Your body does produce its own version but the amount decreases over time (which is where Biossance comes in).
For the last two weeks I have been layering three Biossance products on my skin in the am and pm. After washing my face I've been applying two pumps of the new Squalane+Phyto-Retinol Serum ($95 at Sephora) over my face and neck. Then, I moisturize with the Squalane Vitamin C Rose Oil ($72 at Sephora), mixed with SPF for day. Finally, I use my pinky finger to lightly dab the Squalane Peptide Eye Gel ($68 at Sephora) around the delicate skin around my eyes.
I am a huge fan of retinol for its exfoliation and wrinkle-reducing properties (I had an on-going Retin-A prescription from my Dr. for years), but it can be drying and make skin ultra sun-sensitive, which is why I since stopped using it.
But Biossance's serum uses Bakuchiol, a plant-derived alternative to retinol, for its skin-smoothing power. This serum is light and sinks in after a few seconds, making it perfect for layering, (which you have to do when wearing serum since it doesn’t deliver adequate moisture on its own).
I can’t speak to the wrinkle-reducing effects of this serum as I think those will take some time to kick in, but after a few weeks of application I have noticed increased firmness and improvement of tone. One of my favourite things about the Squalane+Phyto Retinol Serum is its beautiful botanical scent thanks to neroli essential oil, a skin-calming aromatic oil distilled from orange blossoms.
BTW: Orange blossoms are an ingredient heavily used in French skincare and I’m a big fan of aromatherapy so you can see why I'm kinda crushing on this serum!
Step two in my Biossance skinscare routine is the Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil ($90 at Sephora). Since I have acne-prone skin the word “oil” usually makes me run for the hills but I have become more comfortable with the idea of slathering the substance on my face after trying a few different products over the last year. This one is light, non-comedogenic, designed for normal-to-combination skin, and sinks right into the pores. It also has a beautiful light rose scent, and after two weeks of use it didn’t break me out! As such, it gets a spot on my list of happy and "safe" face oils.
Post-oil I have been dabbing the ultra-light Squalane Peptide Eye Gel ($68 at Sephora) around my delicate eye area. And I have to admit that the almost-weightless eye cream seems to live up to its promise of reducing dark circles and puffiness. There have been some mornings where I almost (I said almost) skipped the under-eye concealer.
Note: I have been wearing these products throughout a mid-summer heat wave (temps have reached 35 degrees Celsius in Vancouver) and they haven’t been clogging my pores or making me feel icky which is very surprising to me—but also very welcome.
I am always a little wary of trying new products because of my sensitive skin but after two weeks of using these non toxic products I have noticed my previously existing acne has diminished and there are no new breakouts, and my skin does look smoother overall.
You can purchase Biossance products online at Sephora!
Tell me, what's your favourite non-toxic skincare brand?
This post was originally published on The Editor's Diary