A'kin by Alchemy Nourishing Cream Cleanser & Toner Product Review
A’kin by Alchemy™
— Cleanser & Toner
For dry, sensitive skin types, cream cleansers seem to be the only gentle option available to feel cleansed yet still moisturised. Cream cleansers have the ability to nourish the skin while providing a deep cleanse, without stripping the acid mantle of its natural oils. A’kin by Alchemy have developed a rich cream cleanser infused with Rose, Geranium, Shea Butter and Sesame Oil to gently lift away make-up and impurities, while hydrating and nourishing the skin surface.
The two-in-one step of cleansing and toning is quite achievable with a cream cleanser, as it doesn’t leave a dry finish. With the addition of Witch Hazel – nature’s number one mild astringent ingredient – toning is made easy due to its anti-inflammatory, almost “deswelling” effect. Cream cleansers almost always need to be washed off with a warm compress rather than with water, to rid pores of any dirt and excess oils. It also helps to decrease inflammation and improve blood circulation to the skin, in preparation for the hydration products.
This product claims to be 'Naturally Derived'.
What does this mean?
A’kin by Alchemy is an Australian brand focused on pure, high quality and effective natural beauty products. The brand was born on hair care, and later evolved into skincare. The philosophy of A’kin is to keep their products simple; pure, authentic, and beautifully aromatic. They are crafted without parabens, sulphates, artificial colours or fragrances. This includes ethoxylated cleansers, silicones, mineral oil, phthalates, and DEA. A’kin call this group the “Nasties” due to their synthetically manufactured nature. They employ local botanical chemists that are experienced in the natural beauty field to manufacture their products.
The brand focuses on achieving overall excellence in all areas, including their sustainability approach. On A’kin’s website, they state their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and make efforts to minimise waste by consciously avoiding excess packaging where possible. Their bottles are recyclable, and they encourage their customers to recycle once the product is finished.
A'kin is owned by parent company Alchemy, who also has Dr. LeWinn’s, Manicare, and Lady Jayne as part of their group.
A’kin’s Cream Cleanser & Toner immediately has a rich fragrance to it potentially due to the blend of fatty-oils in this formulation. Heavy notes of Sesame oil, Avocado oil and the floral Rose-Geranium scent are present, while lower notes of Sandalwood have a more grounding and nourishing fragrance.
Cream cleansers have a thicker consistency than what you’d imagine a cleanser to usually feel like. However, this cleanser is lighter comparatively to clay-cream cleansers and is easier to apply due the oil-rich component. Avocado oil pulls the formula apart letting the mixture spread easier.
The application is simple, and product feels soft and nourishing as long as a wash cloth is used to remove the product. Usually, cream cleansers don’t remove heavier makeup application, or even a regular foundation application. We’d recommend using a Micellar Water to remove this layer prior to using the product.
Phenoxyethanol, a noted allergen with links to skin conditions such as eczema and toxicity in the nervous system.
Glyceryl Laurate, used as a skin conditioning agent.
Benzoic Acid, acts as a pH adjuster and preservative as well as adds fragrance to product.
This product uses 2 types of plastic in its packaging and a plastic label.
The A’kin bottles are identified as code #2. This is a high density polyethylene (HDPE), and can be likened to products like milk bottles, and crinkly shopping bags. If recycled, this plastic group can be recycled into wheelie bins, detergent bottles, or agricultural pipes. Generally, this plastic can be recycled, and Alchemy do encourage the recycling of their product once finished.
Their business model does not offer product stewardship or refills however, which is a shame given that they are a parent company to many brands that use all kinds of different plastics. A recommendation would be to offer product stewardship to consolidate their impact and recycle their plastics in-house for reuse across their sister brands.
Formulation full analysis
Squalane is a substance already found in our skin, however when used in products, is extracted from plants, namely olives. Research has shown that Squalane is non-irritating up to 100% of its concentration. For all of its glory, it’s suitable for every skin type. It leaves a non-oily residue due to its ability to sink into the skin almost immediately. Squalane is non-comedogenic meaning it doesn’t clog pores. As it’s naturally found in our sebum, our skin welcomes the hydration, and sinks straight into the dermal layers of the skin without sitting on the surface.
Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil is pressed through dehydrated sliced avocados and is used as a skin conditioner. The amount and richness of the fats found in Avocado Oil depend on the area it grows and the degree of ripeness, however the properties of the oil stay quite similar. It has exhibited incredible skin healing properties due to its high oil soluble vitamin content, and is an incredibly fast penetrating oil for ultimate hydration.
Panthenol – or provitamin B5 – has so many great benefits when used topically, as well as having a highly soluble quality that makes it a dream ingredient for many cosmetic companies. This ingredient is actually present in all living skin cells, and once it hits the hair and skin, it results in a conversion to pantothenic acid; readily absorbed by the skin and penetrating past the initial surface layer. The hydrating and moisturising properties of Panthenol is extremely high, as Pantothenic acid works as a humectant by infusing water into cells, and when used regularly over the period of four weeks or more, takes on an anti-inflammatory role.
Phenoxyethanol is one of those ingredients we would see right at the bottom of the list of many products, and probably don’t think twice about it… What’s the harm in one little long word in the mix of all these beautiful botanical ingredients? The truth is, this bad boy has been linked to many allergic reactions and skin conditions such as eczema, and toxicity in the nervous system, particularly in infants. The European Union has classed it as an irritant, and Japan has restricted the ingredient. Juxtaposed to this, The Scientific Committee of Consumer Safety (SCCS) has deemed the chemical safe to use as a preservative if concentration does not exceed 1.0%. However, when taking into consideration reapplying the same product, as well as many other products on the bathroom shelf, we may be applying and absorbing more than what we think.
Glyceryl Laurate is a produced from vegetable-derived glycerine and lauric acid. It’s used for skin conditioning and deodoreant applications. Little research has been done on this particular ingredient, however it’s worth noting that high concentrations of exposure to this ingredient may cause erythema (inflammatory skin response). We recommend to patch test prior to use of this product.
Benzoic Acid mainly acts as a pH adjuster and preservative, although it can also be used to add fragrance to a product. Although not enough research has been completed to technically class this ingredient as a dermal irritant, there have been reported cases of allergic skin reactions in some individuals. The EU Cosmetics Directive has determined the ingredient safe to use only at concentrations up to 2.5% in rinse off products.
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