The setting: Novato, about a month ago. I was breaking out around my mouth. Fearing for my face, while also wanting to try something new, as I often do, I decided to try the Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique skin care line, because I’d heard some good things about it.
I’m not kidding — my skin got better overnight, which sounds an awfully lot like an infomercial when I say it out loud, but dramatic changes like that never happen that quickly with my skin.
Meet my latest skin care love.
The seven-piece Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique skin care line is the Bay Area botanical brainchild of two natural skin care gurus — San Francisco facialist Kristina Holey (she’s been ballyhooed about in all the big mags), and Berkeley chemist/skin care formulator/former high school science teacher Marie Veronique, who also has her own separate skin care line (I’ve got my eye on their Vitamin C+E Ferulic serum), which you can find, along with Kristina Holey products, at the Berkeley Marie Veronique store and online at the Marie Veronique website.
Props to the plants
With products and prices comparable to Tata Harper, Kat Burki and Sunday Riley, Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique is all about fancy foliage, tried-and-true compounds and high-end greens. There’s a face oil cleanser ($40), a toner ($45), three serums ($90-$110 each), a face oil ($95) and a mask ($135).
Marvels of microbiology
Beneficial bacteria is a big deal in skin care these days, and brands like Tula are even putting probiotics into their products. Kristina Holey + Maria Veronique puts a different spin on your microbiome by concentrating on keeping it balanced, with the idea being that your mug’s microbiome is unbalanced if you’re experiencing dryness or breakouts or inflammation. Their products are formulated to bring your bacteria back in balance for clearer, hydrated, even-toned skin.
Familiar faces headline the list of ingredients
All of their products are manufactured in small batches in Berkeley, and they’re good for six months once they’ve been opened. They contain familiar compounds to exfoliate and maintain moisture levels. Some of the ingredients include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, niacinamide, vitamin B3 and B6, and that’s just for starters (there’s a complete list of the ingredients below).
I was happy to see these ingredients front and center, because I know that a lot of people, including me and my combo dry, acne-prone skin, respond well to them.
Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique products also avoid potentially irritating ingredients, like essential oils and synthetic fragrances.
It took me a while to get used to the scents
Not to say that the products are unscented. Some of them are, or at least they have such a natural, nondescript scent that it makes very little impression, but a couple of them smell “earthy.” The Barrier Lipid Complex, for example, smells like a bottle of fish oil, and for the first week I felt like I was slathering cat food on my face.
I mostly don’t notice it now (mostly)…
Clearer, more moisturized skin and less noticeable pigmentation
I’ve been using everything from the line for four weeks, but I saw positive results immediately, especially on the painful red pimple that was on my top lip.
It usually takes about a week for pimples to come to a head and start drying out on my face, but I dabbed the Intensive Repair Serum, which is the treatment for breakout-prone skin, on the pimple on the first night, and it came to a head by the next morning. It was completely dried out within two days, and by two weeks I could barely see any post-acne pigment (to put it in perspective, it usually takes about three to six months for those post-acne dark spots to disappear on me).
Also, most of the time when I use exfoliators this powerful, my skin gets scaly and tight and dry, but that hasn’t happened while using these products. My skin still feels hydrated.
After a month, my breakouts have stopped/gone on hiatus, my skin looks more evenly toned, and my pores even seem a little smaller.
My fine lines don’t look much different, but overall I think my skin looks plump and dewy and clear.
Where to start
If you’re going to start with anything, I’d say give the Intensive Repair Serum a try, especially if you have any issues with acne or pigmentation, and I also think the Soothing B3 Serum ($90 each) is great. It contains 10% niacinamide and helps with hydration and tone.
I love everything in the line, but those two are the standouts.
If you’re hesitant to splurge on a $90 serum, all of the products come with a 30-day guarantee, so if you’re unhappy for any reason, you can return them and get your money back (you do have to pay the return shipping, though).
I’m a fan. Of course, I wish the products were less pricey, but this line changed my skin for the better, and I saw results immediately. Plus — hi, Bay Area!
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,
- Pure + E.O. Free Oil Cleanser: Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, decyl polyglucoside (polyglucose), sucrose cocoate, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) from non-GMO sources, elderberry phytocyde (Sambucus nigra) fruit extract, xanthan gum, pre/probiotic complex, Beta glucan, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oleoresin, superoxide dismutase (SOD)
- Balancing HypoTonic: Green tea (Camellia Sinensis Leaf) Extract, Beta glucan, d-panthenol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, elderberry phytocide (Sambucus Nigra) Fruit Extract, licorice root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) extract, Pre/probiotic complex, Selenium, Curcumin CO2 (Curcuma Longa), apple cider vinegar (Acetic Acid), sodium hyaluronate, Cucumber (Cucumis Sativus) Fruit Extract
- Barrier Restore Serum: Camellia sinensis (Green tea) extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) seed oil, ceramide 3, milk lipids, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, L-arginine, n-acetyl glucosamine, colloidal trace minerals, L-aspartic acid, Glucono Delta Lactone, urea, hydrolyzed collagen protein, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (ECGC), polygonum aviculare extract (knotgrass flavonoids), lactic acid, magnesium chloride, non-GMO soy lecithin phospholipids, phosphatidyl serine, leuconostoc/radish root filtrate ferment, lactobacilli ferment, zinc oxide, decyl glucoside, superoxide dismutase (SOD), resveratrol,xanthan gum
- Soothing B3 Serum: Camellia sinensis (Green tea) extract, sodium hyaluronate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), D-panthenol (pro-Vitamin B5), sodium salicylate, n-acetyl glucosamine, Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (ECGC), gluco-nolactone, polygonum aviculare extract (knotweed bioflavonoids), daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, Beta-glucan, galacto-oligiosaccharide, bacillus ferment, leuconostoc/ radish root filtrate ferment, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract
- Intensive Repair Serum: Camellia sinensis (Green tea) extract, sodium hyaluronate, D-panthenol (pro-Vitamin B5), niacinamide (vitamin B3), lactic acid, salicylic acid, calcium pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Epigallocate-chin-3-gallate (ECGC), gluconolactone, polygonum aviculare extract (knotweed bioflavonoids), daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, Beta-glucan, galacto-oligiosaccharide, leuconostoc/radish root filtrate ferment, bacillus ferment, acetic acid (apple cider vinegar), marrubium vulgare (White Horehound) extract
- Barrier Lipid Complex: Cholesterol, lacto-Ceramides, phytosphingosine, elderberry phytocide (Sambucus Nigra) Fruit Extract, Cranberry Seed (Vaccinium Macrocarpon) oil, Black Raspberry seed (Rubus Occidentalis) oil, Chia seed (Salvia Hispanica) oil, prickly pear seed (Opuntia Ficus Indica) oil, evening primrose (Oenothera Biennis) oil, squalene, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) from non-GMO sources, blackberry seed (Rubus Fruticosus) oil, non-GMO lecithin, phosphatidyl serine, sodium hyaluronate, Omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (from microalgae)
- Micronutrient + Hydro Mask: Camelia sinensis (green tea) extract, Sea kelp bioferment (Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate), sea kelp (Glycerin, Laminaria Digitata) extract, cetearyl alcohol/cetearyl glucoside, beta glucan, lacto-ceramides, sodium PCA, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, sorbitan laurate, squalene, marine collagen, cholesterol, urea, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, probiotic complex, galacto-oligiosaccharides, l-carnosine, n-acetyl glucosamine, bacopa, green tea extract (Epigallocatechin gallate-3), lycopene, resveratrol, Curcumin CO2 (Curcuma Longa), dried yeast (niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamin hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, cobalamin)