It’s been a long time since I reviewed a product on Healing Beauty. Everything’s just been ‘me, me, me’ these days, eh?! But I have had one brand at the back on my mind for a while now that I have been meaning to tell you about ever since I tried a few of their delicious bodycare products a few months back. (This was before I left on my Indian adventures and got caught up in matters of the heart and the mind, rather than the body.)
I was introduced to Hifas da Terra by a friend of mine who knows the owner of the Spanish biotechnology company, which uses healing organic mushrooms in a variety of products for the skin, as well as gourmet food, health supplements, fashion accessories, garden products and even pet care. Hifas da Terra describes itself as:
“a biotechnology company which has managed to combine innovation, sustainability, ecology and profitability from research and development applied to mycology in the past decade. It is a unique company in Europe, which develops innovative products which are obtained from mushrooms- Hifas da Terra is fully commited to its green philosophy: natural products grown on a unique old forest in Galicia, Spain.”
Established in 1999, the brand’s extensive work in the field of mycology (the study of fungi) is impressive. Founder, Catalina Fernández de Ana Portela, a biologist at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) at the time, began investigating the beneficial properties of mushrooms in the late ’90s. Alongside a biology, forestry and environmental technical team, she started designing mycological kits to allow for the cultivation of mushrooms at home. After several R&D projects, they then created the biomedicine organic mushrooms products range Micro Salud – offering the best quality mushrooms in the form of extract capsules, natural dermo cosmetics, superfood capsules and food supplements. There is more on the company’s very interesting history and ethos on the Hifas da Terra website as well as lots of information on the health benefits of mushrooms, although most of the videos are in Spanish.
Knowing my penchant for healing products, Hifas da Terra (via my friend) sent me a very lovely wooden box bursting full of mushroomy gifts, all lovingly nestled in a bed of straw. (I really should’ve taken a picture of that – perfect beauty blog fodder!) Included in the box was their Micro Salud Micro-Soap (containing Reishi, Argan oil, Red clay and Coco), their best-selling Micro Serum, some delicious looking organic chocolate, and many other delightful looking goodies. Just from the packaging I could see that this brand has a mindful ethos – using biodegradable materials and going to great care in its presentation, which are both important qualities to me.
Unfortunately I couldn’t take all these wondrous things with me on my travels, but I did pack the soap and the serum, thinking they’d be perfect on-the-go essentials. Here is what I thought of the products.
Mico-Soap: Reishi, Argan oil, Red clay & Coco
This bar of soap (see image above) is the most luxurious and indulgent I’ve used in a long time. It looks like chunk of homemade chocolate, almost good enough to eat, and smells divine with a sweet, but not overbearing, hint of coconut. The soap I tried contains red clay, which balances skin and regulates oil, making it great for oily complexions, and argan oil, which I’m sure you’ll know has many healing and rejuvenating properties. Coconut oil is used as the base for all the Micro-Soaps, chosen because of its capacity to activate the energy metabolism of the skin. It is also reassuring to know that all Hifas’ soaps are free from parabens, phthalates, perfumes, dyes, petrochemical products, carbomers, sulphates and DEA (diethanolamine).
Now for the mushroomy part… The key ingredient is Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) which they explain “activates dermal microcirculation, protects cells from action of free radicals and regulates the oily content of your skin.” On further research I found this type of mushroom has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years where it is known as lingzhi, meaning: “ling 灵 “spirit, spiritual; soul; miraculous; sacred; divine; mysterious; efficacious; effective” and zhi 芝 “(traditional) plant of longevity; fungus; seed; branch; mushroom; excrescence” (courtesy of Wikipedia).
I must say I was slightly apprehensive about rubbing mushrooms all over myself, but I hardly thought about it once I saw how beautiful the soap looked and smelled. There are little bits of mushroom in the soap but they seem to dissolve or wash away easily and didn’t cause much mess in the shower. It also doesn’t stink of mushrooms, in case you were worried about that. The smell that resounded with me was the coconut, which was balanced by a slightly earthy smell (the mushrooms no doubt), which I liked as made it less sickly sweet than some other coconut based products I’ve tried.
I used this soap on my face and body and found it the perfect medium for me between moisurising and cleansing. On my face it left a slight ‘squeaky clean’ feeling, but not so much that I needed to use more moisturiser than usual afterwards. It certainly wasn’t drying. And since I was travelling in hot climate it was great to have something detoxifying for my face and décolletage area, which tend to get over oily in the heat. On my body I found the soap moisturising enough that I didn’t need any moisturiser at all afterwards and I really enjoyed the feeling of the soft oils on my skin as I washed with it.
The only downside for me was that the soap got very wet and a bit mushy after a couple of uses, and because I was travelling, resorting to keeping it in a plastic bag in my toiletry bag, it started to fall to pieces after a few uses. I persevered though and used every last scrap at the bottom of the bag until it was gone! In hindsight it would have been better to keep it in a travel soap dish to let it dry out between uses.
Reishi, Argan oil, Red clay & Coco Mico-Soap is £6 for 150g and can be purchased here.
The second product I used was Hifas’ best-selling Micro-Serum. I was excited about this one as I am a big fan of serums and pure oils. It did not disappoint. The serum contains highly concentrated extracts of organic mushrooms, chosen for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Also containing argan oil, it is very nourishing, while absorbing well, meaning it did not leave my skin oily or greasy. I used this on my face everyday, twice a day, for a few weeks (having taken with me sample sachets of the serum rather than the bottle itself – better for travel). I was very pleased with the results after just the first use, finding my skin really benefited from the mix of rich organic oils and mushroom composites. I found it quite addictive actually and would definitely recommend this to anyone, regardless of your skin type. A few drops goes a long way and I felt pampered by the experience of using it.
As well as nourishing the skin, the serum also promises to soften fine lines and help improve elasticity and firmness. Hifas’ website also explains more about the mushroom extracts used in this serum and their effects:
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) extract: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-ageing
Reishi works at the cellular level protecting proteins from oxidation, thus preserving elasticity and firmness, whilst preventing dryness, scaling and the appearance of edemas.
- Cordyceps sinensis extract: anti-fatigue activates energy metabolism
Cordyceps sinensis promotes oxygenation and increases intracellular energy (ATP levels). The skin recovers its brightness; signs of fatigue and premature ageing are reduced. Cordyceps extract soothes the burning, itching and flaking of the skin.
Hifas da Terra’s Micro-Serum is £68 for a 50ml bottle. This is out of my price range at the moment but I believe it is good value if you are able to invest. As I said, a little goes a long way and it is a very high quality product in my opinion.
So that is it for now on my experience with Hifas da Terra. I look forward to trying more of their lovely goodies on my return to London, whenever that may be.