Huxley Secret of the Sahara Oil Essence Review
This “oil essence” - described as “essence-like, oil-like” on the bottle - first came on to my radar when Tokyo-based model Laurean Tsai (of Terrace House fame) said she used it as part of her skincare routine. I’m normally not influenced so easily, but her and my routine shared a few other commonalities: The Biore UV Perfect Milk sunscreen and the SK II Facial Treatment Essence being two others. So when StyleKorean had a sale on Huxley, I jumped on it!
What’s in the oil essence?
Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem Extract (prickly pear extract), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Methyl Gluceth-20, Alcohol, Water, Dimethicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Seed Oil (prickly pear oil), Polyquaternium-51, Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract (acai extract), Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Betaine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Methyl Stearoyl Taurate, Dextrin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
Like the rest of the Secret of Sahara line, the oil essence is centered around prickly pear extract and oil. Prickly pear is a great ingredient: It’s full of linoleic acid and vitamin E, which strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. This essence also has other antioxidants like acai extract.
While the oil essence is advertised for all skin types, I would advise those with sensitive skin to be careful, as this also contains alcohol and fragrance - a LOT of fragrance! While I find the scent to be absolutely lovely (I would seriously buy a Secret of Sahara perfume), the fragrance can feel overpowering.
My Prickly Pear Experience
The essence (sorry, oil essence?) comes in a 30 mL glass tube with a dropper. I drop about a dime-sized amount on my palm and use it as part of my PM routine after cleansing, but before my serums and moisturizers. The dropper function itself could be improved; It’s a bit difficult to suck up and dispense product because the dropper is flat, and not tapered at the edge like every other dropper that I have ever encountered in my life.
Packaging issues aside, the oil essence blends in quickly. It does have a unique texture of being slightly thicker than a watery essence, with a more ceramic slip, but without feeling oily. It does add a layer of hydration; My face felt plumper in the morning, but nowhere near the same effect as a sleeping mask would have.
This is the complicated bit. I got this on sale from Stylekorean Global for $24, which is an OK price for this product; I would feel badly if I paid any more for it. In the USA, I notice that this generally goes for $58 at the likes of Anthropologie and Nordstrom.
This oil essence was OK, but overall underwhelming. It’s a slightly hydrating essence with a nicer texture, but definitely not worth the full $58 sticker price. At that price point, I would have expected a more noticeable effect and flawless packaging.