My love for everything French is well documented. And if there is one single place I was to choose for settling down in this country, it would definitely be Provence, in the South of France.
Not only is Provence one of the most beautiful regions in the world, it’s also the epitome of slow and clean living, with rolling fields and fresh ingredients of the kind I have yet to find elsewhere. Balmy lavender fields, sun ripened apricots, olive groves, bee hives, herb gardens, almond trees, cherry blossom flowers and orchards overflowing with figs, melons, peaches and plums.
Fresh local ingredients for food. For beauty. And for the soul.
This is what first drew me to Bastide – the Provence-based clean beauty company that bases its beauty formulations on these fresh, local ingredients under the ingenious guidance of Aix-en-Provence native Frédéric Fekkaï (yes, of the hair fame!) and his wife Shirin von Wulffen.
However, even though I came for the terroir, I stayed for the quality of Bastide’s products. Their soaps and dry oil mists have been a constant in my house for the past three years now. So, the day I learnt that Frederik and Shirin were launching skincare products, you would have literally seen me jump up and down (in the privacy of my bedroom, thankfully!).
I have been testing the new launches – the Bastide Beauté D’Argile Purifying Clay Mineral Mask and the Elixir II Nourishing Face & Décolleté Oil – for the past two months. What do I think about them? Let’s see.
Bastide Beauté D’Argile Purifying Clay Mineral Mask
The first day I tried this face mask, I fell in love. It goes on creamy and rinses clean, without any of the grittiness associated with clay masks. However, when something seems too good to be true, I go into cynical mode and test it longer. And harder. Looking for kinks and glitches.
But when time after time (I have been using it twice a week for two whole months now!) the mask delivered results, I am now convinced that it’s one of the best things to happen to my skin.
The key here would be the three different kinds of natural clays in the formulation.
French Roussillon red clay, which forms the anchor pulls out deeply seated toxins to decongest the skin, bust blemishes, soak up excess oil and minimise pores. All while rebalancing skin’s pH levels.
Kaolin is a gentle exfoliant that’s great for softening the skin. And bentonite’s signature is its unique molecular structure, which develops an electrical charge and swells up like an open sponge when mixed with water. This makes it particularly great at sucking out toxins, bacteria, oils and even excess sodium (hello water retention and puffiness).
The clays are joined by red rice to hydrate the skin and promote collagen regeneration; and French lemons, melons and figs to gently exfoliate away dead skin with natural alpha-hydroxy acids and Vitamin C to combat pollution.
And as I said before, while most clay masks feel gritty and leave the complexion feeling a bit dry and tight, this one actually left my skin plump and moist. It also rinses away easily, which is another bugbear with clay masks for me.
And the best part? You only need to leave it on for five minutes to get maximum results. So, I can pop in the shower, wash my face, put this on and be ready to rinse it away by the time I am done. No more sitting around, waiting for a mask to go to work!
Bastide Elixir II Nourishing Face & Décolleté Oil
While I love facial oils, finding one that doesn’t break me out or congest my skin is often a challenge. That’s why I test facial oils more thoroughly than any other skincare – because the true impact can only be seen over time.
I have been using the Bastide Elixir II Nourishing Face & Décolleté Oil for two months now. And rather than congesting my already oily skin, it’s actually made it fresher, clearer and brighter. And it doesn’t feel greasy or leave a shiny film on the face, as lesser oils are known to do!
In fact, the Elixir II sinks in so fast and leaves skin so beautiful that I have been using it as part of my morning skincare routine as well, which is something I rarely do with oils. And yet, it’s hydrating enough to use as a primer under makeup, laying a smooth, plump canvas for everything else.
The secret? A clean blend of smaller and larger molecular-sized botanical oils and extracts, like Provence melon oil, pomegranate seed oil, hazelnut Abyssinian oil, evening primrose oil, hemp seed oil and tomato seed extract. These work together to simultaneously nourish skin’s deepest layers, while strengthening its natural barriers by forming an antioxidant shield to defend against pollution and other toxins.
Again, unlike most facial oils, this is not a seasonal product – it works as well in winter as it would in summer. And in all the weather cycles that run in-between.
So, yes… this new skincare range from Bastide is a huge thumbs-up from me. Rumour is there are more products in the making and I can’t wait for them to get here!
Have you tried Bastide products? I would love to hear about your experience.