It was about a year ago that I was talking to a friend who works with Vogue. We sat, hunched over our iPhones, in full Zoom chat mode, homemade lattes by our sides, me with my cat (who had been clawing at my new couch) and her at her breakfast table. “When was the last time someone made a high-end face cream?” she asked me. We chatted for a while and the topic was then lost to the recently imposed madness of lockdown.
A year on and the UK is due to come out of the pandemic and my ears have been pricked for now a third time about this new “ultra-high-end” face cream. I wrote some time ago about the Elemis Pro-collagen Overnight Matrix, which I love (£439/50ml).
It was always difficult finding a high-end collagen cream, especially (for me) ones without chemicals like Potassium Sorbate and Laureth-7. Enter Zafari Cosmetics, an ultra-high-end, boutique brand which boasts its use of entirely natural ingredients.
The product first appeared on my radar about six weeks ago, but you had to join a pre-mailing list to reserve a jar. In courageous expectation I waited, with almost no patience and received my jar two weeks ago when sales started.
On opening the box, I was instantaneously captivated. Black, slightly scented tissue paper was carefully crumpled under a very well-presented leaflet. The leaflet itself (to which I do it very little justice) was a thank you note from the British producers of this boutique cream, but with a great deal of insight into how the cream works.
The leaflet informs that the product is a lavish moisturising cream with vital elements to “saint your skin”. I love that “saint your skin”, whichever PR agency came up with it is very clever, the whole product somehow feels like a treat (even I parted with £480 of my own money for it).
Zafari Stem Cell Active Botox Moisturiser, to give it its full title, works by utilising completely natural moisture rich ingredients such as Apricot kernel oil, Coconut oil, Shea butter and Oat silk with natural antioxidants like Vitamin E. Additionally, the cream combines the well-known, plumping and line reducing effect of Hyaluronic Acid.
Another vital component in this remarkable cream is Centella asiatica, commonly known as Gotu kola, which is a herbaceous, frost-tender perennial plant, native to the wetlands of Asia. Extracts have been found to calm inflammation, speed wound healing, stimulate new cell growth, builds collagen, and improves circulation.
“Recent research into Gotu kola’s wound-healing and skin rejuvenation properties made it the perfect addition to add to our luxury cream which of course includes Frankincense as a further indulgence and enriching moisturising ingredient” say Zafari’s cute but quite informative patter. They continue by stating “Our cream is 100% natural and contains no preservatives at all”.
The cream itself is made right here in the UK and a rumour circulates that Zafari was kind of a cult brand making highly-expensive and bespoke, small-run items for celebrities, such as moisturising creams, bath products and perfumes etc etc. But whilst a colleague of mine had mentioned this to me, I had no other source for this story. So, next to try the cream.
The pot isn’t quite like anything you have seen before. It’s elegant, sleek, silver, tied up with a black satin bow. It immediately took centre stage on my shelf and I was frankly rather excited to try it that evening.
My usually slightly stress day ensued, a few Zoom meetings, a coffee, some of the left-over pizza I promised I’d not eat, a particularly irritating call with the water company who left me on hold for an entire hour and finally, finally, I get to start my going to bed regime.
Being chemical free Zafari smells almost of nothing. The only slight smell to this pure white, silky cream is a kind of plant smell, a little like cucumber. I guess it’s something to do with the Gotu Kola extracts, but it was a pleasing smell kind of like cucumber and wood, certainly “fresh” and almost, “clean”.
I have used quite a number of ultra-high-end creams that utilise items like Hyaluronic Acid, but none that also use Frankincense, as well as the stem cell active element. I followed the directions and applied in circles to my face and went to bed. Within what felt like minutes my completely irritating alarm was blaring and the sun pouring in, my boyfriend having left the window and curtains wide open as he does, for whatever reason he does that (despite me repeatedly asking him not to). I rushed to the mirror but to see what? I mean, what was I expecting, I had used it once. But as clear as day it was there. There was a radiance, there was a small difference to my skin and if I am honest, for the first time in a very long time, I was blown away.
I have been using Zafari twice a day now for the entire duration and it is the happiest I have been with a moisturiser. For the price I was entirely prepared to trash the results, but I’d have been happy with half of the results. Whilst Zafari have been completely impossible to contact, the one negative point I will give them, all I can say is that it piques my interest a little more. I can’t wait to see what they do next!
For more info, please visit https://www.zafarilondon.co.uk
Written by Zoe Haward