By Chere Di Boscio
I first saw them at the Six Senses Spa in Sharq Village, Qatar. Thick glass bottles of rich, delicious scented body oils lined up on the shelves, promising customers a sensual aromatherapy experience.
When my own masseuse told me she wouldn’t be using the oils as they were just for sale, I was really disappointed and vowed to try them back home in Paris, and here is my review of the Australian brand at last.
Subtle Energies is a family run business that works on the principles of Ayurveda, and contains no petrochemicals, synthetic preservatives, colours or parabens and is never tested on animals. For those not in the know, “Ayu” means life and “Veda” means science, thus the ancient art of Ayurveda is a time-tested science, going back 5,000 years in written script, though the origins of its teachings is said to be over 40,000 years old.
Ayurveda has always specified ways in which Aromatic scents, diet, herbs, yoga and even cosmetics could help to sustain balance in our daily lives. It treats different body and skin types based on the 5 elements of air, water, fire, ether (space), and earth. It’s always best to first determine your dosha (your own Ayurvedic type) by taking a quick test, which you can do here. Turns out I’m 50-50 Vata Pitta, meaning I have dry to normal skin and hair.
The First Trials
First, I washed my face with the Gentle Neem Cleansing Gel, which is rich in Neem oil and Kashmir Lavender. The texture of this slightly medicinal smelling gel was light and it formed a slight lather. I wiped it off with a warm, damp cloth and my skin was left dewy–not tight at all– afterwards. I noticed the ‘use by’ date on the bottle was within a year, but I am sure that the 125ml bottle will only last about three months anyway. Still, it’s good to know the ingredients are so natural, the product has to be used quickly.
The range of oils last much longer, and the first one I tried was the Mogra, Sandalwood and Rose Facial Oil. This smells richly divine, like a deep red rose on a summer’s evening. Perfect for my dry skin, it was an absolute pleasure to massage in, and truly made me feel beautiful, not only because I knew I must smell wonderful, but because it left me glowing, not greasy. However, within an hour or so, I felt my skin was too dry and in need of a cream. I reckon this product is meant to be more of a nourisher than a hydrator.
Enchanted with the facial oil, I then moved onto the Tumeric and Holy Basil based Rasayana Blend Body Oil. This smells a bit woody, and a bit medicinal–because it is, apparently. The oil claims to be able to reduce the appearance of cellulite and tone the skin on the body by detoxifying our largest organ, the skin. It’s too early to see the results on any cellulite yet, but I know my skin did look more toned immediately.
Some people are reluctant to use oils on their skin for fear of blocking pores, irritation or greasiness, but there’s no need to worry about any of these problems from Subtle Energies. The owner of the brand, Farida Irani, explains that synthetic fragrances (which are never used in Subtle Energies products) can indeed produce rashes and irritation, but “when you are using pure high grade oils, the benefits that these oils can have on your skin, mind and body are profound and proven. An example is Mogra, a known cytophylactic (cell renewer), that can help promote collagen synthesis, but also has wonderful anti- anxiety properties.”
All the more reason to try another oil, this time the Bliss Blend, which claims to be a soothing combination of Mogra, Frankincense and Kewda oils. I asked my husband to give me a wee massage with this one before bed, and whether it was the oil or his touch or both, I easily fell into a deep sleep, and awoke still smelling a slight whiff of this exotic brew of oils.
Although you’re meant to keep the body oils on as long as possible, the next morning I tried the Rasayana Detox Body Scrub in the shower. Containing Holy Basil and Wild Tumeric, the product cleans, buffs and polishes skin with tiny bits of walnut shell and cinnamon bark ground up in the formula. I squeezed some onto my hand and tried to spread it all over my skin, but it was rather liquidy and washed off too quickly–before I could massage in the scrub, in fact. I decided it would be best to apply it from a bath mitt, and indeed, this gave a much better result. My skin was clean without being dried out, and the scrub was gentle enough to use on tender spots, like under arms. The most surprising thing about this product is the smell–almost exactly like Coke with a twist of lime! Maybe cinnamon bark is the soft drink’s ‘secret ingredient’? Hmm…
Finally, the last product I tried ended up being my favourite; one I feel I can no longer be without: a Rose and Cardamon Hand Cream. Rich and rosy, this thick cream not only makes me smell delightful (no need for perfume, in fact!), but it deeply hydrates my hands, elbows, cuticles and any other dry areas of skin, plumping it immediately. A must have for dry skin! I wonder if they make something like this for the face?
The oils all smell rich and woody and are extremely soothing and nourishing, and suit any skin type on both men and women; however, in my opinion, these should be used in conjunction with a facial cream, not instead of one. Subtle Energies’ body and facial washes are gentle and leave no tightness or residue afterwards, but all the products in the range are probably more effective if you learn your dosha type (Vata , Pitta or . The Rose and Cardamom Hand Cream is a real treat, super rich and effective. My only regret is not having tried their facial creams, too–the Mogra and Indian Rose Gold cream is next on my ‘must try’ list!
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