Bella Aura Skincare has been making its way onto beauty blogs since the beginning of this year and I find myself very lucky to have been able to review and experience the full five product routine for almost two months. Created in Canada by Yasmine Jones after experiencing severe skin issues, Bella Aura's secret lies in a proprietary blend of botanical oils comprised of: argan, cactus, neroli, and nigella also known as "Kamilah" meaning "complete" in Arabic. Yasmine has a bit of story that led to the creation of Bella Aura, but it was a visit to Morocco that led her to what I think is one of the best and "cleanest" skincare lines on the market (see here).
One thing I should mention about all Bella Aura products is that they have a great natural scent. Each product smells initially like argan oil and then it slowly evolves into something more therapeutic. There is a very long list of what Bella Aura DOES NOT use in their products and phthalates or artificial fragrances are one of them! The packaging is black glass which gives a sleek luxurious appearance AND keeps the products as fresh as possible as clear bottles are a no-no for natural ingredients and essential oils.
Right away, the Gentle Purifying Cleanser* (100mL/$45.00 CDN) is different than what you would think of as a "cleanser". This is a cream cleanser and makes me feel like I am using a moisturizer to cleanse my skin! Initially, I was applying this cleanser to dry skin, but found that I needed 3-4 pumps to cover my face. After reading other reviews, 1-2 pumps PLUS wetting my face allowed me to not go through the product quite as quickly. I was also able to use this cleanser to remove non-waterproof eye makeup.
Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Hydroxyacetophenone, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol
The Instant Lifting Eye Contour* (30mL/$125.00 CDN) is one of my favourite products out of the routine. Firstly, the value is quite reasonable as most eye creams start at $60 for just 15mL with this one being double in size! This eye cream can be used all the around the eye contour and while this is a fairly hydrating eye cream, it is still light in consistency and it did not give me milia which many oil-containing eye creams do. The biggest change I noticed was that the puffiness in my undereyes was majorly decreased! It is difficult for me to find an eye cream that agrees with my skin while actually doing something in addition to hydration so honestly, I would buy this once I finish this bottle!
Ingredients: Water, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) Leaf extract, Disodium Rutinyl Disulfate, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Polyglyceryl-6, Distearate, Jojoba Esters, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Cereus, Grandiflorus (Cactus)Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Nigella, Sativa Seed Oil, Cellulose, Xanthan gum, Gellan Gum, Hydroxyactophenone, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol
Initially, the Antioxidant Booster Emulsion* (30mL/$125.00 CDN) was a bit of a conundrum for me. I knew it was time for the serum step of my routine and with just five products, you'd think I'd be able to figure out what to do with this product. The booster skincare products I have used have been oils or clear oil-less liquids that mix well with cream moisturizers. This booster was already a cream so at the beginning, I used it as a serum layered with moisturizer during the day. Then, I got more creative and used it as a booster with a serum AND moisturizer at night. Both methods worked at keeping my skintone looking even and pretty much perfect despite traveling, lack of sleep, hormones and general stress.
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) Leaf Extract, Disodium Rutinyl Disulfate, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate, Jojoba Esters, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus)Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Cellulose, Xanthan gum, Gellan Gum, Hydroxyactophenone, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol
If you forced me to choose, the Night Cellular Renewal Emulsion* (30mL/$110.00 CDN) is THE anti-aging product in this line with its ability to rejuvenate mature skin and support the skin's own collagen. This was my go-to serum at night and kept my skin plump and hydrated until morning.
Ingredients: Water, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Extract, Propanediol, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate, Joboba Esters, Polyglyceriyl-3, Beeswax, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Cetyl, Alcohol, Cellulose, Glutamine, Decyl Glucoside, Phenethyl Alcohol, Cistus Incanus, Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Leaf/Stem Extract, Hydroxyacetophenone, Xanthan Gum, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol
The Daily Moisture Repair Emulsion* (30mL/$90.00 CDN) is a moisturizer I am still reaching for because of how lightweight it feels on my skin, but more importantly how it seals in all of the other products. I have come to enjoy layering products and while we are used to using moisturizers with heavier consistencies this is not ideal if your serum or booster comes in cream form as the routine starts to feel physically heavy on the skin.
The hero ingredient of the Bella Aura line is Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil or argan oil which is a plant oil containing high levels of vitamin E as well as other skincare favourites like squalene and fatty acids. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant which neutralizes free radicals in the environment making it a well-liked ingredient for anti-aging. Without any additives, argan oil is the "everything oil" that moisturizes skin, hair and even fights against acne (Wikipedia, June 2016).
In addition to argan oil, Bella Aura also uses cactus, neroli, and nigella oils which all compliment each other in terms of purpose. Cereus Grandiflorus (Cactus) Extract or cactus oil is another ingredient with antioxidant properties and prevents moisture from escaping the skin (Jonas et al, June 2016). Cacti have to survive in very dry environments so their biological mechanisms for retaining moisture must be insanely efficient!
I am most familar with neroli oil in the form of aromatherapy and though it isn't widely used as a skincare ingredient, it has been shown to decrease inflammation so if you have sensitive or problematic skin, neroli will be sure to soothe it (WebMD, June 2016). Like all of the other oils, nigella oil has long been used to treat a variety of ailments and is known as the "Miracle Herb" (Ahmad et al, June 2016). Nigella oil has amazing antioxidant activity even having shown itself to protect internal organs with potential anti-cancer results due to a chemical called thymoquinone (Wikipedia, June 2016).
Final verdict: What more can I say about Bella Aura other than I love it. I didn't have a single breakout while I was using it which is something I always notice when I am using natural products. When I got back from Toronto, I didn't want my skin freaking out from the travel so I revved up my "dose" of the Antioxidant Booster and suffered no ill effects whatsoever. I know that something is good when I keep wanting to use the products long after my review process is over. What I felt was missing from Bella Aura was an exfoliant, but I wasn't too fussed about this as the other products were great at improving the overall texture and tone of my skin and maintaining my new found natural glow. In Toronto, a fellow blogger complimented me twice on my skin up close which makes me go "Okay, this stuff is GOOD stuff".