reviews for some pampering products

I’ve been using and liking some fluffy vain unnecessary stuff recently. Yes, ’tis Folly, and I’m somewhere between ashamed, making excuses, and just enjoying the damn stuff. The whole green movement can be irritatingly “holier than thou”: too much sanctimonious do-gooding, a surfeit of self-sacrifice and suffering (especially if you get to show off about it and berate others for their faults and foibles); a worrying preoccupation with purity, often of the selfish “my body is a temple” variety; and a desire for perfection, both absurd in its impossibility and lack of contact with the real world, and absurd if that’s what “desire” has sadly been reduced to. Grim and gloomy and all rather unhappy and unfriendly. Damn it, the world is shitty enough as it is, we all need more enjoyment, joy, and pleasure from time to time.

So here’s some frivolous foolish fun stuff that’s vain, self-centred, pleasurable, and also Good: no animal testing, small independent companies, good ethics on ingredient-sourcing and labour (as far as I know, correct me if I’m wrong), sustainable plant-based biodegradable ingredients, recyclable packaging (which can also be reused for repotting and decanting other things, DIY products, travel sizes, etc.). Most of the items below are from the small-ish online independent, Garden of Wisdom. I’ll also indicate the veganism, or not, of ingredients in the products at hand.

The products:

  • Garden of Wisdom oat enriched facial serum
    + Aubrey Organics aloe vera + Garden of Wisdom witch-hazel hydrosol
  • Garden of Wisdom Majik eye cream with CoQ10
  • ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Remedy Hand Cream
  • 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
  • Garden of Wisdom Pack your Bags and Say GOOD BYE… Eye Gel

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.53.50 PM

Garden of Wisdom Oat Enriched Facial Serum
$19.30 / 1 oz
Also in a smaller size.
Not vegan (honey = made by bees and taken from them without their consent).
Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.35.50 PM
An opaque thickish liquid. Little scent, a little oatiness. Soothing and moisturising on its own, also helps as a hydrator to trap moisture and help it penetrate, before sealing it all in with an oily occlusive moisturiser (a.k.a. oil). I’ve used this stuff so far in the following ways:

  • once upon a longer time ago, as a hydrating serum used alone or mixed in with moisturiser
  • used neat on dry, irritated, and/or eczematic patches
  • more recently, as a hydrating layer, used neat: applied to damp or wet skin, then moisturiser on top
  • and mostly as a hydrating layer, used as just described; mixed in with
    aloe vera (Aubrey Organics version, $7.95/4 oz (cruelty-free + vegan); or directly from the plant; I can’t use most of the liquid ones on the market due to skin irritation with carbomers)
    and witch-hazel (Garden of Wisdom non-alcoholic hydrosol, $14.35/16 oz; cruelty-free + vegan)
    ratio of 2 parts oat serum : 1 part aloe vera : 1 part witch-hazel

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Garden of Wisdom Majik eye cream with CoQ10 (and peptides, vitamin K, and all sorts of other stuff)

$22.90 / 10 g.
Not vegan (lanosterol esters = from lanolin = from sheep wool)
Also in a smaller size, and in other versions: without CoQ10, with different preservatives, with or without wax.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.58.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.58.33 PMThis is a moist but light eye cream. Yellow. Little needed–a dab the size of a grain of rice–dotted onto finger-tip, finger-tips rubbed together to warm the cream, then pat into skin. I’m applying this in the evening to the whole eye area, dotted around the orbital bone then patted and pressed in gently, all around the eyes, up to my nose, including the under-eyes; and in the morning to the upper eye area, dotted under eyebrows, and to the outer corners, then pressed in gently as before.

No irritation, skin feels moist, doesn’t impede makeup, and if it does migrate into eyes I’ve not noticed. My skin looks and feels fine the morning after using this in the evening. I’m 41 and have fine dry skin, and my job involves a lot of public performance and other face-to-face interactions with people, so wrinkliness is a concern. Not a big one, and I’m not against wrinkles: being, as they are, lines of expression and experience.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.51.53 PM

I also get good results from ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Remedy hand cream ($8.50 / 2.5 oz; no animal testing, vegan):

INGREDIENTS: Aloe vera gel* (aloe barbadensis), safflower seed oil (carthamus tinctorius), glyceryl stearate (vegetable emulsifier), glycerine, jojoba seed oil (simmondsia chinensis), borage seed oil (borago officinalis), cetyl alcohol (vegetable wax), vitamin E acetate (tocopherol acetate), dimethicone, shea butter (butyrospermum parkii fruit), sodium ascorbyl phosphate (vitamin C), phenoxyethanol, L-ergothioneine (amino acid), ethylhexyl glycerin

which is much cheaper; and also doubles up as a face cream, hand cream, and anything-else cream; though it doesn’t have the fancy exciting State Of The Art ingredients. But the Majik eye cream is a bargain if those SOTA ingredients are what you are looking for, as can be ascertained from typing “matrixyl coq10 vitamin k” + “eye cream” or “moisturizer” into your search-engine of choice. Also, Majik has oats into the bargain and I am a fan of the oat.

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Now, while that one above behaves decently with makeup on top, I’d been having issues with the old undereyes and the HEAVY BAGGAGE I carry. We all have baggage. The older you get, the more you live through, and the more you live: the more baggage you accumulate. It’s human. It’s an integral part of being alive. Unless you’re Dorian Gray or some other kind of evil immortal (Faust, Trump, etc.), your living nature is usually visible, inscribed on your visage. That legible life can be harrowing: think of survivors of trauma with hundred-yard gazes and thousand-year-old eyes.

I just have normal everyday overwork / undersleep bags. And I can probably blame myself, and the decadent Western lifestyle: too much salt and sugar, not enough water and “good” fats; too much work-stress, not enough sleep and brain-rest; too much sedentary work, not enough standing, walking, exercise. I’m not too bad a case: I don’t eat that much salt and sugar, drink loads of water (doctor’s orders re. kidneys), and have a pretty decent diet; most of my work is not sitting down and those parts where I’m writing or at a computer, I do at a standing desk; I try to get 8 hours’ sleep a night because otherwise I am a non-functional zombie and my immune system crashes and I get sick. But life’s not perfect. So I have baggage of the eye department. Nothing major. Plus slight blue-purple circles, and my eyelids have got the blues too, all because of thin skin so you can see the blood-vessels underneath.

I have two remedies. Both are temporary. Neither is a solution to a long-term problem, that matter of the decadent depraved Western lifestyle. The real solution is, obviously, this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.47.22 PMSolution number one:

Back home, take a break. Make a small pot of tea, using two teabags (or make a cup, save the bag, and now make a second cup; anyway, you need two teabags): black or green (or white, but my only white one has jasmine which isn’t appropriate for the following trick). One the tea is ready, remove the bags and run them under a warm-t0-cold tap (depending on time of year; in winter, and if feeling itchy, I find warm to be more soothing). Drink the tea. Apply the bags to closed eyes. Relax. Maybe listen to some music. Maybe fall asleep. After some time, remove bags and return to active life.

I’ve done something similar with the cold remnants at the bottom of a French press pot of coffee, soaking two reusable pads (cotton or bamboo) in the brown murk then placing them over my eyes, pressing from time to time in the undereye area.

The eventual consequence of these meditative rituals is something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.41.52 PM

Problem: you can’t really do this in the morning before work, or during the day while at work.

Solution #2: caffeinated soothing eye things. The 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($26.00 / 1 oz; cruelty-free, vegan) is much-touted. I’m not keen as it is scented (vanilla mainly), went off fast, and doesn’t contain a proper preservative. That having been said, this stuff has many merits. It has a lovely texture and skin-feel (and scent–if you’re cool with that round your eyes). Being more of a cream, it’s a nice compromise if you’re looking for a cross between a perky gel-serum and a more unctuous moisturiser:

INGREDIENTS: Organic Aloe Juice*, Organic Rose Hydrosol*, Organic Rosehip Oil*, Organic Green Coffee*, Vitamin E (tocopherol), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), Extracts of: Coffee Cherry, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Goldenseal, Vanilla Absolute, Candelilla Wax * Certified Organic

Garden of Wisdom has several eye thingies with caffeine, and this one here is very caffeinated indeed, providing more coffee for your buck than the 100% pure cream, at about the same price:

Garden of Wisdom Pack your Bags and Say GOOD BYE… Eye Gel
$25.25 / 1 oz

This is a BROWN liquid that smells like coffee. You’ll see why from the ingredient-list:

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 2.19.39 PM

I use the tiniest drop and smear it under my eyes, in the baggage-carousel area. Once dabbed onto skin and smeared and smidged around, it is no longer brown. Just saying, in case this was a worry. Sinks in and feels amazing fast. I hesisate to say instantaneously, but it does feel very rapidly zingy. The instant coffee of the eyebag world.

The intended end result, which as you’ll see is far from wrinkle-free but full of really beautiful happy fun wise witty wrinkles, my model in resigned serene wrinkliness, is the splendid Jakucho Setuchi:

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