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It only took me how many years of searching? But I can finally sit on my laurels [BIG HINT], as I proudly share with you the name of my holy grail serum.

But first—I know, so cruel—it’s time for me to fess up why it takes me ages to review a product. Experience in testing many different product lines for years has led me to this understanding.

Primarily, it has to appeal to all my senses over time. It’s a lot like cultivating a relationship with it.

That may sound strange but when you have uber-functional skin like mine, it’s like a daily dance that sometimes dips and dives— at times easing into a smooth and sexy tango, and other times erupting into an active, flaming River Dance—with sudden kicks and fast moves.

I’ve got a post in the works with Joshua Alexander, founder of Holiskin, that explains some sneaky reasons behind volatile skin. Let’s just say for now, that I have not been making the most conscious food choices (that was the nice way of saying that I’m eating like a beast lately).

That means that daily I use my intuition to sense what my skin needs, since lawdy knows I’m not exactly listening to my body. My skin may require extra healing, fewer essential oils, or I may be attracted to a particular scent, ingredient, or color. Oh yes, it’s a multi-sensory wonderland where I get to be Alice and play to my heart’s content. That’s how I end up using a medley of products, but at the same time, not every product appeals to me daily and consistently. Until now.

So without further ado, I share with you the ONE SERUM TO RULE THEM ALL. (Sorry. Getting a bit carried away here.)

Wait for it… Wait for it…

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It’s the absolutely wonderful Laurel Whole Plant Organics Anti-Inflammatory Serum. Booya! Let me tell you, it took a bit of trial and error to figure out which Laurel WPO serum was best suited for my skin—and it was worth it.

The delightful Laurel Shaffer, founder of this extraordinary line—an upgrade from her original Sequoia Beauty range—offered to send me a travel bag full of goodies at a discounted rate, right after she re-launched. I jumped at the chance to try them. As with ALL new products, my skin began the dance of acquaintance to the tune of “Getting to Know You” (please tell me there are a few King and I fans out there).

Let me simply say that—unlike many products—you can actually feel the essence of the plants, oils, and herbs in Laurel’s creations. She uses a deft hand to select and source her ingredients comprised of whole therapeutic elements sans chemical solvents to offer a truly holistic treatment line.

Honestly, I’d like to cut and paste the entire FAQ’s page of her website because it’s utterly compelling and will blow you away with her scrupulous practices—from sourcing and extracting whole plant ingredients to biodynamic compatibility within each formula. Seeing is believing. Check out this photo of the cleanser for oily/combo skin. You can basically detect pieces of plant in the mix!

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Laurel started me out with the Balance Serum, but almost from the get-go I knew that it wasn’t the right fit. So she sent me the anti-inflammatory serum and instantly, I could feel the difference. My skin did a little jig from day one.

It doesn’t take an ingredients sleuth to know why. Look at this roster of ethically-farmed, whole plants and oils—25 in all and none of them extraneous— (here’s the shortlist as pulled from the website):

  • Borage – reduces inflammation, high in essential fatty acids, prevents wrinkles and scarring
  • Blue Chamomile – cooling, anti-inflammatory, cell-regenerative for skin, and heals scars
  • Baical Skullcap – a powerful anti-inflammatory, used to manage all types of inflammation in the body, and rich in antioxidants
  • Helichrysum – anti-inflammatory, cleansing, antiseptic, and cell regenerating
  • Lemon Balm – high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and helps heal inflamed/problem skin

In addition, as with all Laurel WPO serums, a proprietary blend of oils like Red Raspberry Seed, Cranberry Seed, and Jojoba, offer a light layer of sun protection as well.

If that isn’t enough, the formula is designed to “reduce inflammation, soothe dry patches, treat broken capillaries, even skin tone, and reduce redness, as well as breakouts,” according to the website.

What I’ve noticed is that the scent feels like comfort food. The golden oil is highly concentrated so it feels rich but absorbs quickly leaving no greasiness whatsoever. The true test happens when I skip it in order to test other oils. My skin gets angry with flareups and blemish outbreaks, until I return to using it regularly. Then it relaxes into a rhythm of steady, calmed skin.

My favorite way of applying the serum is to squeeze the pipette allowing about two to three drops into my palm, spritz a bit of toner into it and over my face (I enjoy using Laurel’s toner for this too), then warm the oil between my hands and press it gently into my skin with the press-release technique. Sometimes I indulge in a bit of a facial massage to make sure it absorbs more fully.IMG_20150301_080338

I’m truly in love with everything Laurel and wholeheartedly recommend the entire line. As you can see, I’ve already purchased most of it already and can testify that the collection delivers results. You might say I’m a wee bit obsessed with it and you wouldn’t be far off. The masks have significantly reduced scars in one shot and have never dried my skin—even when used consecutively. High performance products like these deserve a permanent spot in any skin care routine.

I will add that this is a seriously herbal, plant-based line and if you prefer heavy floral or feminine scents, be prepared that this isn’t it. I actually adore the aromas of field and wild flora and find it tremendously inviting, nourishing, and soothing—like a warm bowl of oatmeal on a winter’s day. It is most certainly gender neutral and both men and women will not object to the luxe, clean packaging either.

You can find Laurel Whole Plant Organics on some of my favorite websites too:

Plus, I was beyond excited to learn that Laurel WPO will be coming to A Night for Green Beauty on August 6th in Chicago, so I will get to meet her in person! That deserves a happy dance of its own. For more about ANFGB check out the official website.

What have you tried from Laurel Whole Plant Organics? What are you loving?

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*All reviews and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by ANFGB. This review has long been in the works!

** Also to note: this doesn’t mean that I don’t love me some other serums! Sometimes I layer them with Laurel’s serum too.

***Affiliate link

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