The more I learn about the process of formulating beauty products, the more selective I become of who is making them, not only what is in them. There are too many ways that a formulator can err without hands-on experience with skin. My epidermis is nobody’s experimental playground.
That’s why I’m particularly excited to share the capsule collection created by danseur turned pro-esthetician Jordan Samuel Pacitti, founder of Jordan Samuel Skin. He sent me these products for consideration and then graciously answered my many questions about them below.
If you’re a seasoned fan—you savvy beauty maven you!—then you already know this line has gone through a metamorphosis the likes of The Nutcracker‘s famous tree-growing scene. OK. Maybe not the best analogy, as the sizes haven’t changed as much as the appearance and what’s in them. But significant growth happens when a brand comes into its own the way Jordan Samuel Skin has.
In the update to his line that first launched in 2013, Jordan successfully merges his two passions—ballet and skin care—and he deserves a standing ovation. Seriously, how awesome are the two dancers that form the letters ‘J’ and ‘S’ in the logo? More impressively, he nailed this brand upgrade in a performance you won’t want to miss.
These products have been tested on various skin types through his facial practice based in Seattle, WA, with glowing results. That’s a true test of the efficacy and safety of the formulas.
Ballet + Skin
The way he explains it, ballet makes the perfect muse. He says:
“Everything I learned at the ballet shaped my skincare philosophy. Every dancer has a set of rituals. BUT these rituals are performed consistently and they are straightforward. They aren’t extravagant or overly complicated. They are truly to the point(e)™. The rituals I performed daily as a dancer were all to better myself in my craft. I feel the EXACT same about skin.
“We all should be applying less, doing it consistently and not over-complicating it. Every time I set a client up on a less is more ritual with the correct tools they simply glow! Skin is a living, breathing organ. It is beautiful. It changes day by day, moment by moment. Ballet is the same.”
About the products
Keeping step with his less-is-more philosophy, the no fuss line is comprised of three core products that each have a treatment purpose: Plié Treatment Cleanser, Hydrate Serum, and EtOILe Face Oil. (All references to ballet terms are my own and defined below.)
Act I: Plié Treatment Cleanser/fondu*
I first wrote about Plié Treatment Cleanser, $24, as one of ten products that were love at first use in this post. It continues to be a favorite cleanser. I can easily say that I have never tried anything like it before–and I’ve tried my fair share of products.
The clear gel melts into a water soluble oil on the face. That means that you won’t be left with an oil slick after smoothing it on, and it’s a breeze to wash off as even hard to remove makeup slides right off.
It also contains a mix of fruit acids for gentle exfoliation, as Jordan prefers a gentler method of removing dead skin cells that doesn’t require scrubbing (more on that below).
The protocol: In the a.m., I love massaging it in and then rinsing off without a washcloth so that my skin is left baby soft and smooth with a hint of oil remaining as a protective layer. Jordan doesn’t believe in the “squeaky” clean feeling as that strips skin of precious oils and disrupts the delicate acid mantle balance.
In the p.m., I massage over skin to dislodge makeup and dirt and then use a warm, clean washcloth to remove.
Full list of ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glycerin, Water, Sucrose Laurate, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Rhizome/Root Extract, Anthemis Noblis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Citrus Fruit Extract Blend, Simmodsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylhyroxamic Acid, Capryl Glycol
Act II & The Finale: Hydrate and EtOILe, ballón and glissade*
“As for the serum [Hydrate], not much has changed. We upped the amount of hyaluronic acid as well as added a beautifully stable and awesome form of vitamin c—sodium ascorbyl phosphate.
“For the oil, I wanted to keep most of the oils I was using but remove the essential oils. I’ve seen so many reactions to ‘some’ essential oils in my practice, that I wanted this to be the unscented option on the market (whether the client is sensitive, pregnant, has migraines, allergies, etc.). With the essential oils removed, it gave me some room to play so I added vitamin c in the form of Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and Coq10 suspended in non-Gmo vitamin e oil. It is heavenly. Then came the need to play around with texture. So any slight changes were to make the texture more luscious and unique.”
By now, if you read my blog, you know my skin erupts nearly every time I apply a new product to my face. It is that finicky. So when that does not happen, I sit up and take notice.
From moment one of using Jordan’s line one month ago, my skin felt at ease using the serums, like a seamless pas de deux. Here’s what I’ve noticed over time: redness, discoloration, and breakouts, my nemeses, have notably diminished; my skin is perfectly hydrated with not a dry spot in sight; the serums absorb lightening fast and wear incredibly well under makeup.
Yesterday I layered the two serums under a light face cream and a while later looked in the mirror to find that my skin looked so even-toned that I almost skipped my daily foundation.
Food for thought and action: The way my skin immediately responded to these unscented serums certainly gives me pause about the use of essential oils in skincare. Current standards are largely unregulated in the US, whereas in Europe, a product must comply with the International Fragrance Association guidelines and be assessed by a chemist prior to being sold.
The protocol: Jordan recommends following up Plié with 5 drops of Hydrate daily serum, as the humectant water phase (and the “pink slip” I mentioned two posts ago as a vital skincare layer!). Hydrate is unscented and created to be just as good for the eyes as it is for the face. Then he suggests sealing in all of this goodness with étOILe facial oil, that way skin receives light layers of hydration and moisture at once.
I also like mixing the two together in one step and applying to my face.
Full ingredients in Hydrate: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice *Organic, Vegetable Glycerin *Organic, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Xanthan gum, Gluconolactone, Tamarindus Indica (Tamarind) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Passiflora Incarnata (Passion flower) Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-51 Amide, Sodium Benzoate, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract *Organic
Full ingredients in EtOILe: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil *Organic, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Argania spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil (Marula) Oil , Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil *Organic, Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil (Rosehip) Oil , Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Oil *Organic, Ubiquinone, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Squalane
Let’s talk results!
Jordan is decidedly non-hypey when it comes to extolling the results of using his products—and I love his honesty and good sense. From what he has seen, he tells us:
“As always with anything, results happen over time not overnight. The biggest result is true skin balance and that happens within a week or two.
“By using this trio, you have stopped using overly harsh alkaline soaps or detergents (which should never touch your face), you are exfoliating without scrubs (which can cause distended capillaries) and then you are giving your skin a drink of water and a shot of beautifully absorbent plant oils loaded with antioxidants.
“Your skin starts to settle down eventually as well. Full results of plump, luminous skin on a daily basis can be expected within 4-6 weeks. (It takes this long to see the results of any product because of the way skin is made up).”
Based on my own experience, I’d say these results are totally achievable.
Ultimately, he wants users of his line to walk away understanding that skin inherently knows what to do.
“We are made to adapt,” he says. “Skin needs simple guidance not a 12 step regimen. When you over-lubricate, over-exfoliate, over-cleanse, your skin stops performing as it should and then people run to put on more product, etc. I hope they walk away feeling like they have ultimate skin health with simple consistent effort.”
It’s not only the simple strategy to clear skin that I’m loving or the gentle, yet effective products, it’s Jordan’s entire approach that tells me he is truly listening to skin the way a dancer follows the ebb and flow of music to cue the dance.
Take a bow, Mr. Pacitti. You deserve it.
You can find all the products on the Jordan Samuel Skin website. As a generous offer to my readers, use SARITA16 at checkout and receive a 2 ounce Warmup shower and bath oil ($38 value) that has an intoxicating cinnamon spice scent PLUS free shipping with any purchase over $95.
If you’re tired of trying everything and none of it is working, I totally recommend giving these a go, particularly if you don’t respond well to essential oils.
*References to the Ballet:
- fondu: “Melted.” A slow demi-plié of the stance limb, bringing the gesture limb into cou-de-pied, followed by simultaneous extending of both knees to end in dèveloppé (battement fondu dèveloppé) or tondu (battement fondu simple) as specified.
- glissade: “Slide or glide.” A linking or preparatory step. The initiating leg slides out into dégagè, weight is transferred to it to allow the other leg to point and slide into fifth. It can be performed slow (adagio) or fast (allegro), but is always smooth and continuous.
- ballón: The quality of lightness, ease in jumping.
- rèvèrence: “Bow.” Traditional port-de-bras and port-de-corps showing respect and gratitude to the ballet master or audience.