Quinoa’s Beauty Benefits Are More Than Just Hype — Meet The Pacifica Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash
It’s been a nerve-wracking, emotionally jarring, worry-filled three days for all of us in the Central and South Texas areas — and, while those of us in Austin were largely spared from Hurricane Harvey’s wrath, my thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors in Houston, Rockport, Port Aransas, and Corpus Christi who were directly affected by the storm. Given the heart-breaking devastation caused by the storm, it’s hard to jump back into work mode — especially when covering skin care, makeup, and other beauty-related topics that, in the larger scheme, seem positively frivolous when compared to such important subjects as ongoing rescue efforts in Houston. That said, I know that we all need a bit of distraction in our lives — even when in the midst of tragedy and chaos. Sometimes, we need to look away for just a few minutes and breathe, settle our nerves, and quell our anxiety. Sometimes, we all need a mental break and so, with that in mind, I hope that this post and those to come will provide that necessary bit of distraction.
Preamble aside, today I’m focusing on Pacifica’s Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash ($10 at Ulta Beauty stores and Ulta.com), with which I’ve become positively smitten. For years now, I’ve been using the Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash and raving about it to anyone who would listen so, when I first received a sample of the Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash, I wondered whether Pacifica could actually create another cleanser that was even remotely comparable to the Sea Foam wash. Admittedly, I raised a skeptical eyebrow when I read “quinoa” in the product name, wondering whether this plant-based food (which is technically a seed, but which is widely believed to be a grain) does, in fact, possess beauty-related benefits or if it’s just the latest passenger on the superfood skincare bandwagon.
The more I researched quinoa, the more I discovered the science-backed benefits of this food. First, quinoa’s protein content is extremely high: a cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. Second, it’s a complete protein so that it contains all nine essential amino acids the body needs, a rarity in plant-based foods.Third, quinoa contains such vital minerals as manganese, calcium, potassium, copper, zinc, and iron. Fourth, it has antioxidant properties and contains vitamins E, B1, B2, and B6. Granted, these findings are generally discussed in the context of urging people to consume quinoa. That said, because the skin is an organ, it’s often true that any nutrient-dense food will likely prove beneficial when applied externally — just as it is when consumed. Just think of avocados, guavas, sesame seeds, goji berries, açai, green tea, raspberries, apples, oranges, and honey as some key examples. A study posted in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science in 2015 indicated that, indeed, the nutrients in quinoa make it a great topical ingredient: its antioxidant properties reduce inflammation, its phytochemicals slow down skin aging (as does its vitamin B2 content, since it helps to maintain collagen levels). Moreover, quinoa has been shown to inhibit the activity of MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases), enzymes that cause collagen breakdown, and it’s thereby a powerful anti-aging force. Its zinc content, meanwhile, boosts the skin’s immune system, promotes healing, and regulates oil production (hence preventing acne).
The quinoa seed extract in Pacifica’s facial cleanser, then, plays a vital role in the overall formula, which also counts on the following botanical ingredients: sunflower seed oil, an excellent emollient that’s packed with vitamin E (which protects the skin against free radical damage), as well as beta-carotene (which promotes cellular regeneration), and which protects the skin against irritation, redness, and inflammation; rice extract, which contains inositol and gamma oryzanol, both potent antioxidants and nourishing moisturizers that promote luminous smooth and skin; calendula extract, which has long been used to heal wounds and soothe dry and sensitive skin; and aloe leaf juice, which reduces skin inflammation and also protects the skin against premature aging.
The cleanser is completely clear and has a gel-like texture, but it foams really easily thanks to the sodium cocoyl glutamate in the formula, a corn glucose derivative that acts as a surfactant. The lather created is foamy enough to make it easy to massage the cleanser onto the complexion, but it’s not overly sudsy either. It feels incredibly gentle on the skin and, when you rinse it off, your skin feels refreshed but never tight or achy. I personally love that it’s so lightweight and refreshing, but I’m particularly struck by the enticing aroma, which is sweet but has herbal nuances that prevent it from feeling overwhelmingly saccharine.
My only caveat: this cleanser won’t completely remove makeup, so make sure to use an oil-based cleanser or makeup remover wipes before washing your face with this product in order to get the most thorough cleanse possible. Also, the cleanser is recommended for sensitive and dry skin types, so I would’t necessarily advise that women with oily and breakout-prone complexions utilize this product. But, if like me, you have dry and irritation-prone skin, this might just be your new favorite cleanser!