Did you catch our post last week on all our favorite wellness products we found at this year’s ISPA Conference & Expo? There were some pleasant surprises in that category, including brands we’ve not seen before at the show or IRL. This week, we wanted to bring you our favorites in skin care and treatments for the face, always a popular and dominant force at ISPA and indeed in the spa industry.
Skin Care & Treatments – Face
New to the ISPA expo this year, Zelens is a product line out of the UK formulated by plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Marko Lens. Dr. Lens is an internationally renowned authority in the field of skin aging and skin cancer, and Zelens products are developed using breakthrough scientific research in the biological functions of the skin.
One of the things I like most about Zelens is that the results of their skin care products are substantiated by rigorous independent clinical testing conducted at renowned institutions. The clinical proof for every Zelens product is presented on their website.
I got a ton of samples from Zelens’ US distributor David Pirrotta so I could try everything relevant to my skin concerns as one whole routine for about a week. While I think it’s too early to tell if there are any lasting improvements or effects, my skin took to this line really well. I didn’t break out or tingle (always a sign of sensitivity for me) and everything looked much tighter and brighter in the morning.
The product I have the most hopes for is the Z Luminous Brightening Serum (Retail: £140.00/$250) since I have spots of hyperpigmentation on my face. Dr. Lens has formulated this advanced cosmeceutical based on zinc-glycine complex, resorcinol, vitamin B3, phytic acid and hydrolyzed pearl powder to help reduce the appearance of dark spots, blemishes, discoloration, and uneven skin tone. Zelens claims it will brighten, smooth and refine the skin for a radiant complexion.
Sight: Zelens’ packaging is minimalist, fitting for the clinical nature of this brand. Like Osea though, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between products because of the similarity in packaging between product. The serum itself is a creamy white and absorbs nicely into the skin. There is an instant overall brightness after applying.
Smell: This serum doesn’t smell like anything due to the fact that there are no added fragrances or essential oils.
Touch: Silky and smooth. Absorbs instantly.
Bonus: Zelens truly wants spa professionals to be able to try their products extensively so they are able to confidently recommend, carry or use them in treatments for their clients. So if you’re interested in trying them, hit them up for samples!
Repêchage Vita Cura B3 Lifting Mask
We received a Repêchage Vita Cura B3 Lifting Mask in one of our room drop bags during the show and it was one of the first things I put on my face at night in my hotel room after a long day of walking and talking on the expo floor.
While my mask didn’t look this smooth or pretty on my face, my skin felt great afterwards and looked super refreshed the next morning.
At the heart of all the Repêchage products is their rich pure, exclusive seaweed filtrate. The Repêchage Pure Filtrate of Seaweed complex is derived by a proprietary extraction method that creates a fluid containing all the rich seaweed phyto-nutrients in their most potent form. Seaweed is having its day right now in the spa and skincare industry, as people are discovering the illuminating and hydrating benefits on their skin. The seaweed plant has no roots so it feeds through osmosis, absorbing minerals and vitamins from the seawater. Because of its feeding process, seaweed becomes a dense concentration of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, macro elements, phytohormones and amino acids.
The Vita Cura B3 Lifting Mask (Retail: $19) is part of the Vita Cura® Gold Collection, which features the highest concentration of Repêchage’s signature Laminaria Digitata Seaweed Filtrate and naturally-occurring and clinically proven Niacinamide/Vitamin B3. The mask purports to provide an immediate visible smoothing of facial wrinkles and a temporarily-lifted appearance. I don’t have many wrinkles and those that I do have around my eyes definitely seemed minimized the next morning after allowing my face to marinate in the product all night (I took the mask off after 20 minutes, rubbed in the leftover product into my skin and went to bed). My face seemed tighter and brighter in the morning as well.
Sight: The mask itself was large enough to cover anyone’s face and the holes for your eyes, nose and mouth were sufficient for their purpose. I didn’t get my mask pulled as tight as the model’s (in the Instagram photo) so it looked pretty hilarious on, with all kinds of ripples. Sadly it reminded me a little bit of Hannibal Lechter’s face mask in Silence of the Lambs, minus the mouth guard of course.
Smell: I don’t recall smelling anything too strong or fragranced with this mask.
Touch: The mask was very cool to the touch coming out of the package and putting it on my face. It was a little slippery getting it on (probably because I didn’t do it correctly — I took off the plastic protector first instead of after applying) and pulling it tightly to fit.
OK, so full disclosure: I haven’t yet put anything from Province Apothecary on my face yet, but I will be trying all the samples I received in good time because I am super excited about this brand. I did some random sample testing at their booth while chatting it up with their exhibitor reps, and what I sampled I liked.
There are a lot of organic, plant-based/vegan, holistic, and green skin care lines every year at ISPA. They all share similar backstories and quite often they become forgettable because what they do just isn’t different or unique enough, or their branding lets them down.
What I like about Province Apothecary is that they are all about delivering fresh, seasonal, and organic beauty products using only high quality, certified organic ingredients sourced from each Canadian province, and are hand-crafted in small batches by a certified holistic esthetician and aromatherapist.
This is the product I’m most looking forward to trying: Full Brow Serum (Retail: $36 USD). This serum is a powerful blend of active plant botanicals specially formulated to encourage stronger brows. The concentrated formula fortifies, thickens and conditions brow hair from root to tip, naturally enhancing your brows for the perfect full shape to frame your face. The active ingredients in the serum are coffee (which has a stimulating effect on the hair follicles, encouraging thicker hair growth) and argan oil (which deep-conditions hair for shiny, healthy strands). I could always benefit from thicker, fuller brows.
What makes this brand memorable for me (aside from the fact that it’s a Canadian company) is that for founder Julie Clark, natural beauty goes beyond simply organic ingredients — natural beauty means a pledge to helping clients feel good in their own skin. After struggling with allergies and eczema all her life, Julie began crafting natural, organic beauty products out of her kitchen. She began studying, researching, formulating and testing raw ingredients in her kitchen and saw amazing results that she wanted to share. Thus the Healing Eczema Balm (Retail: $52 USD) was born, and Province Apothecary became a brand recognized for its effective and natural skincare.
Bonus: Province Apothecary sources from small farms and companies across Canada, that hold the same ethical standards as PA. All of their ingredients are ethically and sustainably sourced and fair-trade. The company also donates a percentage of yearly sales to the Canadian Organic Growers, Canadian Honey Council and 1% for the Planet.
FarmHouse Fresh Watercress Hydration Cascade Gelée Moisturizer & Finely Awake Plantfoliant Silkening Face Cleansing Polish
Another disclosure: FarmHouse Fresh is one of my favorite skincare brands. I love practically everything they do, from their branding to the smell and feel of their products, to their animal rescue work. It’s a brand that is in alignment with my own values and tastes.
Every year they launch something new at ISPA and this year they introduced us to their Watercress Hydration Cascade Gelée Moisturizer (Retail: $39), Kale Water Weightless Moisturizer (Retail: $34) and Finely Awake Plantfoliant Silkening Face Cleansing Polish (Retail: $28) face products.
Going into their busy, buzzing booth at ISPA is always an adventure. It’s always filled to the brim with beautifully packaged products, farm-themed displays usually crafted out of paper and wood and people wanting to snap up every product the team is willing to give away.
This year I took home all of the above products plus a couple of other body products which I’ll mention in the next post. The Finely Awake Plantfoliant Silkening Face Cleansing Polish was one of the first things I tried as soon as I got home. This refreshing botanical daily exfoliating cleanser is made with five unique “plantfoliants” (FHF’s term for plant-based exfoliants) that are supposed to smooth and refine your skin: bamboo silica, pumice, apricot powder, bentonite clay & polylactic acid from corn. The minty blend of medium-sized grains left my skin silky smooth and ready for a deeper penetration and absorption of everything else I put on afterwards.
The Watercress Hydration Cascade Gelée Moisturizer is a hyaluronic gel-like moisturizer that quenches dry skin, restoring suppleness with a time-released cascade of skin-firming 2% retinol and powerful anti-pollution peptides. It also contains Watercress Extract, Organic Blue Matcha, Chlorophyll, Superoxide Dismutase, and Vitamin C. It practically melted into my skin right after I put it on and left it super-hydrated.
Sight: As I mentioned before, everything that FHF does is beautifully branded and packaged. The moisturizer was packaged in leafy green card stock paper (resembling watercress I guess?) and tied with twine.The moisturizer itself looks like a soft blue gel. The Finely Awake exfoliant looks like many of their other sandy-colored scrubs, but this one has larger and darker granules.
Smell: Finely Awake has a pleasant smell that’s hard to describe. It’s a fresh clay and mint-like scent with just the barest hints of floral. If you put your nose to the jar of the Watercress Hydration Cascade, it smells faintly of berries (almost blueberry) and another fresh natural scent that’s also difficult to describe. When you put it on though, the scent is next to nothing.
Touch: The face scrub is a lot more grainy than their other face scrubs. It is somewhere in between a face scrub and a body scrub, making it more abrasive than the others. Perhaps this is due to the pumice? I had to be really gentle with it on my face to avoid being too rough on my skin. Since the moisturizer is gel-like, it is extremely light and smooth and practically disappeared right into my skin.
Bonus: The FarmHouse Fresh Ranch Headquarters is also home to their farm animal sanctuary. As a spa and wellness brand, they believe being “green” goes beyond preserving the environment and includes ensuring the wellbeing of the animals that inhabit it. So FHF uses profits from product purchases, to fund, rescue, and rehabilitate abused animals that their employees help care for at their sanctuary. They also help fund other local rescue groups. At FarmHouse Fresh, the purchase of a single hand cream can directly pull a family of starving donkeys off a slaughter truck. Every purchase you make helps animals in need.
We’d love to hear what you think of our product selections. Did you find anything at ISPA that we should know about and try? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come back next week to see what our favorites are for must-have body products!