As beauty vigilantes continue to uncover the dirty little secrets about the cosmetic industry, many of us are now well-aware that we should avoid anything that is neither “organic” nor “all natural”. Not wanting to lose out on the growing consumer segment favouring all things eco-friendly, several industry players have rebranded their products to incorporate ingredients that would earn them the right to use the organic label. In spite of that, not every ingredient in the formulation could be organic as strict guidelines aren’t put in place yet to define the amount of organic ingredients the product should be constituted of to be considered as being one, therefore allowing the cosmetic industry to be self-regulated and make organic and natural claims without certification.
But according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which is responsible for regulating the organic industry in America, products labelled “organic” must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). In other words, your USDA-certified products sitting on your shelf now may still contain 5% artificial colouring or preservatives and synthetic chemicals that are linked to kidney disease, breast cancer, and some birth defects! YIKES!
Products can be labeled “made with organic ingredients” if at least 70% organic ingredients are used (excluding water and salt). The remaining 30% of the non-organic ingredients must be approved on the National List. These products may display the certifying agent’s (The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association) logo but not the USDA organic logo.
For such unethical practice to still be condoned in this day and age, when technology has advanced so greatly, is totally unacceptable! But I am glad something has been done to combat greenwashing in the beauty industry – at least in Singapore – and the hero is none other than Blended, a beauty brand started by a few Singaporeans passionate about raising awareness of harmful chemicals in modern skincare products.
After spending over thousands of hours on scientific studies dedicated to exposing these dubious claims of modern cosmetics, Blended has come up with a range of affordable skincare products containing only organic ingredients with no fuss and no lies. To date, they have sold more than 500 products since their inception in March 2015 through very minimal publicity. Since it’s still a relatively young brand, not many people have heard of it yet, which I feel it’s a bit of a pity because it’s such a great cause! I have actually tried some of their bestsellers and penned my thoughts below, so do read it if you’re interested to know more 🙂
The active ingredient in this mattifying (loose) pore powder is rice, which has amazing healing benefits. It shrinks pores and absorbs the oil on your face to give you a matte look and is perfect for touch-ups, with or without makeup. Despite the size, the product does come with a traditional sifter that releases just the right amount each time and a miniature powder puff that provides a smooth and unified finish.
However, you need to be really gentle with the puff because the ribbon handle came off after about three times of use (‘coz of my fat fingers and rough handling, maybe). The powder is extremely fine and messy in nature so I had to be really careful not to dab the puff too hard into the powder or use it at a breezy place lest the excess disperse and get onto my apparel and the things around me. But it’s unlike flour or talcum powder that would stain your dark-coloured clothes, fortunately, as a casual brush would be able to dust if off without a trace.
The powder has a discernible (mild) citrus scent and it blended fairly evenly over my bare face with just a light buff. Although there weren’t any prominent white blotches, it left a slightly ashy cast. It will probably appear less chalky on a smoother surface, and not on a face marked by acne. I feel that it would give better results if a small powder brush was used in place of the puff because that way, you’d have more control over the distribution of the product. But functionality aside, my T-zone really did look a lot more matte (and fairer) after application and the powder somehow also concealed some of my faint acne scars, so it has fulfilled its purpose!
SPF Gel Moisturiser
Packed in a small transparent container about half the size of my palm, Be Protected is an organic cooling sunblock with SPF25.
This limpid and emollient gel has a consistency between thick and runny (more towards the latter) that spreads across the skin effortlessly. It took a while, about 3 to 5 minutes, to absorb fully into the skin (so a little goes a long way!) but once it does, the skin felt supple and refreshed. I like to keep my moisturiser in the refrigerator because the cooling effect gives a very nice, therapeutic sensory feel. From the smell of it, my guess is that is it is mainly made of cucumber, a very common ingredient for moisturisers due to its hydrating qualities. The familiar clear and flowy consistency might be derived from aloe vera which is another popular constituent for its skin healing properties. But then again, these are just my assumptions 😉
As a sufferer of inherited dry skin (a.k.a ichthyosis, everywhere but my face 🙄 ) since birth, my daily routine includes applying ample moisturiser to my body but it is always difficult to find an effective moisturiser that doesn’t sit too heavy and tacky on the skin. While I wouldn’t say that this does wonders on moderate and severe cases of ichthyosis (it’s not a clinical medicine after all), it actually works on milder conditions like fungal infections.
Apply twice daily on the affected areas for a week at least and you shall see the stark difference! Of course, this multi-purpose gel can be used on the face as well.
Manuka Honey Bee Pollen Mask
Made with premium Manuka honey from New Zealand, this face mask is a blended with quality bee pollen and pure aloe vera (and other natural ingredients that are beneficial to the skin) for optimal therapeutic effectiveness. Manuka honey is known for its anti-bacterial and moisturising attributes whereas bee pollen helps to speed up the healing process of wounds and reduce the effects of acne. Aloe vera, on top of what was mentioned earlier, can also reverse skin aging while giving it an instant glow.
Upon removing the lid, I was greeted with a watery and diluted surface to which my first reaction was, “Huh, how does this work as a mask? Won’t everything just dribble down my neck?” until I read the instructions to stir it well on the packaging. Pardon me, I’m not one who is fond of reading so.. 😛
I didn’t have a spatula small enough to fit into the bottle so I used a chopstick to mix it instead. True enough, the product was sitting at the bottom but it somehow couldn’t blend fully with the watery substance no matter how much I tried. Using the same chopstick, I scooped a bit of the product and applied it on my face. Despite having stirred it already, the product was still relatively runny so I created a bit of a mess in the process. Hence, unless you’re itching for extra cleaning work, do this in the toilet!
Some of the product landed on my cupid’s bow and you know, being a foodie (plus, the smell of the honey was really alluring), my natural instinct would be to stick out my tongue to taste it*. To my surprise, it was actually more salty (presumably from the Himalayan sea salt) than sweet! A quick search on Google for the ingredients revealed that they are indeed edible* so fret not if the mask, you know, accidentally gets into your mouth (not sure how but I know it happens *winks*).
Once I was satisfied with the amount applied on my face, I used my fingers to even it out and then left it to dry. The runny consistency meant that it wouldn’t be able to provide full coverage on the face like a traditional mask. But after 3-4 minutes, the mask felt a bit stiffer. I had it on for about 20 minutes before washing it down with water (very easy – no scrubbing required!)
I was initially quite sceptical about putting this mask on my face as I was worried that my skin would react negatively to it. But apart from the smoother and brighter appearance it gave me, it also managed to keep new pimples from breaking out on my face for the next couple of days!
Thermal Black Sesame Mask
What in the world? Well, as the name suggests, this brownish-black substance is a self-heating (thermal) mask that helps to open up pores. It contains black sesame (thus the colour and smell) which is not only superb for detoxing the skin but also preventing the formation of wrinkles and pigmentation. Among other benefits of black sesame is its ability to neutralise the effect of free radicals that damage cells, thereby protecting the user against skin cancer!
Cool upon application at first, the mild thermal effect kicks in almost instantly the moment it comes in contact with dry skin (so do wipe your face dry after washing). Unlike the Manuka honey mask, this black sesame mask has a thicker and firmer consistency which makes it a lot easier to deal with. Even so, it’s still best to apply the mask in the toilet because clumps of it tend to glide down from time to time.
Using my fingers, I applied a layer of the mask on my face and left it on for 15 minutes. The warming effect started to wear off by the 5-minute mark (or maybe my skin had gotten used to the sensation by then). Regular use of this mask should help tighten and control the appearance of large pores. Besides, those specks of sesame seeds help to exfoliate the skin as well, hence I came up with the idea of using it as a lip scrub!
All of these products have a shelf life of 3 months (therefore, they are usually packed in small quantities) if stored well in the refrigerator. I think 3 months is a reasonable amount of time for a trial period if you’re planning to explore other skincare alternatives that are truly beneficial. As cliché as it sounds, your skin definitely deserves the best and not products that can cause adverse effects in the long run, so it’s better to switch now before it’s too late!
Please consult sales rep to check if products are indeed safe for consumption (as well as for allergies) before attempting to ingest it. We will not be responsible for any injury, illness or loss resulting from your failure to comply with this obligation.
Your thoughts? Do share them with me in the comments below!
Thanks for reading my first post in 2016 😉