If there is one thing that I have noticed as of late is that there are so many new products, new ingredients and new brands coming out of the green beauty industry. It’s so hard for the general consumer to navigate through the latest claims, fear mongering and of course the latest ‘buzz’ ingredients. I genuinely believe in the best of both worlds when it comes to skincare, choosing to use both natural products as well as products that are more rooted in science. Both types of products have a place in my skincare shelf and I, of course, use both types of products for different purposes and I find that some work better than others for certain things.
However, as technology and science have become more and more developed over the past decade, we have also started to see the merging of both nature and science, and with this more green beauty companies, adopting this science and nature approach. Lovinah Skincare is just one of the brands that have emerged from this. Founded by Joy Eckhator, Lovinah Supernatural Skincare is a range of plant-powered next level luxury brand, with high-performance and multi-functional products that are designed to look after and address hormonal challenges, premature aging, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, acne, and visibly improve complexion. The brand regularly combines more scientific actives such as AHA/BHA, Copper Peptides, Zinc PCA, MSM and Niacinamide as well as Bakuchiol, Snow Mushroom, Hydrolysed Kale, Blue Lotus extract and Fermented black and rooibos tea. Having kept in touch with Joy for months now, learning about her brands and its processes I decided to pick her brains and learn a little bit more about how she combines nature and science together and some of the buzz ingredients such as Bakuchiol and Dragon’s Blood that is currently trending in the realm of skincare and beauty.
***Please note that this is a sponsored post. It is my first sponsored blog post since I started my skincare blog nearly 3 years ago and as transparency is important to me, I just wanted to disclose this. As many of you know, maintaining a website is expensive, so I truly appreciate you supporting me in this. This post isn’t any way a sponsored review, instead, I hope it is somewhat educational and interesting for you to read!
The one thing I find absolutely hilarious about the Lovinah Skincare brand is how it just stumbled into Joy’s life. “I started Lovinah by accident” she muses. The brand initially started because of family. Joy shares “I have three children that had severe eczema and after 3 back to back pregnancies I had a hormonal imbalance that resulted in cystic acne and weight gain. After visiting so many doctors, I just got tired of trying new products without success”. With this, she turned to her grandmother, who in Africa, was a herbalist, traditional doctor, bone setting and midwife. “She made our soap, cream and herbal tonics to detox from the inside out,” Joy says of her grandmother. “l learned the magical power of herbs from a very young age. The turning point for me was when the doctor was going to place my 2 and half-year-old son on steroids to help him with his skin problems. I remember telling him no and decided to tap into my knowledge of herbs to heal my cystic acne and also help my children’s skin problems”.
With a background in software development, the last thing on Joy’s mind was to start a skincare brand at the time. “I was more focused on climbing the corporate ladder and starting a Technology Consulting firm,” she says. However, as the results from her products become more obvious within her family, friends started to ask her to make products for them and even encouraged her to start a line. “I started playing around skincare formulation in 2012. In 2015, I decided to leave my job after 12 years and went to Africa for a while to reflect on what l really wanted to do and my true passion” Joy explains. It was her time in Africa that acted as the catalyst for Joy to pursue her passion in skincare and thus, Lovinah Supernatural Skincare was born.
Science vs Nature
For me, what sets Lovinah apart from many of the green beauty brands out there is, of course, some of the science behind her products. Many of her products do combine both natural ingredients with more scientifically backed actives, allowing the consumer to really have the best of both worlds. Joy’s approach to science is also genuinely refreshing as she says “When people think of science, they automatically assume toxic chemicals, without knowing even the water we drink is a chemical reaction. Science plays a very crucial role in developing our product”. Her stance on both natural and science-based ingredients is truly refreshing and one that I personally find logical and realistic.
As much as Joy does believe in the power of science, she also loves the ancient African remedies that were passed down to her by her grandmother. “I totally love using natural ingredients” she claims. However, with natural ingredients, true results can take some time. “The skin is our largest organ protecting the body from bacteria and virus, hence at Lovinah, we use active ingredients to help enhance our botanical extracts to make them more effective and be able to penetrate deep into the skin to deliver results”. She also goes on to explain that a lot of ancient remedies use oils, butters, clay and plant extracts making them more susceptible to contamination. “As soon as water, hydrosol or any liquid is introduced into a product, it must be preserved to avoid contamination” Joy discloses, going on to say that having some form of preservative system is highly important when creating any product – be it natural or synthetic. On the flip side, she also notes that formulation is key, “Active ingredients don’t necessarily ensure efficacy. Products must be stable and be able to penetrate the skin barrier to where they can get to work and be effective”.
Bakuchiol -Nature’s Alternative to Retinol?
Currently, Joy is loving Bakuchiol, an ingredient which has recently caused quite some buzz within the skincare industry – both in mainstream brands and independents. For those that don’t know Bakuchiol is considered to be a natural alternative to retinol without the negative side effects. In a study published in 2014, Bakuchiol showed some extremely positive results, with participants showing a significant improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, firmness and overall reduction in photo-damage was observed, without usual retinol therapy-associated undesirable effects. In another study published in 2018, scientists concluded that that bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photo-ageing and is better tolerated than retinol. Bakuchiol is definitely promising as a more gentle alternative to retinol. Whilst these studies are still relatively new and are conducted with a small sample of participants, the results are overall very encouraging.
“I love Bakuchiol so much because it’s a powerful antioxidant to help target many skin concerns and has gone through many clinical studies and very well researched to have retinol like properties without sensitising the skin” Joy claims. Having discovered the ingredient after having a negative experience with a retinol solution, Joy found herself researching another alternative to Retinol and found Sytenol A, which is Bakuchiol. “I first tried it in 2015 mixed with Cacay Oil, which also has retinol like properties and was very impressed by the results after 7 days of using it. After using Bakuchiol on my own skin and seeing the results, I wanted to share this unique ingredient with other people with similar skin problems” she explains.
Combining her passion for these ingredients and blending that fine line between science, natural beauty and ancient remedies, Joy created The Goddess Glow, a unique pressed serum. “I love balms but everything on the market was filled with oils and butters. I wanted something different to target hyperpigmentation. I had dark spots and wanted to something with vitamin c, retinol and alpha hydroxy acid. I couldn’t find anything to work and came up with the idea to create a pressed serum call Goddess Glow” she explains. So what is a pressed serum exactly? Pressed serums have the same ‘solid’ feeling as a balm, however, they do differ in the fact they also contain a different ratio of active ingredients, oils and extracts whereas balms tend to favour a high ratio of butters and wax. For example, Goddess Glow has a ratio of approximately 70% active ingredients but with a beautiful, nourishing base of Cacay oil, squalene, Nilotica which is a creamy Shea Butter from East Africa. Joy says that “Goddess Glow is a very powerful pressed serum with bakuchiol as a natural retinol alternative, lipid-soluble vitamin c, lipid-soluble natural skin brightening agents, 24k gold for its a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and brightening properties”.
The Truth About Dragon’s Blood (no it’s not from Game of Thrones)
Other ingredients that Joy has been using in her interesting formulations are Dragon’s Blood (no this ingredient is not born from the dragons of Game of Thrones) combined with prebiotics and probiotics for her recently reformulated Dragon’s Blood range. This somewhat strangely named, dragon’s blood is actually the name of the tree sap from the Sangre de Drago tree and was a remedy used in ancient times to promote healing.
In a clinical trial conducted on 60 patients, scientists saw that Dragon’s Blood showed promising healing abilities on their wounds when applying a topical treatment cream which had 15% ethanolic extract of Dragon's Blood and distilled water. The results of the clinical trial showed that Dragon’s Blood cream significantly improved the wound healing duration. Whilst the exact mechanisms of how were not studied, the results are indeed promising and will, of course, require further research. Joy adds, “When applied topically, the sap dries quickly to form a unique barrier, almost like a second skin or a protective shield that helps regenerate the skin and prevents further damage with its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antioxidant qualities”.
The Dragon’s Blood range also utilises fermented ingredients, such as prebiotics and probiotics. These ingredients are not just saved for your yoghurt or for your daily supplements – probiotics include strains of helpful bacteria that occur naturally on the skin or in the body. It is important to know that probiotics work in conjunction with prebiotics and carbohydrates as it allows the probiotics to work at an optimum to protect and nurture the skin. Probiotics work to help balance the skin’s natural microflora; if there are too much ‘bad’ bacteria it can cause skin pathologies such as acne, redness or sensitised skin. When the skin’s microflora is balanced, it can help to strengthen and protect the skin, hydrate, neutralise redness and maintain a healthy pH. Research has also shown that as probiotics breakdown on the surface of the skin, it can replenish and create other fantastic nutrients for the skin – think peptides, vitamins, ceramides and even hyaluronic acid. This means that the skin will have better hydration, look brighter and more radiant and also help with diminishing the signs of aging. In a review published in 2015, it concluded that the evidence supporting the use of probiotics for acne and anti-aging is clearly mounting and is promising. Whilst it suggests more research be conducted, early studies show that oral and topical probiotics hold potential in the treatment of acne as well as in photoprotection and slowing the signs of aging skin.
It’s taken Joy more than 6 months to improve her previously successful formula and she proudly says that her new Dragon’s Blood trio, consisting of a serum, mask and tonic “is a chock-full of phytochemicals including proanthocyanidins (antioxidants), diterpenes, phytosterols, simple phenols, and biologically active alkaloids & lignans”.
A Brand that Truly Represents its Founder
It is clear that Joy is truly passionate about what she creates and loves to share her knowledge and experiences with others. Joy’s products seem to be carefully thought out and are based on her own experiences and listening to her consumers. “Our products are not rushed. We take our time formulating each innovative product with high performance ancient medicinal botanical extracts, as well as high tech natural peptides and clinically proven bio-actives that deliver proven anti-aging, mattifying, detoxifying and hydration benefits”. Taking a leaf from both her background in science as well as combining this with her family’s rich history in traditional African remedies and medicines, you can really see that Lovinah is a brand that truly encapsulates its founder and creator. She says proudly, “Each Lovinah product is rich in beautiful history, precious oils and lush rainforest ingredients to deliver ultimate results”.
Want to see and learn more about the Lovinah Supernatural Skincare line? You can check out the full and extensive range on the Lovinah website.
Have you tried the Lovinah Supernatural Skincare range? If you have, what did you love? If you haven’t is there anything that particularly interests you? Leave a comment in the section below!