It's been over a year since I first signed up for Birchbox, a makeup and beauty subscription service that delivers a box of fun-sized products to my mailbox once a month. There have been some big hits (hello, Liz Earle) and a few misses (perfume samples = terrible), but the Air Repair brand made me sit up and take notice when their Rescue Balm was included in the March 2013 Birchbox.
If you travel frequently, and find skin care on the go a challenge, this kit is worth more than a second look--it's worth serious consideration.
I was three days into my third bout of the flu when Air Repair Rescue Balm arrived. My go-to skin soother--Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream--was nowhere to be found, and my nose and lips were wrecked. Inside my March Birchbox was a very plain white tube with the words "Air Repair Rescue Balm" displayed in plain black text. My skin certainly needed rescuing, so I ripped open the tube and applied the balm to my nose and lips with abandon, and the results were instant, and long-lasting--soothing in the short term, healing over the course of the next week. By the time I recovered from the flu, I had cut open the tube of Rescue Balm to get out every last drop--and I had emailed the company and
demanded requested an interview with the person responsible for this miracle, and that turned out to be founder/CEO Denise Spanek.
After Denise and I spoke, she sent me a kit to test during the month of April. My kit came with me for a week in Fairbanks, Alaska (including camping in the snow) and back to Texas for a week in Austin at the Farm-to-Cafeteria Conference. In between, my parents and my in-laws came to visit, and I also took a weekend trip to San Antonio. In short, I road tested the hell out of the entire Air Repair Kit, and these are my three most compelling arguments for why you should try it yourself.
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3. Strong Skincare Philosophy
If you appreciate a product that does what it says it will do, Air Repair Skincare is worth a look. Created to be both TSA-friendly and good for your face, the Air Repair kit is a sleek approach to the basics: cleanser, eye cream, facial mist/toner, moisturizer, and the amazing, soothing, all-purpose, all-natural Air Repair Rescue Balm. Denise Spanek is herself an esthetician, and an avid traveler, who had spent years searching for the right products. "I realized a while back that there was nothing in the industry [designed to] help skin through any sort of environmental stress--travel and climate change being the worst of it," explained Spanek. "Seasonal changes, traveling to different climates at different altitudes--I tried a myriad of products but nothing worked." Working with the right chemists and labs was important to Denise, who says it took about eight months to find the right formulas. "I was there, telling [the chemist] how I wanted the products to perform, and the ingredients I wanted and those I didn't; I was able to be part of the development process, which was important--this is my baby!"
During my month of testing, both at home and on the road, I went from warm and humid to cold and dry, and back again. I had a house full of guests on my (very few) days home in-between trips, which were fun, but stressful. My travels were full of delicious food and wine, short on exercise, and I probably wasn't always as hydrated as I could have been. My normally-sensitive skin weathered the storm well with Air Repair products. No breakouts, no eruptions, no irritations--just soft, healthy skin. I looked very, very beautiful while sleeping and drooling on airplanes and shuttle buses around the country.
2. Gentle and Effective
What sets Air Repair apart from other brands? Their focus on addressing the long-term damage inflicted by skin inflammation--they call it "inflam-aging." "Whenever skin is in a stressful environment it goes through an inflammation process," explained Denise. "Air Repair products are about 70 percent natural, coupled with very active ingredients like hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA, and extracts like green tea, white tea, and arnica help soothe and heal. You have a great marriage of active ingredients and plant and botanical extracts that are specific to Air Repair." Air Repair is formulated without parabens, petroleum, or mineral oils.
When it comes to the Rescue Balm, Denise describes it as "a completely different animal" from the rest of the kit. "Rescue Balm is a great value, but it's star quality and all-natural. You can use it on babies, we've had folks use it on eczema, psoriasis, just about everything."
At this point, I'm never without my tube of Rescue Balm. It made the rounds during my week in Alaska, and everyone--guys, girls, and Alaska babies--used it to soothe lips and minor skin irritations, and there were many requests from friends to see this in their Christmas stocking in December.
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1. An Incredible Value
The price point for the products themselves is competitive, but there is additional value in the simple convenience of an all-in-one skincare kit--particularly for those of us who travel frequently. No decanting products into little travel pots, just a bag you can toss into a carry-on or suitcase and go. And, if you're like me, you may find that Air Repair works as well as (or better) than something more expensive you're already using--a common occurrence, said Denise. "You'll start to use it for travel, but I'm warning you--you'll start to use at least some of the products for daily care. That's usually what happens!"
The products themselves are multi-use, which also provides additional value. The facial mist can be sprayed on to revive skin (or make-up), but can also be applied with a cotton pad and used as a toner after cleansing. Denise recommends mixing a bit of Rescue Balm with the moisturizer to create a night cream, and of course the Rescue Balm itself can be used on just about everyone, just about everywhere. "We put our money into formulations, not fancy packaging," said Denise. "Our clients end up using one or more products for daily care, not just because they perform, but because they are a better value than their regular product." And while the product sizes are TSA-compliant as well, they aren't so teeny-tiny that you'll run out early on an extended holiday. "An Air Repair Kit will last you at least two to three weeks, depending on the product," assures Denise.
At $42, the "Grab-n-Glo" travel kit is the best way to try everything; you can also re-order individual items a la carte. Check out more from Air Repair on their own website, or via Birchbox if you're busy earning points.