I’m excited about new skincare brand Pure Culture for a number of reasons: first, it’s a proudly Filipino brand dedicated to natural beauty; second, I’m friends with one of the cofounders, Kim Reyes-Palanca, a former beauty editor who really knows her stuff; third, it’s the first Philippine brand that global guardians like Ecocert and Safe Cosmetics Australia certified vegan, toxin-free, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly; fourth, it’s won beauty awards for its Bulgarian Rose products; and fifth, it promises “wild, sexy (read: healthy) skin” with its probiotic products that preserve the micro-biome of our epidermis.
“Its quality and formulations set it apart,” says The Beauty Edit’s Nicole Limos Morales, who’s been using Pure Culture since last year and included its Quench Cream in her Beauty Edit box. “It’s a world-class luxury skincare brand priced affordably (prices range from P199.50 for the Biome Bar beauty soaps to P1,258 for the Bulgarian Rose Glam Gold Satin Crème currently on sale).”
Pure Culture is a passion project for founding friends Kim, Alex Gentry and Rina Dela Calzada. Alex, in particular, had already been making soaps, discovered “how awesome plants are,” and made bath and body products for friends and family. “I got into high-performance molecules and became obsessed with plants, talked to labs, and called Rina and Kim,” she says. “We knew we didn’t want to start just a beauty brand but also a sustainable platform.”
Pure Culture strongly focuses on natural ingredients that are bio-compatible with our skin and the environment, and all products contain probiotics, or the “good bacteria” that keeps our skin healthy. In fact, the “Culture” in the brand name is a play on bacterial culture.
“All of us had skin sensitivities,” according to Kim, so their products went through rigorous tests no other Filipino brand went through.
“The skin has a natural micro-biome, so you can’t put just anything on it,” notes Rina, who has “insanely sensitive skin that would always react. I was allergic to almost everything growing up, so I’m picky. We had one year of trials until we got to the six products.”
The six products are divided into two lines: Wild Algae uses marine ingredients to calm breakouts, hydrate, brighten and youth-ify skin.
Wild Algae Super Skin Tonic is a spritz with Philippine Green Caviar (aka sea grapes or lato, a skin superfood sustainably harvested from Bohol) that’s very hydrating and moisture retaining.
Wild Algae Glow Up Serum with vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and New Zealand Black Fern balances and brightens for a healthy, natural glow.
Wild Algae Quench Crème with Cica, Niacinamide and NZ Red Seaweed is a moisturizing skin milk that repairs and renews dull, dehydrated skin. “One of my Beauty Edit box customers with psoriasis said it worked for her,” relates Nicole.
Pure Culture’s Bulgarian Rose line harnesses the youth-renewing benefits of that flower to reduce signs of aging, boost collagen, hydration and radiance. Plus, it’s made in Bulgaria so you know it’s authentic.
The Bulgarian Rose Everything Elixir with BHT-free retinol, anti-inflammatory Bisabolol and vegan elastin and collagen preps, sets, cleans, and moisturizes skin. This “wonder water” won the silver 2022 Organic Beauty Award for its glowifying, lifting, collagen producing, and brightening properties.
The Bulgarian Rose Sublime Serum with quince extract has 24k gold that not only prettifies but is also antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, while aloe extract soothes and moisturizes. This also won a 2022 Organic Beauty Award.
Personally I love the Bulgarian Rose Glam Gold Satin Crème, which I apply at night with a gua sha. This Organic Beauty Award gold winner gives my skin a subtle glow thanks to non-nano 24k gold particles, while CoQ10, shea butter and chamomile extract lift, plump and soothe.
Lastly, Pure Culture also offers Biome Bar soaps like the Kombucha Kickass Bar to detoxify; Green Caviar Miracle Matter Bar to revive; Dark Rose Everything Bar to moisturize; and Rice Milk & Oats Hello Glow Bar to brighten.
“Skincare is self-care if it doesn’t feel like a chore,” says Kim, “so we have to create an experience.”
Pure Culture certainly has.