Do fairies use skincare? I really rather doubt it, on account of them being magically perfect, immortal and, well, fictional. But if they did, I am pretty sure their brand of choice would be In Fiore. Everything about the brand feels ethereal and a little magical and, like a garden fairy, it’s a little mysterious and elusive. Despite having been around since 1999, this isn’t a brand you will read about on every other beauty blog and I think this is intentional: this is the ultimate in cult skincare.
I have long heard raves about In Fiore’s special brand of magic from Kerrilynn Pamer of CAP Beauty and when Kerrilynn raves about something, resistance is pretty much futile. I only had to try one product (the exquisite Fleur Vibrante face oil) to become hopelessly hooked. Having now tested a significant percentage of In Fiore’s disorientingly vast product catalogue, I can honestly say that I am well and truly smitten. The line is built around jasmine and a proprietary tincture, which combines the aforementioned jasmine, rosehip and calendula infused into organic grape alcohol. In addition to the tincture, every one of In Fiore’s products contains a veritable garden variety of plant extracts and infusions.
As a rule, I don’t actually tend to love the smell of jasmine in skincare, but the smell of In Fiore products is beautiful: fresh, bright, almost tart and floral without a hint of cloyingness. And the product formulas are just as sophisticated as their scent. I have heard In Fiore’s founder and creator Julie Elliott described as a modern-day alchemist and I think the description is apt: her deft and magical touch can be felt in each product she creates, while her impeccable nose helps create skincare products that almost double as beautiful perfume. No really: I had friends sniff my face and sigh in ecstasy when I was wearing my In Fiore face oil.
Lustra Cleansing Essence and Treate Cleansing Emulsion.
The duo of the Lustra Cleansing Oil and the Treate Emulsion (a traditional cream cleanser) comprise the cornerstone of In Fiore’s skincare philosophy: its 4-2-4 cleansing method. I must confess that when I first heard about this particular cleansing method, I could only imagine it working for the most idle of the idle rich. The method requires its adherents to apply the Lustra oil and massage it in for 4 minutes, layering on the Treate for an additional 2-minute massage and followed by a 4-minute rinse (no, seriously), the first 2 minutes of which is done with warm water and the last two with cold. A total of ten minutes to spend on washing one’s face when most of us struggle with finding the time and energy to, you know, wash it at all, seemed like the kind of extravagance that gets lampooned on snarky gossip blogs.
I bought the Treate first (mainly because I had no interest in indulging in this 4-2-4 ridiculousness) and was immediately bummed that I didn’t get my hands on it before publishing my cream cleansers post. This is a gorgeous cream cleanser: gentle, yet thorough, with a lovely smell and light texture. I loved using it, yet the inveterate product junkie in me felt like I was missing out. I had to get the Lustra and wow! Am I glad that I did.
Lustra too is a beautiful cleaner in its own right. It’s a traditional cleansing oil, so it doesn’t emulsify and, if used on its own, would need to be steamed off the face with a hot washcloth. Its ingredients are beautiful: a stellar combination of base oils (grape seed, jojoba, castor and avocado) and EOs, including the ever-present jasmine, as well as chamomile, frankincense, rosewood and others. Yet, reluctant though I was to try it, the real magic happened when I tried the two cleansers as they were intended: as part of the 4-2-4 method.
I actually had little issue with the total of 6 minutes of facial massage. I happen to believe that a thorough facial massage is one of the best things you can do for your skin (check out this awesome facial massage primer by the inimitable St. Caroline Hirons) and it’s an enjoyable process. To pass the time I sometimes tee up Friends on Netflix or scroll through my Instagram feed (using my elbow to scroll down, obviously) while I massage away and I always set a timer because, well, I’m anal. Now for the bad news: the 4 minute face washing feels a little like waterboarding. It’s not so bad with the warm water, but once I get to the cold part, I am spluttering, gibbering, bored and generally hating life. Yes, I exaggerate, but only a little.
So what makes all this worth it? The results. I can honestly say that no other treatment, process or regime (and this includes at least 90% of all facials I have ever done) leaves my skin quite as clear, clean, lustrous, lifted and radiant as this cleansing method. And the results are not fleeting: I use the 4-2-4 before bed and wake up with the skin of a very well-rested infant. Now, I could venture a guess that if you were to massage your face for 6 minutes with any decedent combination of oil and cream cleansers, followed by a thorough rinse to remove every trace of oil with warm water and help stimulate the skin and tighten the pores with the cold, you might well get a similar result. Still, In Fiore’s products turn this utilitarian approach into a luxurious sensory experience and transform a simple nighttime routine into decadent pampering. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Speaking of decadent, a 30ml size of Lustra is a thoroughly reasonable $30 and the same size of Treate is $22, which makes this rather an affordable luxury.
Fleur Vibrante Solution Botanique
As I have mentioned above, Fleur Vibrante was the first In Fiore product I have ever tried and it is what made me fall in love with the line. It’s an absolutely stunning face oil, smelling like the most fragrant of jasmine gardens and chock-full of skin perfecting oils and plants like rose hip, marula, sea buckthorn and calendula. It has fast become my go-to oil when I want to treat my skin with kid gloves, while still feeling like I am using something special. I love Fleur Vibrante’s intensely yellow color (courtesy of calendula and sea buckthorn, I presume), but it can be a little disconcerting on first application. The oil does absorb quickly, however, and not a trace of color remains.
Now, this is a strongly scented oil. I happen to adore the smell and find it to be calming, beautiful and in no way cloying, even though I am not the world’s biggest fan of florals, but if you are particularly sensitive to scent (or are not a fan of jasmine), I would suggest trying a sample first. I should also note that although Fleur Vibrante may seem expensive at $120, it comes in a massive 125ml bottle, which actually makes this oil about 2 to 4 times cheaper than most other high quality facial oils on the market.
Complexe de Fleur Serum
Complexe de Fleur Cellular Renewal Complex is In Fiore’s anti-aging powerhouse. Formulated to optimize skin turnover and repair, it contains, and I quote, “rose petals, calendula blossoms, sea buckthorn berries, rose hips, comfrey leaf, and essential oils of French neroli, Bulgarian rose absolute, and Omani frankincense” in a base of orange flower water, grape alcohol and glycerine. CdF (do you mind if abbreviate? In Fiore’s nomenclature is delightful, but it’s a pain to have to write over and over) has quickly become one of my favorite serums. I love its golden color, I love that it isn’t an oil, but rather a thick, silky liquid, I love the smell (duh!) and I love the effect it has on my skin. That being said, this is not necessarily the serum I would recommend if your skin requires truly serious anti-aging. Rather, this is the perfect serum for someone in their 20s and 30s, looking to boost their skin’s vibrancy and to guard against aging, rather than trying to reverse or ameliorate its effect. For me, it’s the perfect serum for the warmer months when I want to use something active, yet light.
I should also note that alcohol is listed third in CdF’s rather long ingredient list, which means that it is present in quite a high concentration. Of course, this organic grape alcohol is the base for In Fiore’s proprietary tincture and it is not an inherently harmful ingredient, but as a general rule, alcohol can be seriously drying and even cause irritation, especially in the dryer, more sensitive and mature skins. This is one of the reasons I recommend CdF for younger skins. I should note, however, that my own delicate and dry skin has no issue whatsoever with CdF and I have used it during the winter in New York, so this would seem to suggest that for most skins the risk of irritation is minimal. Still I would suggest caution for the drier-skinned and extra-sensitive among you (thankfully, In Fiore offers travel and trial sizes of CdF).
Vis Clair Eye Cream
In Fiore’s Vis Clair eye cream is a delight. I once saw it referred to as “eye crack” and I can understand why: its list of ingredients is extraordinary, filled with anti-aging, firming, de-puffing and brightening botanicals, green coffee extract and beautiful oils. It’s incredibly light, yet nourishing and it leaves my eyes looking brighter, fresher and younger. The only thing keeping this from being my ultimate eye cream is, once again, the presence of alcohol. Although it doesn’t seem to cause any irritation whatsoever with long term use, the cream does sting a little on first application. I am actually not sure whether it would be possible to formulate this cream (it’s so light that I actually think it can be more accurately described as an emulsion) to be as elegant, effective and active without the use of alcohol and, as I said, it seems to cause no ill effects whatsoever. Still, that initial sting causes me to take periodic breaks from using Vis Clair to make sure that it doesn’t end up causing a reaction on my eyes. Once again, I recommend this without reservations if your skin is not sensitive, but urge a modicum of caution if your eye area is particularly delicate.
Fleur Vibrante Balm
I don’t usually write about samples on the blog because they don’t really afford me the opportunity to test a product as thoroughly as I like and because, frankly, they are pretty much impossible to photograph. This sample of the Fleur Vibrante Balm is an exception. The darling and eminently photogenic packaging aside, I fell in love with this balm from the first schmear. Its scent is so exquisite that I know people who actually use it as perfume. It also absorbs incredibly fast for a balm and leaves the skin perfectly soft and calm. Its ingredient list is quite similar to the Fleur Vibrante oil and together they make a perfect, fragrant tag team to keep the skin hydrated and protected and smelling like heaven.
Julie Elliott has created an entire universe of skincare and it’s one that I am thrilled to explore. These products create a sense of wellbeing and encourage self-care and self-love. And that may well be the greatest beauty ingredient of all.