THE IN-TRAY

Meet Herbario - if ever there's a time for a naturopath brand, it's now

Skincare trends may come and go but Herbario is here to stay. This month we’re welcoming the original plant-based and cruelty-free skincare brand to the MECCA family. Founded by Italian-born Vito Cozza and Valli Shubere in 1977, it’s been one of Australia’s best-kept skin secrets for decades with both a clinic in Prahran and luxurious line of skin soothers.

Discovering that plants that are good for us on the inside can also be turned into potent formulas and used topically to maximise skin health underpins their holistic philosophy. Here, the co-founders talk through their top five formulas; half are designed to dissolve dead skin cells and penetrate oil clogged pores, and the other half work to rebuild and restore hydration and strength. No slick eye-popping packaging here. Just seriously good skincare.

THE DOUBLE CLEANSE

“We eliminate toxins through the skin, so we really need to cleanse well,” explains Cozza, revealing his top two products to be the Detox Cleansing Oil and Detox Cleansing Powder. The powerful and calming two-step ritual detoxifies the dermal layers of the skin and jump starts skin function. “There’s no way you can nourish the skin if you’re carrying yesterday’s dead skin cells impacted on there,” tells Shubere. And, thoroughly clean skin makes moisturisers even more effective.

Both cleansers contain the herbs marshmallow, echinacea, and lavender which work to strengthen the skin’s defences. Makeup, dirt, grime and pollution are no match for marshmallow as it’s an effective emollient, working to soften dead cells and anything sitting on the skin’s surface. “I think that the best results happen when you use something on a daily basis. I call it a micro-dosage of an ingredient,” reveals Cozza, nudging us to make this double cleanse a daily habit. The lavender and the echinacea work to relax nerve endings (there are 2000 nerve endings per square inch of our skin). According to Cozza, those nerve endings communicate with each other around the body, and when relaxed, they help the body detoxify and destress.

A tip from Shubere; create a mask mixture with the oil, powder and water. The longer you leave the herbs on the skin, the deeper they will penetrate and the more beneficial the therapeutic results.

READ MORE: Cleansing sounds easy — but could you be doing it better?

THE TONER AND SERUM POWER PAIR

Following the cleansers is this very gentle yet effective Hydrating Regen Toner. Spray this over the face and neck and gently press into skin for maximum absorption. It has a mild astringent action so there might be a satisfying tingle. The herbs rose, horsetail, rosehip and vitamin E combine to leave your skin feeling both invigorated and hydrated. “I like to use the Regen Toner in the morning to tone and hydrate and the Detox Toner at night to take care of the immunological function of the skin and help the nightly renewal process,” says Cozza.

Next up is Valli’s most-loved product; The Moisturising Serum No. 1. “When I apply it on somebody, there’s an immediate sense of happiness of the skin,” reveals Shubere, whose wait-list facial treatments are legendary. Formulated with omega 6 fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid and vitamin E, this serum is deeply moisturising and leaves skin instantly soft, making it a mainstay in the clinic. It also absorbs quickly so there isn’t a greasy film sitting on the skin at the end of the day. Shubere does warn that any product that just sits on the surface is a big no-no, as this stops the skin from breathing, resulting in dry skin and open pores.

READ MORE: How to choose the best serum for your skin concern

THE SUPERSTAR WONDER

Lastly, it’s Cozza’s desert island product: Skin Rescue Paint.

“This is my skin soldier because it has everything you need to protect and nourish your skin ,” he say, recommending that you can add a few drops into a cleanser, serum, or balm to super-charge them for oily or irritated skin. The herbs echinacea, myrrh, calendula, and ginger work together to create an anti-bacterial and anti-viral skin SOS. Apply a small amount with a cotton bud or clean finger to a nasty mosquito bite or blister and it will help speed up the healing process. It can also be used it on scars, itchy and irritated skin, or acne-prone skin. “It really is marvellous — my tip is to add this to the cleansing powder or oil if you have a strange passenger travelling through your skin!” reveals Shubere.

WATCH MORE: A targeted routine for treating acne

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