Saffron & Sage
THEIR CLAIM TO CLEAN
Saffron & Sage was developed with a focus on skin nutrition and science-backed ingredients—this translates into formulas composed of only bioavailable natural and organic plant-based elements. The bioavailability component is an important (and sometimes overlooked) factor because it ensures that ingredients are able to penetrate the cells or skin structures intact, versus being broken down in the process. The line is clinical-grade, vegan, and sustainable.
Southern California locals might recognize the Saffron & Sage name from the holistic health club in San Diego.
WHAT WE LOVE
Every bottle reads like a buffet of good-for-you ingredients, from aloe to argan to ceramides and a spectrum of vitamins. I love that Saffron & Sage chose to preserve their products with cane sugar-derived citric acid and Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, which is a fermented mixture of radish root and a microorganism found in lactic acid. The herbal-driven scent of certain products also tops the list—they turned to a mixture of lavender, rosemary, and chamomile oils.
A roster of skin-soothing, health-boosting oils like squalane, jojoba, argan, sea buckthorn, rosehip, and more round out most of the formulas. You’ll also find super-hydrators like hyaluronic acid and organic aloe and ingredient-of-the-moment Niacinamide (aka vitamin B3), which supports your skin barrier and helps balance oil. This line is so chock-full of nutrients, there’s just not enough room to list them all!
WHAT WE TRIED
The Ritual | 28 Day Skincare Set, $150
This kit includes an entire month’s skin regimen—five steps in one ounce glass pump bottles. Start off with two hypoallergenic cleansers: Purify, an oil cleanser featuring squalane and a multitude of nourishing oils that spreads like silk and loosens impurities to be swept away by Clarify, the gel cleanser that follows. Clarify has a base of organic aloe and a slew of vitamins and beneficial oils that turn to a light, frothy texture with a splash of water.
After cleansing, the firming Nourish serum delivers a boost of moisture and nutrients with aloe, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and vitamins B3 and B5. Restore, a pH and oil balancing moisturizer, quickly became one of my favorite steps of the whole ritual, with its softening and firming oils and ceramides and its transporting, refreshing herbal scent. The final step is a finishing oil dubbed Glow—and for good reason, once you spot the unmistakable sunset-orange hue of sea buckthorn oil. With omegas, antioxidants, and youth-boosting CoQ10, this oil slowly absorbs and leaves skin unbelievably soft and dewy.
After a month of testing, I maintained a clear complexion (minus one cheek blemish that disappeared as quickly as it popped up) and felt healthy, hydrated, and pretty darn radiant from morning to night. My two complaints are pretty minor: The Clarify gel cleanser is absent of any of the oil-derived fragrance found in the moisturizer and finishing oil, and its scent struck me as a bit odd (it reminded me of popcorn Jelly Bellys for reasons I still can’t figure out). And the Restore moisturizer was a bit thick for its slender pump, though a few stirs helped to fix that.
The Charcoal Konjac Sponge, $12
Shaped like a teardrop and visually resembling a pumice stone, you’ll be amazed how this sponge softens up under the water. Intended for use during the cleansing steps of the ritual above, the pointed end is perfect for accessing around the eyes and other delicate areas. The charcoal in the sponge attracts all sorts of gunk you don’t want sticking around your face—excess sebum, environmental toxins, and more. I was really enjoying this part of the routine but noticed after a few days that my skin wasn’t loving it as much—I developed some small tender red spots. Once I cut the sponge out, they cleared up right away. I do tend to have sensitive skin with an occasional allergic reaction, so wasn’t too surprised by this. I did enjoy using the sponge so would still recommend it if you’re less sensitive.
Explore the entire line at saffronsageskin.com
A note about this column: BN Clean Cut is a column devoted to exploring brands with a cleaner, greener edge. The terms “clean” and “green” are highly subjective and (just like the term “natural”) not regulated at all. Every brand, retailer, or publication is likely to have their own definition. Instead of creating a single benchmark, we’re sharing each brand’s “claim to clean” to evaluate against your own standards.