The clean beauty trend has been making waves all around the world for a while now. More and more brands are going clean and people are starting to be a little more mindful about what they’re using on their skin.
I’ve been wanting to switch my routine to 100% clean beauty products only, but I never got to it. So, when my editor issued me the challenge to use only clean beauty products for two weeks, I just dived in… well… after a sheepish, a hesitant “okay,” and a round of nervous laughter.
Why clean beauty?
I have been reading up on clean beauty and the stories of some clean beauty brand founders, and have been thinking about how since most of the makeup or skincare you apply on a daily basis ends up in your body (over 90% of your lipstick ends up being ingested) we should be more cautious instead of blindly slapping on products that could actually increase the chances of you getting sick.
But still, even after reading up, like most, I still pretended that I wouldn’t be affected by synthetic ingredients. It just wasn’t so urgent to me that I had to start getting 100% clean beauty products – especially since my through-and-through Singaporean father actually loads up on shampoos or soaps sold in discounted bundles.
Then one day, I developed a lymph node infection that – according to my doctor – could have originated from my eyes, nose, mouth, throat and get this – my scalp. And then something clicked – I had just used a new bottle of shampoo which was known to have a bunch of nasties.
Granted, it could have been something else that made me sick. However, I had an inkling that the shampoo and its synthetic ingredients had something to do with making me feel and be sick. Over a month after recovering, I decided to try that shampoo again. I mean, it could have all been psychological, right?
Wrong. The morning after using it, my scalp was insanely irritated and felt stripped to the roots. Interestingly (and fortunately!) this happened right when I was offered the two-week clean beauty challenge and one of the products I’ve used actually saved me a lot of trouble! I’ll share more about this product in a little bit.
The challenge begins
As I began the challenge I actually felt more at ease because I knew whatever my skin was absorbing was safe for my body and the environment.
The products – all from Iryasa, a local clean skin and body care brand – uses ingredients that are free of toxins, is plant and micronutrient-based, sustainable, and fair-trade.
The latter means that the trade between Iryasa and its sources involve fair prices being paid to the producers – they’re paid and treated fairly! On top of that, its packaging is also made of mostly recyclable glass and card paper.
My first impression of Iryasa was pretty good. The first thing that struck me was the products’ calming spa-like scent that was honestly perfect after a long day. Aromatherapy + clean beauty? Sign me up! All the products, when tested on my hand, seemed to melt in pretty easily, so that was an A-plus too.
But how did the clean beauty products from Iryasa work for me as I continued into the challenge? Read on to find out!
Psst, we’re also giving away samples of these clean beauty products at the end!
Purifying Face Oil
The oil, which is a potent yet gentle concentrate of antioxidants, rich botanical oils, and 24k gold, is the first product I’d keep using. I loved that the oil has antioxidants to protect my skin from free radical damage and it did make my skin brighter.
Additionally, a single drop goes a really long way – it was enough for my face and neck! Granted, my skin is normal with the tendency to be dry, and I don’t need anything to reverse the signs of ageing.
However, I’d use this now to start protecting my skin from ageing and for that little oomph of moisture on the dry parts of my face. It also sat well with my makeup, making it a major victory.
The Purifying Face Oil retails at SGD95 at Iryasa’s online store.
Under Eye Oil
My under-eye has always been my biggest insecurity. I have dark lines that are hereditary, so I’m always trying new concealers to hide them.
This product didn’t really brighten my under-eye area, but it worked to hydrate and de-puff it. Thanks to the metal ball applicator, it gives a comfortable massage that soothes my under-eye area.
What makes me extremely drawn to use this again is how much it hydrated my under-eye area! I really, really loved how my concealer sat and lasted with this oil – it didn’t look as crackly as it usually does and it feels comfortable, and supple to touch.
Interestingly, when worn alone (without makeup), it can feel a little greasy, so I’d use only one swipe during the day, and load it on all around my eye overnight – the aromatic scent also soothes me at the end of the day. TLDR; I’d grab this in a heartbeat.
The Under Eye Oil retails at SGD32 at Iryasa’s online store.
Scalp Enriching Gel
I talked about a shampoo that basically inflamed my scalp and a product that saved it – this is the hero.
The gel is an intensive, nourishing mask formulated with rich multivitamins and botanicals to give your scalp the ultimate root refresh.
Right after the horrific hair-cident, this gel refreshed and calmed the hell (pardon my French) out of my scalp. I remember letting out a huge sigh of relief! So, if your scalp gets irritated from time-to-time, snatch this. Seriously. It was a lifesaver.
On a regular day, with no horrifying hair and scalp issues to save, I find that this gel offers a thoroughly comfortable experience to sleep with it on the scalp. You can tell that it really absorbs the gel and hydrates it. Since it is a scalp gel, there isn’t a significant change on your hair instantly, but again, your scalp does feel nourished and refreshed.
The Scalp Enriching Gel retails at SGD50 at Iryasa’s online store.
Night Indulge Cream
I’m a huge fan of Fresh’s Lotus Dream Cream. So, when I say that this could be a contender, I honestly mean every bit of it. If you’re looking for something a little less pricey, give this a go!
Like the Dream Cream, the Night Indulge Cream works overnight to repair the damage caused by environmental aggressors, while also fortifying your skin when you wake up. My only tip is to use more than the dime-sized portion that’s recommended. Give your skin a generous slathering of the cream to achieve instantly supple skin!
The Night Indulge Cream retails at SGD50 at Iryasa’s online store.
Hand & Foot Cream
Cracked heels are a huge issue for me since I love my sandals, and wear heels a few times a week. Safe to say, when I got to try this, I was really excited.
It doesn’t only provide instant visible results, but overnight, you can feel that it provides slight moisture and hydration. Over time, I realised that my heel was less cracked, dry, and it was softer. Long story short, it was a win for me.
The Hand & Foot Cream retails at SGD42 at Iryasa’s online store.
I loved the smell and how my skin felt moisturised when I first used face wash. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the face wash as my skin didn’t feel thoroughly cleansed.
If I did continue to use this – which I wouldn’t mind, but wouldn’t dive into – I’d double cleanse and make sure I used an exfoliating toner. But if you have dry and sensitive skin and are looking for a clean, gentle cleanser, try this face wash – I think it’ll work great for you!
The Face Wash retails at SGD25 at Iryasa’s online store.
Day Luxuriate Gel
It’s lightweight, absorbs well and does provide instant moisture. The Day Luxuriate Gel is loaded with skin-nourishing antioxidants as well as a blend of botanical extracts that nurtures and protects your skin from external aggressors – think haze, UV rays, and air pollution!
While I did enjoy using this product, I realised over time that the gel left a film on my skin (maybe I was using too much!). So, if you’re applying a cream blush with your fingers afterwards, you’ll feel some kind of film gathering the more you rub your skin.
Side note: I later found out that the reason for the film may be because Iryasa extracts their herbs in plant oils and water rather than organic solvents such as ethanol or acetone. So, I got around this by applying the gel in sections, and using only how much I really need – which isn’t too much since a little goes a long way.
While I wouldn’t jump for this product right away, I would imagine that someone who doesn’t wear much makeup and are looking for a solid product that protects skin would love it.
The Day Luxuriate Gel retails at SGD50 at Iryasa’s online store.
Ageless Beauty Gel
The gel is rich in skin-nourishing botanicals to revive and rejuvenate tired skin by providing ultra-hydration and nourishment for a refreshed youthful glow that lasts.
I actually preferred this as a daily hydrating/ moisturising gel since I felt that my skin absorbed it better than the Day Luxuriate Gel, and didn’t leave any film. It also protects your skin from free radicals and environmental aggressors, which is fantastic!
This product is also said to help reduce signs of ageing – fine lines, wrinkles – on mature skin. I can’t say if it does reduce signs of ageing, since I don’t suffer from them, but you can certainly consider this product if you are looking for a clean beauty product that offers anti-ageing benefits.
The Ageless Beauty Gel retails at SGD63 at Iryasa’s online store.
Hand Crafted Soap
This soap was a treat after a long day at work since it helped my mind to unwind with a comforting blend of lemongrass, lavender and patchouli scents. Pictured here is another soap alternative that Iryasa offers – with grapefruit, geranium and ginger scents.
The soap, which claims to gently cleanse all skin types – even irritated and oily skin – produces a generous lather that leaves your skin feeling really clean.
It actually felt a little too squeaky clean – although my body didn’t feel dry, it didn’t feel as moisturised as I’d like it to be either. Alternatively, I’d definitely use some of the Purifying Face Oil or Night Indulge Cream afterwards where needed, to boost up the moisture levels a little.
The Hand Crafted Soap retails at SGD18 at Iryasa’s online store.
Skin Absolute Gel
The gel is formulated to nourish and hydrate not just your body, but your face too! The Skin Absolute Gel is said to be good for all ages and skin issues – restoring normal hydration levels, calming insect bites, comforting irritated skin, and more. I tried this on a scab I had developed from an insect bite (yes, I have itchy hands) and it worked to some extent. I noticed that the scab had actually lightened slightly after one night. This would be a great product to try for those with sensitive skin!
The Skin Absolute Gel retails at SGD60 at Iryasa’s online store.
Did trying clean beauty for two weeks change my skin or my mind?
Here it is… The much-awaited before-and-after photo!
BTW, that little bump on the after picture is a nasty mosquito bite!
In other news, I have to admit, I didn’t see a significant difference at first, which I credited to the fact that your skin needs some time to adjust to new products, and especially to products that are clean and free of chemical toxins.
But after putting the before-and-after pictures side by side, I noticed my skin had improved in terms of how radiant, hydrated, and supple it was. It seems oily but it wasn’t at all. In fact, it was smooth and luminous, plus I noticed fewer dry patches on my face. My heels, not pictured, are also a lot softer. My colleagues (thankfully) noticed how my under eye looked a lot better too. Thank the heavens – or Iryasa, in this case!
At the start of the challenge, I also found myself complaining about the packaging, which definitely isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as the ones that I’m used to. But as I went on with the challenge, I realised that these products actually work better than some of the “prettier” products that I’ve tried and I began to quit focusing on how my products look, and to care more about how well they actually work. This was one superficiality that I will try to get over from now on too.
On the question of whether or not I’d stick to clean beauty – definitely! I also learnt the importance of looking for the right products that satisfy my skin’s needs. This experience made me realise that it isn’t that difficult to switch to clean beauty since the products are gentle and mostly suitable for sensitive skin. Then, there’s the added benefit of it being safe for your body and Mother Earth – which, I’m sure, are definitely plus points in anyone’s book!