In my previous post, the Luxe Botanics Marula Hydrating Serum review, promised a little interview I did with the founder Luxe Botanics founder, Jené Roestorf. I also gave some background info on the brand and how they give back to the communities that harvest and process their core botanicals. Make sure to take a peek at the previous post if you're interested! After the interview part I'm reviewing the second serum I've tried from the brand: the Camu Brightening serum - and it's another good one, I promise. Again many thanks to Jené for answering my questions and I hope you all enjoy the read!
Interview with Jené Roestorf of Luxe Botanics
Laura: What's "the story" of Luxe Botanics? I read you have a background in biotechnology and working in laboratories and pharmaceutical MNCs, what inspired you to pursue your dreams as an entrepreneur?
Jené: I grew up in South Africa surrounded by nature. I used to spend my weekends in the garden in amongst the plants, chameleons, deer, meerkats and monkeys - it was my sanctuary. It was this love of the natural world that lead me to study biological sciences in both my undergrad and postgrad training. This lead me to a 10 year career in the pharmaceutical industry where I helped bring a number of life saving oncology and hepatology compounds to market. However I always knew I wanted to do something that would allow me that time in nature that I crave, as well as maintain a tie to my home in Africa. Luxe Botanics was the perfect combination of my scientific training and my love of nature.
Laura: Out of all the beautiful botanical ingredients of the world, what made you choose Kigelia, Camu camu and Marula as the star ingredients?
Jené: There are so many great ingredients out there, but 2 things were very important to me: 1. That there is credible scientific evidence behind the core natural ingredient to prove it actually works, and 2. that by purchasing this natural ingredient from the community we are helping to improve their lives.
Laura: Do you want to tell something about the quality of ingredients and how they are harvested?
Jené: All our core botanicals are harvested by the local communities and each community in turn receives upliftment from the sales of the fruit. The marula fruit is wild harvested and processed by the maasai women in Kenya; the kigelia africana fruit is harvested by the local community in Malawi and then processed in the town; and our Camu berry is hand picked from the Camu bush along the rivers in northern Brazil by the local communities there before being processed by our supplier. These local communities are not only being uplifted through the money they receive for the harvest, but we also support charitable initiatives in these areas, organised by the global giving business community Buy1Give1, such as business training and education.
Laura: Science and nature both play an important part in Luxe Botanics. Is there something you want to share about the marriage of these two? (for example: how does science play an essential part in natural skincare and its effectiveness, such as ingredient combinations?)
Jené: I sincerely believe that we should only be using the ingredients that are scientifically proven and formulated with other natural ingredients that help them to perform. To use anything else is wasteful and also potentially environmentally harmful. We need to elevate our thinking beyond just the natural and organic to not only the scientific but also the environmental impact we have on our earth and our communities.
Laura: Is the thing everyday woman (or man) should know about skincare? What's your best skincare advice?
Jené: The thing that made the biggest difference for me was learning just how effective (proven) natural ingredients can be. An example is our Kigelia africana extract that has a similar antibiotic profile to clarithromycin, yet its completely natural and for me, has the same positive clarifying effect on my skin as years of prescription medications. Take the time to really care for yourself and the world around you by choosing natural and effective skin care, and you will soon see a very positive difference not just on the outside but on the inside too.
Thank you so much Jené!
Camu Brightening Serum
Luxe Botanics Camu serum is an antioxidant-rich serum packed with naturally skin brightening and nourishing, anti-ageing ingredients. The star ingredient is organically grown Camu camu fruit extract, which is naturally high in Vitamin C. Recommended for all skin types. The Luxe Botanics products are manufactured in the USA and Camu Camu is hand picked from November to March in the Amazonian region of Brazil. Retails $85.00 for 30ml/1oz on Luxe Botanics. You can use code LLxLB15 for -15% off your order on any products (non-affiliated)!
Using Camu serum
Camu serum is packed in a see-thorough glass bottle with a pump dispenser. Similar serums often come in pipette bottles, so I'm very pleased Luxe Botanics have chosen a pump; this way no air gets in contact with the serum. It's also much easier and quicker to use compared to pipettes, in my opinion. The pump of my bottle does spray quite hard, but not in a messy way.
However, the clear bottle does raise some concerns in me if it's the optimal way to package a brightening serum. While I do like the simplistic design I'm ready to sacrifice beauty over product potency. Regular Vitamin C formulations are often notoriously unstable and must be carefully packaged to avoid oxidisation. The bulk of Camu's brightening properties are in the plant based ingredients and judging by the speed I'm using up my bottle I'm not too worried about the serum going off. There is even expiry date sticked in each bottle. Especially with natural cosmetics I appreciate it when my skincare is as fresh and potent as possible: my bottle is good until 2019, but realistically you're going to use it up in a couple of months time. I would still recommend storing the bottle in a cool, dark place to keep it safe from external factors - personally I do this with all of my skincare except cleansers.
I take about two pumps of the serum and gently massage it on my face and neck two times per day. To get the maximum benefit from the Vitamin C and emulsifiers, I do this step right after my toner or essence while the skin is still damp. The serum is milky and light-weight, spreads on the face easily. It sinks in instantly, leaving no residue whatsoever. If you're familiar with the Kypris Antioxidant Dew, I'd say the texture is similar. I really like the silky feel on the skin and how the serum can be layered with other products. If you're on the oilier side I can imagine this serum providing enough moisture, but personally I like to add a bit of facial oil and moisturiser on the top.
Myrciaria dubia (Camu Camu) Fruit Extract, Camellia sinensis (Japanese Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia sinensis (Darjeeling Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos/ Red Bush) Leaf Extract, Camellia sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid)*†, Limnanthes alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE*†, Squalane†, Phospholipids†, Ubiquinone (CoQ10)†, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester)†, Gluconolactone†, Ferulic Acid†, Avena sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Allantoin*†, Juniperus virginiana (Cedar Wood) Essential Oil, Aniba rosaeodora (Rosewood) Essential Oil, Salvia officinalis (Sage) Essential Oil, Commiphora myrrha (Myrrh) Resin Extract (CO2), Cymbopogon martini (Palmarosa) Essential Oil, Cupressus sempervirens (Blue Cypress) Essential Oil, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) Essential Oil, Rosa centifolia (Rose absolute) Essential Oil, Matricaria recutita (German Chamomile) Essential Oil, Citrus aurantium var. amara (Neroli) Essential Oil. *Certified Organic †Plant/ Natural Origin
How many times you've bought a serum or any skincare item and the key ingredient is on the top of the INCI list? If you've never thought about this, let me tell you, the times are few. Luxe Botanics Camu serum delivers what it advertises - a heaping amount of Camu Camu fruit extract with other highly brightening botanical ingredients. The INCI gets me so excited I could go on and on about the benefits of certain ingredients, but I think they need dedicated posts in the future. Let's take a look at a couple my highlights, shall we?
Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is a riverside tree with red berries from the Amazonian rainforests. If you're into superfoods you may be familiar with camu camu as it's often used as a Vitamin C supplement. I remember taking camu camu powder with MSN back in the day when I was more into taking supplements and "hippie food". The berry is not only extremely rich in Vitamin C, but high in flavonoids, amino acids, minerals and fatty acids, making it an excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient. I have a whole post dedicated to the benefits of Vitamin C in skincare here, but in a nutshell it's amazing for fighting free radical damage, ageing and improving the even appearance of the skin. If you have pigmentation concerns or dull skin, Vitamin C may be the perfect addition to your routine. Again, this serum is jam-packed with camu camu. Not water, not fillers, but the pure and organic berry extract.
Another brightening ingredient that makes me jump up and down out of joy is Japanese Green Tea leaf extract. I love green tea both orally and topically: its polyphenols (especially EGCG) are wonderful anti-ageing antioxidants with many skincare benefits including improving the skin elasticity, reducing inflammation and fighting sun damage. The Camu serum is not only packed with green but also Darjeeling Black Tea, Rooibos, Gotu Kola (a medicinal herb) and White Tea extracts, giving the concoction a variety of beneficial antioxidants. Using a light-weight serum that soothes while protects against free radical damage makes it excellent under sunscreen.
My other highlights include Hyaluronic Acid and Squalane - both amazing skin moisturisers giving the skin smooth, plump feel. My skin is on the drier side, but to my knowledge both ingredients work excellent for any skin type as they absorb quickly and won't clog pores. Squalane is a botanical lipid compound also naturally found in skin's sebum (=oil), but it's production in our skin starts to drop drastically as we age. Squalane acts as an emollient that provides a protective barrier to the skin to prevent natural moisture loss and improving elasticity, perfect for rejuvenating the skin.
There's also Ubiquinone or CoQ10, an enzyme naturally found in the human body, which also sadly decrease as we age. CoQ10 is an old-school skincare ingredient as helps to produce more collagen and elastin to the skin, both major factors for more bouncy, supple, youthful looking skin. The Camu serum also has Ferulic Acid, a powerful plant-based antioxidant found in brans, which also been found to enhance the stability of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. I'm not a chemist, but I believe this is excellent for improving the stability of Ascorbyl Palmitate, which is an Vitamin C esther added to the serum.
Finally, there are some essential oils such as Cedar Wood, Rosewood, Sage. Personally I enjoy the scent of the serum and haven't found these essential oils irritating. According to Luxe Botanics their concentration of essential oils is less than <0.4%, making them perfectly safe to use with no concerns for photosensitivity.
Although I loved the sample I tried of Camu from the Discovery Set last Fall, I was wondering would it be a worthwile competitor to my other serums. I hate to admit it, but I do tend to gravitate towards products that have some sort of existing online cult following... or pretty illustrations on the packaging. I'd like to say I always have some healthy scepticism towards beauty products, but if something is completely new to me I feel it takes the extra mile to blow me away (and this doesn't happen often). I did enjoy using every drop of Camu while testing it out, but honestly what made me realise my liking for this serum was my anxiety that grew and grew as the contents of the bottle started to run out!
However, while I think my skin is looking good and even-toned I feel the serum hasn't made a major visible change to make my acne scarring disappear. A couple of months time isn't enough to fade scaring or sun damage anyway, but if you are specifically looking for Vitamin C serum to treat a major skin concern I recommend you look into a stable form of L-ascorbic acid.
I love the light and silky feel of the Camu serum, how it's jam-packed with brightening ingredients but also antioxidants, minerals and amino acids. I believe Camu could be an ideal "all-arounder" serum for all skin types as it also nourishes, plumps and hydrates for more bouncy, youthful looking the skin. If you're wanting a more even looking complexion but want one serum sort of to do it all, it's an excellent candidate. Like most refined serums, the Camu Brightening serum is definitely an investment product, but I feel you do get a bang for your buck with this botanical ingredients list whether or not you're into natural cosmetics.
If you're wanting to try Camu or Marula serum (review here) feel free to use my non-affiliated code LLxLB15 at the checkout to get -15% off ALL ORDERS on Luxe Botanics. There's no minimum purchase in the case you're interested in the sample sizes or the Discovery Set! Do you have a favorite natural cosmetics serum? I'm curious to know!
The product in this post was generously provided for consideration. Regardless, my opinions are my own honest and unbiased views. The links and promo code are for your convenience and do not contain ads.