Any dermatologist will tell you that one of the best, most powerful anti-aging ingredients you can include in your skincare routine is retinol—this no new discovery. In fact, I bet you’ve already heard about this buzzy ingredient countless times through media outlets, on social platforms, in the drugstores – you name it. Its presence is widely known.
So, what is it about retinol that makes it a must? For starters, it helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, fades dark marks, brightens tired skin – essentially, it enables you to preserve a youthful glow for the face – for life. And while there are many retinol-based products available, most are synthetic; born in a lab. But here’s the thing: natural options do exist.
As we’ve observed in recent years, clean beauty has taken up space in the industry. Consumers continue to seek products derived from natural sources that are good for the skin and the planet. And yes, you guessed it – retinol is part of this movement.
I spoke to Angie Vlahovich, founder of Imaya Beauty, who discussed a natural retinol alternative found deep within the Amazon rainforest and used by women for centuries to beautify and nourish the skin. Unlike standard retinol which can cause irritation to the skin, this product is suitable for even the most sensitive skin types. Just a few drops and you’re left with a radiant complexion for days to come – it is that astounding. Read what she had to say on this precious oil, its benefits and more, below.
On the Beginnings of Imaya Beauty
Prior to founding Imaya, Angie worked in the organic food industry. She focused her attention on learning everything there was to know about sustainable agriculture. “Part of my job was to source and look for various nuts, seeds, and herbal medicines that we could bring to North America,” she says.
Her colleague had strong ties to Peru, where they were able to establish supply chains. “I managed this relationship,” she mentions. It was not long before she discovered the magic of Aguaje – an exotic fruit known to South Americans.
Fueled by curiosity, Angie wanted to learn more.
It turns out Aguaje fruit oil contains “one of the highest concentrations of provitamin A in the world, with 20 times more beta carotene than carrots”. However, the fruit is highly sought after; threatened by deforestation. “It grows at the top, which means retrieving it usually involves cutting the entire tree down; impacting the entire ecosystem,” Angie says.
Imaya Beauty’s goal is two-fold: to ethically and sustainably bring this antioxidant-rich oil to the North American market and actively contribute to the conservation and reforestation of Aguaje trees.
On the Benefits of Aguaje Oil
The oil is extracted when the Aguaje fruit is ripest to obtain the highest concentration of beta carotene. The process focuses on hand-pressed techniques, completed by Indigenous women in the Kokama community of North Eastern Peru. Keeping the oil unrefined allows it to retain all the properties that make it so beneficial for the skin, with no need for additives or preservatives.
“As a natural face oil, it’s going to have moisturizing effects on the skin,” says Angie. But what makes Aguaje genuinely exceptional are the dense antioxidants like Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Quercetin found within the oil. We know that antioxidants help reduce the appearance of fine lines, improve skin elasticity and brown spots on the skin. But this fruit takes it to a whole other level.
Unlike its peers, Aguaje grows at the top of the tree, exposing itself to higher doses of UV radiation and environmental stressors. The higher these levels, the greater the number of antioxidants produced, which means maximum benefits for your skin.
On How to Use
Angie recommends applying the leaping-bunny-certified product after cleansing and toning, while your face is still slightly damp. Simply add a few drops into the palm of your hand and gently massage it into your skin. Because of its subtle orange tint, you may prefer to use this strictly before bed; however, deeper skin tones may find this to be favorable and use it for color-correcting purposes.
Generally speaking, the face oil is fast-absorbing and suitable for all skin types. Plus, it plays nice with others, allowing you to freely mix or layer with your current skincare products.
On Future Plans
Expansion is on the horizon for Imaya as Angie plans to develop more products (including a natural vitamin C serum that’s currently in the works) using ethically-sourced high-quality ingredients and sustainable practices. A slow, methodical process is her way of doing things, she tells me. One that requires time and patience to ensure excellence.
It’s clean, conscious beauty at its finest.
To learn more and shop Imaya Beauty, click here.