I was recently gifted a whole bunch of products from the super generous organic, green, cruelty-free, and vegan skincare brand Odacité. I honestly feel a little spoilt for choice but I thought I’d start off by reviewing my 2 favourite products that they sent to me – their Rose Quartz Gua Sha tool and brand new All-Embracing Serum with watermelon and hibiscus. If you tune in to my Instagram much you’ll know that I am obsessed with face yoga and facial acupressure and massage. In fact, I love these things more than I love skincare or makeup because without a strong and healthy face those two things cannot do what they’re supposed to, or at least you’re most likely to only get £5 worth out of your £100 skin serum unless you know how to make it absorb into your skin properly and if your skin is healthy enough to be able to absorb it.
This is the first time I’ve posted makeup-free pictures on my blog and I can’t get over how even my skin tone is and the improvement in the overall quality of my skin is super amazing too.
Confused? Well, if we think of our skin as a plant it will probably make a lot more sense. Imagine you have a house plant, now imagine that you went away for a week and came back to find the leaves dry and wilted. You’re not likely to water the leaves, I mean you could do, and maybe the leaves would perk up for a few hours but before you know it you’ll be back to where you started. Cutting off all of the leaves in hopes that they would grow back green would leave still leave you with a dry, malnourished stem. But, if you watered the soil and its roots, and pruned away superficial dead leaves, you’d find a long-term improvement. The leaves will brighten and flourish, new green leaves would grow back with a plump texture, and the whole plant would look beautiful. At the same time, overfeeding your plant, or feeding it with low quality food wouldn’t have beneficial effects. Your skin works the same way – if you’re not feeding your body the nutrients it needs and not looking after the structure of your skin then you’ll probably never have that firm, plump, and glowy skin you’ve always dreamed of. Although nutrition plays a huge part in the health of your skin so does facial exercise, and that’s where Gua Sha comes in.
About Gua Sha
It’s quite likely that you’ve never heard of Gua Sha, don’t worry I hadn’t either until more recently either. Gua Sha, also known as scraping, spooning, or coining, has its roots in ancient Chinese medicine and has been used for over 2000 years in order to heal the body from common ailments and muscle pains. In Chinese medicine, your face is the map and story of your internal health – by simply looking at the colour and texture of your face it’s possible to see if the problem lies within your digestive system, heart, or lungs and by scraping along certain ‘channels’ of the body you can remove toxins and increase blood supply. Gua Sha is still prevalent in Chinese culture and is becoming increasingly more popular within our Western culture, especially to reduce the signs of ageing, sadly more so than promoting a healthier body. It has even been claimed to be able to promote the growth of new skin cells, reduce acne and blocked pores, tighten the skin, and improve the absorption and performance of your skincare and makeup products altogether.
Gua Sha works in wondrous ways – adhesions in your muscles prevent blood from flowing, by practising Gua Sha you can break up those adhesions promoting healing and blood flow to that area. This increase in circulation will give an instant glow and feed your face nutrients, boosting collagen production.
The practice is simple – dragging a blunt, flat object (either a Gua Sha tool, Chinese soup spoon, or even your hands) across the skin of your body, face, head, and neck in order to promote blood flow and sustain a constant supply of oxygen to the cells, keeping them supplied with vital nutrients. This interaction of how blood and oxygen move around the body is known as Qi (pronounced Chi) in Chinese medicine. If your Qi is normal then your body will be functioning at its best and you will have an even and glowing complexion. If however, you are suffering from ‘stagnant’ Qi your body will react with pain or discomfort and your skin will be sallow and dry. I wish I could go into more detail here but it would probably take an entire book to do so.
The act of scraping your skin increases blood flow to the area, making subcutaneous microvascular pressure changes that make the blood vessels dilate which is what increases the blood flow. When scraping on the body it’s common to get areas of blood blistered rashes (petechiae) where the tissue bed has released blood which gets trapped under the skin. This rash is known as ‘sha’ and ‘Gua’ means to scrape, hence the name ‘Gua Sha’. Thankfully when practising Gua Sha on your face you’ll be doing it with a light to medium pressure meaning you’ll only be looking flushed and not bruised afterwards. So, that’s the glow part but what about the lifting and firming effect? How is this achieved?
Well, firstly there’s so much more to our skin that meets the eye; the outer layer we call our skin is known as the epidermis, below that is our dermis – this supports the epidermis. It’s full of crisscrossing fibres that lift up the epidermis by retaining moisture and nutrients. It’s also where our skin’s elastin, collagen, and sebaceous (oil-producing) glands live. When you’re young and healthy these fibres support the skin, as you age the fibres begin to shrivel, the skin becomes prone to dryness, loses its elasticity, and starts to become paper like in texture. That’s when you’ll start to see sagging and fine lines.
Gua Sha works in wondrous ways – adhesions in your muscles prevent blood from flowing, by practising Gua Sha you can break up those adhesions promoting healing and blood flow to that area. This increase in circulation will give an instant glow and feed your face nutrients, boosting collagen production. By applying pressure you’re also hitting acupressure points that will relax your face helping to smooth out wrinkles and the upward motion helps to give a temporary lift to the face but in the long term it will engage the muscles and strengthen muscle memory. Much like face yoga, you are actually giving your face a little bit of a muscular workout and unlike your body, your skin on your face is directly attached to muscle, which is why we see ageing on our faces more prominently than our bodies. Gua Sha also works by draining the lymph nodes, removing toxins from your body. For this reason, you will always move the centre of the face outward from the lymph nodes and from the neck both upward and downward. Starting with the neck first will help to open out the main drainage channels for your lymph nodes. Tapping around the collarbone before beginning is beneficial.
The story behind Odacité is truly inspirational – Paris born and LA-based founder Valerie Grandury battled breast cancer, she realised that if she wanted to heal she would have to change her entire lifestyle. Valerie quit her job and studied to become a health and wellness coach, removing toxins completely from her life.
Like many of us when it came to skincare she didn’t want to sacrifice the performance of her products, but she needed them to be pure. She began to create her own custom-made skincare blends for both herself and her clients and it was then Odacité was born. Odacité is a cheeky little bit of wordplay on the word audacity (I think you call that a homonym?!). It was Valerie’s way of taking the best from both French skincare and her green Cali living.
All of Odacité’s ingredients are sourced from worldwide locations, only picking those that are highest in quality. They are handmade in sunny green California and Odacité promise to never use any fillers, parabens, nanoparticles, petrochemicals, PEG, synthetic perfumes, dyes, or phenoxyethanol. They are 100% natural and 100% pure. Not only that but their full range is vegan and cruelty-free, carrying the world-renowned PETA certification. Fabulous!
Firstly, can I just start by saying how unbelievably beautiful is this Gua Sha tool?! I have a massive obsession with crystals and although I still haven’t decided if I quite believe in their qualities as such, just holding a beautiful stone in my hand connects me with the earth and makes me feel so happy and calm. Rose Quartz is said to promote unconditional love, opening the heart chakra. This can be self-love or love for your family, platonic friends, or even romantic interest. In colour therapy, it can calm feelings of anger, jealousy, or resentment and help with self-reflection, self-acceptance, and meditation. So, you can see why Odacité opted for rose quartz for their facial tool and if course Gua Sha is all about loving yourself and taking that time to connect with your own body, which is such a special thing.
I’ve been practising facial yoga for 10 years (on and off) and also regularly practice massaging facial acupressure points so I was pretty confident with what to expect with Gua Sha. Since receiving my tool, I’ve actually been reading a super informative book by Clive Witham called ‘Facial Gua Sha’. It goes into great depth about the practice and a lot of the Gua Sha movements are not covered on the pamphlet that came with Odacité’s tool. It expands further with different movements and also gets you to practice scraping areas of your body to treat different skin conditions. For example, if you have dark circles under your eyes you can scrape the under eye area to the temple to drain lymphatic tissue but you can also scrape your back to stimulate your kidneys to remove toxins. For the purpose of this review, however, I will only talk about the scraping movements followed on Odacité’s pamphlet.
To start you’re instructed to cleanse your skin thoroughly which I did with the Odacité’s Black Mint Cleanser, a deep cleaning gel cleanser that’s perfect for my combination skin. I then spritzed over the Aloe + Immortelle Hydra-Repair Treatment Mist which plumped up my face nicely thanks to the hyaluronic acid (a must if you’re over 30!), it also helps serum to penetrate the skin further. If you can’t afford a serum don’t worry, spritzing your face with some rose water and using an oil (avocado, sesame etc.) that suits your skin type will be enough, but bear in mind that you’ll get so much more out of your pricey serum when practising Gua Sha or a facial massage in general.
Once applying the All-Embracing Serum to my face I began to follow the Gua Sha instructions on the pamphlet which were so easy to understand and totally foolproof. Odacité recommends that you heat your stone in warm water to help the serum penetrate further and then cool at the end of the treatment in ice water in order to close the pores. I loved warming the stone as it enhanced that feeling of relaxation when scraping. The serum helped the stone to glide along smoothly without tugging at my skin which made the experience smooth and easy. I could complete the routine quickly even on my first time. I have found that I can scrape each area of my face 5-10 time within 5 minutes max meaning I’ve been able to do this first thing in the morning before taking Anya to school and it’s been a really relaxing and positive start to my days.
Odacité recommends practising 2-3 times weekly to see results, I’ve been doing it about 5 days a week. I can’t say that I’ve seen much of a permanent lift in my overall face, even after about a month of doing it almost daily, this could be as I already practise face yoga though. However, I’ve seen a huge difference in my skin tone which has become so even that I can go foundation and concealer free most days now. I’ve also seen a really nice amount of slimming around my jawline and neck (bye bye jowls!) and this is something that I have struggled to achieve from just face yoga alone. So, I can vouch for the lymphatic drainage 100%! After each practice, I am left with a lovely glow and a temporary lift that wears off about 30 minutes later. Sometimes in the middle of the day for a little pick me up I’ll scrape my undereye area to relieve any puffiness or dark circles and now I feel like I cannot live without Gua Sha, it’s a fantastic treatment but also a great way to relax and let the stress melt away.
When I read the ingredients list for this serum, I was convinced that Odacité had in fact made it for me, I mean who wouldn’t want to tailor a serum to suit little old me? Firstly, watermelon and hibiscus are two of my favourite skin foods, and yes I mean when consumed, so to see both of these featured in a skin serum got me super excited. Secondly, this is no ordinary serum – it’s a crystal infused serum. It’s infused with 3 tiny beads of amethyst, which is one of the zodiac birthstones for my star sign Sagittarius. Amethyst is a strong protection stone believed to be able to help you to dissolve feelings of fear, anger, and stress, ridding all negative energy and instilling inner peace. Like I said before I’m not sure what I make of crystals, there is no science behind them other than the fact they do have a slight vibrational energy at a molecular level. But, after using this serum I always feel so calm. I know that this could be a placebo effect, it could be the self-massage, it could even be the therapeutic effect of all of the beautiful essential oils but I just don’t care because I feel amazingly grounded after using it which I have never had from a skincare product before. Like ever!
If all of that hippie mumbo-jumbo isn’t your thing then I think you probably just need to take a look at the beautiful all natural and organic ingredients list below:
Ingredients: Citrullus Lanatus [Watermelon] Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca [Apricot] Kernel Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii [Shea] Butter Extract, Salvia Hispanica [Chia] Seed Oil, Tocopherols [Vitamin E], Hippophae Rhamnoides [Sea buckthorn] Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis [Rosemary] Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa [Oatmeal] Powder, Citrus Aurantium Amara [Neroli] Flower Oil, Cupressus Sempervirens [Cypress] Leaf Oil, Bisabolol, Cananga Odorata [Ylang Ylang] Flower Oil, Citrus Paradisi [Pink Grapefruit] Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia [Lavender] Flower Oil, Backhousia Citriodora [Lemon Myrtle] Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantium [Petitgrain Bigarade] Leaf/Bud Oil, Rosa Damascena [Rose*] Flower Oil, Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis [Hibiscus] Flower, Helichrysum Angustifolium [Immortelle] Flower, Calendula Officinalis [Calendula] Flower Extract *Organic Origin
Let’s take a look at the skin benefits of 5 of my favourite ingredients from Odacité’s All-Embracing Serum:
- Watermelon Seed Oil – Watermelon seed is packed full of nutrients such as; Vitamins A, B, and E, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, potassium, and phosphorous, and linoleic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic fatty acids. These all help to fight the ageing process, reduce puffiness and dark circles, and diminish hyperpigmentation.
- Apricot Kernel Oil – This super nourishing oil contains vitamins A and E are anti-inflammatory and help to soothe the skin and slow down the ageing process whilst gamma linoleic acid firms and tones the skin.
- Shea Butter – Shea butter is rich in oleic (omega-9) fatty acids, vitamin A, and antioxidant-rich cinnamic acid which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Shea butter is super healing and fights a whole host of skin ailments from dermatitis, sunburn, insect bites, blemishes, eczema, wrinkles to even fighting muscle pain and fatigue.
- Chia Seed Oil – Chia seed oil is super hydrating – it actually helps to reduce the amount of water lost from your skin as well as replenishing it. It can pull water from the deeper tissues of the skin, bringing them to the surface for a plumping effect. It’s also packed with omega-3’s which help to promote collagen production. If you’re looking to fight the ageing process naturally always pick a product with chia seed oil!
- Hibiscus Flower Extract – Hibiscus has been dubbed as ‘nature’s botox’ – I can verify this – I have been drinking hibiscus tea for years and swear it’s helped me stay youthful. It increases the skin’s elasticity giving you a natural youthful-boost. It can also inhibit the activity of the enzyme elastase, which is responsible for breaking down the skin’s elastin, so you can expect firmer skin. It’s also packed with vitamin C to fight free radicals.
You all know I loved how the serum made me feel but how effective was it? Well, I’ve got pretty visible hormonal melasma across my forehead, and although I’ve come to accept that it’s a part of me I do have those days where it gets me down a little. I’ve been using various products to treat this which have worked well but mostly it’s been a subtle change. I have to say that Odacité’s All-Embracing Serum has definitely worked more effectively and a lot faster too. I’m not going to lie, it’s still visible, I don’t think that it will ever go, but I am actually feeling confident enough not to wear any foundation on my forehead on most days.
The scent is absolutely delicious, I still can’t quite put my finger on what the most dominant essential oil is but you can definitely smell neroli, ylang ylang, and grapefruit with the most subtle dash of rose. Neroli is great for oily and acne prone skin, and at the same time it encourages new cell turnover, ylang ylang is anti-inflammatory and brill for alleviating dry and itchy skin, whilst grapefruit helps to tone. When you use this serum you do feel like you’re at a spa, the texture is silky, the scent therapeutic, and your skin is left feeling plump and toned. If you have combination or dull lacklustre skin this is the most perfect serum ever and I can definitely say with confidence that if I were rich enough I’d buy this regularly.
What are the cons? I hear you ask… I know, I’ve been so positive, but the fact is that I cannot fault the products at all, they’re bloody amazing. But, the price of the serum is incredibly high and a for those of us that don’t have the cash to splash on such luxuries it’s a little bit depressing. When used with the Gua Sha tool (or with a good facial massage technique) you’ll come out looking like you’ve been at a spa because your skin will absorb more of the product deeper into the layers. If you just rubbed it onto your face you’d probably be pretty unimpressed for the price, but when used correctly it’s definitely worth every single penny. It would be nice to see a smaller size serum bottle to make it a little easier to purchase for those of us on a budget. The bottle will probably last you at least 3 months of daily use, morning and night, so the price is pretty fair for the amount and quality of product you receive.
I have been using Odacité’s products for almost 2 months now and the change has been insane. It’s no surprise that celebrity makeup artist Katy Denno and OITNB star Ruby Rose are such huge Odacité fans!
As for the Gua Sha tool, although you can use your hands using the tool makes it so much easier. I wouldn’t want to use a plastic tool on my face and crystal is long lasting, looks beautiful, and feels the most natural on your skin. It glides smoothly against the skin and the fact that you can warm or cool the stone makes it so therapeutic to use. The different contours of the tool allow you to get into every nook and cranny and as the stone is fairly large you can also scrape areas of your body with it. I do a lot of scraping down my shoulders and back and it feels amazing. Besides, having a solid skincare ritual is one of the best acts of self-love you can partake in. If I could only recommend one product from the range it would be the Crystal Contour Gua Sha tool without a doubt.
This is the first time I’ve posted makeup-free pictures (other than a lick of mascara of course) on my blog and I can’t get over how even my skin tone is and the improvement in the overall quality of my skin is super amazing too. I have been using Odacité’s products for almost 2 months now and the change has been insane. It’s no surprise that celebrity makeup artist Katy Denno and OITNB star Ruby Rose are such huge Odacité fans!
If you want to look like you have just walked out of a high-class spa then head on over to Odacité’s site and go wild! Have you tried Odacité’s products yet? Do you practise facial Gua Sha? Drop me a comment using the comments box below. For more clean beauty posts click here, oh and don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter!
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this is a sponsored post. I was sent products from Odacité for my own personal use and in order to write a review if I wished. This was purely in exchange for products and not for monetary payment. All opinions are my own and 100% honest. If you buy anything from the Odacité website I will not be at any personal gain. I have, however, included some affiliate links to other websites. This means I will get a small commission to help keep my blog up and running but it won’t cost you any extra. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me.