6.09.2017

The Green Beauty Edit: MŪN Skincare


When I originally started delving into green skincare, MŪN was one of the brands that first caught my eye.

MŪN believes in simplifying beauty "through innovation" with a "minimalist approach" to natural skincare. They specifically aim their products to "nurture, balance, and brighten" your skin. Their minimalist approach puts importance on botanical ingredients "produced and sourced with integrity... grown under pristine conditions," including their dedication to "sustainable practices." MŪN partners with co-operatives that economically support local Berber women in Morocco by helping to produce and manage the ingredients that the brand uses (such as Argan, Olive, and Prickly Pear oils). Chairing this effort is one of MŪN's co-founders, Anas Saidi, who has actively worked to establish connections that support this economic growth.

I have also been really inspired by Munemi Imai, one of the other co-founders of MŪN. A former esthetician turned professional makeup artist, Hiroshima-born Imai has worked with high profile luxury brands and celebrities in the industry. She continues to be a professional makeup artist along with helping to maintain and grow MŪN. I'm always motivated by women who work so hard to reach for their aspirations, Imai being someone who has done the same and continues to do so. Putting a lot of importance on living a green lifestyle and having her skincare brand in the realm of green beauty, MŪN incorporates these organic beliefs of simplifying one's routine with lesser products while also providing impressive results.

I was kindly approached by MŪN to test and review using their 3-step product routine for 7 days straight. My findings were a lot different than what I had first expected, since my routine is highly Asian Beauty based. From this experience, now more than ever I believe in the nourishing products that Imai has created. My opinions below will be based upon my 7-day usage.

Akwi Purifying Cleanser*

100 ml | $60 | (Buy here)

Out of all of MŪN's products, this one is my second favorite. Akwi means "awakening" in Berber and I think it's a very apt name for it.

Akwi Purifying Cleanser is a vegan and cruelty-free softening cleanser that provides a good amount of moisturizing qualities for the skin. I describe it as softening because it really does that to my skin, as there is no stripping or feeling of dry texture left behind. MŪN states that it has a pH of 4.7-5.2. Although it relies on using oils as skin nourishing ingredients, it doesn't have that light feeling that you would expect. It includes skin conditioning and viscosity increasing agents that create its emollient consistency. There is a slight film that is left over after using this cleanser but it can easily be lessened by taking off the product with MŪN's Organic Face Towel (or any you have already). I tend to use 5-7 pumps of this on slightly damp skin in the morning and about 8-10 pumps at night without dampening my skin. At night I usually use their Organic Face Towel to take off the cleanser and in the mornings I'm fine with just using water. This cleanser is actually described as a balm and behaves as one without using water, but I tend to enjoy using some water in the mornings with it.

It has quite an herbal-y scent that is very relaxing. I'm not sure exactly how to describe it but it's not overpowering, either. I think those who are sensitive to scents might be okay using this. I have not used this to take off my makeup (except for sunscreen), as I like to use thinner products, but it works very well as a cleanser. I do feel like it thoroughly cleans, brings clarity to my skin, and has helped with unclogging my pores. CosDNA ranks the ingredients mostly on a low hazard scale, however it did rate a few as possibly acne triggering. I especially like seeing Camellia Seed Oil, with anti-aging abilities and antioxidant properties that work against oxidative stress, and Rice Bran Oil, which has squalene and phytic acid components to hydrate and brighten skin.

In the picture below and at the bottom of this post, you can see what the product itself looks like. As it's worked into the skin, it utilizes its oil ingredients by spreading out into a thinner consistency while holding its emollient properties.


After my 7-day usage of this product, I can whole heartedly say that it delivered on most of what its claims were. It did leave my skin softened and moisturized, washed away impurities, and easily took off sunscreen. Since I have oily skin and quite large pores, I wasn't expecting it to do any magic work but I could tell that it did help to unclog them to a point! I also noticed that it added some brightness to my skin and made it feel very refreshed. I especially think it was a big helper during my drier days and even now as I'm transitioning products. I really recommend this cleanser for all skin types but do use as much as you need depending on your needs!

Ingredients (CosDNA analysis): Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Aqua, Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Silica Silylate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Bis-Hydroxyethylglycinate Coco-Glucosides Crosspolymer, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Oil**, Tocopherol**, Isopropyl Palmitate, Citrus Junos (Yuzu) Oil (*Organic, **Non-GMO)


Anarose Hydrating Rose Toner*

100 ml | $65/$15 | (Buy here)

If you know me, you know that I have a toner hoarding problem. It's one of my obsessions that has gotten out of control through the years but toners are seriously one of my favorite skincare products. I bought MŪN's toner in the past (before it was renamed and had new packaging) and really enjoyed it! So I was more than happy to test it for this challenge and see how my skin did. "Anarose" is the Berber word for "hope."

Anarose Hydrating Rose Toner is a vegan and cruelty free exfoliating toner that soothes redness and adds a glow to the skin. Although it includes ingredients that are geared to exfoliate, it also has botanical extracts that provide hydration, including sodium hyaluronate. It's made up of botanicals that are geared for being anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and full of antioxidants. Your exfoliating ingredients come from botanicals like Willow Bark, which includes BHA (salicylic acid).

This mist has a great sprayer and evenly distributes the product, however it can be quite strong so I would advise having it a good distance away from the target area. When it comes to mists, I put a lot of importance on how the product applies and I really have no complaints against this one. It has a very subtle scent, I'm not sure how to describe it but it's almost like a sweet, floral scent. It feels so refreshing once you apply it and I enjoy this so much in the mornings because of that. I usually spray it a good 5-6 times, sometimes more, as my skin really relies on my toner step. While I don't think using mists gives me the same kind of hydration or cooling as a bottle toner does, I do like using them as an additional step or at the end of my routine before balms and facial oils. This mist makes your skin feel very soothing and calming, and I can tell it helps tone down my redness. I also feel like my skin gets a subtle shiny glow when I use this, which amplifies the next step of using MŪN's Aknari Brightening Youth Serum.

Over my 7-day usage of this toner, my skin definitely noticed that I changed up my routine. After using a toner, I always follow with my essences (usually layering them). I could tell that I wasn't getting the plumpness that comes from the AB products I use. Still, my skin wasn't totally without hydration since this mist provides it! Western toners are very different compared to Korean toners/skin, so maybe that was the major thing for me with trying to adapt to the change. Overall, it was really refreshing to simplify my routine. I didn't see any negative reactions to the change (as in, breakouts, etc) but I actually think this 3-step helped to clear up my skin (especially this mist!). This is in my top 5 favorite Western toners!

Ingredients (CosDNA analysis): Aqua, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Extract*, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Maltodextrin, Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear) Stem Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Flower Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Xanthan Gum, Glycerin, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol (naturally derived from essential oils). (*Certified Organic)

Aknari Brightening Youth Serum*

20 ml | $95/$30 | (Buy here)

This is my favorite product from MŪN and has been much loved by me in the past. This oil serum's defining ingredient is Prickly Pear (Opuntia Ficus-Indica), which is the definition of what "Aknari" means in Berber. If you were to invest in one product from MŪN, this would be the one to get.

Aknari Brightening Youth Serum is a light oil-based serum that makes your skin soft and radiant. This can be used both as an overall oil/serum or used carefully in your eye area in place of an eye cream. This has a very noticeable Argan Oil scent, especially since it's the second ingredient. This is applied very easily and sinks in a lot quicker than any other oil serums I've tried. Most times I don't even need to add another product to finish up my routine since this gives me enough nourishment. I like to use about 2-3 pumps of this at night and it takes care of my whole face. Although it only has three ingredients, they are powerhouses with this product and work well together. Prickly Pear has strong antioxidant content and has also been shown to have generous amounts of flavonoids, along with ascorbic acid to brighten skin. Rosa Damascena has been studied to have high flavonoid and phenolic content, which is especially of importance for working as an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging agent. Argan Oil utilizes its squalene, oleic acid, and tocopherol content to improve skin hydration.

I think what most impresses me is that even though its ingredients are very simple, it really works as a multi-beneficial product. It makes your skin feel supple and hydrated, helps to improve skin texture, and gives you a refreshing glowy look. Its brightening capabilities are subtle at first but over time really make a difference. Whenever I wake up the next day after using this, my skin always feels and looks so soft, calmed, and radiant. Although I have oily skin, I never feel like this is greasy or 'too much' as an oil. My favorite way to apply this is to have my face dampened by the Anarose Hydrating Toner and then massage it into my skin. I think to a point this also has helped with some lines I have on my forehead, which is a big deal to me since its one of my main points of concern. There were some days during my 7-day usage that I felt like I needed a little more moisture, so afterwards I would use MŪN's Argan Pure Argan Oil*. There is something with this product that is so healing, not only for your skin but as a personal connection as well.

You know that feeling when you just instantly click with a product? This is what's happened with this serum ever since I first tried it. I know that I'll always have it in my skincare cabinet.

Ingredients (CosDNA analysis): Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil*, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil. (*Certified Organic)

Top: Aknari Brightening Youth Serum; Bottom: Akwi Purifying Cleanser

To sum up my 7-day usage of all four of these products, they really went past my first expectations. I thought that my skin would be flipped upside down after simplifying to only three steps, but it actually helped some skin conditions I had instead (like treating my blemishes). It was very refreshing to only use these products, although I don't think I can totally do away with my AB routine. I think this 3-step would be great for those who are uncertain how to make their own routine or those who want to minimize their routine.

If you're interested in any of the products individually then they work brilliant on their own as well! Or, if you're wanting to first try a couple of their products, the Travel Set would be a perfect starting point before making a commitment to the larger sizes. MŪN was also very kind to offer a discount code to everyone if you're wanting to try their products! You can use the non-affiliated code hellohimawari to get 15% off your order on their official website.

Make sure you are signed up to their mailing list (you get 10% off by signing up!) and also follow their Instagram, as they will have flash specials and GWPs available. If you'd like to see their products in person, they have a list of retailers that stock them.

Have any of you tried MŪN before? Which product are you interested in the most?


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*This product has kindly been PR gifted. All opinions are my own. See my disclaimer for more information.
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