a'kin natural skincare \\ a review
It's one of my earliest memories.
Waiting for my parents to go to work. Sneaking into their bedroom. Opening all the bottles and jars lining mum's vanity. Smearing my limbs with all her expensive creams and lotions..
I have always - ALWAYS - loved skincare. I'm sure it's a penchant I adopted from mum, but I must admit, dad is pretty reliable with the application of his eye cream, serum and moisturiser, too. Don't tell him I told you that.
When I got a bit older, mum started giving me her empty skincare containers. I don't know what she thought I'd do with them, but unbeknownst to her, I ended up filling them with her lotions. I'd mix a bit of this with a bit of that - I was probably mixing cleansing milks with body creams for all I knew, whoops! But I loved it. I loved the luxury of applying different products on my skin at night, and waking with a glowing complexion in the morning. In hindsight, I was about 9 years-old, so duh, of course my skin was ace, but the intent was there.
Other than a rather shameful - albeit brief - period when I'd fall asleep with a full face of make-up on each night, I have always looked after my skin. From puberty until rather recently, I have followed a three-step skincare regimen every morning and night: Cleanser, toner and moisturiser. It has only been in the past few years that I have introduced double-cleansing to my regimen on days that I've worn make-up, and only the past few months that I've religiously patted on serums and eye creams twice daily.
Now, I'm not sure how the folk at Australian natural skincare company, A'kin, knew about my penchant for all things beauty and skin, but I was lucky enough to be gifted a small box of goodies from them. The timing could not have been better. It was about a week before I was to leave for a month-long South East Asian holiday - too long to use travel-sized products, but too short to lug around mammoth-sized bottles - so I decided to bring the following products along with me instead. And now, finally (cough a month after I've returned from my holiday cough), I present my review.
Please note that whilst these products were gifted to me, I was not sponsored, and the opinions expressed here are 100% genuine and my own.
Nourishing Cream Cleanser & Toner
I always have two different cleansers on hand - a gentle one that I use morning and night, and a more thorough cleanser that I use after the gentle cleanser (on nights I'm wearing make-up). This cleanser is perfect for the former.
When a cleanser doesn't lather, I prefer to apply them to dry skin. I'm not sure if it's the right thing to do, but I feel as though applying them to wet skin dilutes them and nullifies their effectiveness. This concoction doesn't lather, so I apply it to dry skin (after I've dissolved any stubborn make-up with a swipe of melted coconut oil) and massage it thoroughly all over my face and neck.
One of the great things about this product is its potency - a little bit really does go a long way. I would advise against using a whole pump - a third of a pump was more than enough for me. It has a luxuriously creamy consistency - very spreadable, which means no need to drag the skin - and its fragrance, the result of rose and geranium, is beautiful. It rinses off easily with warm water, but - and this is the most extraordinary part - it leaves the skin feeling deeply moisturised. I know it's supposed to be a 2-in-1 product (cleanser and toner), but I really feel as though it's a 3-in-1 product (i.e. added moisturiser). It doesn't feel leave my skin feeling oily, or as though I need to cleanse again - instead, my skin feels incredibly comfortable, calm and hydrated. I think this would make a perfect cleanser for sensitive skin types. Its shea butter and sesame oil content make it very soothing, and won't leave the skin feeling tight or dry. I'll repurchase this cleanser once I've finished my current bottle.
Cleansing Micellar Water
Micellar waters are a relatively new love of mine. At home, I usually follow my cleanser with a toner, but when traveling, micellar water is a clever space-saving double agent. Yes, it serves as a toner. But more importantly (and this is my favourite way to use it), if you're doing your eye make-up and need to clean up any stray eye shadow, eyeliner or mascara, simply dip a cotton bud into micellar water and voila! A super accurate way to clean things up without wiping away the rest of your make-up.
This micellar water by A'kin contains hydrating coconut water and antioxidant-rich green tea, and it really does feel delicious on the skin. It's also alcohol-free, which means it won't cause dryness or irritation. Compared with other brands of micellar water that I've tried, this one is my favourite. It has a light cucumber fragrance (which I like), and it feels leaves my skin feeling nourished.
I must admit, I haven't yet attempted to remove a full face of make-up with this product - only because I'm accustomed to using coconut oil for that sort of thing - but I do feel as though this micellar water could be rather good at the task. I'm not sure how well it might tackle waterproof mascara or dried liquid eyeliner, but it's not super watery like other brands can sometimes be. There's a weightiness to this one - it almost feels slightly thick (which can be felt on a cotton pad, but not on your face), and that makes me feel as though it must be loaded with vitamins and nutrients, or something. Once I finish the toner I have here at home, I will quite happily return to using this as my daily toner instead.
Hydrating Mist Toner
When it comes to toners, I very rarely (i.e. never) use one that comes in a spray bottle. Each to their own, but I just feel as though toners are supposed to remove any remaining residue of cleanser on the skin, and spraying a mist over the top simply isn't going to achieve that. I much prefer to soak a cotton pad with toner instead, and use that to create a clean slate for my serums and moisturisers.
That said, this mist toner was an absolute godsend whilst I was traveling throughout Vietnam and Hong Kong. Instead of using it as a toner, I used it as a refreshing mist. Heating, air conditioning and flying are three things that really parch the skin, and this spray really helped to inject vital life back into my complexion whenever I needed it. While Vietnam was almost intolerably hot (30+ degrees Celsius every day), Hong Kong was the opposite (15 degrees Celsius every day). That meant I was always subject to either dehydrating heating, moisture-wicking air conditioning, or sitting on a plane. A quick mist of this toner instantly made me look less zombie-like again. It was also very good for refreshing the skin after wandering around in humidity, or cooling down after a sweaty gym sesh. I also used it after applying my make-up each day, to help settle powders and set the final look.
When I returned to Melbourne, I didn't immediately reach for this product again. I was no longer exposed to extreme elements and didn't feel the need. Plus, I never used it as a toner anyway. These past couple of days, however, have been a bit miserable (#winter), and the heater in my office is usually turned on. For that reason, I've found myself using it again, to replace any moisture my skin has lost throughout the day.
Will I repurchase it? I'd consider getting another bottle before traveling again, and I do like to use it to refresh my skin after a workout, but using it on a day-to-day basis feels like a bit of a luxury to me. As the cold weather bores on, however, I may reach for it more and more, and may find it increasingly useful - who knows? My only criticism: I wish the mist was a little finer.
Weightless Rosehip Oil for Face & Body
I usually hate face oils. I use coconut oil to dissolve eye make-up, but other than that, I find face oils always leave my skin looking as though I've spent an entire day deep-frying food in a poorly-ventilated kitchen. So when I saw the word "weightless" in the description of this oil, I was skeptical, but decided to give it a fair go.
It really is weightless.
I'm not sure how it manages to do this - I've tried other brands of rosehip oil with much less success - but the A'kin Weightless Rosehip Oil very quickly melts into the skin and leaves it a) hydrated without feeling bogged down, and b) without any hint of oily sheen.
I was, of course, absolutely delighted by this discovery. Rosehip oil has long been heralded as a holy grail ingredient for great skin. It contains Vitamin C (an antioxidant that stimulates the production of plumping collagen, thereby reducing fine lines and wrinkles), fatty acids (to promote skin repair and elasticity) and Vitamin A (whose molecules are small enough to penetrate - and therefore hydrate - the deepest layers of the skin). I have always wanted to use rosehip oil, but could never find one that sat in instead of on my skin.
I used the A'kin face oil every night whilst overseas, and have continued to do so upon my return home. I layer it on after my serums, and before my moisturiser. It's been a few weeks now, and I have noticed a significant improvement in the clarity and complexion of my skin. If I had to pick a favourite item amongst the four products, this oil would be it. If you've struggled with finding a hydrating face oil that doesn't leave you looking like an oil slick, you have got to try this one - I highly recommend it.
A'kin's range of skincare products is extensive, and I have only sampled four of them here. Of the four, my absolute fave was the Weightless Rosehip Oil, followed closely by the Nourishing Cream Cleanser & Toner.
Loves: The botanical extracts used in each product, the all-natural scents, the high-quality performance and feel of each product, the recyclable packaging and the 100% vegan certification.
Possible improvements: I wish all the products came in glass packaging (I get a bit weary that chemicals will leach from plastic), and I think the Hydrating Toner Mist's spray could be finer.