“The Secret Symphony of Skincare”
I am exceptionally excited to share the contents of this month’s Boxwalla because it is showcasing a brand that is much coveted around the green/plant-based community over on Instagram. It’s one of those brands that you see on another’s feed and you’re just like, what it this and why do I already want to throw all of my money at them for the entire line? Exquisite plant-based formulas, unique product names, and rich tones are the visuals you’re immediately inundated with when you see this line – just take a look at their shop! It’s a sensory experience before you’ve even tried a product.
Heart of Gold was founded by herbalist/esthetician/massage therapist (and self-described intuitive) Ally Draizin. Ally doesn’t believe in miracle products but she does believe in magical products – she has used her 20 years as an esthetician to formulate products that feel good, smell good, and work beautifully. Ally makes each product by hand, infused with vibrational medicine, intuition, loving intention, and nutrient-rich whole plants. A look at the rest of the Heart of Gold line shows quite the collection of rich-hued balms, serums, and oils.
Themed “The Secret Symphony of Skincare“, Boxwalla’s August Beauty Box* showcases a Heart of Gold skincare trio that is sure to make your skin sing! In today’s review I’ll be going over my experience with this gorgeous curation that consists of the not-yet released Modern Love Gommage Gel ($66 value), Sea Change Cleansing Balm ($44 value), and Sweetbriar Hydrating Nectar ($70 value). The total retail value of the box is $180, but with Boxwalla you can try this trio for just $49.95 when you subscribe before August 10th!
What is Boxwalla all about? To put it simply, they like to fill boxes with things that MUST be experienced. Boxwalla is a bi-monthly subscription box service that showcases artists and artisans from around the world giving the subscriber a choice of four different interests to choose from: The Beauty Box, The Food Box, The Film Box, and The Book Box. Each box is curated with context in mind and with a story to be told, each one delivering a beautiful sensory experience. Green beauty lovers will appreciate that they have high standards when it comes to ingredients and that they actually use, love, and enjoy the products they feature. Boxwalla typically features between 1-4 products including both full and generous deluxe travel-sizes. Their beauty box rings in at just $49.95 every other month, with each box valuing well over the price tag. If supply is available, they will offer one-time boxes after subscriptions close and they also offer non-renewing gift cycles.
What exactly is “gommage“? If you’re very online in the skincare community you may be familiar with the term since it became trendy a couple of years ago, but it still feels like a relatively new product category because it hasn’t really caught on with many skincare ranges moving to create one and if you ask the average skincare lover if they know what it is, chances are they might not know. This is just my perception, in any case! Anyway, gommage is the French word for “erase” and has been adopted as the term for a new method of gentle exfoliation. The concept behind a gommage gel is that it is meant to be “rolled” off the skin – these miniscule balls of dried up gel work to slough off and contain these dead skin cells as you massage. Most gommage gels contain enzymes which act to eat away dead skin cells, so in some gels you may be getting 2-in-1 action utilizing both chemical and physical exfoliation. There is no scrubbing or abrasive bits involved – just a short wait time of less than 1 minute and a little manual massage and your skin is like new!
Heart of Gold’s Gommage Gel includes this 2-in-1 exfoliating action I described above: fig is included for enzyme resurfacing of the skin (similar to papaya enzymes), while the gel transforms from wet to tacky/semi dry in seconds rolling away and sloughing off dead skin cells as the massage begins. Modern Love is also dual purpose – if you wish to reap the benefits of this gorgeous gel for longer, you can use it as a hydrating mask by leaving it on the skin and either rinsing away with water or by wiping off with a damp washcloth for another method of gentle exfoliation. Other ingredients you’ll find in this skincare pudding include aqueous extracts of matcha, holly, and tulsi, manuka honey, colloidal silver, and skin-regenerating carob.
Before trying Modern Love I was familiar with the gommage method and had only tried it in the form of MOSS’s Beurre Celeste cleansing balm which is not really a proper gommage. This one took some troubleshooting and trial and error in order to find that sweet spot where the gel will start forming rolls and I found that Heart of Gold’s instructions actually work best! You’ll want to apply a thin layer to clean and dry skin, and very quickly with dry fingers, begin to massage using slight pressure. When the feel of the gel turns tacky, start massaging in outward movements continuing with that slight pressure and you should see it begin to form rolls. It can take some troubleshooting so don’t feel discouraged! Keep in mind that if if you applied a thick layer it might be too wet and if you wait even just seconds too long it will likely be too dry to massage. The effort is very much worth it – Modern Love reveals utterly soft and supple skin.
Modern Love has a retail value of $66 and comes in a full size 50ml jar.
Sea Change Cleansing Balm is a lovely emulsifying balm cleanser that lifts away excess sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells to reveal supple cleansed skin. It’s also excellent for removing makeup and sunscreen before bed. Ally compares Sea Change to “drinking chamomile tea in grandma’s china cups“. It’s based in sal and shea butters, and also contains meadowfoam seed oil, organic virgin moringa oil, castor seed oil, and essential oils of fennel seed, grapefruit peel, and roman chamomile. The scent is crazy good – it’s a flowery combination of fennel and chamomile. I will also note that “sal butter” is a new ingredient to me and upon some searching I found that it’s extracted from Shorea trees in India! It’s a nut butter that can be used as an alternative to shea or cocoa butter. It’s highly pliable and less prone to temperature fluctuations like coconut oil.
The texture and feel of this balm is unlike any other I have tried. It’s intensely luxurious and velvety – can’t you just tell through the photo of it?! When warmed to the skin, that same velvety-ness transforms into this rich and nourishing oil that gives a deeply intense cleanse. Not deep and intense in the way of being too harsh, but deep and intense of experience. In my opinion it’s too special and luxurious to use for melting away makeup and sunscreen – I want it directly on my skin! The lovely Lavanya at Boxwalla mentions on their Instagram that she likes to leave it on for at least 5 minutes to let the skin drink it in further and I love to do the same. It’s emulsifying which means you can fully rinse it away with water without the need of a washcloth, but I do enjoy a warm damp washcloth for additional exfoliation.
The scent, the texture, the feel… it’s a spa-like sensory experience and I can’t describe how deeply I enjoy it!
Sea Change has a retail value of $44 and comes in a full size 50ml jar.
Sweetbriar Hydrating Nectar is quite the multi-tasker! It’s considered to be a hybrid serum/moisturizer – you can use it as either step depending on your skin type/needs, and there are a multitude of ways of mixing it in with your other products and skincare layers. Heart of Gold also refers to it as a “rose and aloe moisture milk” which certainly sings to my senses.
Sweetbriar is a lightweight calming + hydrating milk-y serum made with a base of rose hydrolat and aloe juice and contains meadowfoam seed oil for supple moisture, xylitol for humectant action, and pretty plant extracts of wild rose, wild privet, black currant, juneberry, bergamot essential oil, and rose absolute. One special active ingredient it contains is d-ribose, which is a naturally occuring carbohydrate and studies have shown that it helps with cell metabolism and increasing collagen synthesis – all excellent anti-aging benefits for our skin whether you are looking to prevent or reduce signs of aging like wrinkles, loss of firmness and elasticity.
how to use Sweetbriar as per Heart of Gold’s recommendations:
- as a solo moisturizer: mix 2-3 pumps of hydrating nectar with 7 pumps of hydrolat or a few drops of water. apply to clean skin after serum (if you’re using it), and prior to SPF (if you’re using it).
- as a bespoke emulsion: mix 2 pumps of Sweetbriar Hydrating Nectar with 1-3 drops of your chosen Oilserum and massage onto clean skin. follow with SPF in the morning (if you’re using it).
- as a hydrating serum: mix 1 pump of hydrating nectar with 7 pumps of hydrolat or a few drops of water. apply to clean skin prior to oilserum, cream or balm.
- as a hydrating & calming mask: apply 7 pumps to clean skin. leave on for 10 minutes, or up to 8 hours, then rinse off with cool water or remove with a cool washcloth. follow with your regular routine. Sweetbriar as a mask is so good as a post-sun cooling treatment, or to keep skin hydrated during air travel.
- as an undereye serum: apply a tiny drop to undereye area after cleansing & toning.
My favorite way to use Sweetbriar is in my AM skincare routine as a simple serum + moisturizer 2-in-1 step. After cleansing, I mist with the 5YINA Lucent Hydrolat* (featured in the previous June Beauty Box which is still available!) and while my skin is damp I’m quick to apply 2-3 drops of Sweetbriar, and I finish with an eye serum. My skin has been flourishing with lightweight routines since the dead of Summer hit and it just hasn’t felt the need for oils or additional moisturizers lately, but if I felt the need for an oil I would apply two drops of either the 5YINA Lucent Summer Beauty Oil*or Stark Skincare’s City Recalibrating Oil on damp skin and follow that with 2-3 pumps of Sweetbriar. My simple routine of a face mist + Sweetbriar gives my skin the right amount of hydration it has been needing in this Summer heat, and on some days I love to re-apply it throughout the day because it’s so calming and relieving on hot skin.
Sweetbriar has a retail value of $70 and comes in a full size 50ml bottle.
If you fancy trying out this luxurious and magical trio, I have good news! The deadline was just extended to August 10th, so there is still time left to subscribe to this box. It runs for $49.95 and when (or if) one-time boxes are made available they tend to run for $69.95 or more, so I recommend to snag one now while it’s a better deal for savings. I will update this post with shopping links if one-time boxes are made available after the subscription deadline is over!