Actually, I can’t even blame it all on seasonal shifts. I have dry skin and a complexion that doesn’t take to hydration – two things that are exacerbated by colder weather. And before you ask, yes, I drink enough water (even though that whole line might be a bit of a myth).
In lighter news, things have improved in the last six months. I recently wrote about my experience with face oils and how they’ve helped my skin’s moisture retention. I stand by this – I’d be lost without a good oil in my routine. I’ve also switched from a gel cleanser to an oil-based cleansing balm for something with less of a stripping effect (definitely recommendable if you have drier skin). But with colder months ahead, I knew I needed to throw more at this so started looking for a quality serum and moisturiser to add to the mix.
Now, obviously, having dry skin means I already moisturise to a maniacal extent and I’ve used just about every serum under the sun over the years. The challenge these days is that I want my cake and to eat it too. I want products that deliver amazing, targeted results and I want them to be made from responsibly sourced ingredients, free from nasty synthetics, vegan, natural and sold in environmentally friendly packaging…
It’s not as big an ask as you might think. Nowadays, there are plenty of skincare brands and products doing all of these things. It’s just about finding the right one for you and your skin type. Which by some sort of freakish miracle, I have, thanks to Gracious Minds.
Gracious Minds is a Melbourne-based brand that uses innovative natural actives to develop results-driven formulations. All products are organic, vegan, made in Australia, and free from GMOs, sulphates, parabens, synthetic fragrances and colours, glycols, silicones, PEGs and phthalates. Minimal plastic is used across the range and it offers a service to dispose of labels and pumps for customers responsibly. In summary: it ticks all the right boxes.
For the last six weeks, I’ve been trialling Gracious Minds’s Green Genes organic hydrating face cream and Hydra-Marine hydration boost serum. I’ve had great results from both, but let’s start with the serum.
I’ve tried heaps of different serums but after chatting to Hana, RIISE’s head of audience and my personal go-to for skin, food and bar advice, I realised I needed to get a hyaluronic acid serum back into my routine.
Unlike moisturisers, serums penetrate deeper to deliver active ingredients further into the epidermis. Those of us in need of hydration want to look for a humectant – a molecule that binds to water. In the skincare world, the most popular humectant is hyaluronic acid (HA). It has a great knack for drawing and holding water and therefore boosting hydration on the surface of skin.
Gracious Minds’s Hydra-Marine hydration boost serum has become the base of my post-cleansing routine. Its key ingredients are pine bark extract, hyaluronic acid and Atlantic seaweed extract. Pine bark extract has been proven to increase hyaluronic acid production in the skin and Atlantic seaweed extract helps to improve hydration and transepidermal water loss.
I like that it doesn’t feel heavy or sticky, absorbs quickly and looks like a green juice that’s been left out of the fridge (gives an extra vision of health IMO). It’s suitable for all skin types and, for best results, take note of another one of Hana’s hot tips: apply to a slightly damp face for maximum moisture-locking capabilities.
Once the serum has absorbed, I then use Gracious Minds’s Green Genes hydrating cream. In the past, I’ve struggled with the way natural moisturisers feel. Even when they have a nice texture, they tend to make my skin look and feel drier – the opposite of what I’m trying to achieve.
This moisturiser is different to any other natural product I’ve used before. It’s luxurious and creamy but is also light in texture. Applied to skin, it strikes an ideal balance of being hydrating and providing a beautiful dewy base, without being overly thick and greasy (I’m not opposed to drenching my skin, but if a moisturiser is oily or sitting on top it’s not doing the right thing).
The Green Genes cream contains four key ingredients: cacao seed (cocoa butter), alfalfa extract, avocado oil and shea butter. Cocoa butter creates a protective barrier that holds in moisture and prevents skin from drying, alfalfa extract is rich in antioxidants that help fight premature signs of ageing, avocado oil contains essential fatty acids that hydrate and soften the skin and protect it from moisture loss, and shea butter tones and soothes skin.
Experts say gel is good for oily skin, lotion for normal skin and cream for dry skin. Green Genes is suitable for any skin type but, as someone with the latter, I’ve found its texture and properties great for combating dryness. I’ve also been following my dermal therapist’s advice and applying a face oil after the serum and moisturiser to really lock all the moisture in.
I haven’t solved all my dry skin dilemmas with Gracious Minds but I can say for certain that my complexion has improved and my skin looks and feels more plump and hydrated. It’s always going to be a bit of trial and error when looking for new products but, if you want a hydrating combo that is natural and environmentally responsible, definitely give Gracious Minds a go.