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Today I want to share with you all a luxury skincare product that my skin absolutely loves. It’s one of the few topical skincare products I really splurge on, because it makes me and my skin oh so happy! I’m very careful on Maia to not share products just for the sake of it. It’s no good to our environment, wallets or culture if we are just mindlessly buying things. So, if I’m sharing something with you, it’s because I have genuinely benefitted from it, and I love it! To be honest, I am super stingy with my money. It drives my family and partner crazy. But I figure, if I am going to spend my hard earned dollars on something, it better be amazing! Rest assured, I’m sharing this facial oil because I do think it’s just that… amazing. Allow me to introduce… African Botanics Marula Oil.
I used to have sensitive skin. Washing my face with water would hurt, waking up in the morning would hurt and I could not find a moisturizer that didn’t aggravate in some way. On top of that, my skin was so frustratingly dry and tight. Which meant it hurt when it wasn’t being soothed with hydration in some way. Eventually, I began to just layer on good quality olive oil, which soothed, but didn’t provide all of the benefits I was looking for. Over time, supplements from my naturopath and probiotics from The Beauty Chef slowly built up my skin’s immunity, reduced dryness and sensitivity.
My skin was being supported from the inside, but I wanted to topically give it a helping hand, too. In typical me-style, a lot of research followed. I came across African Botanics, a lux skincare brand created by Craig and Julia Noik in 2012. The couple were born and raised in South Africa, where they learned the natural rituals and traditions of their country. After they moved to LA, they decided to marry the best of both cultures by creating a skincare range that is directly inspired by and helps support their stunning homeland. There is plenty of science behind the range, and if you’d like to learn more you can head to their website, which happens to look like a magazine editorial, here.
The ethos of this innovative company is summarized perfectly on their site: ‘An intersection of luxury and ethics: Positive Luxury’
This ties in perfectly with what I demand from skin care. Beautiful products are fine, but I want accountability in their creation, too!
So what does accountability look like for African Botanics?
The company partners with Fair Trade to support some of the most remote and underdeveloped communities in South Africa. The women in these communities source many of the ingredients for African Botanics, which provides much needed work. The isolation of the products used in African Botanics products is one of their biggest blessings, not just for the consumer who isn’t rubbing pollutants onto their skin, but also the remote communities who source the ingredients.
The Fair Trade program supports these communities to invest in preserving their land for the future. The women in these partnering communities work towards supporting the future environment by preparing and planting seedlings that will thrive in years to come.
The start of a love story:
After plenty of research and feeling confident about the ethics framework of African Botanics, I walked into my local Mecca store, and chatted with an impressively knowledgeable staff member about this range, which sat quietly and elegantly in one of their aisles. I probably drove her a bit crazy reading the ingredients of every bottle I picked up, while I threw around words like ‘organic’ and ‘cruelty free’. I doubt many of their customers care too much about these things.
Anyway, I took home both their Pure Marula Cleansing Oil and their famous Pure Marula Oil to try. My temperamental skin, which is not a fan of much, was not a fan of the cleanser. It caused a number of little rashes to appear on my skin. But please don’t let that deter you from trying this or other products in their range. I’m sure 99% of the population would have no problems with this beautiful-to-use cleanser. I just happen to be in that other 1%. The Pure Marula Oil, however…well, that was another matter, entirely! My skin adores this oil. It soothes, calms, hydrates and strengthens.
So what is in this wonder-oil?
Marula, and Vitamin E oil. That’s it! Clean and simple!
But what is marula?
Marula oil comes from trees found in remote locations in South Africa, and the oil used by African Botanics is organic, un-refined, and Fair Trade. It is then single cold-pressed to release an abundance of nutrients and vitamins.
The oil has long been used by South African women and men to protect skin from drying, harsh environments. You can read all the scientific information on this amazing oil here, but I’ve found the crux of the matter to be completely correct. The oil is perfect for a range of skin types. It is hydrating, healing, calming and amazing for sensitive skin.
But that’s almost not even the best bit. The entire process of using the Pure Marula Oil is incredibly sensory. There is a sense of serene luxury and pampering when using this oil, even when you use it daily. It becomes a quiet moment of indulgence in a busy day. It only takes 2-3 drops of Pure Marula Oil to sooth your entire face; I use three fingers to gently dab the oil around my skin. Then, I just let it soak in. Bliss!
I tend to split my facial oil routine between this and neem oil to manage breakouts- I don’t have much of a schedule and instead just use whichever oil my skin seems to be craving the most at a particular time. I would say about half the time I use the African Botanics oil, and half the neem oil. The Pure Marula oil is my secret little indulgence, and I adore not only how it makes my skin feel, but the entire process of using it.
As my skin continues to improve, I am looking forward to trying more products in the African Botanics range, such as their Marula Mineral Cleansing mask, which is white clay based and supplemented with an array of beautiful botanics.
Let me know if you’ve tried any products from this beautiful range, and if you love them as much as I do.