I've always had a pretty good complexion. However, at my present age, I've noticed some dryness and peeling on the sides of my nose, around my lips and between my brows. I asked my dermatologist friend about it, and she said it was pretty common for one's skin quality to change as it matures. At one point the peeling became so bad I was prescribed applications of an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid cream on the problem areas. There were days my skin would remain moist and not peel, and there were days when the facial peeling looked downright embarrassing.
Like most women I've tried the mainstream moisturizers on the market: Brand O, Brand N, Brand P, Brand L. While they all worked reasonably well for me, I thought this time I'd try something more natural, and if possible, organic. For the past three weeks I've been trying a different natural facial oil for a week each: Argan Oil, Ilog Maria Royal Jelly Facial Oil, and cold-pressed, culinary grade Virgin Coconut Oil. It sounds counter-intuitive to put oil on one's face, but for me (and this is a subjective review) it works.
The most exotic of the three, Argan Oil, I found at a stall at Mercato Centrale. It cost PhP 1,500 for a 30ml dispenser bottle. A fair trade product that supports the women of the Berber tribes, this edible oil is imported from Morocco and repacked by local distributor The Souq International. While some people would balk at the price, consider that one application is only about 1-3 drops. On the site it is advertised as a hair-skin-nails moisturizer - "treatment for acne, pimples, scars/keloids, dark spots, large pores, psoriasis, eczema, wrinkles, split ends, weak nails, aging skin, lack-luster skin, etc." Since I had facial dryness and contact dermatitis on one finger and had the extra cash, I thought, why not? Some beauty/anti-aging products that I've tried (that actually worked) cost as much, if not a lot more.
I used the Argan Oil as a night moisturizer after washing my face, applied with the fingers and not with a cotton ball (at that price, would you lose the oil to the cotton ball?). It spreads easily, and has an initial natural scent of "sour forest floor", which disappears once the oil is absorbed on the skin. If you're not used to putting oil directly on your face, go with 1-2 dispenser drops (or the size of a 25-centavo coin). When I woke up the next day I was pleased to find no oil or scent on my pillows, my pores looked smaller and my problem areas looked moist but not oily/shiny. It helped my dermatitis-affected finger, too. Verdict: I loved it. On the last day of my week's trial I was lazy and forgot to moisturize. I woke up with the usual dry reddish areas on my face and peeling around the sides of my mouth.
The second week I used Ilog Maria's Royal Jelly Facial Oil. I had bought this on my last visit to Ilog Maria, Joel Magsaysay's bee farm, in Silang, Cavite. I couldn't remember how much I bought it for, but on the website it's currently PhP 121 for a 50ml bottle. I read on someone's blog that it retails for PhP 150 a bottle at a stall in Marikina Riverbanks. On the bottle it reads: "Handmade in our bee farm using rejuvenating royal jelly and a melange of tropical flower, fruit, nut and seed oils. Can be used as a night cream. Restores aging, dry and sensitive skin. Ingredients tend to separate; No emulsifiers, preservatives or thickeners used. Shake well before using."
The tropical flower must be ylang-ylang. I remember the scent was stronger when it was newly bought. A friend of mine declined using it because the added scent was too strong for her. Since I hadn't had a chance to use it since buying it I smelled it again and the ylang-ylang scent had mellowed. The oil must be a combination of edible oils I can only guess at (sweet almond and grapeseed? I really don't know). The oil didn't separate in the over-six-months it hadn't been used, so I figured it was ok. I used a similar amount as the Argan Oil. I find the texture of this oil to be a tad heavier or thicker, but it wasn't hard to spread it evenly on my skin. It smelled good. When I woke up in the morning the reddish areas on my face from the previous day's laziness disappeared. My skin was supple and the pores were small all week. Verdict: I loved it too.
On the third week I tried Cocowonder's cold-pressed, culinary grade Virgin Coconut Oil. It cost PhP 375/liter. Given the different kinds of VCO available, my sister and I decided on cold-pressed because extraction using heat would destroy the health benefits claimed. We chose culinary grade because it is also cosmetic grade. Our goal was to find a viable and cost-effective alternative to the Argan Oil. I transferred some C-VCO to a small cosmetic dispenser bottle I had repurposed.
I used the same amount of C-VCO as I used with the previous two facial oils. I also used about a tablespoon to massage into my hair an hour before shampooing, to see if it would help a dry scalp. C-VCO smells like nutty baked goods. I mention this because not many people like the heavy smell of bukayo, a cooked coconut candy. Many assume that VCO would smell like that, but it doesn't. The scent disappears once the oil has been absorbed by the skin. Like the argan oil, it left no residual smell on my pillows. In the mornings my skin had a lovely texture, and my hair was soft and my scalp had no flakes. I've done the hair conditioning several times since then. Verdict: I loved it as well.
My skin has never looked so good. I can't afford to be lazy, though, and forget to moisturize nightly. Not once have I broken out with a pimple. Not once.
Now while I love all three, Argan Oil is simply too expensive, in comparison to the other two oils. It is also the best for my finger that suffers from dermatitis (stays on, keeps moist longer). If I have a chance to go to Ilog Maria in Cavite, or even to Marikina Riverbanks, I'd buy the Royal Jelly Facial Oil again. But for everyday hair, skin, nails and internal needs, I think I can stick with VCO. While I've done my part helping the Berber women of Morocco, I think it's good (not to mention patriotic) to put the rest of my money in a Philippine product. (And oh, the lovely savings!)
This blog is not affiliated with any of the enterprises mentioned. All products were purchased at full retail price.