If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll know that a couple of weeks ago, I made a pretty big announcement. After much inner debate, I decided to narrow my focus even further by working with and reviewing brands that are either created by estheticians or used by estheticians.
One reason this makes sense to me is that there has been an overabundance of skincare brands hitting the market, and it’s a way of vetting the creators who have firsthand knowledge and experience with skin. That’s not to say that the brands that I’ve mentioned on my blog aren’t familiar with how skin works or have a working relationship with different skin types—and I’ll continue to support and endorse those companies that clearly do.
It’s just that it’s one thing to understand ingredients and quite another to be able to answer questions about specific skin issues, the way we demand of most skincare lines today. In short, many brands that got their start on Etsy or in a Farmer’s Market—because their friends told them how great their *insert natural face product, lip balm, etc. was and how they should start their own skincare company—probably should not be doling advice on skin.
This wasn’t some haphazard assessment. I came to this realization gradually after discussing the topic with many estheticians who were, frankly, stunned by the shallow experience of most brand founders and the irresponsible advice they dish to unsuspecting consumers, not to mention their untrained use of powerful ingredients like essential oils and such. That sounds abysmal, I know, and I don’t like to belittle an industry that I love. Just make sure you’re asking brands these key questions and double checking internet advice with these questions before buying into any marketing hype.
That’s one reason why I’m excited to share June’s Beauty Heroes selection—Honua Skincare—because this label is created by Kapua Browning, a heart-centered esthetician with 10 years of hands-on experience with skin. There’s clearly something magical about the largely untapped field that is Hawaiian skincare (see my review of this stunning confection here). Honua has much potential judging from its capsule collection of four products: a cleanser, toner, serum, and oil.
In June’s Discovery box, you’ll receive full sizes of both the Aloha Youth Serum, $58, and the Ōlena Turmeric Beauty Oil, $48. That’s a total value of $106 which Beauty Heroes members receive for the cost of membership which is about $38/month.
After testing out the two products, I’m definitely eager to try the pink Pa’akai Cleansing Cream as well. As a little perk this month, Beauty Heroes is including a Before + After Sun Body Oil by Laurel Whole Plant Organics with any purchase of $125+ in the Beauty Store. Anything formulated by Laurel is something worth owning!
Once again, I want to apologize for the delayed review. It takes me more than a couple of weeks to test out face oils and see results. My skin usually requires an adjustment phase, and then I like to notice if I actually enjoy using the products too.
I admit that at first I was put off by the pungent aroma of Ōlena Beauty Oil. It seems that many therapeutic blends have a stronger scent (I always think of Odacité’s Black Cumin + Cajeput Serum or Siam SEAS Twilight Be Calm Serum, as a case in point). This one, which is geared to treating skin conditions like sun damage, eczema and acne, is no exception, but the results make it worthwhile. I also found that by mixing the two products, the smell isn’t as strong.
This month’s Hero, the Aloha Youth Serum, has a purely ambrosial texture and fragrance. I think of it like a creamy cloud that wafts airily over skin and envelops it in a veil of hydration and nutrients. In its wake, my skin feels super soft and infused with moisture, while still being lightweight enough to take me through summer heat without becoming greasy or oily. Plus, so far, no strange reactions or new breakouts or nuttin’. Fingers crossed, but it should come as no surprise since both the serum + oil function to tackle inflammation and ply mega-doses of wrinkle relaxers along with brightening and healing properties.
The ingredients deck of the Aloha Serum is certainly impressive and also sourced sustainably from small farms (as listed by Beauty Heroes here):
- Aloe Vera – hydrating, soothing
- Chia Seed – nourishing, strengthening
- Comfrey – calming, regenerating
- Kukui – nourishing, softening
- Hibiscus – brightening, firming
- ‘Awa – calming, toning
- Noni – brightening, clearing
- Rose – hydrating, protecting
- Tamanu – clearing, renewing
- Turmeric – brightening, protecting
It’s too soon to report wrinkle-smoothing performance, but over time I am noticing that my skin feels balanced and normal, and maybe, just maybe an improvement in skin tone and redness. It just seems more even-keeled which is nice.
As I mentioned, I combine both the serum and oil together, kind of like the micro-emulsion I described in this post about the best way to use Kypris. Lately, I’ve really been struggling with facial oils and even took some time off from using them, which I reported in my review of Bella Aura here.
I am still on the fence about oils and find that I go back to using my faithful ones (this one at night and this one by day) mixed in with a cream or lotion, rather than on their own. I am drawn to the art of layering products effectively in a way that doesn’t smother skin but supports it and protects it. Yet, the pitch for simplicity in product use and skin fasting appeals to me too, so you could say that I’m still experimenting with what feels right and that changes over time—and sometimes it’s about what pulls me in the moment.
That said, I am impressed with how well my skin is handling this combination of blending the oil + serum. I would NOT go with the oil on its own, however, as the hydration piece is essential and, as I’ve mentioned many times before, an oil does not provide the same kind of moisture as a water-based product. (Check out these posts here, here, and here to read up on why hydration could be a fundamental missing component in an oil/balm-based regimen.)
More about this beautiful brand
What inspired me about the line is that founder Kapua Browing never had any intention of creating it. Her husband was using therapeutic ingredients in his Hawaiian healing work and she began incorporating them into her facials with great benefits. From there, the products evolved. She named the line Honua which means “earth” in Hawaiian, and the brand stays true to its commitment to preserving the earth. (P.S. The pretty, handmade flower, shown above, is included in every box!)
Here’s what it says on the Honua website:
- Our production supports farmers who are cultivating and perpetuating native Hawaiian plants for future generations.
- A percentage of our proceeds are dedicated to replenish native plants, support the education of Hawaiian culture and promote self-sustainability.
- The packaging is compostable and made with vegetable ink, wind energy, and above all, ALOHA.
As always, Beauty Heroes knows how to pick ’em and Honua brings with it an infusion of Aloha and heart. It’s definitely a brand to watch as it grows. I’ve got my eye on where it’s going. Oh! And it’s going…This Discovery Box only has a few more days to go before it’s gone. You’ve got until June 20th to take advantage of this gorgeous offering for the price of membership.
Have you tried it yet? What are your thoughts?
*Affiliate links in post for products I am happy to recommend + Full Disclosure