In case you haven’t heard of them yet, Pestle & Mortar are an Irish-based skincare brand. They initially caught my attention due to their minimalistic approach to skincare as well as their chic packaging. The company prides itself on a capsule range of skincare products mixing together both science and nature. Beauty products are so complicated these days with so many steps and so many life-changing promises… it’s refreshing to find a brand with an ultra-minimalist style that’s purely based on driven results and efficacy.
Concentrating on scientific ingredients that actually work but also keeping the ingredients list relatively clean describes Pestle & Mortar and it’s actually because of this I was drawn to the brand. I soon discovered that the Pestle & Mortar brand was also ethically aware and a family-run business. Before I knew it I was lusting after every product in their small line, and I am glad to state that I tried all of their products with the exception of the newly launched Recover Eye Cream, which I intend to test out at some point in the future. Also, I would like to note that Pestle & Mortar are Cruelty-Free. The drive behind the brand is a woman with flawless skin and a super mom to five children Sonia Deasy. She was trying to balance all the different aspects of her busy life and was inspired to create the brand. You can find out more about the inspiring Sonia and her brand in this article here.
“We want to be a single line that gives women everything they need for their skincare routine” – Sonia
Pestle & Mortar Erase Makeup Removing Balm | £34/$59 for 100ml
If you’ve followed me for some time then you’ll be aware that I’ve been a fan of double cleansing for years, so of course, I had to try the Pestle & Mortar Erase & Renew System. The ‘Erase’ Makeup Removing Balm is an oil in solid form, which activates by the warmth of your skin. Simply scoop out using a spatula and gently massage the product into the skin, turning the balm into a beautiful nourishing oil. The Erase Balm is packed full of Fatty acids, Omegas and Antioxidants, thanks to the inclusion of a beautiful blend of cold pressed grape seed oil, pumpkin enzymes and prickly pear seed oil. Together the ingredients work in perfect harmony to help promote cell renewal, fight against free-radical damage and also help to retain the skin’s natural moisture balance. Despite being an oil the P&M Erase balm has a silky, non-greasy texture to it that emulsifies slightly upon contact with water. However, I would recommend that you use a washcloth to completely remove! I like that this is fragrance-free, and removes even the most stubborn waterproof makeup formulas. However, I cannot use this over my eyes, which is what I need cleansing balms for, to remove stubborn mascara. I have extremely sensitive eyes and 8/10 oil-based cleansers will irritate them, causing them to go blurry, itchy and bloodshot, resulting in excessive blinking and watering and eye rubbing *cringe. So I cannot use this cleansing balm to remove any eye makeup. I believe the irritation is down the inclusion of prickly pear seed oil (an ingredient that seems to irritate my eyes) and perhaps the inclusion of essential oils? I find that some cleansers that contain EO’s can irritate my eyes. The texture, however, is dreamy and is a pleasure to use, especially during the warmer months when my skin tends to get more congested due to humidity, sweat, and the use of more emollient cream-based makeup products. Every time I use this cleanser my skin is left feeling refreshed and clean but still moisturized.
Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil , Caprylic /Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Esters, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Sorbitan Stearate, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Opuntia Ficus Indica (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol. – CosDNA Score
Would I repurchase? Sadly not because I cannot use over my eyes, it would be pointless to continue using two products to remove all my makeup. This is the exact reason why I decided to pass on the Hemish all clean balm too.
*Pestle & Mortar Renew Illuminating Lightweight Gel Cleanser | £34/$59 for 100ml
If you are familiar with the popular Oskia Renaissance Cleanser then you will understand the texture of the Renew Illuminating Lightweight Gel Cleanser. An oil-based cleanser but in gel form that’s lightweight and emulsifies like a dream. Jojoba Oil and Glycerin provide a beautiful base and give this cleanser it’s beautiful conditioning slip. The inclusion of meadowfoam seed oil, papaya, and mango fruit enzymes help to brighten and gently exfoliate the skin using natural fruit extracts. In time helping to brighten up your complexion and improve your skin’s texture at the same time. I’ve noticed I’m especially sensitive to citric acid and lemon peel oil, so I try to avoid using products containing any citrus fruits. However, this is one product I can use, it’s always about trial and error. Though this acts as a beautiful, nourishing second-cleanse cleanser, it also works really well at removing makeup, and I find it to be much more gentle than the Erase balm. So I find myself reaching for this cleanser more. Every time I use the Renew cleanser my skin is always left feeling super nourished and looks bright and healthy. This cleanser can be removed in two different ways, emulsified with water or removed with a hot washcloth. I personally prefer to use a washcloth. This is my second favourite product in the line!
Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Aqua, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Superoxide Dismutase, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Tocopherol, Sucrose Palmitate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sucrose Stearate, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Linalool, Annatto (CI75120). – CosDNA Score
Would I repurchase? Most definitely Yes! In fact, I already have a backup.
You can purchase the Renew Gel Cleanser on its own for £34 from Pestle & Mortar direct (here) and for those of you across the pond, SkinStore stock it for $59 (available here). Or the Double cleansing System (which includes Erase, Renew & washcloths) can be purchased for £72 (here)/$109 (here).
Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum | £36/$69 for 30ml
In my opinion, the Pure Hyaluronic serum is Pestle & Mortar’s star product! An effective top-quality hydrating serum that’s not just housed in Instagramable pretty chic and minimalistic packaging. The market for Hyaluronic Acid based products is booming right now and growing by the day, with what seems like every brand bringing out entire lines containing this wonderful ingredient. What makes Hyaluronic acid unique is its ability to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. It’s a humectant that attracts and holds onto water, therefore helping to keep the skin moisturised on a deeper level. It’s a star ingredient for more youthful, plumper looking skin. Sodium Hyaluronate is the stand out ingredient in the Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic serum. It’s the sodium salt of Hyaluronic acid and since sodium hyaluronate is smaller in size it can penetrate the skin better. This serum is a brilliant hydrator and the gel-like texture and use of soothing Aloe helps it to absorb into the skin quickly. It’s one of the HA acids on the market that contains the fewest ingredients, which I love. Its also completely fragrance-free and works well with all other products. I own lots of Hyaluronic acid serums and this is by far my favorite! Every skin type can be dehydrated and look parched, adding this serum to your routine is honestly a game changer. Your skin will instantly drink this up, which makes it the perfect product for those of us who have busy lifestyles and don’t have an hour every day to do a full skincare routine in the mornings. I use this twice a day morning and night after an acid toner and hydrating mist. How often you need to use it really depends on how dehydrated your skin is. I have noticed the longer I have used this daily in my routine, the less parched my skin looks, and it has such a beautiful healthy glow. I now find I can use fewer drops.
Ingredients: Aqua, *Sodium Hyaluronate, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, *Xanthan Gum, *Cucumis sativus fruit extract, *Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol (*Plant Derived) – CosDNA Score
Would I repurchase? Do you even have to ask? Of course, yes!
Pestle & Mortar Hydrate Lightweight Moisturiser | £38/$74 for 50ml
I will start off by saying that the airtight pump packaging for this moisturiser is brilliant, I wish more brands would use this form of packaging. It’s simple to use, just press down on top of the white interior lid to deliver ‘enough’ cream to cover your entire face and neck. Just one pump really is plentiful. The Pestle & Mortar Hydrate Lightweight Moisturiser is the only moisturiser currently in the Pestle & Mortar line. The texture is a beautiful gel-like consistency and feels like a fresh glass of water to the skin because of it’s fast-absorbing capabilities due to containing no forms of silicone. Something that can be hard to find in today’s silicone pumped cosmetics world. This means it absorbs without leaving any residue behind. Making it perfect for those with easily congested, acne-prone and oily skin types. I found it to have somewhat of a matte and shine-free finish, which I know oily skin types will love. Natural moisturisers like Jojoba Oil and Squalene deliver much-needed nourishment and the inclusion of Peptides and Antioxidants from Pomegranate, Green Tea, and Vitamin E help to strengthen the skin’s elasticity, stimulate collagen and fight against the first signs of aging. It’s formulated without parabens, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil or silicones. Simply put, the Pestle & Mortar Hydrate Lightweight Moisturiser is a hydrating, anti-aging, restorative treatment, that works best for those with Normal to oily skin types. An oil would need to be layered over the top to make this more occlusive for dry or mature skin types.
I tested this throughout the winter and spring months and didn’t find it to be hydrating enough (as my skin can lean a little drier). In fact, I found that it dried out some of the areas on my face, especially where I have dermatitis. I find that my skin can be incredibly finicky when it comes to moisturisers, so when I rave about a face cream you know it ticks every single box. I think the only reason this dried my skin out was due to the inclusion of lemon peel oil and Squalane, but I cannot be completely sure. Squalane is another ingredient that just doesn’t seem to work well with my sensitive skin. I have incorporated this back into my skincare routine since the weather has gotten warmer and I find it works much better with my oilier skin. I just avoid applying where I have dermatitis and opt for a barrier cream instead. I have noticed this doesn’t cause any congestion or build up of blackheads, and my skin stays looking clear and fresh.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Myristyl Myristate, Squalane, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminobutyroyl Hydroxythreonine, Tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric Urea Trifluoroacetate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Carbomer, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil. – CosDNA Score
Would I repurchase? In the summer months yes.
Pestle & Mortar Superstar Retinol Night Oil | £63/$109 for 30ml
Retinol (vitamin A) has been proven to visibly reduce the signs of aging, helping to speed up the renewal process improving skin tone and texture, and increasing the firmness of skin. It really is the star ingredient for helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles giving you beautiful, youthful-looking skin. It has been proven that retinol-in-oils can have the same effect as a ‘prescription retinol’ but the results are much slower and gradual over time, meaning there is less chance of irritation. As someone who is relatively new to Vitamin A treatments with sensitive skin, gentle oils fit perfectly into my skincare routine. What makes the Pestle & Mortar Superstar Retinol Night Oil unique is that the vitamin A comes in two forms: Retinol Palmitate and Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate. Which is actually the same form used in Sunday Riley’s Luna. Retinyl Palmitate resurfaces the top layers of skin, helping to fight free radical damage, increase collagen and elastin production and therefore is great for helping with the appearance of pores. It can also help to correct sun damage pigmentation. Whereas Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (furthermore known as HR) a retinyl ester can penetrate the skin deeper, increasing cell turnover faster and helping to purge pores, leaving skin looking much clearer. Due to the formula being housed in a high amount of Grapeseed & Jojoba oil, it’s incredibly nourishing and hydrating, making it fantastic for those with dryer and more mature skin. In fact, I personally found this too hydrating for my combination-oily skin type! Black Cumin Seed, Pomegranate, Organic Rosehip, Carrot and Sunflower Oils work together to repair damaged skin and provide a smoother, more youthful, healthy complexion. The inclusion of ingredient Dimethyl Isosorbide helps to aid the penetration of the Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate. The cold-pressed base oils help to sooth the HR, meaning you won’t wake up to dry and patchy skin. I like that the Superstar oil comes in an airtight, opaque bottle with a pump, which means the product is protected from light and air degradation. I think if perhaps I had more mature or dry skin I might have got along with this oil better, however, I just found it too rich on my skin and every time I used it I would wake up to lots of breakouts. I also wasn’t a fan of the scent, despite being fragrance-free it had a natural oil scent that reminded me of cooking oil. As great as this product is and I really wanted to love it, it just wasn’t for me.
Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Rosa Canina (Fruit) Oil*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil**, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Oil*, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Retinyl Palmitate, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil***, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil**, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu/Foraha) Seed Oil**, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil*, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Tocopherol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil**, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil** (*Cold Pressed, **Cold Pressed and Organic, ***Steam distilled). – CosDNA Score
Would I repurchase? As I get older and my skin becomes drier, then yes.
Overall I love Pestle & Mortar as a brand and will continue to try every product that they release.
Have you incorporated any Pestle & Mortar products into your routine yet?
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