The Straight A is my #1 product pick of 2020. There is so much to say about this formula but let me just say this: if you want a brighter complexion, more even skin tone, are looking to fade hyperpigmentation and reduce fine lines…girl, this is it. THIS IS IT. I saw results in just days! DAYS! Read more about my experience with The Straight A plus things to consider when buying retinol in general here!
Best All-Around. Maya Chia The Straight A Advanced Gentle Retinol Treatment, $125 – Okay, folks. Let’s get down to business. As many of you are aware, the combination of African Botanics Cell Recovery Serum and Fleurs D’Afrique has been my ride-or-die evening combo for over a year. They. Are. Amazing. They are also expensive. Nothing has come close to this combo until I tried The Straight A. Can we talk about the ingredients for a second? Encapsulated retinol (a safe derivative of Vitamin A without BHT), bakuchiol, moth bean extract, shelf-stable Vitamin C, Vitamin E, nutrient-dense botanicals such as chia seed and Buriti oil, and a complex expressly targeted to increase Sirtuin activity, which are proteins that regulate key biological pathways in our cells. What the what? Yeah. ALL OF THE INGREDIENTS. (This does have retinol as well as bakuchiol, so keep that in mind. But it’s super gentle on my skin.) You can expect your skin to feel moisturized, nourished, and look bright and plump. Reduced hyperpigmentation is something else I noticed as well as a visible reduction in the appearance of my fine lines and wrinkles. Color me impressed. Plus, the scent profile is lovely. Rose is the note I notice the most and the scent is definitely subtle enough for my sensitive nose. (The scent reminds me of MUN Aknari Serum if you are familiar.) Has The Straight A completely replaced my nightly African Botanics lineup? No, but I am definitely working this serum into the rotation throughout the week which is more than I can say for almost everything else I’ve tried. (Side note: one of my favorites, The Supercritical Oil is a great last-step after The Straight A for added hydration.)
So the Straight A Serum launched in 2020 and basically took the natural beauty realm by storm! It was the first product that came to mind for the best of natural beauty for 2020. This isn't just another serum. It's a serum that means business and gets results…quickly. I have been using this for a while and definitely can speak to the overall experience of it. My skin looks brighter, more even and overall alive and not dull. I use it at night. It contains the plant retinol bakuchiol which I’ve used before in other skincare products and it also contains moth bean extract- another plant derived retinol. But it doesn't stop there. The formula also has an advanced retinol using an encapsulated Retinol. This is a derivative of Vitamin A without BHT. BHT has been shown to cause live damage in rats- even in small amounts. Conventional retinol typically contains BHT. Plus, the supply chain with BHT is very unstable.
Besides the powerful retinols it also contains Vitamin C and Vitamin E. These brighten the skin and help fade hyperpigmentation. You’re also going to get some serious hydration from this serum as well with Buriti oil, and chia seed oil. I can't tell you how many people have used this and have become sold overnight- literally. A skin changing serum for sure!
Since Instagram does not have the capabilities for me to show you how something smells, feels, or works, all I can do is take some pretty pictures of this new miracle product from one of my most all-time favorite brands, @mayachiabeauty ❤ (and then tell you how wonderful it smells, feels, and how well it works!) The Refresh Mint Resurfacing Moisture Mask is magnificent. It smells wonderful, feels good on my skin, and works like a charm. I like to put it on in the morning before I shower, let it sit for a while, then rinse off in said shower. Then I get to admire the nice rosy glow it's given me, and continue to enjoy it all day. I highly recommend this little miracle in a pot. It's just in time for spring, when I certainly feel like everyone needs a little resurfacing. : )
The Optimist by Maya Chia Beauty. If you know me, you know that face mists are an essential part of my skincare routine (anybody who’s been rocking with me since the days of “Tuesday Toners” probably remembers 😚). But, I am also a bit picky about them because some products on the market are just a cocktail of over-diluted—mainly essential oils—in water, which carry little to no benefit at all. The newly launched Optimist by Maya Chia contains a blend of hydrating (Sake, Beet Root Extract) and brightening (Licorice Root Extract) botanical ingredients and antioxidant-rich extracts in a base of aloe vera juice. It is lightly scented with a tiny amount of NON-phototoxic essential oils, and is packaged in the classic Miron glass BUT what you can’t see is that the liquid spritzes out as a cloud of moisture vs a bunch of drops that you must spread and pat into your skin, so you can totally use it over makeup (without the risk of making your face look splotchy).
Can I gush for a moment? I’m totally obsessed with this eye serum. I’ve tried other eye-area products before, and, honestly, never been that impressed. It just felt like one more step in my skincare routine that I didn’t have time for; one more thing between me and collapsing in bed for a few hours’ sleep. And I never saw much of a difference, so I didn’t really “get” eye serums. Like, what’s the point? WELL. Here is the point: Maya Chia’s new The Eye Achiever serum is a fine example of how oils can be nothing short of transformative. I swear, the first night I used this magnificent roller-ball of luxury, I woke up and ACTUALLY SAW RESULTS! My eyes looked smoother and brighter. I looked like I’d actually had a good night’s sleep (I have a 2-year-old who had a cold at the time, so this is truly a miracle!). The very act of applying this serum is a joy to me. It smells fantastic— there’s some sea fennel in there that is just my new favorite smell— and the roller ball is cool and smooth and instantly calming on my delicate eye area. I really can’t get enough.
This toner is my absolute favorite! There have been many hydrating mists that I’ve tried in my years as a beauty blogger but this one takes the cake. Why? Well, for starters the formula is divine. It completely hydrates the skin and feels so refreshing with antioxidants and amino acids. Your skin will feel plump and perfectly hydrated. But the kicker of the whole experience? The actual bottle and pump applicator- it’s amazing! I know sounds funny to even say but after having so many bad experiences with mists I know a great one when I use it. The Optimist is just that- GREAT! It doesn’t squirt out unevenly or in a harsh stream but a nice even mist that seriously feels so good. It’s stolen my heart!
If I could describe Maya Chia Beauty’s new The Optimist Hydrating Essence with one word, it would be JUICY!🍊💦 I’ve been using The Optimist every day for the past couple weeks and I am in love! It’s so hydrating, balancing, and refreshing — just lovely! First off, The Optimist smells heavenly! Like sweet, juicy oranges with a hint of neroli — so bright and uplifting. The Optimist may look like just a mist, but it’s much more than that — it’s also an essence! It’s a true hybrid of the two — organic sake and organic white tea help tone, brighten, and balance the skin’s pH, while, the addition of powerhouse ingredients like astaxanthin, chia seed, polysaccharides, and amino acids help provide the skin with maximum hydration. Hello plump, moisturized, radiant skin! I love that The Optimist is a powerful treatment in the form of a lightweight, fine mist — it’s such a delight to use? Have you tried The Optimist yet?
There are some brands that take integrity to the next level. Maya Chia is one of them. From ingredients to sourcing, innovation, and steadfast persistence, MayaChia founder Susanne Norwitz does not stop at great. She aims for the unthinkable and makes it happen.
Maya Chia is a line I’ve been using for several years now and although it was love at first application, my appreciation for and understanding of Susanne’s works continues to grow and compound over time—which is why it was MY time to write up my Maya Chia review.
Susanne formulates out of her lab in Charleston, South Carolina. She’s a perfectionist at heart and it shows in her work. She’s been known to iterate a formula hundreds of times before releasing it.
Case in point: She made me a custom blush 2 years ago that Istill wear to this day. Every time I wear it, I get compliments and people ask where they can buy it. Well, you can’t buy it because she never mass made it.It’s the perfect shade, the perfect consistency, the perfect scent—just an all-around crowd-pleaser. And it just sits in her head because it’s apparentlynot perfect enough. (This is not a dig, it’s a plea!)
Charged with the goal of creating something she hadn’t seen yet, Susanne pivoted (leaving her political and Fortune 100 speech-writing career in the dust) and set out on a new path: to create a results-driven, effective skincare line using only the highest quality ingredients.
To try a Maya Chia product is to love it! They perform so well. So when I was sent the newest Refresh Mint Mask, I basically had to hold myself back from using it the minute I got it. This is unlike any mask I’ve used before in natural beauty. It’s a resurfacing moisture mask. It takes a drab complexion and instantly awakens it and gives it a glow. If your skin is feeling less than, this mask is for you. It uses 4 different types of acids, enzymes, moisturizers to help slough off dead skin cells, hydrate and give you your glow back. A little magic potion in a bottle. I apply it to dry clean skin. Once applied I let it sit on my skin until its dry. Then rinse off with warm water. My skin is left with a glow, and smoothness that makes your skin look radiant! I’m so excited to keep using it and see my skin improve overtime.
EYE AM A BELIEVER….IN THE EYE ACHIEVER, let me tell you! So I wanted to post about this the first day I used it, I could just tell by application alone that this was a winner (but I refrained to get actual results). Anything in a cool, depuffing roller ball is a win for eyes anyway, but as an oil it totally surprised me that after swiping on and walking to the next room, it had already absorbed. Grant it, I layer this stuff on at night, but for daytime wear this is perfection – talk about how goregous my concealer looked! Let’s get to my eye area and how it’s looking – smoooooth. And hydrated. I’ve been doing some course correction on my sun damage and the change in weather has left me dry, so this is really helping me look awake, refreshed and ready to take on the day – even when I’m not. And throughout the day I feel like it helps brighten and protect the eye area, it seals in the goodness and I’m not crepey or crinkly. I’m also really in love with the nutrient-dense ingredients including marine extracts (astaxanthin, sea fennel, sea lavender, wakame, algae extract) and the scent which is nice and earthy. Soooooooo long story short I’ve got me a new go-to eye product and I think everyone would love it! The hype is REAL. Thank you @mayachiabeauty for such a fantastic product!
THE EYE ACHIEVER: Nadia has decided that sleep is for suckers and I’ve been running on an average of 4 hours sleep, so my eyes suddenly started looking decades older. Which is why when a package with their new eye serum arrived from Maya Chia, I was thrilled, having heard raving reviews from other bloggers, yet did not have much hope And oh boy, you guys, did it deliver! Remarkably, it helped deflate undereye bags, brighten dark circles and plump the skin with just a few uses. The aptly named Eye Achiever is also light and fast absorbing and causes zero irritation. This is a keeper!