If you're getting a head-start on your New Year's resolutions, and they include "Go organic" or "Use more natural skincare", here's something you may like: Organic Ylang Face Elixir from Aftelier Perfumes. Perfumer Mandy Aftel is also a beauty and cosmetics enthusiast who cares deeply about the stuff that goes on her (and our) face. Mandy and I share a belief that our beauty rituals contribute to our feeling of well-being: we take the time to do something wonderful for ourselves, to indulge in scents, colors, and textures that make us happy. Enjoying this sensuality is, perhaps, the most fundamental aspect of our love for cosmetics.
Aftelier body & hair elixirs are among my most favorite and most used treats (see my reviews of Ancient Resins, Chocolate & Saffron, Coffee& Pear). The previous incarnation of the Face Elixir felt slightly more aromatherapeutic than cosmetic, perhaps because the squat little bottles didn't come with a dropper, and I used them more to relax at the end of the day. The new formula, though, is not just for the senses, but also feels incredible on the skin.
The base of Aftelier Face Elixir is a blend of several organic oils: rice bran, sweet almond, apricot kernel, camellia, grapeseed, squalene, and rose hip seed. I use a drop-full of the oil and it absorbs right away, leaving no greasy residue. My face doesn't look or feel oily afterwards and non of the elixir transfers to my pillowcase. Instead, the oils balance and nourish the skin, while the aromatic composition (ylang-ylang, pink grapefruit, blood orange) feels restorative and satisfying-- creamy more than floral, as is typical of ylang-ylang.
My skin can sometimes be very dry, which requires using a heavier moisturizer over the elixir, but if your skin is more normal or if it's not midwinter you can probably get away with just this oil. This time of the year the oil is more for balancing and revitalizing for me, but I can tell that it has a long-term effect and I don't wake up with a parched face even if I don't top it off with a cream. You can first buy a 1ml sample before committing to a full bottle (always a good thing with active skincare, really) and test. Chances are that the experience will get you slightly addicted.
Aftelier- Organic Ylang Face Elixir ($65 for 1/2 oz, and $6 for a 1ml sample) is available from aftelier.com. The product in this review was sent free of charge for my consideration.