Chronicles of a Plant Lab: April Boxwalla Beauty Review

I’ll go ahead and spoil this whole review by saying that this box is one of the best ones yet curated by Boxwalla. I know it’s a cliche statement (and every blogger is most likely using this same phrase, albeit TRUE!), but I swear that each box keeps getting better and better with their selection of plant-based skincare. This one marries everything that I appreciate in a skincare product: science backed ingredients with clinical effectiveness, beneficial herbs, sleek and sturdy packaging, and a founder that strives to bring only the best to their customers. This April, Boxwalla reunites us with Twelve Beauty.

Themed, “The Chronicles of a Plant Lab“, the April Beauty Box tells a tale of Twelve Beauty’s founder and formulator (Dr. Pedro Catala) and how his skincare plant lab came to be. Pedro grew up in the village of Ondara in the Alicante province of Spain where in this local community, botanical remedies abounded and villagers collected flowers, seeds, and leaves for every ache and ailment. His grandmother was also knowledgeable about these local plants and how to use them. As a young boy, Pedro grew up among these plants and plant-based remedies and loved the stories, but he wanted to know more. “How and why did these plant remedies work?” “What was the science behind it all?”

Well, he didn’t only wonder, but grew up to study pharmacy and did his Masters in Botany to further feed his love of plants. To marry his love of plants with his passion for creating formulations that helped soothe and repair the skin, he completed a PhD in Natural Formulation and Technologies. He used this passion and years of exceptional knowledge to found Twelve Beauty, which as you may have guessed, is a marriage of plant-based technologies and science-backed ingredients in a lab setting. Twelve Beauty formulates high-performance skincare designed to soothe and repair all skin types, especially those that are sensitive or problematic.

This month’s box includes two full size products from Twelve Beauty to treat our Spring-time skin: the Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum ($90 value) and The London Mask ($92 value). Total retail value: $182.

What you need to know about Boxwalla: 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 2-4 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.

Twelve Beauty Ideal Brightening corrective Serum

$90 retail value; 30ml

A milky serum solution designed to brighten, illuminate, and correct uneven skin tone; reduce the intensity of spots and discoloration; and provide a more radiant skin tone. This botanical blend contains 12 powerful herbs to address a skin tone in need of brightening and correction including: Mallow, Peppermint, Cowslip, Willowherb, Lady’s Mantle, Heath Speedwell, Cucumber, White Genepi, Lemon Balm, Yarrow, Masterwort, and Buddleja. Twelve Beauty expounds on the benefits below:

  • Yarrow: Contains essential oils and iridioids that block the key enzyme implied in melanin synthesis, tyrosinase.
  • Peppermint: Rich in essential oils, tannins and polyphenols inhibits the production of melanin
  • Heath speedwell: Packed with Iridioids and flavonoids improves skin radiance
  • Lemon balm: Delivers an anti-inflammatory complex formed by antioxidants to help brighten the skin
  • Cucumber: Apart from its soothing and moisturising properties it has an important detoxifying effect on sun damaged skin
  • Primula: brightens the skin in a natural way thanks to its concentration of saponins, essential oils and flavonoids.
  • Buddleja: is rich in antioxidant flavonoids and phenolic acids to help neutralise the free radical damage that leads to skin discolorations.
  • Lady’s mantle: High in tannis, it helps to improve skin’s tone
  • Mallow: Has a deep moisturizing and soothing effect on skin. The content of essential oils and tannins plays an important role on minimising hyperpigmentation.

Ingredients: AQUA, GLYCERIN*, SIMMONDSIA CHINENSIS OIL*, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERYL LAURATE, POTASSIUM CETYL PHOSPHATE, CUCUMIS SATIVUS FRUIT EXTRACT, MALVA SYLVESTRIS FLOWER EXTRACT*, SODIUM HYALURONATE, MENTHA PIPERITA LEAF EXTRACT*, PRIMULA VERIS EXTRACT*, ALCHEMILLA VULGARIS EXTRACT*, VERONICA OFFICINALIS LEAF EXTRACT*, MELISSA OFFICINALIS LEAF EXTRACT*, ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM EXTRACT*, PEUCEDANUM OSTRUTHIUM LEAF EXTRACT*, BUDDLEJA DAVIDII LEAF EXTRACT*, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS SEED OIL*, ARTEMISIA UMBELLIFORMIS EXTRACT*, TOCOPHEROL, PANTHENOL , XANTHAN GUM, BENZYL ALCOHOL, ETHANOL*, DEHYDROACETIC ACID.
* Organic ingredients

My Experience

Three weeks into testing this serum daily, I can already see an improvement with my skin tone. I’ve been doing a number of things to combat my seemingly-orange complexion and I believe this serum has played the biggest role in helping brighten and even tone. Firstly, I’m being exceptionally gentle with my skin: no actives like acids or Vitamin C, I’m limiting double cleansing to 2-3 times a week, and I’ve stopped using moisturizers that seem to be oxidizing on my skin. My mother even complimented me one day “Your skin looks so bright today, what did you use?” and she is NOT one for details. It must be a huge difference for someone like her to notice what a difference this serum is making on my skin!

Morning and night after cleansing, I apply face mist, my hydrating serum (Twelve Beauty’s Ideal Moisture serum), face oil, and then the Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum. As Lavanya told me (founder/amazing person behind Boxwalla), Pedro recommends to apply face oil first, and THEN this serum because of the surface tension created between the two products. I’ve noticed that oil is a bit harder to massage on top of this serum, so I concur that it should be applied last. This serum is an emulsion (a blend of water and oil based ingredients), so it doubles as a lightweight moisturizer and thankfully it doesn’t oxidize on my skin the same way traditional moisturizers have been lately. The milky texture has a lovely spread that easily absorbs and soothes my skin. The consistency has a little “stretch” to it that reminds me of glue (and I mean this in a loving positive way!), but applies clean and untacky. It’s quite fun! As someone who has been minimal with my skincare for the last month plus, I’m delighted that this serum doesn’t add “too much” in the way of another layer on my face and it plays nicely with my other products.

Creamy goodness!

Twelve Beauty The London Mask

$92 retail value; 50ml

The London Mask was created as a tribute to the city that Pedro has called home for the past 15 years. Living in a fast and large city inundated with a high level of pollution, Pedro felt a calling to craft a remedy that would help eliminate toxins and repair skin damage due to pollution. This creamy, clay-based handcrafted remedy purifies and nourishes both city skin and skins exposed to all outdoor elements. Each batch is blended for days and due to the complexity in preparation of this mask, Pedro only creates 50 units a month!

Twelve Beauty expounds on its key ingredients below:

Kaolin: It has moisturising, detox soothing, anti-acne properties. It helps to remove impurities by absorbing the dirt in the skin.

Allantoin: Reduces skin irritation by supporting the natural regeneration of the skin cells and improves the skin’s moisture retention while providing a smoothening effect.

Vitamin B5: It is a great skin conditioning agent to provide deep penetrating moisture to the skin, stimulating epithelisation which aids wound healing and offers a soothing effect.

Rice starch: Creates a protective film.

Cucumber extract: Soothing and refreshing agent that helps the skin elasticity and flexibility.

Mallow Flower: A soothing, anti-irritant with gentle moisturising properties.

Squalane: This clear fluid oil has a natural affinity to the skin, being one of the main components of the human sebum and hydrolipidic film.

Ingredients: Aqua, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Oryza Sativa Starch, Kaolin, Zinc Oxide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Squalane, Panthenol, Glyceryl Stearate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Glyceryl Laurate, Mallow Sylvestris Flower Extract, Allantoin, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Parfum, Limonene, Linalool.

My Experience

I think a lot of us mask lovers fall into two camps: those who enjoy already-made/prepared masks and those who enjoy masks in powder form to be customized. I tend to prefer the latter because I like how purifying they are depending on the clay used, but there are a couple of prepared masks (in gel consistency) that I enjoy. I’ve tried a few prepared clay-based masks in the past, but when I look back on them, they weren’t very memorable. Let’s just say my experience with prepared masks feels so-so, that is, until The London Mask. I am enamored over this one.

It’s somewhat paradoxical: the kaolin clay gently purifies pores, but the rest of the nourishing ingredients leave my skin moisturized, supple, and soft. A purifying product will rarely leave the skin moisturized, so that’s where I find the magical paradox in it. In fact, I don’t really look at it as a mask, but rather an effectly nourishing treatment that delivers the benefits a serum would, but in the matter of 20 minutes or less. It’s also brightening (much in the way most masks do), but hitting the skin with both this mask and the Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum in one night leaves my skin as bright as can be. It’s a powerful duo, that’s for sure! The light scent is similar to their Ideal Moisture Level Serum which is in the realm of a sweet almond scent. Sensitive skins will LOVE this mask.

Thank you to the brains behind Boxwalla for this Twelve Beauty discovery because it is easily one of my top favorite skincare lines now, based on their high performance and clean formulas. Last month I repurchased their Ideal Moisture Level Serum which was a Boxwalla feature last year. Although April subscriptions have since closed, fear not, because one-time boxes are now available for purchase! These are in stock while supplies last and I have a feeling these are going to go quickly, so grab one while they’re available. One-time boxes are subscription-free, so you can enjoy the sensory experience Boxwalla delivers without commitment.

Purchase a one-time April Beauty Box for $59.95 – shipping within the U.S. is free and shipping to Canada is $11.95. International shipping varies depending on your country, but to most it will be $18.95.

Be sure to follow @theboxwalla on Instagram for the June beauty box spoilers and sneak peaks coming soon!

*This box was gifted by Boxwalla for consideration.
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