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Vegan. Ex-makeup artist. CFS/ME sufferer. Cares about human rights, equality, animal rights, conservation/climate change.


Friday, 27 March 2015

zk'in Certified Organic Skincare Review

I am a skincare addict. Cleansing, exfoliation, moisturisation are my mantras. My way of life. So when I was given the opportunity to trial a 100% vegan skincare range brand new to the UK, I was rather excited!
Excited Space Cat gif
Yeah, I suppose I could review it, or whatever...
(gif via tumblr, source unknown)
Before we get onto my review, you better get out your notepads, because I'm gonna educate you on the brand.

zk'in is the brainchild of Grace Culhaci, who created the brand after developing a skin condition during her first pregnancy. The whole range is certified organic, cruelty-free and vegan! 

Things I love about the brand- 

1. They are kind to the planet 
Damn, that is a sweet Earth, you might say.
Image via graphicstock
  • Products contain no petrochemicals (which come from fossil fuels)
  • They use recyclable packaging from sustainable forests
  • They are mostly palm oil free except for a small amount of sustainable RSPO certified palm oil where unavoidable
  • They aim to be carbon neutral, and their waste management practices have achieved 95% diversion from landfill
  • The ingredients are produced using organic farming, meaning no harmful pesticides or herbicides are introduced into the environment.

2. They use clinically active ingredients, with evidence backed by independent clinical trials
Science Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I like to know that the ingredients in my skincare are going to be truly effective. It's a huge thumbs down for me if products use folk remedies, old wives tales or even homeopathy to make claims about their efficacy. I need evidence!

3. They don't use unrealistically photoshopped models. While they will still 'tidy up' their images (removing stray hairs, adjusting lighting, etc) zk'in vow to be honest in the representation of their models.
zk'in model Tanya Linney
zk'in model Tanya Linney. Image via zk'in

Things I don't love about the brand

1. They promote the fallacy that natural = good, and synthetic = bad. I like that natural products are often better for the environment, but that doesn't mean that synthetic ingredients are always chock full of harmful toxins and carcinogens. 
Zero Tolerance To Unnatural Ingredients. Most organic beauty standards allow for the use of petrochemical preservatives in their products, zk'in has a zero tolerance approach to synthetics and chemicals, only using a 100% natural preservative system.
Excerpt from zk'in's Honest Beauty booklet 
The most common cosmetic preservatives are parabens. Parabens are often demonised because they are mildly oestrogenic, which makes people panic and assume they are going to cause oestrogen sensitive cancers, like breast cancer. Parabens are 10,000 to 100,000 less potent than the oestrogen the body makes naturally. They do not build up in the skin or organs, have never been found to be carcinogenic, and they biodegrade easily in the environment. Parabens occur naturally in some fruits. (Source)

2. They promote a dangerous alternative cancer treatment.
In the brand's promotional Honest Beauty booklet, the CEO, Grace, mentions using 'vitamin B17' to try to treat an inoperable tumour pressing on her optic nerve. This is actually not a vitamin at all, but laetrile or amygdalin, a substance that produces cyanide when digested. (Source)
During my second pregnancy I was diagnosed withan inoperable tumour on my optic nerve. This condition, undiagnosed for many years had affected the vision in my right eye. This hurdle focused my attention on living a healthy organic lifestyle with a vitamin B17 nutritional program. Together with the honestly pure products we have created I now live a beautiful, pain-free life.
Excerpt from zk'in's Honest Beauty booklet
The idea is that the cyanide kills the cancer cells, but there is no evidence that this works, and the treatment poses major risks of cyanide poisoning. I understand too well how it feels to be clutching at straws with your health, while the medical field shrug their collective shoulders. It is one thing to choose a potentially dangerous alternative treatment for yourself, but quite another to promote it with no mention of risks in an unrelated skincare booklet.

Make of that what you will, but now...

On To My Review!

I received four full size products, and some samples of their other products.
Zk'in Calming Cream Cleanser, Hydrating Mist, and Relief Moisturiser Boxes
Calming Cream Cleanser, Hydrating Mist, and Relief Moisturiser

zk'in Brightening and Hydrating Masque and samples, in packaging
Brightening and Hydrating Masque and samples

 As you can see, the products came in cardboard boxes. These may be recycled, but I couldn't help thinking it would be better for the environment if this extra packaging was done away with altogether. 
zk'in Calming Cream Cleanser, Hydrating Mist and Relief Moisturiser, unboxed
Calming Cream Cleanser, Hydrating Mist and Relief Moisturiser
I like that the packaging is hygienic (no fingers dipping in tubs, introducing bacteria). I would've preferred to get a little more in the full size products, though. 50ml of moisturiser doesn't usually last me long! Luckily with most of the products a little goes a long way.
zk'in Brightening and Hydrating Masque, and samples unboxed
Brightening and Hydrating Masque, and samples.

The Calming Cream Cleanser is a soothing and hydrating milk. It dissolves heavy make-up with ease, even mascara (although it's not meant for eyes, and will sting if it gets in there!) I love that it contains oats, one of my favourite ingredients for hydrating and soothing sore or inflamed skin. My tip is to find an old pair of laddered tights (clean!) and cut the foot off. Fill it with a couple of good handfuls of oats, tie it off, and hang it from your bath tap letting the warm water run through it. Great for sunburn or eczema! Anyway, the only fault I can find with this cleanser is the smell - it kind of reminds me of play-doh!? 
zk'in Calming Cream Cleanser is £15.95 at Love Lula.

The Hydrating Mist is very refreshing, and I really feel it boosts the skin's hydration compared to just moisturiser alone. It has a very strong lavender scent, so this might be a little much for people sensitive to fragrances and essential oils. It would be great to mist on to rejuvenate your make-up after a long day. Hydrating Mist is £22.95.

I was surprised by the Brightening and Hydrating Masque. I was expecting it to be a white, creamy moisture mask, but it was a clay mask! It smells of essential oils and cocoa - again, these products are not for you if you prefer fragrance-free skincare! The mask leaves the skin slightly flushed, a common side effect of clay masks, but I found my skin was a little brighter and clearer the morning after I used it. Brightening and Hydrating Masque is £29.90.
Swatches of zk'in  Calming Cream Cleanser, Brightening and Hydrating Masque, Relief Moisturiser.
L-R, Calming Cream Cleanser, Brightening and Hydrating Masque, Relief Moisturiser.
The one product out of the bunch that disappointed me was the Relief Moisturiser. It was nowhere near moisturising enough for my skin, which felt tight and flaky five minutes after application! I thought this might be just because of my unusually dry skin, but after several family members tried it, the consensus was - not moisturising enough. Relief Moisturiser is £29.95.

The Rejuvenating Moisturiser,  which I got a sample of, is better, but still not quite rich enough for my liking. The Line Smoothing Serum is a thin, silky lotion, almost a gel. A little goes a long way. It is supposed to help prevent crow's feet by having a weak paralysing effect on the muscles - like a topical botox lite. I'm not sure if I'm imagining it, but I think my fine lines seemed slightly diminished after use. The product seemed to dry quickly to an invisible, almost film-like finish, which made it a little difficult to rub moisturiser or sunscreen over the top without disturbing it. 

Overall, my favourite of the products I got to try was the Calming Cream Cleanser,  by far. The products do all have a strange kind of scent, which I'm guessing is the natural preservative they use. It is made from bitter orange, radish root, vitamin E, essential oil isolates and basil extract,  and is strangely listed on the ingredients as 'parfum (natural preservative)'.

Would I purchase these products after they run out? Maybe the cleanser, but not the others. While the clay mask and toner are good, the smell is too strong, and I can find similar products cheaper than these. 


The products are priced a bit higher than I would've liked. The company has great eco credentials,  but products are too strongly fragranced for me, personally. 

Zk'in products are available to buy in the UK from Love Lula and Zynergy.co.uk

Til Next Time,


The products in this post were provided to me free of charge for review purposes. My reviews and opinions will always remain unbiased and impartial. Please see skimlinks disclosure in the sidebar.

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