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. 


Ingredient Series: Baobab Seed Extract

Baobab, or Adansonia Digitata, is nicknamed as “tree of life” for its impressive longevity. But equally as impressive are the skin benefits that this unique ingredient can provide.  

The part of the tree that is the most beneficial is the fruit seeds. They are packed with Vitamin C, high in minerals, and three main omega fatty acids. The seeds are harvested only after the fruits completely dried out while still on the tree and fell on the ground to preserve the maximum nutritious value. 

We chose to include baobab seed extract in our Exfoliating Aqua Peel Gel formulation to help invigorate your dull, tired and stressed skin. 

Here’s a quick round-up of what baobab seed extract can do. 

baobab seed extract

Improve Hydration Levels 

Exfoliation can often leave your skin drier than usual, which is a big no-no since people with dry, flaky skin need exfoliation the most. And given that baobab’s excellent moisturizing properties have received approval from science, it isn’t that surprising it made its way into the formula.

Improved Skin Elasticity
Seeds of baobab fruits are exceptionally rich in Vitamin C, which is known to boost collagen production. It’s also a natural source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids that work to deeply nourish and plump the skin from inside out.

Boost Anti-Oxidants
Baobab boasts an insane amount of anti-oxidant content that long surpasses touted matcha and goji berries. It contains prebiotics and dietary fibers that can help fight harmful free radicals, making it an excellent choice for people who want to up their anti-aging game.

Overall, this is a highly underrated ingredient that we hope to see more companies include in their formulas in the future.

Have you tried anything with baobab seed extract? Let us know!

How not to let alcohol take away your glow

Colder months call for nights in enjoying wine with pizza or finding a cozy bar to share a cocktail or two with your girlfriends after work.  It can do wonders to our mood. But to our skin? Not so much.  If you’ve ever woken up to a constellation of pimples topped with flaky, angry skin after a night of drinking, it’s not a coincidence.  Alcohol isn’t exactly a trip to a spa, even if it’s just a couple of drinks with dinner.

But before you sign in disappointment, thinking what else you have to give up to have the skin of your dreams, don’t panic. You don’t have to.

Alcohol isn’t exactly a trip to a spa for your skin, even if it’s just a couple of drinks with diner.

Admittedly, going cold turkey (together with quitting sugar and dairy) is the best gift your skin can get. But let’s face it – we’re all humans and are allowed little pleasures in life. For some – it’s digging into a glazed donut. For others – it’s an occasional drink in a good company. Emphasis on singular “drink” and “occasional,” of course. But as long as you don’t overindulge and take the necessary step after a fun night to help your skin bounce back, by all means, hit that bar! What steps? Read along to find out!

How alcohol affects our skin

Before we’re spill the tea on how to cure your skin hangover, it’s essential to understand what it that needs fixing – i.e., what happens to our skin when we drink.

1.    Skin dehydration and skin malnutrition

Alcohol is a well-known natural diuretic that it increases the urine output, making your body lose fluids. Alcohol is also a toxin. As our liver starts to metabolize alcohol, it breaks down to even more toxic substances that require a host of vitamins and minerals to make it less harmful. These are the exact same nutrients that skin needs to renew itself and maintain an intact protective barrier. But whenever you drink, these vitamins and minerals never get delivered to your skin because your body focuses on ridding the system of toxins first. Lack of nutrition and moisture, in turn, weakens the barrier and makes your skin dull, less plump, supple, and also leads to more prominent fine lines and wrinkles.

2.    Increased chances of breakouts

Not only a cocktail night can give you dehydrated, aged-looking skin the next morning, it can also cause acne and breakouts. Alcohol triggers adrenal glands to start secreting stress hormone cortisol, which forces your skin to start producing more sebum. It messes up oil-water skin balance and can lead to congestion, increased pore size, and breakouts.

3.    Skin inflammation and redness

Alcohol increases blood flow to the skin, making capillaries dilate and break. This breakage leads to temporary flushing and in some cases, even to a more permanent skin condition such as rosacea. Especially if your drink of choice is white wine.

Skincare routine to restore and re-charge your skin post-alcohol

Now that we know exactly what happens to our skin let’s break down the basic routine to help get back on track quicker.

First thing first, before you even start the routine, don’t forget to drink plenty of water TOGETHER with your drink. One glass of water to one glass of wine is a pretty good ratio, but more water you can drink the better. It’s also a good idea to have a last sip at least 2 hours before you’re going to bed for alcohol not have an affect your sleep quality.

Step 1. Cleansing

WASH. YOUR. FACE. ALWAYS. Even if you feel like you will fall dead if you make one more step – wash your face. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.

Use an oil cleanser (better if it’s formulated with natural oils that fortify skin barrier) to remove sunscreen and make-up. If you have oily skin or tend to wear full make-up, follow up with the gentlest water-based cleanser you have not to inflict any more damage to your skin. If your skin is on a dry side, we recommend skipping the second cleanse and move to Step 2.

Step 2. Preventing potential breakouts

Since alcohol increases your chances to develop acne or clogged pores, it’s essential to use a toner with an exfoliating effect. Oily skin will benefit from toner containing BHA (beta hydroxy acids), while dry and sensitive skin types are better off with AHA (alpha hydroxy acid). Just make sure, it’s gentle and hydrating enough.

Step 3. Brightening the skin

To prevent dull, ashy skin tone, use a brightening serum or ampule. Look for niacinamide to be on the top of the ingredient list (bonus: it also helps with the appearance of enlarged pores) and also for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, adenosine, or allantoin.

Step 4. Hydration, hydration, hydration

Finally, apply a good moisturizer or a sleeping pack. Go for something in between the lightweight gel and the heavy occlusive cream. Gels might not be hydrating enough, and heavier creams can potentially clog your pores, ultimately doing more harm than good. Choose something that absorbs quickly, doesn’t feel heavy, but still leaves a protective film on your skin to prevent moisture from escaping.

In the morning….

MOTHER MADE Brightening Pure Pearl Mask

While getting ready, apply a hydrating and skin brightening sheet mask to ensure your skin stay supple throughout the day. Optional, but if you can spot dark circles and your eyes look a bit puffy, apply a caffeine-infused eye cream or an eye patch. It will help to reduce swelling and constrict blood vessels dilates by alcohol.

And that’s it — the bare minimum to help re-balance and reset your skin.

The bottom line

Of course, just like you can’t outrun a bad diet, you can’t “outskincare” poor lifestyle choices. If you’re chugging glass after glass every night, there’s only so much your skincare can do. So, be mindful, don’t over-indulge and stay hydrated!

Ingredient Series: Pearl Extract

A powerful antioxidant to save your post-summer skin.

Nothing screams aging more than sun-stressed post-summer skin. All the summer activities are super fun, but they also leave our skin looking dull, lackluster, desiccated, and as a result way older than it is. The beginning of fall then is the perfect time to regroup and start strategically planning your skincare routine around the ingredients that help to do the damage control.

Among many ingredients that help brighten the skin and fight sun damage, pearl extract is the one that deserves a spotlight. More than a luminous stone, a pearl is a powerful antioxidant that has an abundance of beauty-boosting benefits to give you the healthy glowing skin of your dreams.

Pearl extract or Pearl powder? Are they the same?

Lately, pearl powder and its benefits have become a popular topic in the skincare community. But is pearl extract and pearl powder the same?
Sometimes pearl extract and pearl powder are used interchangeably, and it’s not all that wrong. But they do have their differences. Pearl powder is more concentrated, raw form of pearl. It is made of freshwater pearls that are sterilized in boiling water and milled into a fine powder. This powder can be used as a food supplement or used to formulate creams and serums. But as you might know, the majority of our skincare (think toners, lightweight creams, sheet masks) are water-based. So to make it soluble and thus suitable for more elegant and sophisticated formulations, the powder is mixed with sea mineral water to make a pearl extract.

More than a luminous stone, a pearl is a powerful antioxidant that has an abundance of beauty-boosting benefits to give you the healthy glowing skin of your dreams.

Pearl extract is classified as an antioxidant and contains a number of amino-acids that heal and maintain cells in a human body. It’s very rich in calcium (concentration at 30-80%), magnesium, selenium, iron, silica, and other trace minerals that play a vital role in skin and body health. Pearls also contain unique compound conchiolin – a type of protein called keratin that’ s an essential part of our hair and skin. This protein gives pearls their shimmery luminous look.

What can pearl extract do to help your skin?

Healthy youthful glow. We all know that healthy glowing skin is first and foremost hydrated skin. And pearl extract can definitely help in that area as it’s an excellent humectant. Because of its soothing and restorative effect, pearl extract hydrates the skin and helps to retain the moisture.

Slowing the aging process. Although scientific data on the efficacy of pearl extracts is limited, studies have shown that pearls activate fibroblasts – cells responsible for building collagen and promoting faster wound healing. When applied topically, pearl extract can support cell regeneration process to prevent skin sagging and wrinkles. Its high concentration of antioxidants will help to protect the skin against radical damage. The skin will appear smooth, tight, and plump.

Because of its soothing and restorative effect, pearl extract hydrates the skin and helps to retain the moisture.

Inhibit melanin production. Pearl extract has been shown effective in the treatment of pigmented skin as well as preventing skin discoloration.

Helping acne-prone skin. Since pearl extract is rich in so many nutrients that are vital for skin health, it helps to restore skin balance, promote regeneration, and calm down redness and blemishes.

All in all, be in in a cream, serum, essence or a sheet mask format, pearl is a wonderful natural ingredient to add to your radar for glowing healthy skin.