Wouldn’t it be nice if the skin care industry had a “do no harm” principle like the medical profession? Unfortunately, studies have shown time and time again that multinational cosmetics corporations don’t exactly have consumers’ best interests at heart. Fortunately, as with food, clothing and so many other consumer products, you can find comfort and reassurance in buying local.
La Divina Face Oils is the labor of love brought to you by Caroline and Cheserae. Caroline lives right here in Mar Vista, while Cheserae’s home base is Ojai. Caroline, who has a background in craniosacral therapy and other healing modalities, has been using herbs and oils medicinally for over 20 years. Cheserae, meanwhile, works as an aesthetician. In addition to her many years of experience with skin care, her profession adds an immense amount of credibility to La Divina’s concoctions; each product has been tested for at least nine months on Cheserae’s clients, and their experience has had a great impact on the formulations. As Caroline puts it, “The feedback was invaluable and, with Cheserae's help, the oils were tweaked to what everyone called divine.” In other words, these oils work, and Caroline and Cheserae have plenty of direct client testimonials to prove it.
So, what exactly is in La Divina’s products, you ask? Pretty much the highest grade carrier and essential oils you can find anywhere, thanks to Caroline’s painstaking research. She got started when she was in such a state of near desperation at the dry, itchy state of her skin in year two of California’s drought that she resorted to slathering her skin with various oils in the shower. She discovered to her surprise and delight that these seemingly heavy oils left her skin not only moisturized, but clean and clear, as well. Inspired, she set to work researching the healing properties of different carrier oils. She explains, “I have used essential oils for years for healing and for aromatherapy, so I am familiar with their potency, but I did more research, tried different companies, looked into the most sustainable ones I could find. All the oils we use are either organic or wildcrafted and the essential oils are either organic or Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade.”
This may not sound particularly noteworthy until you consider the fact that many of the oils used in skin care products are chemically extracted, as opposed to cold pressed, which pretty much destroys the antioxidant benefits of the oil in its natural state. What’s more, the concentration of essential oils within a carrier oil is often much weaker than the buyer might expect – they’ve been so diluted that they don’t impart any benefit beyond a nice scent. La Divina, on the other hand, will add closer to 70 drops of essential oils to the carrier oil (as opposed to just a few drops), thereby ensuring that the therapeutic properties of those oils come through in the final product.
Caroline and Cheserae are currently producing three La Divina formulations: Sunrise Velvet Hydration for dry skin, Sunrise Healing Elixir for combination skin and Sunset Velvet Hydration for dry skin (to be used in the evening). The ingredients vary from product to product; each one includes several carrier oils along with a generous assortment of essential oils chosen for their distinctive soothing and rejuvenating properties. Carrier oils include rosehip seed, jojoba, sesame, tamanu and sea buckthorn – all cold-pressed and high-grade. The added essential oils include frankincense, which is potently anti-inflammatory, regenerative and antimicrobial; bergamot, known for evening out skin tone; geranium to reduce irritation and increase circulation; antioxidant and cleansing grapefruit, as well as several others. The origins and benefits for each ingredient is detailed on La Divina’s website.
After spending hours chatting with Caroline about her passion for therapeutic skin care and the many amazing discoveries she’s made about essential oils in her years of research, we were eager to give La Divina’s products a whirl. We chose Sunrise Velvet Hydration, which is made of rosehip seed, jojoba and sesame oils, and infused with frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, bergamot, cedarwood, vetiver, cypress and a blend of citrus essential oils. The formulation absorbs into the skin instantly, leaving a glowing sheen without much oily residue. For those of us who were raised Catholic, the frankincense and myrrh scents are reminiscent of the incense burned at Christmas Mass, and combined with the other essential oils, the overall aromatherapeutic effect is extraordinarily calming and comforting without being at all overpowering. We can say without a second’s hesitation that our skin has looked smoother and healthier – we’d even go so far as to say more youthful – since we started using the product every morning and evening. And while we can’t say for certain that it’s a direct result of the oil, we can’t help but notice we’ve had better sleep and fewer headaches as well.
Best of all, apart from sunblock, we don’t need to use any other products on our face. Caroline recommends using just a drop or two of oil and a warm wet washcloth to clean the skin – similar to the Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling – and then simply smoothing a few more drops into the face and neck afterward for moisturization. We won’t be bothering with eye cream, toner or any other dubious skin care product ever again.
In fact, we’re tempted to call La Divina’s face oils the skin care equivalent of a miracle drug, but that sounds uncomfortably close to what one of those multinational cosmetics corporations would say…so we’ll just settle for calling it amazing.