There's been a real shift in New Zealand recently towards brands that marry the use plant-derived compounds and scientific validation. Sans [ceuticals] is one such range. Created by Lucy Marr (of Stephen Marr and Lucy and the Powder Room), Sans is committed to using sustainably-harvested, highly active ingredients, as well as employing sustainability practices across the board.
A few months back I went to an event they held at Ingrid Starnes where I got to chat to Lucy and her education facilitator Sophy about their products, which I've been curious about for a while. As a result of dealing with my oily, acne-prone skin for several years now, I've become more interested in using skincare with active ingredients which are scientifically proven to actually effect change, such as vitamin A, AHA/BHAs, and essential fatty acids. Sans products in particular use retinyl palmitate, a generally well-tolerated form of vitamin A and one of the primary antioxidants found naturally in the skin.
It always irks me when "natural" brands use emotive phrases like "nasty chemicals" in the marketing; the dose makes the poison, and "natural" doesn't always mean "safe". Sans, unfortunately, does go down this route on their packaging. However, they also acknowledge that their retinyl palmitate is synthetically derived -- in fact, it's the only synthetic in their formulations -- and have done substantial research and testing into their other ingredients to justify their inclusion.
I purchased a trio of products on the evening that came in a canvas pouch (created in partnership with Deadly Ponies!) -- the Balancing Hair Wash and Hydratant, along with Baobab Regenerative Body Cream.
- I'm almost at the end of the Balancing Hair Wash now, and credit it with the reduction in oil on my scalp -- no mean feat during the Southern summer months. I used to have to shampoo every day, but now I skip a wash a couple of times a week and just scrub with my fingertips in the shower. My thinking is that, in addition to the retinyl palmitate, the removal of silicones from my hair has also normalised sebum levels.
- The Balancing Hair Hydratant is a beautifully formulated conditioner; the texture is light but spreads easily through the ends of my hair. It quickly rinses clean, and just leaves my hair feeling balanced.
- The Baobab Regenerative Body Cream has only seen intermittent use, mainly because I'm lazy about body moisturiser in the summer. It's really lightweight, and almost feels like silken water on my skin after I massage it in -- it's the least greasy body lotion I've ever used. Sophy mentioned that it's fantastic for people with KP (keratosis pilaris) and scarring. It also has a lovely sandalwood scent.
Not long after the event, Everyday Needs held a pop up stall at the Ponsonby Markets, and there I bought a set of the pH Perfect Body Wash and the Goji Cleansing Oil for half price. (SCORE.) I've only used the Body Wash so far, and to be honest I feel like it's money down the drain. It was kind of a case of GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL, a mindset I get into sometimes with cosmetics. I'm sure it's great, but I've never had fussy body skin and am not sensitive to ingredients like sulfates, so I might try using it as a face wash and shampoo from now on -- hopefully this isn't ill-advised. The Cleansing Oil might come in handy later on in the colder, drier months.
Sans is a really well-edited and thoughtfully-formulated range, and I've especially enjoyed the hair products I've tried. Next I'll be looking to try the Activator 7 Oil.