La Bella Figura Barbary Fig Renewal Serum

Retinols tend to inspire a curious envy & sneaking fear simultaneously. At first glance, the wonder cream will entice many skins to shed week old layers of musty staid cells, but on a deeper look, research is starting to show it's continuous use over long periods leaves skin frazzled - prone to sun damage if SPF isn't mandated, thinned out, and even lackluster. Reports suggest that after years of speeding up cell turnover, skin ends up looking dull due to Hayflick Limit (which is the number of times skin can regenerate itself before reaching its limit, at 52 times). Inspired by the obvious void left in the organic skin care world and seeing how some damaged skins could use more help that the basic pharm or Argan could provide, Victoria-Fantauzzi studiously armed herself with some scientific heavy-duty books and hopped into her Chicago lab, in search of a retinol replacement.

“Many folks love retinols, but the prescription strength can make your face flake off before it starts looking better and I was looking for something natural.”

Prolonged hours with pipettes and essentials and out came the Barbary Fig Renewal Serum ($125),. a vigorous blend of oils particularly created for mature skins in need of some serious rejuvenation with organic ingredients. First off, I’m thrilled to see La Bella Figura applying the term ‘serum’ to this face oil. With their luxurious sense of treatment and a calm appreciation of natural essences, most face oils do work like serums - they deliver a concentrated dose of active ingredients into parts of your skin that moisturizers can’t quite reach and they leave your complexion soft and beautifully prepped for moisturizer. The molecular structure of a serum gives it deeper penetration, so the availability of active ingredients is increased, making serums brilliant for targeting specific problems, like wrinkles, pigmentation or dehydration. Today’s dewy face oils mimic this action without the interference of chemical fluffers to pad up the product.

And, the Barbary Fig Renewal Serum doesn't differ. It retains a traditionally organic desire for luminosity and glides beautifully across skin. It’s a light-bodied oil but with a plumpier viscosity, if that makes some skin sense here. And, the essences are in every sense, aesthetic statements on their own. First off, Barbary Fig is at the heart of the oil. The tiny amount of oil extracted from the cactus fruit, which makes the storied Barbary Fig Oil the most expensive on the market, about $1,440 a liter. Like it’s Moroccan cousin, the Argan, Barbary Fig has high concentrations of Vitamin E and Omega 6 and gets to work on improving elasticity straight away. Beyond this, the painstakingly conceived oil boasts a remarkable finger-picked collective of some rarified oils that run deep with molecularly-friendly nutrients that work on deep-down restructuring.

“I came up with this formulation after pouring over my nerdy journals and concluding a natural combination of A, C, E, K was needed to create a serum to repair damaged skin.”

From the Barbary core springs in somewhat gentler vein Broccoli Seed Oil, which helps facilitate the much-desired cell turnover, since it’s equally potent in Omega 9 and Vitamin A (the derivative for retinols). The blend furthers its reparative function with Guava (bringing the free-radical fighting power of Lycopene) and Milk Thistle (yielding flavonoids in the form of antioxidants). An eclectic oeuvre of Pineapple, Blood Orange, Magnolia, Rose Damascena, Frankincense and Melissa essentials assert themselves as a rich, opulent finish that ends on a clean, grassy and fresh note. The semi-citrus-y accords fade away faintly into the Rose, while the transparent Frankincense helps the green-edible accords evolve into something progressively natural.

It’s rather an ineffable bounty of essentials - resplendent in their raw - which evokes an abstract scent that veers neither on the citrus side nor the floral. The interplay of the synchronized spontaneity and order resonates with skin with an air of comfort that is quite irresistibly ecstatic. Morning after, skin is aglow with freshly packed antioxidants and their transparent tenacity to feed those telltale signs of aging through some serious nighttime regeneration. A gleaming elixir, the oil renders sumptuous eco-luxury without any of those kitschy catch phrases used too often to sell to the masses. But, rather, it brings glint of smug satisfaction knowing you’re getting the same penetrating power harnessed organically with extreme sophistication. The oil is high-spirited in theory and unlike most of those ‘highly touted’ serums, it proves its merit scintillating on skin with boundless potential. Need a complementary eye treatment? Barbary Fig doesn't stop just at lifting skin's sag, but also illuminates the sensitive eye zone.