To celebrate their 10-year anniversary May Lindstrom was running a gift with purchase promotion in November. They were offering The Jasmine Garden mist (full size) and a travel size of a new product not available for purchase yet – the Happy Galaxy body oil. I purchased Blue Cocoon which I will be reviewing soon and received both. This post is about the new body oil.
I was excited to try a new product from May Lindstrom. May intentionally does not include very many products in her line and emphasizes multi-function. Some of her products can be combined together and multi-task. While I appreciate the simplicity (yay to fewer jars on the counter!), I was really curious to see what kind of product she is considering to introduce next. A few years back she used to have a body oil – the Good Stuff – in the line, which was later discontinued, so it makes sense to re-introduce this type of product.
My Happy Galaxy oil came in a 20 ml travel size dark glass bottle and a carton packaging with all product information as if it were a full sized May Lindstrom product.
As you can see from the ingredients list the carrier is plum seed oil and one of the key ingredients is blue tansy. This product is definitely a cousin to Blue Cocoon balm from the line which also features blue tansy. This ingredient is what gives both products their colour and the distinct scent. Blue tansy essential oil has excellent anti inflammatory properties and can be used effectively to calm redness and irritation (when sufficiently diluted in carrier oil).
The body oil feels light but nourishing and absorbs quickly. I used the product on my arms and it vanished into my skin leaving it smooth without being greasy. But for me the challenge was to get past the smell. It stayed with me for several hours which would have been great had I liked it.
Unfortunately I did not and given how distinct the smell of this product is, I definitely would recommend sampling before investing into a full size bottle when it becomes available. If you like Blue Cocoon there’s a good chance you will like the Happy Galaxy oil and its scent as well. I am ok with how Blue Coocon smells (but it’s not my favourite) and I felt this oil has an even stronger scent that lingered for a longer period of time, which I did not enjoy. Blue tansy is listed as the third ingredient for this product and only the sixth in Blue Cocoon so the higher concentration of the ingredient is likely the reason for stronger smell.
Bottom line is, this is a good body oil if you enjoy – a rather intense – scent of blue tansy. I can see it working great for sensitive skin, diminishing redness and irritation.
This mask has one of the most wonderful, impactful scents among the skincare products I have tried. The smell is delicate and balanced, it has sweetness without being overpowering or cloying. Which makes this mask my go to calming skincare ritual to help me slow down.
Laurel formulated this mask for Miraval Austin resort, using mostly the ingredients that could be sourced locally. Occasionally they have overstock and offer the Petal Pecan mask on Laurel web-site. I was lucky to come by it in fall last year. I’ve been using it once every 2-3 weeks and I am almost out now. The 50 ml jar retailed for 68 USD and came with a pretty nifty wooden spatula I use to dispense the mask.
Raw honey is the base of this mask and should begin by saying that I normally do not enjoy the smell of honey. However, in this mask it’s so subtle and I think the counter-balance of botanical and spice ingredients makes it a truly beautiful smell. While I think I can smell both the peaches and vanilla (both are actual ingredients), the ground chamomile and calendula plants are at the heart of the scent.
The close-up of the mask texture. Look at this beauty!
The full ingredient list
This mask is a very gentle exfoliator and for me it also doubles as a nourishing skin treatment. I begin the application process by scooping a generous amount with a wooden spatula and warming it on my fingers for a moment. Then I slowly plaster it all over my face, embracing the stickiness all while inhaling deeply. After a minute or two of honey tapping (it’s a thing!) I add a few drops of water to my fingertips to help better distribute the mask. I try to avoid rubbing and instead press gently into my face and neck. I leave the mask on anywhere from 5 to 35 mins. If I am leaving it on longer I will typically mist my face in-between to re-activate the plants ingredients.
When I am ready to wash it off I do it in stages, adding a little bit of water to my fingertips and massaging the face. Working the mask in slowly allows me to feel the plant particles and the honey sugars, this is where the exfoliating power of the mask comes from and while it is very gentle, Petal Pecan mask is a very effective exfoliant for my skin. Afterwards my skin feels nourished and supple to such great degree that I don’t feel the need to apply a face oil or a moisturizer.
Some notes on the application –
As with any honey-based facial mask, you have to embrace the messiness. If you are unsure how to best apply a “messy” mask, I recommend trying it in shower or while taking a bath first. Initially I was also iffy, but as I became more accustomed to the texture, I started to feel confident enough applying this while wearing my favourite comfort sweater. As far as green beauty masks go, this one is actually not that messy (Problem Solver anyone 😂 ).
Also worth noting that raw honey solidifies in colder temperatures. One way to work around it is to submerge the bottom of the jar in warm water which will melt and liquify the mask (but be very careful to never submerge up to the lid so as not to get any water into the jar). However, I really don’t mind scooping it out even if the mask is super hard and warming it with my hands.
Photo from December 2019 – about 1/3 through the jar
Bottom line: this is an effective, non-drying exfoliating treatment elevated to the rank of a special, calming self-care ritual thanks to its wonderful smell.
Laurel posts on her Instagram when she has overstock available for purchase on her web-site, which in my observation happens maybe twice a year. They usually go fast 😔
The primary concerns for my skin are congested, enlarged pores and oil regulation. While curiosity prompted me try new skincare products, inevitably I always return to Kahina Argan Oilbecause it produces, by far, the best results for my skin. Skincare is something deeply individual and there is no silver bullet product and no shortcuts on the way to finding your ideal routine (only detours). That is to say, what works for me may not work for you. However, I hope this review gives you some useful information and encourages you to try something new, to ultimately help find what works best for you.
First things first and let’s talk about the ingredients. This product is literally made of a single ingredient, argan (Argania spinosa) kernel oil. I appreciate the simplicity of this, it makes it easy to understand what I am putting on my skin and where it came from (in this case, Southwestern Morocco). Knowing where the product comes from and that whoever worked to create it was treated fairly, in itself is a luxury in our times.
I love the minimalist package design.
Kahina Argan oil comes in a sleek dark glass bottle.
The chemical composition of argan oil is high in fatty acids and tocopherols (vitamin E), which is why it has great moisturizing and softening properties. It may seem counterintuitive to apply a face oil on oily skin, but this product has been wonderful at balancing my skin’s own oil production, reducing the overall oiliness of it, while creating a feeling of deeply moisturized and soft skin.
Kahina was the first ever face oil I have tried and my first “green beauty” product. Prior to discovering it, my skin often felt both dry and oily at the same time. I know this sounds as an oxymoron, but this is the best way I can describe it. The dryness manifested when applying foundation with tiny flakes of dead skin peeling here and there, while the surface all over remained oily at the same time. The same area of my skin would feel oily on the surface and dry on a deeper level. Finding an appropriate gentle exfoliation product and daily use of Kahina Argan Oil was the most powerful transformation my skin ever experienced.
Kahina Argan Oil does not create more congestion in my skin and over time it helps diminish it. The argan oil promotes healing of breakouts and visibly reduces redness and inflammation in a matter of hours for me. If I have a scrape, an insect bite or a dry patch on my body, I apply some argan oil and it helps heal it.
I apply a small amount (literally two, maximum three drops for the full face and neck) nightly. I always apply the oil on a slightly wet skin for deeper penetration and it soaks right into my skin. Usually when I come out of the shower I very gently press a towel into my face to remove excess water or wipe some of the water drops off my face with my hands leaving the skin still slightly wet. I apply the oil right after, while the skin is still warm with droplets of water on it and rub any excess oil I have on my hands into my nails. Over time the oil has made my nails very strong and elastic.
My skin doesn’t look shiny or greasy after the oil application. If it ever does, I know I have either applied too much or the oil I am using is too rich for my skin and not absorbing well. If you’re applying oil to dry skin, you can use a face mist to improve the absorption, because in my experience oil is always better absorbed by wet skin and penetrates deeper into skin layers. A mist can be a nice touch especially if you’ve found one with a scent that you love, but water works just as well.
Kahina Argan Oil also makes a great base for foundation on the days when I choose to wear some. I use Kjaer Weis foundation and apply it with my fingers quickly before the oil is fully absorbed, melting the foundation for a smooth, natural finish. If I have any redness or damage (e.g. from misguided/overzealous mechanical exfoliation), Kahina heals it like nothing else.
The product has a subtle nutty smell that I hardly notice at this point and light yellow colour. The brand talks about responsible, high quality ingredient sourcing on their web-site and their effort to give back to the oil producers. In addition to ensuring fair wages for producers, Kahina web-site states that the company donates 1% of their revenue to the organizations that support communities in Morocco from which the oil is sourced.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kahina Argan Oil is cold-pressed from the nuts that have fallen from the tree but still have the exterior fruit pulp intact. Waiting for the fruit to fall rather than harvesting directly from the tree is a mechanism to ensure the trees are not overgrazed. And using the whole fruits only eliminates nuts that have been swallowed and spat out by goats who love munching on the argan tree fruit. Yes, some of the cosmetic argan oil on the market is sourced from nuts that have been in animal digestive tract and thus need to be deodorized with chemicals. Farmers may use goats as a strategy to harvest argan fruit quickly because goats can gather nuts from many trees and crack the outer shell open.
In contrast, argan oil preparation from the whole fruit involves a manual and laborious step of cracking the nut to retrieve the kernel. The work is tedious, but it creates income for Berber women in an environment where other opportunities are scarce and the company emphasizes that it only sources certified fair trade oil from local women-managed cooperatives. Moroccan academic Zoubida Charrouf in her published work explains how argan oil production has aided emancipation in rural regions of Essaouira and Sous Massa Draa. Ms. Charrouf also gave a TED talk on this topic back in 2013 (the talk is in French).
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The combination of the quality of the oil and the fair trade practices is the reason why I stayed with Kahina brand, despite other argan oils being available on the market at much lower prices. Kahina Argan Oil retails for 36 USD of a 30 ml bottle before tax. They also have 10 and 100 ml bottle sizes available. I use 30 ml size because I found it to be most convenient when travelling. The oil also dubs as a great gentle makeup remover for me when I travel.
I’ve read a lot of good things about Prickly Pear Seed Oil and this year finally took the splurge to try some from Kahina. From the very first application I could tell it was richer than the argan oil, it absorbed like a dream and left my skin feeling even softer. However, over time it did not do as well as the argan oil in regulating my congestion and while I wanted to love it, I had to admit it was not as effective at keeping my pores from getting clogged. I think it makes a wonderful, luxurious eye area serum, but not a daily face oil for me for sure. I wish I could use the cushier oils like this one so much, but alas!
I’ve opened this review with the list of other face oils or serums I have tried. The principal issue with all of them was congestion. Two products which deserve an honourable mention, in my opinion, and which I would like to cover in more detail in the future are Laurel Skincare’s Antioxidant serum and Stark Skincare’s Neroli Midnight oil. While they could not displace the argan oil as my daily and the only face moisturizer, both are sensory treats and incredible, velvety moisturizers (unfortunately, they are too rich for me for daily use, but make perfect occasional treats).
Without a question, Kahina Argan Oil is the most important and foundational skincare product in my routine. Lots of trial and error helped me find a number of other clean skincare products that I use and love, e.g. cleansers, exfoliations, masks and balms. In my next post I would like to share a detailed review of the exfoliating products I use.