A couple of weeks ago, I met Dr Barbara Olioso, the founder of Forest Secrets Skincare. A professional chemist with over 10 years' experience developing natural and organic skin care products for high end brands, Barbara went solo three years ago to develop her own range of 100% natural skin care, free from parabens, silicones. PEGs, petrochemicals, hydrogenated ingredients, synthetic fragrances and colours and GMO.
Clearly very passionate about sourcing only the highest quality organic and eco-friendly ingredients to use on the skin (I'll get onto the impressive list of ingredients further down), Barbara showed me her Forest Secrets iRejuvenate range which comprises just two products, iRejuvenate Step 1 Lifting Pro-Youth Face Oil and iRejuvenate Step 2 Regenerating Skin Serum. Not surprisingly, the potent ingredients Barbara has chosen to use come with a premium price tag... each 30ml dropper bottle costs £36.50 (or £66 when you buy both together).
The concept of the Forest Secrets iRejuvenate range is that it is a personalised skin care system. The theory is that each individual tailors their own anti-age moisturiser by simply blending Step 1 (the oil) and Step 2 (the serum), responding to their skin's daily, seasonal and hormonal needs.
The face oil and serum are designed to completely replace your usual moisturising cream or lotion. It seemed quite alien to me to use facial oils rather than creams, but Barbara despairs of creams which she explains contain waxes that sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed, which in turn clogs the pores and depletes the skin of its natural oils.
iRejuvenate Step 1 Lifting Pro-Youth Face Oil is a luxurious, sheer textured oil that is instantly absorbed to revive the complexion and leave the skin toned and velvet soft, with a high performance blend of botanical oils, plant extracts, phytosterols, flavonoids and antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. The purpose of this "step" is to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, promote elasticity and regenerate collagen.
iRejuvenate Step 2 Regenerating Skin Serum is a refreshing velvety textured serum with ingredients such as super-algae Chlorella peptides and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and repair the skin, diffuse redness and minimise dark circles. This step is designed to provide a delicate veil of moisture and restore lost radiance and luminosity to the complexion.
Below, each bottle has a precise dropper so you only dispense as much as you need.
Below, one drop of Step 1 and one drop of Step 2 on the back of my hand to demonstrate how far a little goes.
Below, the oils massaged in... see, no greasiness.
I've been using the iRejuvenate system for a week, and I am truly converted. My skin hasn't glowed like this since I was a teenager. I really wasn't expecting a massive difference in my skin because I'm already very disciplined with my skin care and use very carefully chosen products (as you know from all my detailed reviews!). But I noticed a difference the first time I used these products. My skin literally glows (as if I've just had a facial), and seems more toned, rested and healthy.
The Step 1 Lifting Pro-Youth Face Oil (the orange bottle) feels like a traditional facial oil, very moisturising and nourishing. It has a luxurious but subtle rose and jasmine scent. The Step 2 Regenerating Skin Serum doesn't feel like an oil at all (it's in an aloe vera base). The serum sinks in immediately and doesn't have the same "lubricating" properties as the face oil. Both the oil and serum absorb quickly into the skin without any greasy or tacky residue, to leave noticeably soft, healthy-looking skin. It does genuinely feel like all the nutrients are being absorbed and are feeding my skin, rather than just sitting on top of my skin.
The descriptions "Step 1" and "Step 2" are quite misleading, because these products aren't as far as I know, designed to be applied one after the other. Rather, they are blended together on the skin.
I started off blending the oil and serum in the palm of my hand before applying it to my face, but I found that I ended up with too much product leftover on my hand that I couldn't transfer to my face. So now, I just drop the oils directly only areas of my face and mix and massage them quickly before they drip off my face. I'm sure Barbara will recoil at the thought of me doing this instead of blending them in my hand, but I just don't deem the palms of my hands worthy of such premium skin care!
I actually asked her whether "a person" could pre-mix the two products into a container (rather than blending them every morning and evening). Her response was that the oils are more stable when they are packaged separately (less chance for chemical reactions to take place), meaning that the benefits of the ingredients are retained for much longer. So she recommends not pre-mixing into a container unless it's going to be used within a day.
I use an equal mix of the oil and serum as my skin is only mildly dry now that it's Summer. But I'll usually finish off with a bit more of the oil on the fine lines around my eyes where the skin is more dry. I really like the way I can customise my "moisturiser" this way. Apparently, those with combination skin can apply just the serum to their T-zones if they want to keep that area oil-free.
One thing to be careful with these products is not to apply too much around the eyes because I find that my eyes sting if I accidentally apply too much and a teeny, invisible bit drips into my eyes (it's obviously much runnier than a cream-based moisturiser).
A tiny bit of these products goes a long way. These bottles are reputed to last at least 6 months, but I actually think mine will last even longer based on my current levels of usage. iRejuvenate is perfect as a night treatment, because it feels like a real overnight treat. But it's also great as a lightweight moisturiser under sunscreen in the morning too.
So in conclusion, everyone needs to try this! If you're still not sure, you can buy two 3ml trial sized bottles for a bargainous £5, which I reckon will last you around three weeks. I'd recommend getting the 3ml bottles even if you already have the full size bottles because they're much more convenient for travelling.
You can find out more about Forest Secrets Skincare at www.forestsecretsskincare.com. You can currently buy iRejuvenate (full size and trial samples) there directly, or alternatively from www.mypure.co.uk or www.lovelula.com. I really, really recommend that you at least try the 3ml sample bottles! The shipping costs for the samples seem to be cheapest at MyPure and they also ship abroad too, if you're not in the UK.
And for all you fellow ingredient-philes, the full ingredients are:
iRejuvenate Step 1 Lifting Pro-Youth Face Oil
Silybum marianum (Milk thistle) seed oil, Argania spinosa (Argan) kernel oil**, Brassica campestris (Brassica rapa), Prunus armenica (Apricot) kernel oil,* Linum usitatissimum (Flaxseed) oil, Rosa canina (Rosehip) fruit oil*, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil, Oryza sativa (Rice) bran extract, Trichilia emetica (Mafura) seed butter** ,Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf extract, Rosa damascena (Rose) extract, Lecithin, Jasminum sambac (Jasmine) extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Eclipta prostrata, Lupinus albus (Lupin) seed extract, Ascorbyl palmitate (Vitamin C ester), Melia azadirachta (Neem) leaf extract, Citric acid, Betula alba (Birch) bud extract, Citronellol, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Benzyl alcohol, Linalool From natural essential oils).
** organic and fair trade
iRejuvenate Step 2 Regenerating Skin Serum
Aloe barbadensis leaf juice**, Glycerin, Aqua (Water), Mimosa tenuiflora bark extract, Melia azadirachta (Neem) leaf extract, Vitex agnus castus extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium hyaluronate (from bio sources), Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, Lactic acid, Xanthan gum, Lonicera japonica (Honeysuckle) extract, Cyclodextrine, Rhizobian gum, Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric triglyceride.
** organic and fair trade
Below are some more photos of the outer packaging, for those of you enjoy gorging on product descriptions and ingredient lists as much as me. Just click on the photos to enlarge.
Disclaimer: I took home these products free of charge to test out. When I run out in around six months, I will without doubt be buying more!