For those who are unaware, my husband and in-laws are from Montreal so it is probably the one Canadian city that I make a point of visiting about every year or two. After visiting Montreal in the dead of winter twice in a row, last year I decided to visit in August in the heat and humidity. My birthday was also the month before, so my MIL held on to my gift until our visit which turned out to be my introduction to Quebec and 100% plant-based brand Zorah biocosmetiques. She knew that I loved green beauty and so got me the Maeva Body Cream which I ended up really enjoying!
There are A LOT of skincare companies out there now that claim to be plant-based. What makes Zorah stand out is the fact that almost every single ingredient in their products is 100% natural and plant-based! Even the quantity of preservative they use are in accordance with Ecocert standards with many of the products themselves being Ecocertified.
As you can guess from the packaging, the main and featured ingredient in Zorah products is argan oil. In 2003, founder Melissa Harvey, discovered this oil on an internship to Morocco and was so impressed by the women who harvested argan oil that she decided to purchase it and introduce it to the Canadian market. We have all become quite familiar with argan oil over the years as it is one of those "everything" oils that you can eat and apply practically anywhere. It can be used to treat acne, burns and dry skin as it contains a high concentration of vitamin E and squalene, which is one of my favourite natural moisturizers.
Zorah has a fairly extensive product lineup so when I was asked what I wanted to try I figured the Discovery Set for Normal Skin* ($124.99 CDN) would be the best place to start. The set contains full sizes of the: Ipsa 2 in 1 Cleansing Milk, Sitala Face Cream and Ora Eye Cream. You save almost $25 buying the set so the cleanser is practically free!
This Ipsa 2 in 1 Cleansing Milk (120mL/$27.99 CDN) is termed "2 in 1" as it is both a makeup remover and facial cleanser though I found it too gentle to remove waterproof eye makeup. This had a very creamy texture and felt like moisturizer on my face. I did not feel my skin being stripped of moisture and after wiping off with warm damp cloth, my skin still felt soft and hydrated. I tend to wear makeup that is meant to last through a 10 hour work day, so I preferred to use this product as the second step of a double cleanse for an extra punch of hydration.
Ingredients: Aqua, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil*,Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Glycerin (Vegetable), Sucrose Polystearate, Inulin Lauril Carbamate, Gossypium Herbaceu, (Cotton) Extract, Xantham Gum, Citrus aurantium dulcis (Orange) Oil, Aniba rosaeodora (Rosewood) Oil, Sodium Phytate, Lavandula Hydrida Oil, Dehydroacetic Acid, Magnesium Sulfate, Benzyl Alcohol* *Ingredient from organic farming
The Ora Eye Cream (30mL/$64.99 CDN) is a complete anti-aging eye cream targeted at reducing dark circles, wrinkles and boosting the skin's immune response at fighting free radicals. Eye creams are hard for me to love because though my needs are simple and straightforward, I have never really come across an eye cream that makes me go "Holy crow's feet! This is amazing!"
There are some that believe an eye cream is not entirely necessary and I am one of those people who are on the fence about the issue. My undereyes DO get dry, so I do need a moisturizer in that area. If I use my face moisturizer, I get milia so what I look for in an eye cream is mainly that it doesn't do this and still hydrates. The Ora Eye Cream meets my criteria in the latter respects though I did not notice too much of a difference in dark circle reduction. I do not have crow's feet yet, so wrinkle reduction wasn't something I noticed. What I DID like about this eye cream was its quick absorption. It felt thick, but then just vanished. It was almost like my undereyes were saying "gimme, gimme!" and all you need is a rice grain amount. This quick absorption made it a joy to use under makeup as there was no wait time! I should also add that this eye cream is 30mL instead of the usual 15mL so the price is actually quite reasonable!
This eye cream also contains peptides which are smaller molecules that are meant to go into deeper layers of the skin to repair and heal cells to stimulate collagen production. I haven't done a ton of research on peptides, but just a bit of hunting on NCBI shows promising results with topical application (here). For example, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 has been shown to reduce inflammation in the skin by suppressing interleukin production which are signaling molecules that contribute to the immune response (Truth in Aging, September 2016). Generally, I appreciate a few peptides here and there! It can't hurt!
Ingredients: Aqua, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil*, Glycerin (Vegetable), Cetearyl Oliviate, Sorbitan Olivate, Cera Alba*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Triheptanoin, Hesperedin Methyl Chalcone, Dipeptide-2, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Argania Spinosa Leaf Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Cetyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Xantham Gum *Ingredient from organic farming
Interestingly enough, my favourite product out of the set was the Sitala Face Cream (50mL/$56.99 CDN). I usually think of moisturizers as necessary, but sort of ho hum as serums are where the party's at! The consistency of this moisturizer is similar to the eye cream in that absorption is very quick. It was thick and hydrating, but did not require a ton of rubbing. One thing that was interesting was that I felt a tightening sensation on my face where my skin just felt "lifted". I didn't really read the product description until later and it turns out this moisturizer provides you with a "natural-feeling face lift"!
Ingredients: Aqua, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil*, Glycerin (Vegetable), Cetearyl Oliviate, Sorbitan Olivate, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Triheptanoin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Rhizobian Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Xantham Gum, Citrus aurantium dulcis (Orange) Oil, Aniba rosaeodora (Rosewood) Oil, Lavandula Hydrida Oil *Ingredient from organic farming
Final verdict: I love green beauty, but it definitely needs to have more than just shea butter and coconut oil. I am approaching my mid-30s so my skin is in a phase of preparation and squandering whatever moisture it can! What I love about Zorah, in addition to the loads of ecocertification, is the focus on anti-aging technologies. There are some great looking serums (!!!) that would compliment this Discovery Kit nicely and the pricing is not ridiculous considering the ecocertification and ingredients. While I may leave the cleanser, the eye and face cream are staying in my routine because my skin was very happy. The scent is natural, but neutral and the consistencies were all to my liking. Zorah is definitely a company I will be coming back to for MORE!
Zorah Biocosmetiques is found in: Choices, Nature’s Fare, Pomme Market, Victoria Health, Pure Pharmacy and http://en.zorahbiocosmetiques.com!