As I sit waiting in the Eurostar departure lounge at London St Pancras terminal totally annoyed at myself for buying the wrong ticket, missing my train, and having to purchase another ticket (for those who know me this is totally unusual behaviour on my part) nonetheless the blogging inspiration has hit me. The source of this inspiration is a product called Gamila Secret. It's rare that a product comes along with such over-the-top marketing claims that the topic deserves its own post, so this is a real treat.
Firstly the box - about 5 times bigger than the actual product, although I'm pleased that there's no plastic involved, it's beige and pale green (clearly the color of nature). When you open the box, there is your bar of Gamila Secret (never anywhere is it referred to as "soap" which is for all intents and purposes what it appears to be) nestled against a backdrop of pebbles as if you were harvesting your own Gamila Secret from a nearby stream.
Now for the claims (these are just some of my favourites):
"restores and stimulates the natural balance and breating of the skin" (I think they meant "breathing" but it does make me curious why they emphasize this point on the cover of their brochure as if skin breathing is somehow on the same level as say lungs breathing).
Direct quote from Gamila no-last-name herself who allegedly hails from Peqi'in in the mountains of Galilee which paints a nice mystical backdrop - "I am fortunate to be blessed with the wise traditions of the Druze, and the powerful effects of herbs." Peqi’in or Peki’in turns out to be a real place in Israel.
About the ingredients they claim to be "100% natural" and "more than 80% virgin olive oil" which means you can probably make something similar yourself or just cut the BS and use straight up olive oil (check out my YouTube video where I make a nice cleanser with olive oil, aloe vera gel, and grapefruit seed extract). Other natural ingredients include: shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, laurel oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, lavender, chamomile, rosemary, and sage.
Other funny claims: “Gamila Secret has a unique and demonstrable caring effect through the mixture of herbs that is the result of the centuries-long tradition of knowledge and experience, perfected by Gamila” and another from Gamila “I never tell people how healing my Gamila Secret is. I ask them to try it for a month. Then they discover it for themselves.”
As a self-professed natural beauty girl I personally only use the most natural of products. However, it makes me sad when a company like Gamila Secret goes to such lengths to create a sort of mystical aura around a product. As for whether or not the product works? I’ve been using it for a few weeks now but I’ll keep you in suspense for a follow up post. For now it’s Katherine’s Secret.
If Gamila is a real person then I probably owe her an apology. Despite my reluctance to like Gamila Secret because of the over the top branding and advertising, I have to say that I really, really like it. I’ve been cleansing with Gamila Secret twice a day for over 2 months now and my skin has never been better! Before using this product I was cleansing my face with my homemade Olive Oil Cleanser and I thought that I had finally gotten my skin under control (as I am prone to the occasional break out). After the success of the homemade cleaner (whose main ingredient is the same as Gamila Secret – olive oil) I was reluctant to try something new but hey, it’s all in the name of natural beauty research!
In the first week of using Gamila Secret, I noticed that my skin was brighter and more radiant than normal. After the first month I noticed that my skin was consistently clearer. It was also around this time that I started occasionally leaving the product on my skin over night (which seems like all kinds of wrong but what the instructions indicated to do). It makes my skin really soft to wake up and splash water on my face the next morning.
Although I can vouch for the results, It’s hard for me to evaluate the company’s claims that Gamila Secret contains “100% natural, and totally free of synthetic substances such as preservatives, dye, emulsifiers, waxes, and pore-clogging minterals” without an ingredient list. I don’t think there is full disclosure on the ingredients on their website. While they list vegetable oils and “a cocktail of 15 local herbs” as ingredients, I don’t see anything on the list that is making the product foam, and it does foam, so I’m not sure why or what kind of chemical might be doing this.
Although it Gamila Secret seems pricey (in the UK can you purchase for £21.62 through Vita Healthcare, the same company which brings you Lavilin Underarm Deodorant Cream) after 2 months of use the bar is almost the same size as it was when I started out. I’ll bet it will last at least a year! Unless you have a travel soap dish, it’s a little hard to travel with but overall I think it’s a good value product which achieves solid results. So the lesson learned here is that products work because of their clever formulations not because of magic despite what Gamila would have you believe, although what actually makes this product work is still a secret.