Stark Skincare Purity+Defense Oil

Perhaps, some of my readers are like me. They like to play mixology maestro at home, using the benefits of one face oil to enhance the ingredients of another. Maybe, just maybe you might concoct an oil worthy of a review as you lucked out with some ingenious blend hat left skin gleaning. Bravo to you. But, when some skin ailment rears its ugly head and morphs into some stare-in-the-face calamity you swear the whole world is staring at. When they are not. For example, oily skin. No matter how many times you try to ditch your Clarisonic, no matter how many gentle face scrubs you seek out, no matter how many times you hope the toothpaste trick will work, a zit will just pop through. So, off you go to try & figure out how to zero in on the problem – oil production.

It’s about time women are realizing how an overproduction of sebum is simply your face’s way of saying “stop stripping away my needed moisture, you wench!” Harsh exfoliants and the such are the key triggers for this unbridled outburst, which often stimulate the glands and cause skin to churn out more oil, leaving you with t-zone shine, caked up foundation or worse…that ill-fated zit. And, what to do next? Mix up that one oil which has mild astringent activity with the one that smells addictingly fantastic. While sebum is needed to properly protect precious skin, using a specially crafted face oil can help overactive glands scale back on their oil-producing revelry. Stark Skincare Purity+Defense Oil ($40) is one such serum that uses Cypress essences to help those zealous glands balance out while refreshing skin with a balanced tonic of moisturizing base oils.

According to "Milady's Skin Care and Cosmetics Dictionary," Cypress oil inhibits sebaceous gland secretion. Its astringent and antiseptic qualities are ideal for removing excess oil from the skin and for neutralizing bacteria that cause skin eruptions. And, there’s plenty of this essence in the serum. Cypress presents an androgynous arid herbal/wood accord softened by a background of a soft Bergamot. While Rosemary notes are barely discernible, the scent conjures a serum that is clear and natural, but emotive at its best. There is an elegant complexity and subtlety to the treatment that has the essences weaved throughout Apricot Kernel, Sweet Almond, Camellia Seed, and Argan carriers. What’s interesting to note is most readers will assume Bergamot is one of those photo-sensitive oils to watch out for. But, Stark uses bergaptene-free Bergamot, which won’t spot skin under sunlight. Extremely lightweight in density & texture, the oil absorbs on contact while cutting through the sharp verdancy with a softly projected sweetened citrus flourish on skin. It works extraordinarily well under foundation & around delicate thin-skinned eyes.

Cypress is such an undervalued smooth, fulsome oil with its biodynamic properties and rarely seen in face treatments, one that could have been blended clumsily with the usual healer, Lavender. Stark moves beyond this cliché to opt for Bergamot, which finishes into a true skin scent. Perhaps, it’s this unisex whiff that makes it so acceptably masculine & alluring. Men will surely want to use it post-shave to heal up any nicks or irritation.

This oil’s triumvirate of moisture, oil-control and anti-agers, resonates with its vibrant yet minimalist intent. The perfect addition to those skin care regimes needing a shot of organic pureness.