Haul & First Impressions: Hey Gorgeous Skincare.
Back in my Going Green tag, I mentioned that I have an ever growing list of companies based outside of the US that I’d love to try. Then, in my Liebster Award, I chose a lovely South African company as one of my current indie beauty brand favorites. So, I am excited to share my first international haul with you today!
Disclosure: I purchased the featured products direct from Hey Gorgeous Skincare. I took all photos appearing in this post. Links are NOT affiliated and I am in no way being compensated for writing this post.
Phoebe, Nandi and Taylor Williams, three generations of Greek women with a passion for “the good stuff” in beauty care are behind Hey Gorgeous Skincare. Because our skin absorbs a hefty portion of what we apply to it each day, the Hey Gorgeous women strive to provide their customers with the most natural products available.
All of our products are formulated by real women for real women and are made with the highest quality organic and natural ingredients that are completely beneficial for the skin. From organic essential oils to bio-dynamically grown botanicals and fruit and nut oils, these ingredients are individually and carefully selected from local suppliers (wherever possible) for their ability to heal and nurture the skin naturally. Seekers of more natural cosmetics and skin care alternatives can now try our gorgeous products and experience the difference of completely natural skin care. The benefits will reveal a complexion that is soft, supple, and glowing.
Prelude to the products
I discovered Hey Gorgeous on Twitter and was super excited to find that they ship worldwide. Before I introduce the products I purchased, I want to provide a little bit of information about ordering, customer service, shipping, and packaging.
Customer Service: Because Hey Gorgeous has a such a large number of products, I really had no idea what to buy, or what would be good for my skin. However, I was in luck because I noticed in the FAQs that the company gives advice via e-mail! And so began my wonderful customer service experience, courtesy of the fabulously friendly and helpful Pheebs.
I sent over an e-mail with some background information about my skin and Pheebs wrote back with an incredibly detailed list of recommendations for me. She let me know why she chose each product and how they all fit together into a complete skincare routine. Although I didn’t purchase everything on her list, I did end up ordering many of her suggestions.
I will note here that the company does not offer samples. So, if you are interested in trying something, you will have to dive right in with the full size. For companies with super expensive products, this might be a turn off, but Hey Gorgeous has reasonable prices and so I found it to be a relatively small investment. And I was able to afford some extra products for my friends and family.
Ordering: I had to place my order by e-mail, but Hey Gorgeous has since launched a lovely new secure online checkout system. Upon quick investigation, the system seems very intuitive and should pose no threat to international customers, however if you prefer to order via e-mail or phone, I believe these options are still available.
Shipping to the US is a flat $15, which is kind of pricey for just a few items, but since I did a bit of a haul, it didn’t seem so bad. My package arrived in about 8 days—pretty impressive considering it traveled around 4700 miles from South Africa to New Jersey. And, it would have made it here in only 6 days had the package not been delayed by our crazy weather.
Fun Fact: The box smelled like ice cream!!
Packaging: I do have to mention that the package arrived a tad damaged, so it definitely looked like it had made a long trip. The waybill pack was ripped and the box inside was soaked. First, I thought the box had gotten wet from the snow, but it turned out that there was some body scrub leakage. I would have liked to see each container wrapped separately, but a few of the bottles were loose in the package.
Once I wiped the grease off of the containers, I found that the leakage was due to the fact that the plastic protective coverings under the caps were not secure. These caps can be easily depressed into the containers or pulled off, and once they are loose, any oil or liquid seeps right through. I did contact Pheebs to let her know what had happened and she informed me that Hey Gorgeous is actually in the process of updating their packaging. So, hopefully I’ll get to see how the new containers travel!
Ok, now let’s jump right in to the good stuff :)
Product: Honey Oatmeal Morning Facial Scrub
The Claims: A scrub to polish off impurities, dead skin cells, bacteria, makeup and grime. Leaves the face instantly smoother, brighter and more radiant. Jojoba and essential oils nourish the skin, aiding in the recovery of marks, scars and minor wounds.
Directions for use: Use the scoop provided and apply to wet skin. Rub gently in small circular motions. Leave on for a minute or two. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. Follow with serum and moisturizer.
Note: For all beauty reviews, you will find color coded product ingredients based upon their ratings on EWG (I build reports for each product). A green ingredient scores a 0-2 and is low hazard. Orange ingredients score 3-6 and are moderate hazard. Red ingredients are high hazard and score 7-10, but you should never see reds in any of the products reviewed on this blog! Please visit my Ingredients to Avoid page for further information and potential concerns regarding specific ingredients.
Ingredients: Colloidal Oats, Wildflower Honey, Sugar, Grapeseed, Olive, Apricot Nut, Macadamia, Carrot Seed and Essential Oils (Vanilla, Calendula, Carrot Seed, Buchu)
The overall EWG score for the Honey Oatmeal Facial Scrub is 0.
No hazard! Apricot nut was not recognized by EWG, but I found out from Pheebs that I probably know this ingredient as apricot kernel oil instead. It is made from the dried seeds of the apricot tree and is rich in fatty acids and vitamins A, C and E.
My First Impressions: This scrub was one of the few products that leaked in transit. All of the oil had risen to the top and the scrub was packed down at the bottom of the jar, so it reminded me of peanut butter. I figured I could mix it together with the provided scoop to get it back to the consistency of wet sand. Hey Gorgeous provides little wooden sticks (reminiscent of the dixie cup spoons from my childhood) to use for scooping the product, in order to avoid contamination by wet hands. You can see the oats floating around in the scrub and the scent is most prominently honey, just as expected! After using this product, I had a pretty bad breakout, so I have been reluctant to make it part of my daily routine. I’m not entirely sure if the breakout was related to the honey oatmeal scrub or just a strange coincidence, but so far I’ve only used it once. I am undecided as to whether I will give it another go, or see if any friends or family might enjoy it.
Price: R 110 (~$10.10/£6.12 at publication)
Product: Banish and Repair Serum for Blemish Free Skin
The Claims: Specially formulated to treat problem skin. Control acne breakouts, heal skin and fade scars and blemishes by stabilizing the overproduction of sebum with the correct nutrients and EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids).
Directions for use: Before using this serum, a facial scrub is recommended to create a clean and clear base. Warm 2-3 drops between the palms and apply by gently pressing the serum into your skin. Smooth over your face and neck, paying particular attention to problem areas (often the nose, chin and forehead). Allow to absorb and follow with the Banish and Repair Moisturiser.
Ingredients: Frankincense, Carrot Seed Oil, Baobob Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Neroli, Rose Hip Oil
The overall EWG score for the Banish and Repair Serum is 1.
My First Impressions: The serum was the only product I received that was packaged in a glass bottle and it was bubble wrapped to prevent breakage in the mail. I know facial oils are loved and recommended by many of my favorite beauty bloggers, but I am still hesitant to completely jump on board. The Banish and Repair serum is actually the only facial oil I currently own and I am glad I decided to give it a try. The scent is very fresh and floral. I am not usually fond of florals, but this one is subtle enough that it does not linger once the serum absorbs into the skin. I would recommend starting with only one or two drops, as I began with 3 and my skin definitely didn’t need that much. Two drops rubbed in my palms and pressed into my skin is perfect. It is just enough to take care of my whole face and so far it seems to be keeping my skin soft. As of now, this is a product I would purchase again, so keep an eye out for a full review in the future.
Price: R 215 (~$19.73/£11.97 at publication)
Product: Banish and Repair Moisturiser for Blemish Free Skin
The Claims: Formulated for acne prone skin. Hydrates and heals the skin without making it feel greasy or oily. Nourishes the skin, providing a protective barrier against free radicals and environmental pollutants.
Directions for use: Apply after the Banish and Repair Serum, mornings and evenings.
Ingredients: Distilled Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Raw Shea Butter, Organic Aloe Vera, Calendula, Vitamin C, Ginger Root, Vitamin E Oil, Rose Hip Powder, Rose Hip Seed Oil, Willow Bark, Grape Seed, Green Tea and Essential Oils (Frankincense, Neroli, Neem, Rose Otto, Lavender, Calendula)
The overall EWG score for the Banish and Repair Moisturiser is 1.
My First Impressions: I really like this moisturiser. The scent is fresh and floral, and although the essential oils used are slightly different, I find that the Banish and Repair serum and moisturiser smell pretty much the same. I enjoy the cool, refreshing and relaxing feel of this product. The cream is not too heavy and absorbs into the skin quite quickly. I have been dabbing a tiny bit on my cheeks, chin and forehead right before I do my makeup and it creates a great base for me. I have also been using this after I shower. The moisturiser usually contains rose otto, but because rose oils make my skin itch, I asked if mine could be made sans the rose. Because all products are made to order, Hey Gorgeous is able to add, substitute or leave out ingredients based on allergies, sensitivities and/or special requests. I think it is great service and allows customers to feel confident and comfortable with what they purchase. I plan to do a full review on both Banish and Repair products since I use them together and they make a great pair :)
Price: R 185 (~$16.98/£10.30 at publication)
Product: Perfect Pomegranate and Rooibos Toner
The Claims: Made with active ingredients to hydrate and refresh the skin. Rooibos attacks free radicals and pomegranate seed oil slows down the formation of wrinkles and other marks of aging by removing any final traces of dirt or cleanser, temporarily closing pores, restoring the skin’s pH and preparing the skin for a moisturiser.
Directions for use: A good daily skin care routine has three steps. First, cleanse to remove dirt and makeup. Second, use toner to remove any leftover residue and prepare skin for the last step. Third, follow toner with a serum and moisturiser (based on skin type).
Ingredients: Rooibos, Rose Water, Witch-hazel, Buchu Water, Rosehip, Pomegranate Oil and Essential Oils (Extract of Rooibos and Extract of Pomegranate)
The overall EWG score for the Pomegranate and Rooibos Toner is 0.
I’m not sure how many of you have heard of Buchu Water, but it was a new ingredient for me. Pheebs let me know that because Hey Gorgeous is based in Cape Town, they love using African derived ingredients when possible. Buchu has been used for many generations as a tonic for promoting well being. It is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, manganese and Vitamins A, B, C and E.
My First Impressions: Toner is one product that I’ve never really paid much attention to. In a complete skincare routine, this one would pair with the scrub, serum and moisturiser I spoke of above. All of the Hey Gorgeous products smell very fresh and this toner is no different. The smell is very soapy and makes me think of baby powder. I didn’t open the toner to try, but I just don’t see myself using it that often, so I plan to pass this one on to my best friend.
Price: R 165 (~$15.14/£9.19 at publication)
Product: Aloe and Chamomile Soothing Face Wash
The Claims: Aloe and chamomile provide extra relief for soothing dry skin and effectively removing dirt and makeup. Witch hazel has impressive anti-inflammatory qualities and is known to be beneficial in the treatment of skin conditions. Gentle enough for all skin types, particularly sensitive.
Directions for use: Massage cream into wet skin, mornings and evenings. Rinse with warm water. Follow with toner and moisturiser.
Ingredients: Jojoba, Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Witch Hazel, Buchu Water, Aqueous Emulsifier, Rosemary and Essential Oils (Blue Chamomile, Bergamot, Tea Tree)
The overall EWG score for the Aloe and Chamomile Face Wash is 1.
In this list of ingredients, I was a bit concerned about the emulsifier. I know vegetable emulsifying wax generally rates moderately hazardous due to it being a mixture that often contains added detergents. Again, Pheebs alleviated my concern by explaining that Hey Gorgeous switched over to an Ecocert-approved, PEG-free, olive oil based emulsifier without preservatives or additives about a year ago. She explained that their aqueous emulsifier is 100% natural, made with Cetearyl Glucoside and Sorbitan Olivate (both have EWG ratings of 0).
My First Impressions: I think this face wash would go really well with the Pomegranate and Rooibos toner. It has that same soapy/baby powder scent. I haven’t opened it other than to smell it, but it looks like it has a nice thin consistency, and I imagine it feels light on the face. I have several other facial cleansers that I’m using right now, so I’ve decided to give this to my best friend along with the toner. Working on this post, I also discovered that this face wash contains a small amount of tea tree, which is another essential oil I avoid because like rose oils, it makes my skin itchy.
Price: R 140 (~$12.85/£7.79 at publication)
Product: French Roast and Vanilla Bean Salt Body Scrub
The Claims: Stimulate stubborn pockets of cellulite and have gorgeously soft, smooth skin. When coffee is applied to the surface of the skin, it helps redistribute fat cells and decrease the formation of cellulite. The caffeine in a coffee scrub also acts as a vascular restrictor, shrinking blood vessels and reducing varicose veins.
Directions for use: Apply to a sponge or face cloth and then onto damp skin in upward sweeping motions. Rinse off and feel fabulous.
Ingredients: Essential Oils (Juniper, Rosemary, Sage), Grape Seed, Jojoba and Sweet Oil, Khoisan and Epsom Salts
The overall EWG score for the French Roast and Vanilla Bean Body Scrub is 0.
Sweet Oil and Khoisan did not come up in the EWG database, so I asked Pheebs about these ingredients as well (she is a wealth of info!). Khoisan is apparently a completely chemical free, naturally hand harvested salt indigenous to the West Coast (Atlantic shores) of South Africa, specifically from a “gorgeous little town” called St Helena Bay. Sweet oil is actually sweet almond oil and is great for nourishing and reviving any type of skin, as it is easily absorbed and noncomedogenic.
My First Impressions: The french roast and vanilla bean scrub is probably the best smelling product in my haul. I was apprehensive about purchasing this because I expected it to have that overpowering Starbucks aroma, so I was pleasantly surprised when it did not. I don’t like the scent of coffee or vanilla on their own, but together in this scrub, they are delicious :) I have only used this once, as I don’t often use body scrubs (I am a bar soap addict). I also have to admit that the one time I did try to use this, I didn’t have a proper sponge or cloth, so it didn’t work so well. I plan to get my hands on a better way to apply it, but every so often I do open it up and imagine I am at a bohemian coffee house. Is that strange? The product itself appears dry in the container and the salt crystals are quite large so I definitely believe it will be quite effective at battling cellulite. I will do a review once I am able to properly test this one.
Price: R 130 (~$11.93/£7.24 at publication)
Product: Coconut Decadent Body Souffle
The Claims: Works to moisturise, nourish and protect the skin, as well as fight acne, eczema and psoriasis. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil possess antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Coconut oil does not change skin PH, so it doesn’t irritate the skin; it is great for those with allergies to products with fragrances and dyes, as well as those who suffer from red and itchy post-shave skin.
Directions for use: Slather generously onto skin after a bath or shower, or as required. It will be quickly absorbed, leaving deliciously soft skin.
Ingredients: Whipped Unrefined Shea Butter, Virgin Coconut Oil, Jojoba, Arrowroot Powder, Coconut Flavor Oil and Essential Oils (South African Blue Chamomile and Lavender)
The overall EWG score for the Coconut Body Souffle is 1.
My First Impressions: This is a very thick cream. It smells wonderful, just like a coconut smoothie! The Banish and Repair moisturizer melted a bit, but this one is just as soft and whipped as the day I got it. The texture and consistency reminds me a bit of Cool Whip (but unlike the Cool Whip, this Coconut Body Souffle is actually good for you!). Somehow no matter where I store it, it is always cool and creamy to the touch. Application is silky and soothing. Whereas the facial products don’t leave my skin feeling oily at all, this one does a little bit. However, because I use this on my legs and body, the slight greasiness doesn’t really bother me. I’ve tried it as a hand cream as well, but I don’t like the residue that seems to stay on my skin after I rub it in, and the softness wears off after a few minutes (regardless of how much I use). My hands are very picky when it comes to creams. Overall, I enjoy this for my body and would purchase again.
Price: R 140 (~$12.85/£7.79 at publication)
Product: Rose Petal Super Gentle Hand Scrub (or Hand Soak?)
The Claims: Gently polish off rough, dry skin and ingrained dirt for soft, smooth hands. This scrub sloughs away dead skin cells and stimulates blood circulation just under the skin, which helps warm cold hands and leave them soft and smooth for days.
Directions for use: Using the scoop provided, spoon a little out and gently massage onto wet hands. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Ingredients: Sugar, Grapeseed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Olive and Jojoba Oils, Rose Petals and Essential Oils (Rose Otto, Vanilla, Cinnamon)
The overall EWG score for the Rose Petal Hand Scrub is 0.
My First Impressions: My mom is always in search of great hand and foot products, so I purchased this rose petal hand scrub for her. The scent is very floral and reminds me of upscale perfumes from department stores. It is not my cup of tea, but I can see it being appealing to a lot of women. My mom tried this several times when the package first came and although she found that it softened her hands right after use, a few minutes later she said her hands were rough again. She described the product as very gritty.
While discussing the product for this post the night before publication, she kept telling me that the directions on the container say to put some in a bowl of water and soak the hands for 5-10 minutes. But, the website says to gently massage onto wet hands, rinse, and dry. This confused me as I was sure I had purchased a scrub and not a soak. I checked my invoice, which lists Rose Petal Hand Scrub, however the label on my mom’s container says Rose Petal Hand Soak. And, the picture of the hand scrub on the website looks exactly like the product we have (the image of the hand soak on the site looks to have much finer grains), but our label lists epsom salts in the ingredients (which my dad noted would be part of a soak—and should not be scrubbed on your hands). So honestly, I have no idea which product I actually have. Could the listings on the Hey Gorgeous website and/or the labels on the two products have been unintentionally swapped somehow? My mom didn’t really like what she used, but now I am wondering if that is because she was scrubbing when she should have been soaking. I will update this post once I message Pheebs and figure out what happened.
Price: R 100 (~$9.18/£5.57 at publication)
Product: Super Lovely Strawberry Hair Conditioning Treatment
The Claims: Strawberries are high in alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), which help to remove dead skin cells from the scalp. Strawberries can also add shine to hair strands. Regular use of this gorgeous conditioner will add luster, shine and gloss to the hair.
Directions for use: Can be used as often as required as a light conditioning treatment after shampooing or as a deep conditioning treatment. Comb through hair, leave on for 2 minutes (light conditioning) or 10-15 minutes (deep conditioning), rinse and then dry and style as usual.
Ingredients: Strawberry Essential Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba and Essential Oils (Chamomile, Myrrh)
The overall EWG score for the Strawberry Hair Conditioner is 2.
My First Impressions: When I first received my package, I thought this hair conditioner was way too saccharine. I would even go so far as to say it made me a little nauseous; it was just too much like a combination of strawberry and cotton candy (or what I imagine the Sugar Rush world from Wreck-it-Ralph would smell like). I considered giving it away because I couldn’t handle the sweetness, but I was inclined to try it when I encountered a bad hair day. The first couple of times I used it more as a leave-in conditioner. Two small pumps gave me enough product to comb through my usually knotty hair, without feeling overloaded by the sugary scent. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this treatment. It got rid of tangles in my hair, which is a tall order. I’ve been using the same Acure shampoo and conditioner set for a long time, so decided to mix my usual shampoo with this conditioner instead.
And I have to admit that after using 4 pumps on my wet hair, leaving in for 5 minutes and then rising out, I have found my new holy grail hair product!
I absolutely love how soft my hair feels and the waves that are accentuated. The scent is still strong, but because a small amount of product goes a long way, I am able to use less product for less scent. As an added bonus, my boyfriend loves the smell of this and told me I should use it more often. Since purchasing this conditioner, Hey Gorgeous has released a few more hair products, including a Strawberry shampoo, so I know I will be checking those out. Hair series with Hey Gorgeous is now on my list of blog topics!
Price: R 165 (~$15.14/£9.19 at publication)
Purchase Hey Gorgeous Skincare
There are three ways to buy these products:
1. Through the secure online store on the Hey Gorgeous Skincare website.
2. By sending your order via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Over the phone by calling +27 21 7948254.
Which Hey Gorgeous products catch your eye? Let me know by commenting below!
My first giveaway featuring a lovely Hey Gorgeous prize is now closed, but feel free to check out the Hey Gorgeous Giveaway post to see what was offered and the name of the winner.