My skin is far from lovely, even though I am often complimented on my natural glow. That glow is sweat people. Sweat that may make my skin luminous, elastic, and appear young. But sweat that also clogs my pores and encourages pimples. I have learned to embrace my shiny skin while traveling and feel less of a need to cover my skin in matte powder, which just makes my breakouts worse any way. It goes without saying that I have a lot of acne scars.
My skin has gone from bad to worse over the last 2+ years of traveling. I am often in environments that are ideal for releasing a breakout–from long flights, bus rides, and train rides to polluted air and not-so-filtered shower water. I’ve gone weeks where I try just washing with water, no soap. I’ve tried using the brands I trusted when I was younger, even though they never helped with my acne.
Eventually, I realized that I should treat my skin the way I treat my body, by consuming as many natural products as possible. Wellness goes beyond what you eat to include what products you put on your skin. After all, your skin is your largest organ! You likely know every ingredient that goes into your body and knowing what you put on your body is equally important. To be healthy inside, we have to be healthy outside too.
I was in India and started using neem face wash and face masks to naturally treat my oily and pimple-prone skin. The results were slow but effective. I couldn’t find any fresh products that were made directly from just the plant. This is when I discovered Polyn, a woman-owned and made-in-the-USA holistic skincare brand. I’ve been using Polyn products for three months now. I wanted to wait to write this piece until I had every last drop and could write an honest appraisal of how the 100% plant and non-GMO products changed my skin. And did they ever! Throughout the last three months, I haven’t used any other products on my skin except for Polyn. If I had a gnarly pimple I would treat it with all natural tea tree oil from Bodyshop.
Everything in the Polyn product line is completely natural, cruelty-free, and vegan. Polyn has never tested on animals and never using any animal by-products, they’re even certified by PETA. Did you know that if a company purchase ingredients from another company that tested on animals they don’t have to disclose that and can even call the final product cruelty free as they didn’t do the animal testing themselves? Appalling. Likewise, if a company makes synthetics that could also be found in nature, they can call their product 100% natural. Well, Polyn is the real deal, there are no toxins and fillers.
The founder and creator, Polly Glasse, told me she trusts the purity product so much she uses the face wash to wash her hands and clean her dishes while camping! The ingredients are biodegradable to the earth and doesn’t hurt any water source. Polyn truly lives up to the claim of “keepin’ it real–from the earth to the bottle and nothing in between” and the ethos to “Treat your skin to the healing therapy it needs with ingredients that are good for you and the earth.” Everything they offer is jam-packed with natural nutrients that will feed your skin with the nourishment it craves. Glasse has been formulating 100% plant-based skin care for over two decades. She was previously a premed student who switched to studying Chinese medicine, Chi Nei Tsang, Acupressure, Reiki, and other healing techniques when she learned that Western medicine did not treat our entire bodies, inside and out. She’s also a professional aromatherapist, which is vastly apparent from the first whiff of the pine scent of Polyn products.
Glasse never travels without the face oil, which she swears by for having healthy skin after long-haul flights. She also carries the lip balm everywhere and uses it often to treat her lips but also her dry cuticles and nose tissue while traveling too. She went on to explain to me that “when you travel, the bacteria, air changes, stress, lack of hydration, etc. is very stressful to your body and mind which will ultimately show in your skin.” I’ve seen this happen to my skin over and over again as I travel and previously only tried to curb the effects by drinking lots of water, which is incredibly beneficial but Polyn seals the deal.
The eco skin care line was so kind to send me a complete set of products to test. They sent me the entire essential 5 face line which includes the Purifying Face Mask, Invigorating Face Wash, Invigorating Face Toner, Cooling Under Eye Serum, and Regenerative Face Serum. I also got to test the Illuminating Face Oil, Intense Moisture Lotion Bar, Balance Aromatherapy Oil, and Moisturizing Lip Balm. Sadly, I really don’t like cucumbers so opted not to use the eye serum or face oil.
The slogan “therapy in a bottle” refers to the foundation each Polyn product has in emotional therapy through using essential oils to create healing, mood-boosting aromas. Aromatherapy stimulates the mind and helps us lift and focus our emotions. It’s hard to make time for these rituals in our daily lives and by implementing this ancient science into the skin care products Polyn naturally delivers the benefits of aromatherapy each time the products are used. Blends of plant aromas, oils, and essences help our body to balance–some scents can even calm the central nervous system and increase red blood cell production. Polyn not only tends to your skin but busts stress and enhances your mood.
Although aromatherapy is in each product there is an inpidual Polynaromatherapy oil available which is safe to wear on the skin or use for massage. Its key ingredients are rose hip oil, frankincense oil, and helichrysum oil. Shake the bottle well then apply a drop on pulse points to wear as perfume. To distress rub it into your temples or putting a few drops between your palms, rubbing them together to heat up the oil with your pine energy, then cup your hands over your nose and take a deep inhale of the beautiful scent. I like to run the remaining oil through the ends of my hair to close split ends and give it a luscious shine and wonderful scent.
After testing everything for nearly 3 months, until the very last drop, I can confidentially say that my hero products from the line are a trio of products, known as the clarity collection, that I think everyone’s skin will benefit from– the face wash, face toner, and face serum. I used these products religiously and did my best to never skip a step. I actually got misty eyed in the outdoor jungle shower at an eco-resort in Bali when I realized that I had used the end of the face wash. Fortunately, I still have a bit of the face serum yet which is keeping my skin nourished in the extreme heat in Thailand, where I am now.
The face wash absolutely transformed my skin. A mixture of all natural peppermint, horsetail, and castile ingredients tingle the skin as it deeply cleanses pores leaving my face feeling quite literally squeaky clean. I hadn’t used a foaming face wash in ages and loved how easy it was to apply smoothly across my face and the sensation of the bubbles kissing my skin. I liked to let the lather sit for a few seconds to really pull out all the crud that settles onto my skin throughout the day as I travel. I also used the face wash to treat the acne on my back and often just as a general cleanser for my body. The peppermint is invigorating and energizing. I’d use the face wash at least once a day, usually in the morning as the scent gave me an extra mood boost and left me feeling fresh and prepared for a day of exploring.
The toner is a light mist that instantly brightens my complexion and makes me look and feel more alert. It tones and tightens through a genius mix of plant-based ingredients including peppermint, echinacea, and lavender. It smells so amazing that if you accidentally spritz a few pumps into the air as a room freshener you won’t regret it. I like to use toners directly on my skin and skip out on using cotton balls which aren’t exactly eco-friendly. Just make sure to close your eyes, as peppermint will sting them! I used the toner twice a day in the morning and evening after washing my face and before applying anything else to my skin. A bonus is that the toner is 60 oz so it’s travel size for those of you who like me try to only pack a carry-on.
The face serum is the product I was most nervous to use. In the past, I had tried serums that always smelled like chemical peels and felt heavy on my skin. The Polyn rendition is completely different. For starters you better shake this bad boy before applying it otherwise the serum comes out super runny. A good shake helps the ingredients to bind together. I applied this each night before bed after using the toner on my face, neck, and chest. A tiny bit goes a long way, which is why I still have quite a bit of this product left, even after 3 months of daily use. As I drifted to sleep I had visions of laying in a flower bed, no wonder as the key ingredients are tuberose wax, rose hip seed oil, and organic unrefined shea butter. The powerful potion stimulates natural collagen production while restoring and reviving skin–key things that a full-time traveler like me needs from her skincare. The package is 60 oz so it is travel sized and also the glass bottle is made from recycled materials in a deep purple shade which keeps all light out of the bottle to preserve the sensitive natural ingredients.
The face mask is one of the most innovative and environmentally friendly products as it is sold as a powder, not a paste. By providing consumers with a powder it gives users free range in how they wish to use the 2-in-1 product. It can be mixed with a splash of water to make an excellent exfoliating scrub or mixed with just a dash of water for a paste and applied as a tightening face mask. Whichever way you use the powder made up mainly of adzuki beans, bentonite, and rosehip, leaves skin is left feeling ultra smooth as the powder works to eliminate impurities and dead skin cells. It’s packaged in a 100% compostable tube. I love that Polyn is committed to natural healthy skin care, and reducing waste to restore and preserve the nature that provides us with the essence to care for our skin.
The lotion bar felt great but was a bit awkward to use the dispenser of the balm is about the size of a quarter. I suggest using it on cuticles, hands, elbows, and feet to curb dryness. There is no oily residue and it smells amazing thanks to key elements–apricot kernel oil, coconut oil, organic shea butter, ylang-ylang and neroli essential oils, mixed with pure euphorbia cerifera aka candelilla wax. It can even eliminate itch and sting from insect bites and be used as a make-up remover! Just like the other tubed products from Polyn the Intense Moisture Lotion Bar packaging is 100% compostable.
The lip balm is another personal favorite. I am weary to use lip balms as they usually have chemical ingredients that actually keep your lips dry in order to make you continue purchasing the product. How awful is that? Well, rest assured, you can be confident that the Polyn lip balm is just as natural, and chemical free, as the rest of the product line. It smells absolutely heavenly and makes my lips feel soothed and smoothed thanks to organic rose hip, shea butter, and peppermint essential oil. As it moisturizing lips it also provides antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. This is another product I’ve been using several times a day for three months and still have plenty left, it is very generous and a small amount goes a long way, or maybe I just have thin lips? Again, the packaging is compostable and very lightweight.
Peppermint is an ingredient that I never had thought of using on my skin before but it is the one ingredient found in most of the Polyn products I loved the most. Peppermint is said to make the skin brighter, and hello who doesn’t want to look radiant? It can also help control acne, which is high up on my list of reasons to be a Polyn fangirl. Peppermint can control oil and prevent pores from getting clogged–two of my top acne culprits. Castile, another key Polyn ingredient, is also a well-known acne fighter. It is also believed to soothe puffy skin and reduce fine lines.
Do all of these products sound so good you could eat them? Well, you literally could. But they’re a little costly to use as seasoning for your next meal. Each of the holistic components of Polyn are purely biological and food grade. Another notable detail about Polyn is that the female-founded company is also led primarily by women. 60% of full and part-time employs are women, and females have a majority representation on the Board of Directors. Even most of the shareholders are women.
After using Polyn for a quarter of a year I can swear that my skin has been revolutionized. I am often told now that I look younger than I look, not that I am old enough to seek that kind of compliment, but still, it feels good. My skin still gets shiny in extreme heat but day-to-day I no longer have excessively oily skin. My acne scars have started to fade, and I have fewer new pimples popping up on my face. The acne I do get usually only comes around my period, which is unpreventable, Polyn doesn’t claim to cure hormone spikes. My few period pimples are much more manageable and clear up in about two days without leaving scabs or scars. I never dreamed this was possible. My purified skin has left me feeling more confident, especially considering I don’t usually wear makeup these days. The aromatherapy has assisted me in starting and ending each day feeling calm and in high spirits. Polyn has made drastic changes to my body and mind, now I am just waiting for them to release a travel sized bottle of the face wash so I can buy a new round of this skincare goodness.
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