Well, surprise – Forêt Bleue

Well, surprise – Forêt Bleue

Well surprise, surprise, surprise

Yeah surprise, surprise, surprise

Well surprise, surprise, come on open your eyes

And let your love shine down

Bruce Springsteen – Surprise, Surprise

After our chat with the Forêt Bleue founder, Emmanuelle Engeli, I picked up some products to try as I was high on empties in my stash! I was more than happy to shop at a local business and have the extra luxury of having personalized explanations.

I immediately fell in love with the luxurious minimalist packaging. The creams come in glass jars (she provides spatulas for scooping) and long practical plastic bottles for the shower products.

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My Forêt Bleue “haul” – from left to right SHOLYN body butter – AVELEEN apricot face sap – LINEN shower cream – GINSENG toning mask.

Although I enjoyed using all products, I definitely had a *coup de coeur* for 2!

First of all the GINSENG MASK – ingredients:  Argila, Ginseng Powder, Lemon Powder.

As soon as I saw it in the shop, I knew I had to have to it. It contains ginseng which, she explains,  is a known ingredient to tone and firm the skin, a mix of clays to cleanse and mattify the skin and lemon powder, rich in vitamins has astringent and purifying properties.

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I use it 2 to 3 times a week. I scoop 2 teaspoons of the powder that I mix with approx. 2 other teaspoons of water and let it sit on my face for 10 min. I usually do this mask at night: after taking it off, I have such a luminous and healthy looking skin, but it is after a good night of sleep that I appreciate its powers. For the next few days, my skin feels less irritated and brightened.

Last and definitely not least is a product that is one of my 2017 highlights :AVELEEN   APRICOT FACE SAP – ingredients: Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil*, Carthamus Tinctorius Safflower Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter*, Cetylanum, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil*, Cocos Nucifera Oil*, Cera Alba, Parfum. * From organic farming

When formulating the product, Emmanuelle was thinking of a way to provide the full power of oils to people who are afraid to put it in its liquid form on their faces.

By adding beeswax, she hopes to help them feel more comfortable with the concept of oils.

I use it mainly in the mornings, sometimes in the evenings if my skin is feeling particularly dry. At first, it has the consistency of a balm. I scoop some with my spatula and then apply it on my palm. After rubbing it melts down to delicious oils that I massage for 2 minutes and it leaves my skin so smooth! What surprised me the most is, because I have dehydrated skin, whenever I use oils it tends to sit on my face, not doing much. But with this, I truly feel and look hydrated, moisturized and healthy! I have been wearing for a month straight and it is definitely something I would recommend for all dry skin people or anyone looking for a good winter protection!

I am more than happy with my purchases and will be repurchasing at Forêt Bleue for 3 reasons :

  • I am supporting a local enterprise;

  • The composition and textures of products are superb;

  • It is a value-based company!

No “Ordinary” Love

No “Ordinary” Love

 

This is no ordinary love

No ordinary love

When you came my way

You brightened every day

Sade – No Ordinary Love

 

ABOUT THE BRAND

How the brand presents itself :

Clinical Formulations with Integrity.

The Ordinary is an evolving collection of treatments offering familiar, effective clinical technologies positioned to raise pricing and communication integrity in skincare. The brand was created to celebrate integrity in its most humble and true form. Its offering is pioneering, not in the familiar technologies it uses, but in its honesty and integrity. The Ordinary is born to disallow commodity to be disguised as ingenuity. The Ordinary is “Clinical formulations with integrity”.

All DECIEM products, across all brands including The Ordinary, are free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, animal oils, benzalkonium chloride, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde, mercury, oxybenzone. If you have questions about any ingredient that we use, please reach out to us and our lab will provide a response.

DECIEM does not test on animals and does not pay others to do so. For this reason, none of our brands are sold in mainland China since such sales require animal testing for registration purposes.

I had actually first heard of The Ordinary through Wayne Goss’ videos on Youtube. He seemed so passionate and enamored with the brand that I got a bit curious. The claims of clean formulations at a very reasonable price made me go have a look, and boy was it love at first sight!

I loved the nerdy feel of the website, loaded with explanations and whys and how-tos of each product and even a breakdown by ingredient! A blessing!

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Because we focus on the *Who* and *Why* on this blog, I researched the man behind the brand.

Brandon Truxae a handsome young man, is the founder of DECIEM the umbrella company for other sister brands to The Ordinary, namely NIOD, HYLAMIDE, CHEMISTRY BRAND, STEMM, FOUNTAIN etc…

When asked about the motivation behind his brand creation, his answer was :

I had no interest in beauty products when I was studying computer science; in fact, I used to lather soap bars in my hand to form a shaving “cream”.

I had a co-op term as a software developer at a beauty company’s laboratories and, quite bluntly, became angry at how dishonest and unscientific everything in beauty was. In the world of software, everything is black or white, 0 or 1 quite literally.

In the world of beauty, everything seemed and seems like a grey promise. A combination of anger and passion from that experience has brought me here.

Furthermore, what struck me in other interviews I had read of him was his wish on educating the public on what they were putting on their faces, and this is something very well communicated throughout their website and Instagram page. Though intimidating at first, I think anyone can quickly adapt and understand the theory behind each product and better comprehend how it interacts with the skin. Their skincare regimen chart is fantastic to help you figure out the order of your routine (what goes when), product by product.

What is not to love? A functional, no-nonsense approach to an industry that has been confusing and straight on deceiving people for decades.

I feel good about buying The Ordinary’s products because the alignment in values is clear. Not only do they provide good clean products (seriously, there’s not much to say about their ingredients lists) but they also make their content information-heavy to educate us more about what we are putting on our beautiful skins. I particularly love their message on acids which is, in short, do not abuse it. Yes, acids as exfoliants are exciting because they do give results but are very easy to abuse of and the damage they may cause would be worse than what you were trying to manage in the first place.

ABOUT THE PRODUCTS

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Well, as you can see, I have many of the Ordinary’s products. In general, I think The Ordinary’s products are a hit or miss. Of course, what works for me won’t for you and vice versa, veni, vidi, vici etc…

I live in Switzerland and have ordered twice from the website. It took about 2 weeks to get to me. Fortunately for me, my brother was in Toronto when the Toning solution was (again) out of stock so he bought them for me over there. On the picture above, I have selected my favorite ones, from the bottom and clockwise.

  • Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution: This is a watery exfoliating toner. When I first started using it my skin tingled a lot. After 3 months of use, I can positively say that this product has changed my skin for the better as it provided excellent gentle exfoliation. It has a very mild *plant/root* scent that could be from the ginseng in it. I use it 4 to 5 times a week after cleansing my face. Will repurchase 100%.
  • AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. Holy mother of exfoliating acids. DO NOT, I repeat, D O N O T use this if you have never experimented with acids before or have sensitive skin. The brand itself repeatedly warns about the danger of over-exfoliating as I have said previously. It is so seriously concentrated that it is not sold in some countries, seriously! But Oh my Lord it works like magic. The first time I applied the peeling, I was almost in tears because of how tingly it was and thought that it was burning my skin. A sheet mask, camomille tea and mommy hug later though I was calmed enough to notice how smooth my skin looked, this was nothing compared to what I woke up to. I woke up to the smoothest, plumpest, cleanest looking skin I had ever seen on myself. I use it once every two weeks. Apply on dry face after cleansing, leave it for 8 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water. I always follow with a soothing mask (usually aloe vera derived). Will repurchase 100%.
  • Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1%. I was initially very skeptical towards its claim to address hyperpigmentation as I was very disappointed by the Alpha Arbutin serum.  The main ingredient, niacinamide (or vitamin B3) is a well-used ingredient to address hyperpigmentation. Zinc, on the other hand, balances the production of sebum. After using it for 3 months though, I can really see the results as my PIH has cleared and my skin tone is closer to being unified! You get 2 serums into one with this one as it also delivers a good dose of hydration. Even though I did enjoy it, I am not sure about repurchasing because so many products in my routine already have niacinamide and do a good job at fading my PIH.
  • Buffet serum. Hydrating and full of beautiful peptides to combat signs of aging. Since using it, my dehydrated, cracked and crunchy face has blossomed into a baby bottom. So full, so smooth. Will repurchase 100%.

 

IN CONCLUSION

I haven’t been this enthusiast about a brand for a long time. I believe in DECIEM’s alignment with their values and I think it does show in every step of their work. I have not found information on sustainability impact of the brand yet but I guess part of it can be explained by its relatively recent incursion on the market. Communicating on this aspect, as well as presenting the teams behind the products’ developments,  would be an excellent way to bring even further their message of excellence cosmetic at a fair price for everyone.

TO BUY AND WHY?

I definitely recommend buying the Ordinary’s products because the vision of the company has human respect at its core by providing clean formulated and fair priced products to the market, with no gimmicks.

Weleda, you understand me

Weleda, you understand me

“Cause you get the message

yes, you get the message

no, you know exactly what I’m dreaming

when stars are brightly gleaming

like no one in the world

the whole wide world

you understand me”

Sam Cooke, You Understand me

That’s how I felt the day I discovered Weleda.

After living ignorant and almost ashy for 10 years in Switzerland, I discovered Weleda. For the sake of this blog, we will focus on the cosmetics, but Weleda also carries a health-related line that I will not comment on since I haven’t used it.

How is the brand perceived and what drives the buyers to … well, buy ? I believe it’s the values, the promises and the quality. Weleda sells Good goods.

Let me explain.

The brand has managed its image so well that when one thinks of natural Swiss made cosmetics, it is the first thing that comes to a Swiss mind. From the website design, the product lines,  to the packaging, simplicity and self-care are what is being emphasized.

One other element is the emphasis on YOU. You the customer feel empowered to be a part of the Weleda family because you share the same values, you feel good because you are making the right choice by buying and using such good products, you are contributing to a better world!

Many brands will claim that they cares about their customers, but what they would really mean is that they care about your wallet.

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My Weleda loves. From top left : Almond Sensitive body milk (winter Holy Grail product), Almond Sensitive Skin Facial Lotion, Evening Primrose Age Revitalizing Body Lotion, Wild Rose Deodorant, Tonique Capillaire Revitalisant, Rosemary Conditioning Hair Oil, Sage Deodorant, Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream.

I am not naive enough to think that Weleda is a philanthropic company putting out good product for the sake of peace in the world, but it has truly managed to convey the image of a value-based company, focused on people (inside and outside of the company).

It actually becomes clear why the human plays such an important role when you know that the founder of the company, back in 1921, is Rudolf Steiner who is also the founder of the anthroposophical movement. Anthroposophy is a philosophy that postulates that the human being can understand and apprehend reality using senses, reason and spirituality. It is a conception of life that has a social objective that aims at societal wellbeing and harmony.

I went through their 2016 sustainability report and was amazed to see the emphasis put on people inside the company and the social responsibility objectives.

 

By now you might have understood that I am a Weleda fan. Even though I do not only use their products, it is one of the only brand that I will truly trust to spend my money on knowing I am actually bettering lives.

I have found in Weleda a brand that reflected my idea of social sustainability, self care and clean formulation of products!

Products breakdown

 

I will not do an in-depth review of the products I have used but I will give a general idea.

Cost : Weleda products are not extremely expensive, yet not cheap. Average product price would be 15.- ( or 17 to 20 USD).

Availability : In Switzerland, pretty much everywhere. Otherwise, on their website.

Effectiveness : surprisingly effective for a “natural” brand, does exactly what it promises with the  added promise of caring for your body and the planet.

Commitment to sustainability : social and environmental.

Grade : 9/10.