A Little Piece of the Cook Islands: Rito Skincare
I love finding little niche brands, which are innovative and use high quality ingredients. Smaller brands need to rely on high quality ingredients and good word of mouth (and reviews!) instead of adverts and marketing – because they just don’t have the funds for it. Rito Skincare is a brand I heard about and tried, whilst on holidays in the Cook Islands. I was in the Cook Islands earlier this year – and Girl, I gotta tell you – it was aaaamazing! Local burgers, coconuts, pawpaw, sunshine, sea, sand and that slow island life… *sigh. I can’t recommend it more highly enough. There’s only one skincare brand which makes it’s products on the island and that is Rito Skincare. Rito Skincare utilises local ingredients – especially cold pressed, virgin coconut oil. The word rito means the shoot of a coconut palm, which is nicely fitting 🙂 Rito has an entire skin care line, plus they also do shampoo, conditioner and coconut oils for cooking. My attention was of course drawn to the skincare, and while the line wasn’t massive – it was nicely thought out. As I wasn’t looking to replace my staple products at the time (including day or night cream) I focused on products I could easily incorporate into my routine.
I bought three products from the line and they have been great so far! I have the Revitalising Moisture Body Lotion, Hydrating Radiance Mask and Pure Tamanu Oil. Let’s start with the body lotion. If there is anything that can bring some sunshine to Sydney when it is starting to get bitterly cold, it is the Revitalising Moisture Body Lotion!
The Revitalising Moisture Body Lotion is heavenly. It is everything you expect from a lotion. It is light in texture and thus not greasy, however you can feel that your skin is softened and moisturised. It sinks into the skin beautifully, without leaving that sticky film on top of the skin. This is probably because one of the main ingredients in the lotion is jojoba oil – which we know is absorbed into the skin exceptionally well, because it’s not an oil but an antioxidant rich, wax ester. Wax esters are naturally produced by the skin (your sebum) so it is a compound your skin is familiar with. It also contains A, D, E and omega 6 & 9 fatty acids. What else does the moisturiser contain? Coconut oil of course! Locally sourced from the Cook Islands 🙂 Besides the fab texture of the lotion (silky, moisturising but light) the scent is not artificial and overpowering. I generally don’t love coconut scented products, because they are so strong and sickly sweet (this may also have something to do with the fact that as a youngin’ – I had a bad experience with a rum named Malibu….). It’s so subtle and slightly nutty, that it has to be the loveliest coconut scented product I’ve ever come across! I also like that the coconut oil isn’t listed as the second or third ingredient in the lotion, because if you over apply most oils onto the skin, they can turn solely occlusive, which means a layer will sit on top of your skin, without being absorbed (great for protecting the skin so that moisture doesn’t evaporate from it – but it won’t add moisture to dehydrated skin). There’s also some extra goodness thanks to algae extract, gardenia flower extract and wheat protein. From memory, I believe the lotion set me back between 30-35 New Zealand Dollars.
Ingredients: Water (aqua), Simmondsia Chinesis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Xylitylglucoside (and) Anhydroxylitol (and) Xylitol, Hydroxystearly Alcohol (and) Hydroxystearyl Glucoside, Isoamyl Laurate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Olivoyl Hydrolysed, Wheat Protein, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Oleate, Glyceryl Stearate, Potassium Hydroxide, Vibrio Alginolyticus Ferment Extract, Cocos Nucifera-Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Phenoxyethanol (and) Ethylhexyglycerin.
Getting a little deeper into skincare, next we have the Hydrating Radiance Mask. It’s a exfoliating mask which utilises ingredients from the sea and fruit enzymes! You can’t get more tropical than that! 😛 From what I have read, deep sea Abyssine is a good bacteria, which is water binding and has anti-inflammatory properties – perfect for pairing with acids! I’m a major fan of acids, and this mask utilises sugar cane – a Alpha Hydroxy Acid (or ‘AHA’ for short). Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is one of the most popular exfoliating acids used in skin care. The molecules of sugar cane or glycolic acid, are super small (the smallest of all acids) and hence can be absorbed easily by the skin, refining skin texture. The rest of the acids are derived from fruit (fruit enzymes) – also forms of AHA. Bilberry, orange, lemon and sugar maple all work by breaking down a protein that bonds living cells to dead cells, allowing the dead cells to fall a part. AHA’s are water soluble and refine fine lines, wrinkles and surface scars (like hyper-pigmentation, which occurs after a breakout or a deeper pimple). This makes AHAs perfect for sun damaged skin, skin prone to all types of pigmentation, skin already showing the signs of ageing (wrinkles or dehydration lines) and skin with bumps and a ‘rougher texture’.
The mask itself is a ‘cloudy’ gel, which you leave on your skin 10 minutes. The gel itself dries a little during this time, but not overly so. It’s very easy to wash off and I didn’t feel any burning sensation or tingling (though I don’t have very sensitive skin). It leaves your skin feeling plump, soft and so smooth… I do find that if I haven’t used the mask in a little while, I need to give it a good shake before dispensing some product out of the tube, as it can somewhat separate. With regular use, it will help to even out skin tone, whilst keeping your skin hydrated. It’s a definite win for me! Again, I can’t remember the exact price of this product – but it could have fallen somewhere between 25-30 Kiwi Dollars!
The last product is such a great find and is so so handy to have in your bathroom cabinet! Pure Tamanu Oil in a roller ball dispenser. Tamnu oil is specific to the Pacific Islands and is considered a healing oil, which is perfect to use on burns, abrasions, psoriasis, diaper rash, blisters, insect bites and the list goes on and on! Not only is it perfect for your first aid kit, as it is a light oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties (thanks to a compound called calophyllolide), is super hydrating thanks to fatty acids (calophyllic acid) and regenerating (lactone) – it’s great for the skin!
I love using oils like this around my eyes when they feel irritated or super dry (especially after using retinol). Because oils spread very easily on the skin due to body heat, I recommend dispensing a little oil on the back of your hand and then tapping it gently around your eyes (the roller ball does dispense quite a bit of product, which can be a little to much around the eye area as it migrates due to the heat of your skin). After using the oil around my eyes, redness is gone and it just feels soothed (no tightness or dry patches to be seen). Because the skin around your eyes is so thin and delicate, when it’s irritated, using a one-ingredient product, lessens the risk of more irritation and sensitivity. You can of course also use it on other areas of the face, i.e. when your spots are clearing up but have started to become very flaky and dry (I haven’t found it to block pores or cause breakouts). The Tamanu Oil was between 10-15 Kiwi Dollars, for 10ml of oil.
I am very happy with my purchases and they bring a smile to my face every time I use them! They are a little difficult to get a hold of, if you aren’t in the Cook Islands…. Rito is working on a new website however, which will include a web shop (yay!) but it’s currently under construction. If you would like to order some products before the website goes live (it has been under construction for a while) email the makers of these beautiful products, Robert & Susan Wyllie (who are lovely btw! You can’t beat personable customer service) 🙂 You can of course also contact them via Facebook, which also makes life a little easier. I think the products are very reasonably priced and very well made, so you get what you pay for (in a very positive way!). The products aren’t overly complicated, but made with great ingredients.
Before we call it a day, I also had to show you the French Toast I ate in the Cook Islands – it was epic! I loooooove French Toast and I had never had it with pawpaw before – but it worked sooo well because the fruit is a little tart, while the maple syrup and icing sugar is of course, very sweet 🙂 Perfection!
Are you a French Toast fan beauties? What about trying new and wonderful products from ‘local brands’ when travelling? I can’t wait to go back to the Cook Islands, it was a trip worth every penny 🙂
Catch ya next time!
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