i have a bit of an obsession with beauty products. not make-up – i just use concealer, mascara, this stuff and maybe some lipstick  if i’m feeling fancy. make-up actually just intimidates me, and mostly i’m too lazy to figure out what to do (even though watching tutorials is totally mesmerizing). but stuff that cleans the skin, stuff that makes you smell nice and that you’d like to think give you a glow-ey & dewy complexion are like crack to me. beauty crack!

face washes and anything that involves lots of foam and water tend to dry my skin out and just irritate it, really. so these days i have really been getting into oils, serums & cleansing balms and anything that is full of natural ingredients.  if you’re interested in what oil cleansing is then read this (hilarious) blog post about it by Merl Kinzie. this one by Alex Raye is also very informative. i made myself some DIY cleansing oil and it works wonderfully, but still i can’t resist the temptation of trying new products. i’m also blaming the chicks at All Dolled Up, which is a great beauty blog if you’re a South African looking for beauty product tips.

so, here are some things that i have used, would like to use or have heard are great. maybe you’ve tried some – or have some tips for me? please hit me up with some beauty blogs that you love to read, too!

Miss Moss // Skin


i must admit that i have become a little bit obsessed with Aesop ever since Loading Bay in Cape Town started stocking their products. i LOVE Breathless, it is probably my favourite product ever. while not a cleansing oil, you can use it all over your body and also in the bath. similarly, ginger flight therapy is just a treat more than anything – it’s a roll-on oil that i used it on the plane on the way to and from NYC last year and then also every day in lieu of perfume, now that smell will always remind me of our honeymoon. Remove is a great basic oil make-up remover.


i know that this is an obvious one for the list, and i actually ended up buying their Midnight Recovery Concentrate solely because i’d  heard it mentioned on blogs and by people i follow on twitter. i am yet to see the miracles it apparently works, but i do love the smell. it’s really expensive, so will have to see if it’s a buy again item.


i haven’t actually tried Ultrabland, but every time i go into Lush i am tempted to buy it (and not just because the salespeople are SO helpful and chirpy). when all the rest of the stuff in my bathroom runs out i will certainly give it a try, mostly because i like the idea of a product being “bland”. it’s bland, and it works. well, it’s made with honey, essential oils and beeswax so i doubt it’s actually bland at all. you can buy locally at the South African online store as well.

Herbivore Botanicals

if i lived in the states i would have ordered plenty of their products by now, just going on their lovely packaging. i like the sound of their  Nourish Facial Serum which contains all organic vegan ingredients including rosehip, argan, jojoba oil & carrot seed. a lovely cheaper alternative to Kiehl’s i think.

Pollen & Wax

also selling on etsy, Pollen & Wax makes some rad natural & organic beauty products. the luxe Calliope Serum is filled with antibacterial essentials, astringent oils and restorative lipids and their Peridot cleansing oil is a nice alternative for those who don’t feel like DIY’ing their own. lots of other tempting serums & things in this shop.


this cleansing balm smells amazing and it really works amazingly well. i actually prefer this to the home-made oil cleanser that i made, a balm is just firmer and almost easier to smoosh around on your face. PRICEY though. will see how long it lasts.


i have only read about Goe Oil, what people like to call a “miracle balm”. similar to Elizabeth Arden’s famous 8 hour cream (which i DON’T like at all) you can use it to soothe anything and everything – plus it’s all natural. it really does sound amazing; containing  rosehip, jojoba butter, jojoba oil, avocado butter, beeswax, shea butter, rosemary extract, vitamin E, chamomile oil etc etc etc.

Lulu & Marula

this is a local brand that i am eager to try, everything is handcrafted in small batches by founder Jesslyn Schlamm. a great option for South Africans looking to get into cleansing balms and the like without spending hundreds of bucks on imported stuff. they have cleansing balms and treatment oils and other cool things at their online shop.


if there’s one product on this list that i want most of all, it’s Olio Lusso by Linda Rodin. there’s a cool interview with her here. Oilio Lusso is all kinds of expensive, so will have to see about this one. you can also buy it at Need Supply Co.

The Body Shop

i haven’t tried their Camomile Cleansing Oil yet, but i have heard it’s good – basic – and also a very affordable option.

French Girl

another etsy shop with lovely affordable oils & things that are 100% vegan & organic and doesn’t contain any shit like parabens and sulfates etc. they also carry other treat-yo-self kinda things like solid perfume and products for men.


  1. Ooh I am a skincare/personal care product enthusiast! I’m on the look for a new face oil- they are so hydrating and luxurious.

  2. diana…merci for including our french girl organics products in your post today! if you do giveaways, we would like to send you something to share the love with your readers. please let us know :) all the best!

  3. I could seriously read posts about this stuff all day. Sadly, the only real skincare related blog I’ve found that I love is Into The Gloss. I would love to find something more skincare specific that is as well-organized/pleasant to look at. I recently started using Journee Bio-restorative Day Cream by NeoCutis through a recommendation from my dermatologist. It’s definitely pricey, but the best product I’ve ever used in terms of evening tone and texture. As recent as a few weeks ago, I started using La Roche-Posay’s Deep Cleansing Foaming Cream (along with my Clarisonic) and though its too early to tell how it works, I can tell you that it smells so good I can’t believe it’s okay to put it on your face!

  4. I’m kind of obsessed with non-makeup stuff too! At the moment, I’m crazy about facial oils and oil-based cleansers. Have you tried any products from Pai Skincare? This cleanser and the Rosehip Oil are great for dry skin and the ingredients are organic and natural.

    I’m curious about Herbavore Botanicals and Lulu & Murula, both brands have beautiful products!
    -Kasey from pleinvanity.com, a blog about green beauty and sustainability

  5. I think there is too much hype around the Rodin oil. I found it to be very viscous and did not absorb well into my skin (which is combination). The smell also really put me off (read: stinky). See if you can find a store that has a tester so you can touch/feel for yourself before you shell out the money. If you’re interested in a face oil, I had a much better experience with the Josie Maran Argan Oil. I plan on checking out your Body Shop suggestion :) xoxomo

    • that’s good to know about the Rodin oil! can’t get it here so no no worries about spending the money ;)

      I have been wanting to try Argan oil, think that’s next.

  6. I’m a big fan of oils too! After my skin somehow changed overnight for the worse, probably because of some bad sunscreen, I started using more and more cleansers, toners etc. that just made things worse. I now realise I should just have been patient in the first place, and stuck with my favourite oils – they’re making things A LOT better much faster. I tried Khiel’s Midnight Recovery concentrate and it made me break out like mad, which made me so sad since, like you said, it smells so good and feels really nice on! Otherwise, I’ve been using Dr Hauschka’s Normalizing Day Oil for years (try it if you haven’t!), but as my skin seems to have gotten used to it lately, I’ve been shaking things up with plain, good quality argan oil. I use it on its own at night, and mix it up with my moisturizer in the morning. So far, so good!
    I recently realised that Pond’s Cold Cream has the same effect on me as the oil cleansing method, but the Ultrabland cleanser seems to be another, better-smelling option I’d love to try out. Also, now I really want to buy at least half of the products of French Girl organics – everything seems to be exactly as I like it!!

    • Have you have tried rose hip oil? I have and it works for me, my entire life I suffer with sensitive skin and can’t use anything on it without having to deal with breakouts since I started using this, even my wrinkles seem less noticeable, doesn’t have off smell and is not too greasy, for me is wonderful, I just don’t use a lot in my greasy areas to avoid look shiny.

      • i did actually, and my skin became quite problematic – when i cut out the rose hip it returned to normal. sad because i bought a big bottle hoping it would be the answer to my skin problems!

  7. This is perfectly timed! The winter weather is wreaking havoc on my skin, and I’ve been trying out new items. It would be wonderful to be able to try all of the ones you listed!

  8. i’m on a major skincare kick as well! my new favorite is the dr. hauschka moor lavender body oil. super relaxing after a bath in the evening or just on my hands throughout the day. i also use coconut oil as a body cleanser, makeup remover, and moisturizer, and argan oil on my face. but lately i’ve been getting into the really complex scents in brands like aesop and have been wanting to try everything!!

  9. I was sorry to read that Melissa didn’t have a positive experience with Rodin oil.

    I actually really like it.
    I have been using it daily since July and I have been really pleased with the appearance of my skin (bright, even complexion & no acne.)
    Rodin is also very gentle and compatible with other products. (I often break out when I try to use products from multiple skin care lines.)
    She is right about the scent – it is slightly unpleasant. The good news is that it essentially disappears in just a few minutes.
    I found that leaving your face damp before the application can really help with the absorption problem she mentioned. If your skin is toweled dry the oil can be too concentrated and might not distribute evenly – leaving your face feeling sticky or tacky. (I have done this more than once.)

    I love one step dewy skin and there are so many great new oil and serum options . It’s a pity that the pricing of these products can be a little prohibitive to experimentation though.
    I’m really glad you solicited feedback! It helps us better know where to invest our money – which is a great service.

    I have read really great reviews about these products also:
    TATCHA: http://www.tatcha.com/shop/deep-brightening-serum
    Aurelia: http://www.aureliaskincare.com/products/revitalise-and-glow-serum.html

    • good to know, i don’t think the smell would put me off. and you’re right, everyone has a different reaction to products. i like damp skin might even help with the application of kiehl’s midnight recovery – i find that 3 drops don’t go a long way.

  10. Ooo, girl, you are speaking my language. I adore all things skincare too. I have been lusting after that Rodin Oil… but the price gets me every single time. One of these days. A few beauty blogs I adore are Lisa Eldridge, The Beauty Department, and Essie Button…

  11. I use argan oil and love it on my skin. I saw that it was the main ingredient in Josie Maran’s products and wanted to find out more about it. Reviews claimed it to be liquid gold. :) I purchased the argan oil by Acure Organics and it was reasonably priced. I love the glow I get on my face, pretty not oily. I would like to try the products in the Etsy shops that you mentioned. They are all good finds, thanks for sharing!

  12. Thank you for sharing our Herbivore Botanicals Nourish facial serum. Love all of your other choices on here too!

  13. love this post! not an oil, but I just started using embryolisse lait-creme and i really like it. it leaves my skin incredibly soft and not oily.

  14. annelouise Reply

    I am a huge Aesop fan too, and their Fabulous Face Oil is DIVINE. And thanks for the tip on Breathless; might have to try it next :)

  15. I swear by organic rosehip oil, my grandmother introduced me to it and I’ve used it ever since. Aeosop does a serum for oily skin that works for me, keeps oily skin balanced. Cleansing oil sounds interesting.

  16. this list is so timely for me. naturally blessed with very low maintenance skin and tend to only wear mascara only as well, but what a fantastic round-up. need to make a more conscious effort to take care of my skin and this list is a great start – thank you

  17. You would seriously LOVE our Lollique et Filles, skin care line! My mother is a the lovliest French/American woman and she started this line with me and my two sisters. We make some pretty amazing creams, oils, honey masks- and not to mention our powder cleanser, Polissant. Definitely worth perusing the site http://lollique.com/
    We hope you enjoy!

  18. Okay- I read most of the comments and saw a lot of questions about oils. I wanted to just comment on that and hopefully help some people out. Oils are amazing for your skin! I grew up with problematic skin and was quite terrified to put oil on. Even as someone in the skincare biz- but if it’s used correctly it’s a skin saver for sure. First off- oils that have been processed, such as heated will not do your skin any good. So try to find organic oils that have been cold expeller pressed. It might take some research if the company doesn’t state it on their product. Also – dead skin is a barrier and the oils won’t be to get through, they’ll just sit on your skin. Lastly, be sure that your skin is damp and just put a few drops of the oil to your fingertips and PRESS gently into your skin. You will see a difference!!! I hope this helps :)
    I definitely don’t want to be a self promoter, but we are really passionate about pure skin care and teaching people about it! So- we hope you’ll take a look at our site. All of our products are pure, lovely and organic. http://lollique.com/

  19. Great products! I fell in love with Aesop too last week at Loading Bay! I was so overwhelmed and only bought their Resurrection hand cream. Definitely looking to expand my collection :)

  20. I use Antipodes skin care range and so far am really loving the results on my skin. The natural and organic ingredients dont leave any tightness feeling especially after i was my face. And i absolutely love their skin plumping serum :)

  21. Africology. Africology. Africology.

    Ticks all the boxes. I was fortunate enough to spend some time at Fordoun in the KZN midlands and was introduced to the product. Luckily for me, the smell permeated through my swimsuit and has not left since. Hooked. Babylonstoren has it on their spa menu too.

    The marula conditioning body oil and essence free shea body balm are my favorites.

  22. Clarins Lotus a Face Treatment Oil! 100% plant and 2 drops on your t zone sucks up oil all day long. It is a miracle worker for breakouts. I’m super curious; what is in your homemade cleansing oil?

  23. Have you tried argan oil? I am obsessed with that for my face and tea tree oil when it breaks out.

  24. I recently discovered the Oléogelée Démaquillante by french brand DeNovo. A glittery jelly than turns into oil when you gently rub it on your face, then turns into milk when you wash it off with water. Magical, natural and super gentle.

    I use oil blends by Herbivore Botanical to moisturize my face and body. Love them ! They ship internationally.

  25. That’s a great list. I’m totally with you for natural products with ingredients I can pronounce.

    I have really tricky skin but since starting with the SANCTUM range, an Australian organic skin care range my skin is as close to perfect as it has ever been. Their soothing cream cleanser is so gentle and smells lovely.

    I get all my skin stuff from Harmless House. HH is a South African online store stocking organic, animal cruelty free and ethically sourced products. Kate who owns it is just lovely and makes sure to go the extra mile. Orders arrive the next day, with a little note and often something extra thrown in.


  26. Thanks a bunch for sharing our Lulu & Marula products! Love the rest of your picks too, it’s nice that more earth friendly, natural products are starting to get more attention lately. I see a lot of people are wanting to try out argan oil, but marula oil is actually far richer in anti-oxidants and all that good stuff you need for glowing skin, it just isn’t as popularised as its argan friend is. And what’s even better is that it is found right here in Southern Africa.

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  29. Great post! I can spend hours on Etsy browsing all the wonderful skin care brands. Some great Etsy finds are Marble & Milkweed, Aster & Bay, Ginger Chi, Skin Apotheke. Good to see a fellow South African blogging about a more natural approach to skincare and your wonderful Green Beauty finds :)

  30. Afri-Berry products i so fall in love with them because they work like magically, i had a problem with my hard cellulite and started using the Afri-Berry cellulite jelly, it stimulate the lymphatic system; balance hormones, Detoxify & provide a diuretic. This is so amazing!!!

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