April's Beauty Box from Boxwalla brings us two skincare essentials from Monastery Made, created in small batches by holistic facialist Athena Hewett in San Francisco. You've likely seen the earth-toned translucent bottles on your Instagram feed at some point too, which is why I was particularly excited to try a selection from the brand. Monastery Made is founded in aromatherapy and plant-based ingredients. The refined formulas form a complete collection from oil cleansers, to chemical exfoliants, to hydrating serums. The April Beauty Box includes the latter of the three - XX Rose Glycolic Gel and ALOE Hyaluronic Moisture Boost.

Each product has less than 10 ingredients and based on the INCI lists alone, I frankly expected these to be “just another” aloe serum and glycolic gel, respectively. And be fair, if you have a hydrating serum and/or resurfacing acid that you already love and cash is a little tight right now, it might make sense to pass on this month’s box. However, if you’re in the market for a new daily hydrator or nightly/weekly resurfacing treatment, or you know those are the types of products you replenish frequently, this box is a great value if it fits in your budget.

It took me a little while to warm up to the products because of how simple I assumed them to be, but with continued testing, I found myself actually eager to use them day and night, and feel they can both hold their own against 'conventional' skincare or more complex formulas at a similar price point.


As someone who generally prefers salicylic or lactic acid-based exfoliants, I was pleasantly surprised by the XX Rose Glycolic Gel. Most of the time I like my acids to be in liquid form, but a gel or serum texture can actually give you more mileage. You can dilute the intensity by mixing a pump of gel with a hydrating serum or into moisturizer, allowing you to use it more frequently without over-exfoliating the skin. You can also add a pump to your body lotion for a gentle refining boost, or apply directly onto areas of tougher skin (elbows, neck, cuticles) to smooth and soften.

At 10% glycolic acid, this is a product I would use once or twice a week on clean skin as a 5 minute exfoliating mask or under / over moisturizer for nighttime resurfacing. The glycolic acid within is derived from sugarcane and papaya, which is great for those who prefer a plant source. The straightforward approach to this formula has actually been more tolerable on my skin than other glycolic gels or overnight resurfacing serums I've tried in the past. When I tested the pH I got somewhere around 4, which is more or less the sweet spot. Your skin will naturally neutralize the acid after it's applied, and the formula doesn't contain any pH adjusters.

The base of this glycolic gel is a Rosa Damascena (Damask Rose) petal infusion, so keep that in mind if you're trying to avoid fragrant ingredients or you just don't like rose. For me it's the ideal scent, experience, and effect - my skin really does love roses.


Rosa Damascena (Rose petal infusion), Distilled Water, Glycolic Acid, Leuconostoc (Radish Root) Ferment, Xantham Gum, Arrowroot.

2.03 fl oz (60 mL)

Retail Value: $74

Above: XX Rose Glycolic Gel

Below: ALOE Hyaluronic Moisture Boost


The ALOE Hyaluronic Moisture Boost is a milky, gel-like serum which melts into a juicy fluid that absorbs like a dream. Admittedly this one is my favorite of the two, and as someone whose skin *needs* hydration, I'm happy that this serum performs. It quenches and plumps the skin quickly but doesn’t leave behind a tight or sticky residue. It doesn't contain any water, so I like to apply it after misting or toning my skin for even more hydration.

Two weights of hyaluronic acid and aloe vera work together to quench the skin without pulling moisture out of it. A cooling blend of clary sage, lavender, and white camphor deeply uplifts and offers soothing and balancing benefits for both mood and skin. As the packaging suggests, this is beautiful both under and over moisturizer for a boost in hydration. I've found it pairs particularly well with my peptide and and exfoliating serums - XX Rose Glycolic included - for extra smooth hydration and plumpness. I'll either mix or layer, it really depends on the texture of the other product I'm working with.


Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Juice, Sodium Hyaluronic (Hyaluronic Acid), Leuconostoc (Radish Root) Ferment, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Cinnamomum amphora (White Camphor), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender), Salvia Officianalis (Sage) Oil, Xantham Gum

2.03 fl oz (60 mL)

Retail Value: $79

Both products in the box are full-size! The total retail value of this box is $153, but the cost of the Boxwalla subscription is $49 per box. Boxes ship during the first week of every other month, so you aren't bombarded with new products you may not get a chance to use - it feels a bit more curated. You can subscribe for one month to see how you like it, just be sure to cancel n, and boxes are released every other month. The last day to sign up for the April Box is April 20th!

Most of the time I don't recommend subscription boxes because it minimizes your purchasing power and freedom of choice - I hate being charged for products I'll never use, no matter how large or small - but Boxwalla is an outstanding exception. Namely because they prioritize independent green beauty brands with a story to tell and stellar products to share at an incredible value.

If you'd like to shop Boxwalla with me, click the link here. I'll earn a small commission each time someone signs up. You can also save 20% off One-Time Boxes until April 20th 2020 using code WASHYOURHANDS

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