Around three weeks ago, a little black box arrived in the mail containing my order of The Lilac Box‘s first ever cult brand samples.
According to ‘The 3 Guys at The Lilac Box’, the products in this special edition were to come from “brands known by few but loved by many”.
This statement completely captured my imagination and filled me with such excitement that I made sure I woke up early to book one of these debut Cult Boxes. The early start was a good idea too as the box sold out that very day – in only four hours from its scheduled launch. I felt so lucky to get one.
As it were, due to a misstep of my own doing, my skin was in such a bad state this month that the arrival of The Lilac Box’s Cult Box happened to be extremely well-timed and serendipitous.
To give you some background, I was in the throes of a rather wretched allergic breakout and my skin, particularly the skin on my face, was all shades of blotchy and in all manners of discomfort. Oily skin, dry patches, spotty complexion, redness…you name it, I had it.
It was so bad that I was being stopped by little children and asked what happened to my face. The shame of it!
Children, especially rough and tumble little boys, are usually oblivious to these sorts of things so you have an idea how messed up things were.
Anyway, the state I was in came about because of what I suspect was an allergic reaction to animal collagen found in a duo of beauty products I had recently begun using.
In a madcap effort to accelerate the benefits of collagen, I had five days earlier self-prescribed a double dosage of OTC oral and topical collagen supplements. Common enough but it turns out that I am one of the unfortunate few that is animal collagen intolerant and this sudden onslaught of the offending ingredient turned out to be more than my body could bear. I didn’t even know such a condition existed but regretfully, I had to be proof that it does.
I immediately quit the new products but am more upset about this allergy than I can express. It’s not even about the money I am obviously losing in tossing out these items. Really, being allergic to collagen is as tragic as being allergic to money or something. It’s essentially like being denied the chance to tap into a fountain of youth!
Why? Because here in Asia, animal-derived collagen is considered the holy grail anti-ageing ingredient of beauty products and women across the region guzzle it and slap it on with gusto but now that I am allergic to it well, it will be completely off-limits to me. So unfair!
Anyway, my skin was pretty displeased with my ambitious misstep and proceeded to tell me exactly how it felt by spewing forth all sorts of venom; spotty breakout, rosacea, peeling skin, and even body rashes. Skin can be petty like that.
Needless to say, it was an extremely tough week for me skin-wise but the miracle by the name of The Lilac Box Cult Box happened and it quite literally saved my skin. I’m so glad I took this leap of faith and ordered a Cult Box.
As excited about this box as I was, I did not suspect that I would soon be introduced to one of the most amazing skincare sets I have ever had the joy of using.
In fact, I have never come across a set of products that have given me so much in as short a time. The speedy efficacy of the said products and the subsequent level of skin comfort they have given me has been nothing short of impressive. There has never been such a precedence in my skin’s life from any other brand and this is particularly poignant for me because I was really suffering from a bout of bad skin blues.
So, it goes without saying that I am quite in love with these products now.
I barely know anything about them other than what is briefly stated on the bottles. And there isn’t, for some reason, much discussion online about individual products but I daresay, this might be one of the better skincare ranges that I have ever tried on my skin.
Honestly, the Lilac Box’s subscribers should have nothing to complain about, the samples in this Cult Box were some of the best I have ever received in any beauty box and I am extremely excited by the fortuitous introduction to this brand because it has brought me such a great measure of relief at a time when this relief was much, much needed.
An Italian name, pronounced “va-gedge-e”, Lilac’s first Cult Box came with these three items from this Italian-made skincare brand.
Two from the Vagheggi Equililbrium Line and one from the Vagheggi Oligominerals Line – all deluxe samples.
* A Vagheggi Equilibrium Cleansing Milk 50ml
* A Vagheggi Equilibrium Rebalancing Facial Lotion 50ml
* An Oligomineral Magnesium Concentrate 10ml
Curiosity, a love of cleansing products and a dash of desperation drove me to use the Vagheggi Equilibrium Cleansing Milk and Face Lotion samples the very same day I received my Cult Box.
Cleansers are my favourite things in skincare because I believe unwaveringly that the first step to good skin is clean skin.
This Cleansing Milk really isn’t a ‘milk’ at all but more of a ‘yoghurt’ or a ‘cream’. As you can see in the photo below, it is thick and creamy and only a notch less firm than toothpaste. It holds well on a fingertip making it easy and economical to apply.
The formulation is completely non-foaming and has a lusciously creamy and emollient quality to it.
It’s also pure white and has a faint but pleasing baby powder-like scent that is barely detectable and smells like something that you would want to apply to the skin of a newborn. This is because it looks and smells completely kind.
Despite the irritated condition of my skin at the time, the cleanser felt cool and soothing on contact with my face and thankfully, did not add to the irritation. It spreads on smooth and applies more like a lotion than any typical cleanser.
After the rinse-off, the skin on my face felt much less inflamed. This cleansing milk was non-drying and had a hydrating effect on the face; instantly making the skin here feel soft to the touch. So far so good.
I followed up the cleansing with a gentle swabbing of the Vagheggi Rebalancing Face Lotion added to a 2-ply square of facial cotton. Contrary to the name, this product is also not really a lotion at all but more of a watery liquid toner.
In the naming of these products some of the words were probably lost in the translation from Italian to English because the milk is not a milk and the lotion is not a lotion but who cares, the sensations speak for themselves – the cleansing milk feels silky, gentle and pleasing on the skin and the toner is non-drying and comfortably non-astringent.
Like the cleanser, this toner-like ‘lotion’ was a gentle, non-irritating formula and brought much relief to my allergy-stressed skin.
By the next morning I was very surprised to discover that quite some bulk of my visible skin irritations had calmed. Much of the redness had subsided leaving a slightly more normalised skin tone, dry patches were softened and pores felt and appeared marginally less congested. Given the original state I was in, I was still far from perfect but it really was a step in the right direction so you can imagine my relief.
I proceeded to remove all other products from my usual skin regime and continued my cleansing and toning solely with these two Vagheggi products for the next week. I also decided to allow my skin to breathe and ceased wearing any foundation or BB Cream or makeup during this sensitive period.
By week’s end, my skin looked completely different from the state it was in the week prior. The redness was reduced, pore congestion was at the lowest I have seen in a while and overall skin tone was more even and refined. A new radiance existed where there had been none. The comments from those around me regarding my skin condition was now more bouquets than brickbats.
The skin on my face has noticeably improved during the course of my three week trial and feels more stable and less sensitive and congested than it has been in a long time. I can feel with my finger tips that my skin is softer, more hydrated, and not only less oily but also less flaky and dry.
Parallel to my usage of the two Equilibrium samples, I have also been applying the Oligomineral Magnesium concentrate but I am tending to use it as more of a spot treatment and then, only sporadically.
Of the three deluxe samples by Vagheggi that were in my Cult Box, I have to admit that this was my least favourite product mainly because it has an unusual smell that, although faint, is oddly reminiscent of ‘morning breath’. Strange but that’s my impression of it.
The scent is not very strong but it is there and takes some getting used to.
I’m also not fond of the slight tackiness of the formula which makes it feel sticky and as if I am applying a sugary water to my skin.
A short description on the bottle tells that this magnesium serum is really meant for dry skin so I only ever applied it to the little dry patches around my face. For me, this product wasn’t as instantly effective as the cleansing milk and the toner but I want to revisit it because I think I haven’t truly tapped into its potential yet.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much information available to me on this product at the time of this post so I’ll need to revisit it again when I can better understand its properties and uses. For the moment I have not been overly keen in using this.
It may be that I have combination skin on my face which leans closer to the oily end of the spectrum than the dry and this is clearly stated as a dry skin product so perhaps another concentrate (one for oily or sensitive skin?) from the Vagheggi Oligominerals line might be more suited to me.
At any length, I’m very pleased to have discovered Vagheggi in The Lilac Box because I really wouldn’t have had the chance to cross paths with it otherwise. I commend ‘The 3 Guys at The Lilac Box’ for going out of their way to secure such a wonderful brand for their Cult Box.
I’ve since contacted the Vagheggi agent in Malaysia and have bought full sizes each of the cleansing milk and toner for personal use.
The Lilac Box are currently running a joint promotion until the 15th November 2013 with Phletora Sdn Bhd, the local distributor here for the Vagheggi brand for Lilac Box subscribers. A coupon needs to be printed from The Lilac Box website for redemption so I think it’s for registered subscribers only. I made use of the coupon for my purchase.
The promotion is as follows-:
RM150 (RRP 184)
Set of Two-:
* A Vagheggi Equilibrium Cleansing Milk 200ml (RRP RM92)
* A Vagheggi Equilibrium Balancing Toner 200ml (RRP RM92)
With a Free-:
* An Oliogomineral Magnesium Concentrate 10ml
The deluxe cleanser and face lotion samples in the Cult Box were actually a generous 50ml each and these have given me three weeks of use even though I haven’t been deliberately frugal with them. I believe there’s still enough remaining for another week as a little does go a long way.
I have barely even scratched the surface in terms of usage with the Oligomineral Magnesium sample as I found that only a drop or two was required at a time.
For me, this Equilibrium set is probably just the beginning. I’m really hoping to be able to try some of the other Vagheggi products because I googled and found that Vagheggi have a multitude of other lines under their wing. I’ll be very interested to try any treatments that are designed for combination-type sensitive skin.
For me, it has been a constant challenge to find appropriate skincare and beauty items for my excessively sensitive and stubbornly oily but dry skin.
~ About Vagheggi Phytocosmetici – Some Background ~
Surprisingly, there’s really no significant body of review information for the Vagheggi brand and what was available online was mainly from the company itself or its affiliates. It’s so mysterious!
I prefer reading personal and unaffiliated consumer reviews about products and this was the reason why I wanted to write this review. I wanted to add my personal skin experience to the brand discussion so that others could benefit from my experience or use it as a point of debate on Vagheggi’s adequacy as an effective skincare option.
According to a company website, Vagheggi Phytocosmetici is a 100% Italian-made skincare brand and was founded in 1975 which makes it 38 years old this year.
In beauty parlance, this history speaks volumes because I take it to mean that the brand is tried and true, established and loved. No one will give a company four years let alone forty if it can’t deliver what it claims.
But despite this vintage, Vagheggi is still not very mainstream and remains largely unknown by the general populace in this country even if it is a brand that is present in many exclusive boutique spas and beauty centres in more than 60 countries worldwide.
When I decided to order a Cult Box one of the main things I said to myself was to brace myself for some very unique beauty discoveries so I was prepared and it did not surprise me that I had never heard of any of the brands in the box.
I also had complete faith that The 3 Guys at The Lilac Box would do the necessary research to find a batch of brands that would fit their definition of ‘cult’- “loved by many but known by few”. They delivered. My maiden experience with cult brand, Vagheggi, has been nothing short of great.
Vagheggi was very good for me so I’m glad the Cult Box contained three Vagheggi products out of the six. It’s not often I can say this of beauty boxes – a representation by a single brand of half the goodies in a multi-brand box can be overkill and would usually attract much derision from me – but in this case I really enjoyed using these samples am very grateful for having had a chance to discover this course of skincare.
For your benefit, a bit of research on my part uncovered that Vagheggi is actually the world pioneer in plant and mineral based skincare and was the first to produce natural phytocosmetic products from formulas that harnessed the unique properties of plants and minerals.
This was in the mid-70’s and decades before natural skincare became as fashionable as it is now. Back then such skincare would have been impressively cutting-edge for the beauty industry.
Now, as I’ve said before, I’m really not a purist about skincare and am not pedantic about products needing to be all-natural but if it happens to be so then it really is a bonus for me.
What does matter to me is that a product does what it claims to do.
I could not uncover any online reviews of this brand so it was difficult for me to gauge how other ‘normal people’ fared with Vagheggi. This leads me to think that either Vagheggi is a well-guarded beauty secret among its international fan base or it has generally only been available to a privileged handful who have not been inclined to blog about their skincare experiences with it.
And perhaps, unlike traditional mainstream brands, Vagheggi may have only ever really relied on the expertise and intimacy of the beautician-client relationship to relate the benefits of its products to patrons.
Whatever the reason, I’m very pleased that I’ve personally had a chance to get to know this brand and regret that someone had not told me about it sooner.
The Vagheggi Equilibrium set is meant to be suitable for all skin types and is supposed to be a balancing skincare line, hence the name Equilibrium, and I think this is true to its claims. It was kind and restorative to me even when I was in a fragile and stressed skin state and I see no reason why it should not be suitable for most skin types.
Further to this point, it is noted on the Vagheggi products that the formulas are nickel-free and dermatogically-tested and approved.
Anyway, there are much, much pricier designer skincare options on the market that have failed to deliver me results as quickly and gently as this Equilibrium set. The best part about the Vagheggi products I tested was that the full-sizes are really quite reasonably priced. Even without The Lilac Box coupon, it is only RM184 for the set of cleanser and lotion making this set significantly less expensive than many department store counter brands.
I am, however, hoping Vagheggi will consider opening a retail store or counter here in Malaysia so that the purchasing process is more convenient for me.
To access more local information on Vagheggi stockists and affiliated spas and beauty centres, click on the Vagheggi logo below to go to the Vagheggi Malaysia Facebook page.
[Disclaimer: The products reviewed here were deluxe samples (from my Lilac Box Cult Box) and were paid for and tested personally by me. All opinions expressed are based on my own experience of the products over a three week period and continuing. Results may vary from person to person so you are advised to consider my recommendations at your own risk.]