I’m a big believer of skin and body care being a holistic experience. From the scents to the textures, the products should nurture both our skin and our emotional well-being, and why I view skincare as an essential part of self-care. One brand that resonates with this belief? The Poland-based Alba1913.
Alba1913 is the first brand I’m trying out, and in addition to being vegan, not tested on animals, paraben/artificial fragrance/artificial color-free, I was drawn to their ethos:
Grounded in the simple philosophy that healthy is beautiful, Alba1913 harnesses three generations of family apothecary tradition to craft efficacious original remedies for holistic beauty and wellbeing.
Of the 8 face and body products I’ve tried for the past couple weeks, these 4 stood out for me:
- Galenic Leave On Mask – A sleeping mask with a lovely creamy texture that absorbs fast and doesn’t leave an oily finish. It has a light soothing cucumber scent to it.
- Metropolitan Skin Guard Concentrate – An anti-pollution serum full of antioxidants to brighten and hydrate. Plus it has the most refreshing cucumber melon scent!
- Metropolitan Skin Guard Mist – Also part of the anti-pollution range, it’s a very hydrating mist that has the same cucumber melon smell. Yum.
- Galenic Daily Hand Cream – A unique hand cream that feels like a regular cream at first, melts into water, then quickly forms a protective film around on your hands. Smells like chocolate oranges!
As you can see, all of Alba1913’s products are intentionally scented to invoke the desired emotions when applied – a soothing scent for the sleeping mask before bed and something invigorating for the anti-pollution range in the mornings. The skincare range is also deliberately minimal, with the Metropolitan Skin Guard Concentrate doubling as a moisturizer (dry skin folks may still need the extra layer). The key lies in their ingredients, which feature some rare but promising extracts!
A closer look at key ingredients
* featured in the Galenic Leave On Mask
* featured in the Skin Guard Mist
* featured in the Skin Guard Concentrate
- Rumex Occidentalis Extract** – Together with ascorbic acid this forms Tyrostat 11®, a brightening complex that helps inhibit tyrosinase with a higher efficacy than arbutin and with comparable results to 4% hydroquinone (an effective but questionable ingredient). (source, source, source)
- Rheum Palmatum (Rhubarb) Root Extract** – Has anti-inflammatory properties and the molecule rhaponticin, which increases the production of barrier lipids and triples the level of ceramides, thus protecting the skin from moisture loss. (source, source)
- Cucumber Extract** – Contains high levels of minerals like potassium and sulfur to help soften and and hydrate the skin. It also has a naturally fresh scent and a cooling effect. (source)
- Melon Fruit Extract*** – Rich in antioxidants like vitamin a and c, but in particular it contains high levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. (source, source)
- Apricot Fruit Extract** – Has antioxidant properties thanks to its high levels of phenol and vitamin c. It also contains AHAs which can help with cell regeneration and smoothing your skin. (source)
- Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract* – When tested on skin cell cultures the extract stimulated genes responsible for skin hydration and the enzymes for ceramide production, displaying both hydrating and anti-aging potentials. When tested in vivo on human skin, the extract increased the skin’s hydration capacity significantly. (source)
- Sandalwood Extract*** – There are some promising studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of sandalwood oil, but I couldn’t find anything on the extracts specifically. It may share the same traits as the oil, but keep in mind this is also fragranced (albeit naturally) and thus could be irritating to those with sensitive skin (source).
- Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Extract** – While the essential oil is typically used as a fragrance, tests show that it may also have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and skin brightening properties. (source)
- Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardomom) Seed Extract* – Used for fragrance but can also help with product penetration. (source)
- Biosaccharide Gum-4** – Tradename Glycofilm 1.5P®, it’s a polysaccharide that forms a non-occlusive film the skin to protect against atmospheric (carbon, PM2.5) and domestic pollution (household cleaning chemicals), plus it can boost UV protection. There is one study that shows this could cause allergic contact dermatitis, but there’s no abstract available, so just fyi if you have sensitive skin. (source, source, source)
- Urea*** – A natural moisturizing factor (NMF) found in our skin that can improve hydration levels by decreasing trans epidermal water loss (TEWL). It’s also found in pee, but don’t worry, the urea in skincare are all synthetic ;) (source, source)
- Sodium PCA*** – Another NMF found on our skin, it’s an excellent humectant that helps our skin retain moisture. (source)
In addition these products also feature hyaluronic acid for hydrating, panthenol for soothing, ascorbic acid for brightening + protecting, and the leave on mask has shea butter as an emollient and occlusive. Overall I like the blend of well-researched and up-and-coming ingredients that seem to cover a multitude of functions.
Keep in mind that the products are fragranced from the extracts and fruit peels. One particular ingredient – hydroxycitronellal– can cause sensitivities, though it’s listed at the end of the INCI so % is probably really low.
Alba1913 Galenic Leave On Mask Review
I love that it comes in an airtight pump, and I use 1-2 pumps for my entire face. Personally I didn’t find the need to remove any excess with tissue as it absorbs nicely into the skin. While this mask is designed for a super minimal routine – the recommendation is to use this directly after a toner – I found that it works fine as long as you’re not layering 5 different serums and oils beforehand.
This is an all-around lovely moisturizer in every way, and it can definitely hold its own against other luxury brand night creams. My skin feels hydrated and soft the next morning, and I haven’t noticed any adverse reactions whatsoever.
Alba1913 Metropolitan Skin Guard Concentrate + Mist review
Texture wise both are thicker than their usual counterparts, and because they leave a film to help protect your skin against pollution, they’re best used alone. Layering them with other serums and oils can cause pilling and impact absorption of subsequent products. The Skin Guard Concentrate can also be added to a moisturizer as a booster, which is my preferred way of using it to make sure all the moisture is locked in.
The mist works wonderfully to refresh my skin throughout the day, as it not only adds moisture but is capable of locking in that moisture on its own. Plus the cucumber melon scent is the perfect pick-me-up when I’ve hit my 2pm slump! If you’re a fan of the Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon range, you’ll love the Alba1913 Metropolitan Skin Guard line as it has the same refreshing scent.
Alba1913 Galenic Daily Hand Cream Review
This hand cream threw me off with its ever change texture – from cream to water to waxy film, I’ve never used anything like it before! I didn’t like the film it left initially, but it did gradually absorb into my skin and left them soft and protected all day long. Usually when I wash dishes my hands would feel dry and tight afterwards, even if I applied hand cream before. But with the Galenic Hand Cream, my hands felt perfectly fine afterwards. Plus I loved getting a whiff of the beautiful orange scent throughout the day!
Overall thoughts on Alba1913
While I think everyone can incorporate the Galenic Hand Cream and the Galenic Leave on Mask in their routine, I think the Skin Guard Range would be best suited for:
- those living in the city or spend a lot of time outdoors
- those who prefer a simple no-fuss routine
- those who love a bit of natural fragrance in their products
Of these 4 products, I personally would repurchase the hand cream and the mist. Both stand out from their competition with their unique features, and using them has been a delight thanks to their beautiful scents! The Skin Guard Mist especially nice to have and apply before heading out (kind of like SPF!) so I know my skin is properly protected!
I hope you enjoyed the post, and let me know which products and/or brands in my shop you’re most interested in so I know which to review next!