Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know that I’m not blessed with ‘good’ skin. Ever since I was a teenager I feel as I’ve been battling some form of skin ailment – from dryness, to oilyness, to redness, to spottiness – the list goes on. I’m eternally jealous of those people who can look so beautifully fresh faced and clear skinned without an ounce of make up and Snapchattin’ before I’ve got a full face on just isn’t ever going to be an option for me.
I think once I got out of that teenage hormonal stage and my skin finally started to feel somewhere close to normal, I mistakenly thought I was out of the woods, but alas throughout my life whenever I’m in a particularly stressful or busy stage, my skin is and always has been the first thing to show signs of my worry and anxiety. I always thought as you got older and your hormones calmed down that these issues were to pass, but actually I’ve found things at their worst since reaching my late 20’s/early 30’s. Considering I’ve now also got those early stages of wrinkles and laughter lines plus enormous bags under my eyes to contend with, it all feels terribly unfair! If only I could go back to my 23 year old skin now, I’d jump at the chance.
Last year, either because I was more aware of the problem with a wedding on the cards, or because the stress of said wedding amped up the problem, I felt my skin issues become even more heightened and the products I had been using up until that point just no longer worked for me. Those of you who came on that journey with me, will already know all of this of course as I banged on about my skin for pretty much an entire year, tried everything under the sun to calm it down, and in the process only made things ten times worse because I was obsessing about it so much! You all know how it turned out in the end and what my obsession led me to do three days before the wedding (spoiler – don’t do anything different with your skin in the week before your nuptials, you will only live to regret it!).
However one good thing that did come out of that whole skin worry journey, was my decision to focus on more natural skincare and avoid anything with overly perfumed ingredients or added chemicals that I couldn’t pronounce. Of course, we all have a few cheeky products we couldn’t live without in our beauty drawer that probably aren’t the kindest to the environment but when it comes to the items going directly onto my face, I now know I need to be more careful.
A few months before the wedding I went for a facial, and explained my skin woes to the beautician. It was then that she told me that my skin was simply imbalanced (which rung true as I have terrible dryness in sections while other parts become oily throughout the day) and that certain products I might have been using were fuelling the imbalance due to the harsh chemicals within them. It was a bit of a wake up call to be honest and I started to become one of those people who obsessively checks the back list of ingredients on every bottle before I buy anything skin related. I began using the Balance Me range – designed to balance the PH in your skin – and despite that small blip in the run up to the wedding when I panic bought a harsh acne cream and slathered it all over my face, I haven’t really looked back.
There is no doubt that this year, with the wedding stresses now behind me, my skin has returned to a manageable state and is definitely not as pressing an issue. I do, however still get regular flare ups depending on the time of the month/ my general well being, and as well as now acting to fix up my diet a little and get back to a regular exercise routine (I needed a break from all that after the wedding, but the break maybe lasted a little too long ha!), I’ve also been keen to once again examine my skincare routine and make tracks to explore even more natural alternatives.
Enter Ermana Skincare, which was recommended to me by a friend and which I fell for almost immediately when I saw the gorgeous packaging online (why do natural skincare brands have to forgo the prettiness so often?) – from the gorgeous pastel colours to the leafy illustrative print I was smitten.
But of course it wasn’t just the look of the products that I was interested in (I’ve got high demands these days don’t you know) and Ermana’s whole ethos resonated with me. Not only are they a British company who use only UK based suppliers for their ingredients, packaging and bottles in order to support fellow small businesses, but their products are entirely natural and organic.
As the brand themselves say;
“As we become more conscious of what we put into our body, Ermana’s ethos is to show as much concern for what we put on our body. Ermana products use high quality natural and organic ingredients so products are both healthy and beautiful.”
Sounds good right? I’m still always sceptical about switching up my routine in any way and trying something new that could potentially make my skin suffer more, but upon seeing the list of ingredients (all natural products such as shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax amongst others) I felt ready to give it a go. The brand kindly offered to send me some of their bestselling pieces to try out and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all, in case any of you are also looking into natural skincare at the moment.
First off, the products and packaging look even better in real life. The branding is fresh, modern, and really evokes a sense of products with nature at their heart, without being overly obvious about it. I’m also a big fan of how the colours work together, further emphasising how each product can be used hand in hand with the others.
Secondly, the smell’s are incredible. I’m not sure why but I mistakenly thought that products made only from oils and butters probably at best wouldn’t smell of anything at all, and at worst would have a pretty nasty odour. I definitely wasn’t expecting what I got, which is a fresh burst of not overpowering scents such as grapefruit (in the lip balm – delicious), lavender (in the face oil – very relaxing) and Ylang Ylang (in the comfort balm and body oil).
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised as the founder of the company Clare, actually started creating the skincare after developing an interest in aromatherapy and experimenting with essential oils. A few years, extensive research, a college degree in anatomy and physiology, aromatherapy and natural skincare and a gentle push from her sister later, and Ermana (taken from the Spanish word for sister) was born. Clare is now on a mission to provide natural healthy skincare products and educate people on exactly what they are putting on to their bodies.
For me one of the most informative lessons, having read into Ermana’s process and chatted with Clare, was the effects water can have in skincare. I guess as a natural ingredient which is so good for us, I’d always assumed that products with water at the core could only be beneficial for our skin. But, while staying hydrated through our water intake is of course essential to healthy skin, having a large amount of water within moisturisers and cleansers isn’t necessarily a good thing. Water is often used by manufactures in a bid to bulk out a product and make us feel like we’re getting more for our money but in fact when used in skincare it requires a preservative to go along with it to prevent it from growing bacteria. Neither bacteria, or preservatives are something I want on my skin thank you!
In addition to that water based moisturisers don’t actually hydrate the skin. In fact moisturisers in general don’t hydrate the skin. Say what now? I know, I was as shocked as you are because as someone with terribly dry skin I can’t function without a slather of moisturiser day and night. But all they are really doing is creating a barrier to stop moisture from leaving the skin, which it tends to do during the winter months especially and when we are out and about under sunlight, as well as during periods of stress, tiredness and hormonal changes. Moisturisers are worthwhile in order to keep moisture locked within the skin, but water based ones may not actually be doing any further benefit in the long run as they can’t penetrate deep down in to the dermis layers.
Ermana believe that using oil based products is a much more effective way of protecting and nourishing the skin as many of the oils can penetrate the skins layers, mimic the skins natural oils and provide a protective surface that prevents water loss.
Now as someone who isn’t a huge fan of any products which feel overly wet or oily on my skin, I was certainly a bit concerned about how I’d feel using this type of product which was basically made entirely from natural oils and butters. As it happened I was pleasantly surprised.
My favourite product from the range definitely has to be the Cleanse Balm. I’ve been pretty blown away with how it’s made my skin feel and after using it each night I just can’t stop touching my face and constantly proclaiming how soft it is. I may even have been known to annoy GB from time to time by rubbing my cheek against his while he’s trying to watch the football just so he can feel how smooth it is. The cleanse balm is essentially an oil based cleanser, or at least that’s what I’ve been using it for. It’s a small pot of natural butters (cocoa, shea and coconut) blended with sweet almond oil and beeswax and infused with grapefruit and galbanum essential oils. It comes with a muslin cloth and you simply rub a small amount of the balm in between your fingertips until it melts and then massage it into the skin before removing with a hot muslin cloth.
The first time I used it I was a little dubious as the product itself is quite hard and grainy in the pot and I wasn’t sure if it would feel harsh when applied (Any sort of facial scrub tends to react badly with my skin but I now know that that’s because it’s stripping my face of its natural oils which of course an oil based product like this balm doesn’t do). Actually, when applied it melts almost instantly in your hands and feels really luxurious going on. Plus the act of washing your face free of the day’s grime with a hot cloth is really satisfying (I’m always shocked by how much comes off, even on the days I haven’t worn make up) and somehow feels like a deeper cleanse than simply using a face wipe or cotton pad with a regular cleanser.
My only criticism I guess is that I wish the brand also did a moisturiser of sorts (although that’s what the face oil is for), as unfortunately even with the oil based cleanser and the face oil I still feel that I need a moisturising layer after an hour or so when my skin starts to tighten. Using one of my regular brands after this all natural approach always feels a little wrong, and like I’m somehow reversing the effects.
The range also has a Refresh Lip Balm, which contains grapefruit, smells lovely and keeps your lips hydrated ALL day. Seriously. You only need to use the tiniest amount – it goes such a long way.
A Comfort Balm which is designed for the face and body. It’s similar in texture to the cleanse balm but works more as an intensive moisturiser I guess – added to areas of dry skin such as elbows, knees and chapped lips. It can also be applied to pressure points such as wrists and temple for a soothing relaxing effect. Out of all of the products this is probably the one I’ve been using least on a regular basis. It’s gorgeous, feels amazing on the skin and smells delicious but for me personally I struggle to know what to do with it. I tend to apply it in small bursts to certain areas when I get out of the shower but it feels too difficult to apply in bulk all over (which it’s not really designed for) so I’m never sure if it’s doing any good for me. I think if you suffered from particular areas of dry skin on your body though – such as dry hands, dry behind the knees or even the neckline/top of the back – it would be a lifesaver.
And a Foot Balm if you’re prone to dry skin on your feet and a Muscle Balm is you suffer from muscular strain (although I didn’t try these ones out).
Ok I’m going to be honest with you all now – I never use oil on my body. I’m one of those odd people who generally doesn’t like the feeling of being covered in anything slithery or slimy. It drives me nuts when having a massage as I can feel my back getting all oily and I just know it’s going to be in my hair, and all I can think of is when I can jump in the shower and wash it all off because – ewww. I know I’m weird, but it’s just not my bag. I’m happy with anything lotion based that dries quickly but putting clothes on when my skin still feels icky is a total no no for me – it’s why I rarely ever fake tan.
Anyway suffice to say I hadn’t expected to be very taken with the body oil from Ermana, and perhaps take a little getting used to using a face oil rather than a moisturiser. I’ll admit the body oil was one of the last products I tried in order to review as I was so certain that I wasn’t going to enjoy it. I waited until I had a free Sunday and indulged in a pamper day so that I had ample time post shower to dry off, and hopefully not mind the oily-ness for a while as I wasn’t in a rush to get dressed.
But you know what? The Nurture Body Oil is up there with the Cleanse Balm as one of my favourite products and I’ve been using it daily ever since. And it’s not just because it’s fun to use the little squeezy pippet to get the oil out of the bottle I promise, although that is fun. No it’s because it doesn’t feel anything like oils I’ve used in the past. It’s not greasy at all. Not in the slightest. It glides onto the skin, immediately makes my skin feel soft and luxurious and then dries in an instant. I adore the scents (Neroli, Petitgrain and Ylang Ylang), it’s light meaning it’s even better than a lotion in my view as there’s no sticky after feeling (just smooth soft skin) and it’s packed full of natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega oils which keep the skin hydrated and toned. I’m totally sold on it.
Using the Revive Face Oil in place of moisturiser, as predicted, did take a little getting used to. As I’ve mentioned my skin still felt tight after a short while so I didn’t feel I could forgo moisturiser altogether to begin with. I only used the face oil in the evenings initially, after using the cleanse balm and before bed. I was a little scared about using it in the mornings under make up as I wasn’t sure if it would affect the way my foundation went on. I’ve now started slowly introducing it into my morning routine and I’ve found that as long as I leave it on for 5 minutes or so before applying my make up to allow it to sink in, and always using a primer, it’s actually ok and doesn’t make a difference to how my foundation looks.
It’s a common misconception that those with oily skin shouldn’t use oil based products, but of course it does seem counter intuitive to add more oil to the areas of your face that get oily during the day (for me it’s around my nose). However I’ve actually found that my oily-ness hasn’t got any worse because of it, and my skin definitely feels more hydrated throughout the day.
There are a few different versions of the face and body oils, so you can choose the scents and properties which suit you best.
I’ve been really impressed with the Ermana range. As my first foray into entirely natural skincare I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how beautiful everything both looks and feels – not at all like I’m rubbing plants or cooking oil on my face and just as pretty and Instagram friendly as my other beauty products.
I’ve been using the products for around a month now, and while I know that’s still early days for a new skincare routine and I’ll need to persevere a little longer to see long term effects, I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my skin, particularly in how moisturised it feels. Those days where putting make up on in the morning is such a laborious task because your skin is so dry everything sinks in, do seem to be becoming less frequent and I’m a total convert to two products in particular – the Cleanse Balm and the Nurture Body Oil which I won’t be giving up any time soon.
Considering how reasonable the price points are, I’d absolutely recommend you give Ermana a try if you’ve been looking into natural skincare solutions. If you want to test them out on your skin, you can pick up the smaller balm pots (15ml) for only £8! And trust me, a small amount goes such a long way so this will still last you a really long time.
Thank you Ermana for letting me try out your fab products, a month in and I’m not looking back!
Do you suffer from adult skin issues? Have you been trying natural ingredients?