This post features press samples, but all opinions remain my own.
If the YouTubers I watch are any indication, Scandinavian skincare (and everything else) is all the rage these days. I’ll admit, after visiting Iceland and Denmark this spring, I definitely get the fascination with Nordic countries – but I’ve never tried any Scandinavian skincare. I currently have a rather substantial backlog of skincare products I’m trying to get to in a timely manner – but when Marina Engervik, owner and CEO of Marina Miracle, asked if I wanted to try out some products from her line, I couldn’t resist. The Scandi allure was just too strong!
Marina sent along three products (and a lovely handwritten note!) that she thought would best address the skincare concerns I told her about. I don’t have hugely problematic skin, but as I told Marina, I am on the dry side and deal with dullness and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Marina sent me the Sweet & Creamy Oil Cleanser*, Herbal Face Oil*, and Argan Night Serum*.
I’m a huge fan of oil cleansers, and actually purchased my second bottle of The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil about a week prior to receiving these products. I would say that the name “Creamy Oil Cleanser” is quite apt here – when I pump some of this product out, it’s a thin, lotion-y texture – not very oily at all. However, when massaged into damp skin, it emulsifies just like an oil. When I wash it off, my skin feels comfortably clean (not tight) and has no oily residue. It does a great job at getting all my makeup off. I always double cleanse with an oil and then a micellar solution when I’m wearing face makeup, but after using this cleanser I don’t see any remnants of my foundation on a micellar-soaked cotton pad.
This oil cleanser gets off eye makeup efficiently and fully, including waterproof eyeliner and mascara. I personally prefer to use a separate eye makeup remover as I don’t like the feeling of a heavy oil on my eyes, but for those of you who want one product that will do it all, the Sweet & Creamy Oil Cleanser* excels. I would go so far as to say that I may even like it better than my beloved Body Shop Silky Camomile Oil Cleanser – though it is more expensive, ounce for ounce.
My one reservation with this product is that it does contain coconut oil, which has a moderate comedogenic rating and can cause some people to break out – especially people who are more acne-prone. Personally, I have not had issues using small concentrations of coconut oil on my face, but it’s something to keep in mind!
These are both fairly thick oils that do not sink in quickly. The Argan Night Serum* is especially rich, so on nights when I used it I didn’t use a night cream on top of it. I also wouldn’t use the Herbal Face Oil* under makeup unless I had at least half an hour to let it sink in. I will say that although I could feel the serum on my face for about half an hour after applying it, when I ran a finger across my face my finger did not come away with any of the product on it.
Whether I applied the Argan Night Serum* or the Herbal Face Oil* at night, I always woke up with soft and plump-feeling skin – which is not always a guarantee for me, especially in the colder months. These oils might not be appropriate for someone with oilier skin – or even for me in the summer – but for someone on the drier side, they work beautifully. I often get flaking around the sides of my nose, and I haven’t dealt with that at all since using these Marina Miracle products.
I ended up really liking both of these oils, though they are on the heavy side. During this testing period I used at least one of them every day, but from now on I will probably save them for use 2-3 times a week. I feel that they are potent enough that their effects will carry over across a few days, and I can supplement with a regular moisturizer.
And now for some before and after pictures. You’ll notice that I struggle with a bit of dullness, some redness at the bottom of my cheeks, a few zits, and post-inflammatory hyperpigementation. I usually get zits on my chin and my cheekbones, and while they go away fairly fast, the hyperpigmentation lasts forever. When I took the before pictures, I was dealing with the remnant of a cystic zit that refused to die.
I haven’t edited these photos at all, even to adjust for colour balance, contrast, etc. I’m also not wearing makeup in any (obviously).
And some close-ups, for those of you who are into the gory details:
I suppose I can’t say with absolute certainty that the hyperpigmentation wouldn’t have faded over the course of nearly a month, anyway. But as someone who has had PIH last for up to half a year, I’m pretty pleased with this. I also feel like my skin is generally a bit brighter and more even – and is it just me, or am I even less red at the bottoms of my cheeks?!
The packaging on Marina Miracle products is really beautiful – it’s durable, heavy green glass. It’s not extremely travel-friendly for obvious reasons (though the size of the oils is certainly convenient), but for when I’m staying in one place I think the packaging is beautiful. The boxes they come in are also really pretty, with an elaborate tree motif. I held onto these forever so I could photograph them for this post because they’re so pretty, but I suppose now I can recycle them. (I’m not normally an outer packaging hoarder!)
You’ve probably concluded by now that I have been quite impressed with Marina Miracle – or at least the three products I got to test. Personally, I would say the Sweet & Creamy Oil Cleanser* is my absolute favourite of the bunch – it does an amazing job at getting makeup off without stripping my skin and it’s a daily use product for me. I do like both of the oils, but they’re more of a special occasion thing for me – and probably not suitable for all skin types. When I run out of the cleanser, I will seriously considering repurchasing – it’s that good. I’ll have to see how the oils fit into my routine now that I’m not using them daily, but if I’m still seeing results I’d definitely consider picking up at least one of them again.
A note about the term “natural”: it is not regulated, and thus is not hugely meaningful when it comes to cosmetics. Also, there are harmful, poisonous, and downright bad-for-you things found in nature, so “natural” isn’t necessarily an indicator of how good an ingredient is for you.
The Sweet & Creamy Oil Cleanser* retails for $41 USD/$56.29 CAD for 110 mL/3.7 fl oz. That means it’s $0.37 USD/$0.51 CAD per mL, or $11.08 USD/$15.21 CAD per mL.
The Argan Night Serum* retails for $59 USD/$81 CAD for 25mL/0.85 fl oz. That means it’s $2.36 USD/$3.24 CAD per mL, or $69.41 USD/$95.29 CAD per oz.
The Herbal Face Oil* retails for $42 USD/$57.68 CAD for 25mL/0.85 fl oz. That means it’s $1.68 USD/$2.31 CAD per mL, or $49.41 USD/$67.86 CAD per fl oz.
If you’re interested in both the Night Serum and Face Oil, you can purchase them in a package for $90 USD/$123.60 CAD, which brings it down to $1.80 USD/$2.47 CAD per mL, or $52.94 USD/$72.70 CAD per fl oz.
Marina Miracle has recently launched their worldwide shop, which means all of you lovely people can browse their products and place an order if you’re so inclined!