SMILING LADY  Leonid & Anna Dedukh:photos.comMy skin reached an all-time low this summer with breakouts like I haven’t seen in years. I figured it would take an arsenal of products to pull it back together again Humpty-Dumpty style. Nothing was working and worst of all, I had to stop using all my gorgeous oils and serums. GASP! I know.

At that time, Nonie of Beverly Hills offered to send me some products to try. I anticipated the usual small sample sizes—but no! When the box came, I was surprised by its weight and doubly surprised when I discovered all full sizes of their product line!

You can bet I was blown away.  Here’s what the company generously sent me:

NONIE PRODUCTS

So there I was feeling sorry for this company because they had no idea what skin they were up against—namely scars and daily breakouts.

But let me tell you, these products delivered!

For several weeks, I mainly used these products. The range is quite simple. All the moisturizers are designed by skin type and can be used around the eyes without a separate serum. Personally, considering the essential oils in them, I still prefer a separate eye cream. (Or maybe I just can’t give up everything so quickly!)

Brief History: I found the back story of this line to be interesting. The founder and developer, Nonie Fagatt, was 66 when she started the company. She constantly received compliments on her skin and was repeatedly asked what she was using. Of Hungarian descent, she had been blending and using her own natural skin care concoctions that were passed down in her family. In 1994, Nonie of Beverly Hills launched, earning praise and repeat customers.

I definitely pay attention to natural skincare lines that withstand the test of time. It’s pretty impressive to earn a loyal following, which this company seems to have achieved.

Considering the ingredients, I can see why. Each formula contains the trademark AHA’s that the line is known to incorporate: bilberry, sugar cane, maple cane, orange & lemon oils.

Most of the ingredients are listed and explained here in the Glossary. The products come in pyrex-glass bottles with pumps, my favorite way to dispense a lotion, oil, or serum, due to ease of use, recyclable material, and ability to preserve the integrity of a product (i.e. no dirty fingers contaminating the contents and no leaching plastic).

TONER  AndreyPopov:photos.comLet’s take, for example, the AHA! Skin Tonic. Here’s the list of impressive ingredients suitable for vegans:

Distilled Water, Hamamelis Water, Castor Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Citrus Mix of Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Bergamot & Neroli Oils & Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Here’s a look at each one:

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Water): Wound healing, non-drying, anti-itching, softening, with emollient properties that soothe irritated skin. From the leaves and bark of the plant.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Organic raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with naturally occurring mother of vinegar, diluted with water to 5% acidity.

Castor oil: anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, rich in Ricinoleic acid, which fights off the acne causing bacteria. It effectively penetrates the skin layers.

Mix of Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Bergamot, & Neroli: I love these essential oils. They’ve got potent properties for the skin (anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant) and give the product a refreshing and uplifting scent.

The only ingredient I was a bit wary of was the grapefruit seed extract (GSE) thanks to an enlightening post by No Bull Beauty.  So I contacted the company, and Marla Douglas, Director of Sales, said:

I forwarded your concerns to the manufacturer of the Grapefruit Seed Extract we purchase for Nonie AHA! products.  They responded their Grapefruit Seed Extract is not the Citricidal brand described in “The Truth About Grapefruit Seed Extract” article link within your article from nobullbeauty.com. The manufacturer of the Grapefruit Seed Extract we purchase states their product is food grade, non-GMO, paraben-free and Kosher certified.

I liked that Marla got back to me promptly and took the time to look into my question. While it may not be a great choice for a preservative, I imagine that the apple cider vinegar coupled with essential oils also ward off harmful bacteria.

The AHA! Cleanser uses coconut oil and almond oil in addition to the AHA formula. It cleanses without the need to use a water rinse which can be good for maintaining the pH balance of the skin. However, I find that it takes a considerable amount of tissues (not so environmentally-friendly) to remove all makeup without any signs of residue left. Sometimes I use this in place of an oil to dislodge makeup and then follow up with a mild cleanser.

Next up: the moisturizers. There are three for the face without SPF, two with SPF for body and face, and one Body Lotion.

face moisturizer

AHA! Brilliant Moisturizer for Normal/Combination skin: Distilled Water, 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acids from extracts of Bilberry, Sugar Cane, Maple Cane, Orange & Lemon Oils; Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Citrus Mix of Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Bergamot & Neroli Oils; Coconut Emulsifier, Grapefruit Seed Extract & Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

AHA!Protein Moisturizer f skinor Dry/Mature skin: Distilled Water, 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acids from extracts of Bilberry, Sugar Cane, Maple Cane, Orange & Lemon Oils; Coconut Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Almond Oil, Organic non-GMO Soy Milk, Citrus Mix of Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Bergamot & Neroli Oils; Coconut Emulsifier, Orchid Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract & Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

AHA! New Condition Moisturizer for Oily/Problem skin: Distilled Water, 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acids from extracts of Bilberry, Sugar Cane, Maple Cane, Orange & Lemon Oils; Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Oils of Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus Radiata, Palma Rosa, Geranium, Peppermint, Cypress, Marjoram & Chamomile; Coconut Emulsifier, Wheat Germ Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract & Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

As you can see, the main difference in the formulas lies in the various oils chosen to balance each skin type.  The New Condition Moisturizer initially feels tingly and more astringent on the skin than the other moisturizers. I reach for it during the day to hold breakouts at bay. It does work and also helps heal existing skin issues fast. My scars cleared up significantly overnight upon initial application.

The dry/mature skin formula contains some lovely oils like wheat germ oil, almond oil, and orchid oil for added moisture and nutrients. I love this for nighttime use to replenish skin.

The SPF 8 formula contains the same ingredients as the Brilliant Moisturizer but with orchid oil and micronized Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. (I know, titanium dioxide isn’t a favorite among green beauties. And micronized is another debatable issue). I bought the SPF 15 Sunblock Moisturizer. It is for use on the body and face. The texture is light, non-greasy, and non-whitening. Sometimes this is all I use on my skin in the morning before makeup. For more intense sun exposure, I would not rely solely on these products, though.

The AHA! Body Lotion is fabulous for eliminating ingrown hairs after waxing or any other bodily hair removal practices.

Here are the PROS to this line:

  • It really helps clear up my skin—and that’s something I take very seriously as no other product line could do it!
  • Products absorb nicely with no greasy or oily residue. Skin feels smooth.
  • Full disclosure of ingredients with descriptions of what each one is doing in the formula
  • Less than 25 ingredients in the entire range
  • Each small batch is still formulated by hand and bottled days before shipping to preserve freshness
  • Recyclable bottles with pumps for hygienic dispensation of product
  • Concern for the environment and green practices
  • Separate Men’s and Women’s lines
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Company longevity
  • Decent prices starting at $15.99 for HIS! Men’s Aftershave to $35.99 moisturizers (not including gift sets)

Here are the CONS:

  • A couple of debatable ingredients like GSE and micronized titanium dioxide
  • Some concern about ongoing use of AHA’s (Marla reassured me that this has not been a problem for other users)
  • Possibility of being too drying for use in the winter. I may need a wee bit more hydration once the drying indoor heat turns up
  • Increased photo-sensitivity due to the essential oils (I did not have any problems, but I’m aware this can be an issue)
  • No topical cream resolves the underlying issues that are revealed by eruptions on the skin

I’ll be honest, if I were in a store, I’d probably overlook these products. However, thanks to this company’s generosity, I’m so glad that I gave them a shot!

Talk about great timing. Yesterday, Nonie tweeted a coupon code for 15% off entire site. Code: HALLOWEEN15

I’m sure it will be put to good use 🙂

heart sterling-wellness.com

Enjoy!

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Photo credits

  • Leonid & Anna Dedukh/photos.com
  • AndreyPopov/photos.com
  • Grata Victoria/photos.com