As Africa day approached, many took the time to celebrate and commemorate the things that make us who we are and that we are part of this continent as a whole. Being the diverse and colorful culture treasure trove that this continent is, our various expressions of beauty has always been a big part of this and even though it has evolved over the years and differs from region to region in definition, some age old secrets have been brought into the modern world. Rooibos is one such traditional ingredient that has become foundational in the modern development of products that span a variety of industries from the refreshing tea in the food and beverage industry to the extracts included in beauty and skincare products.
The politics of rooibos and its patenting dispute spans over decades but its classification with geographical indication has gone a long way to protect the traditional knowledge of the Khoi and San people of the Cederburg Mountain range region which is the area to which the plant is indigenous and exclusively found. This protection allows for the development of the local community to which the plant belongs and has allowed local South African companies to also develop and market their rooibos based products on an international level, while ensuring that those that buy the products know they were sourced from the stated origin.
One such company that has a whole line of skin care products that is rooibos based is African Extracts. We tried out their classic range which is recommended for normal/combination skin based on the skin quiz that is readily available on their website.
This review includes from the classic range the face wash, exfoliating face scrub, cleansing lotion, toner, night cream, tissue oil and moisturizer from the purifying range. At the end of this article we included what you can expect overall when using this range based our review of the products, tips on how to get the best results from the products and our recommendation on how to use the products.
Deep cleansing Face wash (classic)
The face wash does not lather much due to its gentle foaming action and has a mild but pleasant fragrance. It is not striping hence leaves your skin feeling soft but not dry or tight. It is not as deeply clarifying though and just using it alone can leave you feeling like your face is not completely clean. It removes makeup but may need a double wash to completely get rid of everything especially the eye makeup which can be harder to remove
Exfoliating Face scrub (classic)
Keeping in line with their use of natural extracts, the scrub uses apricot seeds instead of micro beads as the exfoliator. The seeds are not as highly concentrated hence give a gentle scrub though it has a higher rooibos leaf extract component which removes the dead cells while soothing skin. Over use of the scrub can leave your skin feeling dry and continuously exfoliating leading to bruising. Its better to use the scrub about once a week to get good results without over exfoliating.
Soothing Cleansing lotion (classic)
This lotion is very light and non-greasy. It is a quick and moisturizing way to cleanse your face without water and this makes it convenient even for makeup removal. It is more clarifying than the face wash but also leaves the skin feeling moisturized and soft. It has a soothing effect though can cause irritation if it comes in contact with the eyes.
Before and after removing makeup with the cleansing lotion
Refreshing Toner (classic)
The toner has a cool soothing effect and when applied gently feels refreshing without leaving a tight dry feeling or irritating the skin. It contains witch hazel though which is a natural astringent and if your skin easily loses moisture this can lead to your skin eventually feeling dryer. A light oil layer is left on the skin giving it a sort of glow after toning which may be due to the presence of vitamin E. Over time there was a reduction in my hyperpigmentation but it did not particularly remove the black spots from scars hence they became even more pronounced on the background of the even tone of my skin.
Dual-action Moisturizer (purifying)
The moisturizer has a lotion consistency, is non greasy and has a soothing cool effect which leaves skin feeling moisturized and soft. It contains baobab extract which helps with oil control and this came in handy as the classic range products which I was using for the cleansing left the skin feeling slightly oily. It quickly dries off the face though and does not leave the skin feeling moisturized over a long period of time.
Nourishing Night cream (classic)
This product is lightly fragranced but has a consistency that is between a lotion and a cream. It contains vitamins and jojoba seed oil which aid in nourishing your skin. The cream leaves your skin feeling moisturized while not being too oily.
Multi-purpose Tissue oil (classic)
The product is light weight, non-greasy and easily absorbed into the skin. It evens out skin tone but did not really reduce the appearance of scars. Since it is also useful as a hair oil, using it on the face resulted in revitalized lashes and eyebrows. It also helped in strengthening the nails. The spray bottle packaging however makes it hard to control how much oil you are taking, returning any if it is too much and also even getting the oil out if your hands are slippery and cannot get a grip.
Overall the products made my skin much softer but this can also be a problem as it becomes easy to bruise or break even from a small scratch. They do give your skin a glow and even out your skin tone without feeling too heavy on your face. The products that require gentle application and wiping such as the cleansing lotion or the toner could cause irritation or a burning sensation if rubbed on not so gently. The products may increase the overall oiliness of your skin while making it dry as well hence you need to focus on the moisturizing products more. Double cleansing by using the cleansing lotion after the face wash also helps in better clarification while also moisturizing your face. We are proud to be able to draw on the age old knowledge of our African heritage to meet our beauty needs in this day and age and love the fact that there are companies out there taking this age old knowledge and applying it to modern products. We would love to know what your experience is like if you have tried out any of the African extracts products. Let us know in the comments below and plug us with any other hints or products that are proudly African.