Ingredient Spotlight: Botanical AHA

AHA (alpha hydroxyl acids) are an essential part of our exfoliating routines. They are great. They help to make your skin bright, treat acne, reduce hyperpigmentation and redness. But they also can lead to over exfoliating, irritation and damaged protective barrier. 

So, what’s the alternative?

Some skin types react better to enzymes derived from papaya or pineapple, which provide similar effect to AHA, but not quite. But the recent kid on a k-beauty block has been flower acids – milder, gentler versions of AHAs. They’re taking beauty world by storm, it’s efficacy being backed by a growing body of research. In fact, it’s so good that we formulated our newest toner – All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner with it! So today we wanted to talk about flower-derived AHA, what it is, why it’s good and address a common question that people always ask – if it’s so mild, will it do anything for the skin? Continue reading to find out. 

What is flower AHA?

First, what is flower AHA? While the majority AHA have natural origins, flower AHA – as the name clearly indicates – is derived from flowers. It can be just one type of flower or several.

Let’s start with one type.

Hibiscus flower extract is the most popular form of naturally-derived AHA. For centuries, hibiscus has been known for its anti-inflammatory properties and used in teas and health cocktails. But it turned out, hibiscus extract has impressive skin benefits. Specifically, it contains malic acid and citric acid that gently exfoliates and brightens as well as helps with hyperpigmentation and improves overall skin clarity. While it’s a very mild acid, it still provides same benefits as conventional AHA and even helps to repair UV damage. 

Now, onto the blend.

Some products may contain an AHA blend derived from several flower extracts, In case of our All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner these are:

  • Hibiscus
  • Viola
  • Rosehip
  • Celosia

In addition to Hibiscus benefits, Viola extract helps the skin to look and feel younger by providing essential vitamins and minerals. Rosehip extract clarifies and Celosia extract has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties as well as the ability to strengthen skin barrier and stimulate cell growth. Flower power? It sure is.

MOTHER MADE All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner

Needless to say that when compared to conventional AHA’s flower acids were found to be more gentle on the skin, more hydrating, provide greater cellular renewal and even reduce appearance of wrinkles by inhibiting breakdown of elastin and boosting production of hyaluronic acid. Gentler nature of flower acids also means it has wider usage – extracts can be added into skincare products we use daily – such as toners or lotions without risking to damage the skin.

Will it do anything for my skin? 

One of the common questions that people ask after learning about flower AHAs is – well, if it’s that gentle, will it actually do anything for my skin? The question comes from an outdated belief that the product (especially exfoliating product, which acids are) must give a burning or stinging sensation as an indicator of a product doing its job. But that just isn’t true. Stinging feeling means that your protective skin layer is being thinned out (at best) or even destroyed all together. Even though strong AHA peels might give you an instant satisfaction of brighter (when redness goes away) and smoother skin, stressing your skin regularly can easily backfire in the years to come.

The bottom line. We strongly believe that the best way of going around skincare is being gentle. Less is always more. That’s why we always recommend to opt for milder products suitable for daily use – it’s an indicator that AHA in that product is very mild and percentage is relatively low. Instead of harsh exfoliators, try gentle products with acids and use them consistently. At the end of the day, incremental changes add up and with diligence and patience, you’ll notice healthier, clearer and brighter skin emerge. 

Australian Bushfire Disaster. How can we help?

Australia bushfires that started in late December 2019 and continue up to this day is a devastating catastrophe. Millions of acres have burnt, billions of animals have been killed and thousands of homes have been destroyed. It’s a true ecological disaster that affects not only Australia, but the whole worlds. So, in today’s post we wanted to talk about the tragedy and what can we do to help. 

Bushfire impacts. 

One of the major impacts is biodiversity impact. Yes, fires have killed many billions of animals, but it doesn’t end there. Another billions of animals, bats and insects are expected to die in the next months due to the loss of habitat and food resources. This is an enormous hit on global biodiversity which recently has been in steep decline. Biodiversity is important for survival not only animals and insects, but humans as well as it impacts ecosystems vital for our own global food production. 

If such extreme megafires continue at the same rate as we’ve seen in 2019, estimated 1 million species will become instinct in the upcoming years. 

Health impact. Smoke from the wildfires affects our health more than we think because it contains a mixture of hazardous gases and produce fine article air pollution which can cause fatalities. Continuous exposure to polluted air can result in various diseases ranging from eye and respiratory tract irritations bronchitis and asthma.

What is worse, smoke from wildfires can travel great distances meaning that its implications span way outside of Australia. Smoke from wildfires reportedly drifted across Pacific and affected Argentina and Chile. 

Impact on global warming. Wildfires aren’t only caused by global warming which made forest burn more intensely, they also add to it. Just in past three months, due to the bushfires, Australia has emitted the amount of carbon dioxide it usually emits in a year. This will not only increase overall Australia greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn will cause the likelihood of such intense megafire happening again. 

What can we do to help? 

There’re multiple organizations that work tirelessly to alleviate the devastating consequence of bushfires. 

Australian Red Cross. You can donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund that will be used for helping with evacuations, coping and recovering from the disaster, emergency payments for people whose homes were destroyed, support community recovery and many more. 

WWF. The Australia Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund has set to receive donations that will be used to care for injured wildlife and help restore forests. 

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. A donation can be made to a hospital that helps ensure the survival of koalas whose habitat was completely destroyed. 

Foodbank is an organization that delivers emergency food relief and water, helping firefighters and local communities. 

There are many more organizations that are doing wonderful things to help Australian wildlife and people affected. So we encourage to do your own research and consider donating to help our Mother Nature to recover. 

With love,

MOTHER MADE

All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner

Meet the newest member of MOTHER MADE family – All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner. This product has been in the works for the longest time, and we couldn’t be happier to drop the curtain finally.

What it is

As the name tells you, it’s a toner. But we like to think that it’s a bit more special than a regular toner. Here’s why.

The toner is called “all green” for a good reason. First, instead of regular water, we went for green tea water, so your skin gets maximum benefits that this amazing ingredient has to offer. “Green” also refers to the overall concept of this product – entirely plant-based, non-irritating, and ultra-soothing. Needless to say, there isn’t any added fragrance (natural or synthetic) or artificial dyes. The toner has a warm, brownish color (like a brewed cup of tea would) and a very faint green tea scent that doesn’t linger.

But the “green” concept isn’t the only thing that sets our toner apart. It’s full of proprietary botanical AHA and PHA blends and herbal complexes that aim to do one thing – calm down skin redness and stress caused by breakouts, active acne, or post-acne scars.

Why we made it

Toner is a tricky product. It isn’t essential per se, but often we feel like our routines aren’t complete without a right toner. And fair enough. Toner does a necessary job of providing your skin with the first layer of hydration and soothing effect to replenish moisture loss and combat any skin redness or irritation. Depending on how toner is used, it also serves as an extra cleansing step to ensure all makeup, dirt, and grime is gone and exfoliate just a tiny little bit to maintain healthy skin texture for longer. What we’ve noticed over the years, that it’s extremely hard to find a multitasking toner like so that’s also suitable for daily use. The majority of toners with AHA/BHA are too strong to be used daily, and hydrating toners often feel like they don’t do much.

That is how the idea for our toner was born.

MOTHER MADE All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner

What it will do for your skin

The result is a perfectly balanced toner that genuinely does it all. It has a thick, almost essence-like texture that feels very rich and nourishing on the skin. Thanks to a 6-sprout skin-soothing complex and mild botanical AHA and PHA blends, the toner helps to calm down redness and provide a very gentle exfoliating effect, just enough to not let any harmful bacteria accumulate and grow. We didn’t have any specific skin type in mind when developing the formula. Instead, we aimed to solve a particular skin concern. Oily or dry or combo, if your skin gets red and irritated easily and/or struggles with acne and breakouts from time to time, this will make for a perfect daily toner that will help to minimize and prevent all the concerns mentioned above.

And that was All Green Tea-rouble-away toner at a glance! We’ll be doing an in-depth overview of ingredients, packaging, recycling, and using the toner in the future blog posts.

MOTHER MADE All Green Tea-rouble-away Toner

Hope to see you again!

Stay nourished and hydrated.

With love,

MOTHER MADE team.

Ingredient series – Aquaxyl

It’s a common knowledge that healthy glow everyone is after is a result of a hydrated skin with well-functioning, strong barrier. That is why when re-developing a formula for our Pure Pearl Sheet Mask, our research team was searching high and low for the ingredients that can provide these benefits while also being suitable for various skin types. Because let’s face it, coconut oil or shea butter can definitely help with damaged barrier, but it’s a disaster for people with oily break-out prone skin.

MOTHER MADE Brightening Pure Pearl Mask

When we discovered xylitol and a compound called Aquaxyl that offers all the xylitol has to offer and more, it was one of those “we have to have it in our formula” moments. So, that’s what we want to talk about in today’s post. 

Although the name sounds a bit like a laundry detergent, it is actually a wonderful blend that helps your skin to maintain healthy hydration levels. Keep on reading to find out what Aquaxyl is and why it is oh so good for your skin!  

 So, what is Aquaxyl? 

Aquaxyl is a trade name of the ingredient developed by French company SEPPIC. While it is called an ingredient, it’s technically a blend of three – Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, and Xylitol. 

Xylitol, the most familiar of all three, is a sugar alcohol (“good” alcohol) that naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables like bananas, strawberries, lettuce and plumps. 

You might have heard of xylitol as a sugar substitute and yes, it’s a great more nutritive alternative. It’s considered a “healthy” sweetener that has prebiotic action and therefore can positively influence the gut microbiome. 

But it also has proven skincare benefits. 

Just like glycerin, xylitol replenishes moisture and helps to prevent it from evaporating by strengthening skin barrier. If for some reason your skin barrier isn’t functioning properly (i.e. no matter how much product you put, your skin always feels dry in a couple of hours), xylitol can help with restoring healthy barrier function. 

Anhydroxylitol and xylitylglucoside are both natural, plant-derived humectants also help skin to stay hydrated for longer.  These compounds work to enhance skin’s dermal water reservoirs, so the skin can absorb more moisture and help with barrier function, so accumulated water doesn’t evaporate easily. Bonus points –  these ingredients help the body to produce more hyaluronic acid, which also helps with hydration. 

Aquaxyl, then, is a combination of plant-derived ingredients that target dry and dehydrated skin by improving water circulation and reserves. On their website, SEPPIC defines Aquaxyl as “anti-hydration shield” and this is probably a very accurate way to describe its main skin benefits. 

Here’s a breakdown of how your skin can benefit from Aquaxyl:

  • Restructure and strengthen the upper skin layer (stratum corneum).
  • Boost all skin hydration elements – lipids, proteins, polysaccharides (dermal and epidermal hyaluronic acid), NMF.
  • Smoothes the skin and improves its tone.
  • Strengthens glycerin benefits and removes its side-effects.

The bottom line. Aquaxyl is a great ingredient that all skin types can benefit from (there’s no such thing as too much hydration, right?), but it will be especially beneficial for people with dry and/or dehydrated skin. 

Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliation – which one is right for your skin?

Exfoliating is an essential step in our skincare routines that helps to keep skin healthy. Not only does it have an instant benefit of cleaning pores, smoothing, and brightening your skin. It also allows serums, sheet masks, and moisturizers to absorb better and work more effectively. But with so many exfoliating products now available on the market, which one to choose? 

There’re two main types – acids (think AHA, BHA, PHA), a.k.a. chemical exfoliants in a liquid form (they look like toners) and scrubs – cream- or gel-like products with microbeads or other grainy substances. 

Chemical exfoliants sink deep into the skin, where acids work hard to unstick the cellular glue and remove dead cells. Physical exfoliants do mostly the same process – breaking the bonds between healthy and dead cells. But instead of “melting” the dead cells, scrubs work to buff them away mechanically. 

These days beauty world tends to favor chemical exfoliants and demonize physical scrubs, but we believe there are a time and place for both in our routines. The argument here is that traditional scrubs can cause micro-tears in the skin, which can lead to infection and breakouts. However, beauty science has come a long way, and there’re plenty of physical exfoliants like peeling gels or gommage peels that are very gentle on the skin. Which one to choose, however, will heavily depend on your skin type/ concerns, what type of exfoliation you’re looking for, season, and many other factors. You might prefer one over the other or successfully combine both. 

So, how to choose the right one? 

Chemical exfoliators.

This category includes different acids (AHA, BHA, etc.) as well as enzyme extracts (papaya, pineapple). This an excellent choice for warmer months when your skin gets oilier and needs to be exfoliated regularly. Most have very gentle formulas that can be used daily (or every other day) to maintain a healthy, clear complexion. 

BHA is better suited for people with oily skin, congested pores and blackheads while AHA and PHA help with redness and breakouts. Enzyme extracts are gentler than acids can be a great alternative to people with extra sensitive skin.  

The drawbacks. Chemical exfoliants are not great at helping with skin texture issues. Nor will they be of much use if you have dry, parched skin that needs to be buffed away manually. That said, for people with scrub-sensitive skin, chemical exfoliating products are an excellent choice. 

Physical exfoliators.

As briefly mentioned above, this is a broad category that includes everything from professionally done microdermabrasion to traditional scrubs to peel gels.  Scrubs usually contain small-sized particles (most popular are coffee, salt, sugar, etc.) that help to remove the dead cells from your skin manually. These are not the best to use on your face where the skin is delicate. But that’s not to say they can’t be. If your skin loves the post-scrub feeling and doesn’t feel sensitized or irritated – by all means, use it. Just make sure not to rub too hard. Apply little pressure, and that would be more than enough to reveal that silky-smooth new skin that was buried underneath. 

Peel gels (or gommage peels) are considered the mildest and the least abrasive in the family of physical exfoliators. They either don’t contain any grainy substances at all or formulated with very finely milled non-abrasive particles (i.e., cellulose) that give a gentle scrubbing effect. Peeling gels are usually used on dry skin and start balling up as you rub them against your skin. These types of exfoliators are great for people who can’t handle full-on scrub but need some manual exfoliation from time to time to help with skin texture issues. It is also an excellent choice for people who need to get rid of dry patches while hydrating the skin.

The drawbacks. The potential to sensitize the skin is an obvious one. If you have extremely sensitive skin, suffer from rosacea or eczema – this won’t be for you as you need to apply as little external pressure to the skin as possible. Also, since they’re only working on the most upper layer of the skin, the effect might seem fleeting, especially for someone who’s used to acid exfoliators. The solution might be to look for a gommage peel that has acids or enzymes in the formula that help to improve cleansing results.  

MOTHER MADE Exfoliating Aqua Peel Gel

The bottom line. Physical and chemical exfoliators have their pros and cons. With the right approach, the correct dosage, and frequency of use –  both can serve you well in your skincare routine.  

Anti-aging skincare: when and how to start?

It seems like in the current beauty world, everyone (even teenagers) is constantly encouraged to inspect their skin for the first signs of fine lines and wrinkles and take the necessary steps, a.k.a. start an anti-aging skincare routine. But what exactly is the anti-aging routine? And how early is too early to start incorporating anti-aging skincare in your routine?

First, what is anti-aging skincare? In the most general sense, anti-aging skincare is moisturizing and daily sun protection. This is the best way to prevent aging-related skin troubles like severe dryness and UV damage that results in hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and loss of skin elasticity. This means that regardless of age, “anti-aging” skincare must be in everyone’s daily routines.

On a more specific level, anti-aging skincare is supplement products that help the skin work more efficiently and combat the damage that has already been inflicted. Such skincare consists of products full of antioxidants to fight free radical damage, intensive lipid-rich creams and oils to restore skin barrier function, and acid exfoliators that help to boost cell turnover that slows down as we age.

So, when should you start incorporating these heavy-duty supplement products in your regimen? It really depends on your skin type and condition. Generally speaking, you can begin using skincare that is high in antioxidant content as soon as you reach 20. These are low to non-irritating products with various Vitamins or natural ingredients like a snail, green tea, and other extracts to provide extra support for healthy skin barrier function. If you have extremely dry skin, you might benefit from adding richer creams and oils to your routine early on. But if your skin is an oily, combination, and/or acne-prone, you don’t need this. Such heavy products will only result in breakouts, clogged pores, and an increase in blackheads and sebaceous filaments.

MOTHER MADE Anti-aging Rich Snail Deep Moisturizing Sheet Mask

In your early 20s, steer clear of exfoliants with high acid concertation. “Heavy-duty” exfoliators are meant for more mature skin when normal cell turnover rate slows down, and skin can’t regenerate itself. Your 20-something skin simply doesn’t need this. Also, make sure that only one product in your daily routine contains acid. Often, people go overboard and include acid in toner, serum, and cream. This results in redness, skin flaking, and damaged the skin barrier.

Once you get in your 30’s and beyond, start to consider incorporating more active ingredients in your routine. It’s an excellent time to introduce higher concertation of Vitamin C and A (a.k.a. Retinol) in your routine together with peptide serums and heavier night creams. That doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about more natural and less harsh alternatives. While they might not miraculously erase your wrinkles overnight (no product will), they will help to support healthy skin functioning. Alternate between harsher products and their natural alternatives to ensure you’re not ruining your barrier and sensitizing the skin.

The bottom line. Your skin is the best guide when it comes to choosing what product to start and when — experiment with adding different products to your routine and note your skin’s reaction. You shouldn’t feel pressured to use a particular expensive serum just because you’ve reached a certain age, and that’s what people do. And most importantly, remember that signs of aging are completely normal. Aging is a beautiful process, and skincare is just a tool that you use along the way to minimize any “side-effects” that come along. 

How to be a more conscious (skincare) consumer in 2020.

Skincare is a lot of fun. Buying new products, testing them, learning about new ingredients and their combinations, getting to know your skin better and better each day – what’s there not to like? But as with all good things in life, love for skincare comes with a price.  

From the impact on the planet to personal finance issues, this fun little hobby can quickly spiral out of control if not approached responsibly. Sure, it’s fun to giggle at a “my bank account vs. me” skincare memes until you’ve spent half of your paycheck on skincare and have to eat instant noodles until the end of the month just to make it through. Yes, this comes from personal experience, and no, it wasn’t as fun.

So today, we’ve compiled a list of actions that you can start taking right now that will hopefully help you to develop a healthier and more responsible relationship with skincare in the upcoming year. Read along!

Setting a budget (and sticking to it)

Whether you’re an aspiring skincare blogger or just an enthusiast who lives and breathes for new releases, it’s essential to know your boundaries. There are so many great products out there, but it’s impossible to buy and try all. After all, you’ve got only once face. Plus, with all the buzz happening on YouTube or IG, it’s easy to lose track of what it is YOU really want/need to try vs. what social media makes you believe you want. Budgeting is an excellent way to cut out the noise and hone on to your inner (skin) cravings. Since you can’t go over a certain amount per month, your brain will start prioritizing and hopefully save you from many an impulse purchase.

Track skincare spending

Even with a budget, it’s a good idea to record every skincare purchase you make. By doing this, you’ll be able to go back and review your buying patterns and might get some interesting (and eye-opening) insights like routinely buying lipsticks when all you wear is a tinted lip balm. If you want to take it one step further, when you do a monthly review, write a quick note next to each purchase. Did you enjoy it? Did you use it as much as you thought you would? Did you have something similar already, and how did this new item compare? These quick notes will help to understand why you make certain choices and to avoid buying mistakes in the future.

Make a wish list

This is an oldie, but goodie and works like magic every time. When a product is not a necessity, don’t rush into buying. Put it on a wish list first and leave it for a couple of weeks. If, after all this time, you’re still thinking about this product – get it. But most likely, you’ll have already forgotten all about it and moved on.

Use it up

This is self-explanatory, but you’ve got to use the stuff up. If a product wasn’t the greatest fit for your skin, see if there any friends or family who might enjoy it. If not, repurpose! Face cleansers can be used as body washes or for cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges. You’ll be surprised to learn that old creams can be used to remove makeup. Just google it, and you’ll find plenty of articles and videos showing you exactly how to do that.  

Try shopping fast

There’s a growing number of people going on various shopping fasts from no-buy months to no-buy years or replacement-only purchases. It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of needing (or thinking that you need) more and more, which often leads to anxieties and stress. These kinds of exercises help to stop chasing elusive trends and just enjoy what you have since you’re not constantly thinking of what to buy next.

Bottom line. Ultimately, conscious consumption isn’t about numbers or excessive restrictions. If ten different serums make you happy and serve a purpose in your skincare routine – so be it. If you’re happy spending more money on skincare/makeup because it’s how you care for yourself – by all means, do it. The purpose of conscious consumption is not to not buy or consume, but to buy with meaning and purpose.