Unfortunately, the Daily Moisturizer and Night Cream just don't play nice with my face. I started using them and probably on the second night, I decided to prep my skin first with Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. Shortly after applying the Night Cream, I started feeling a stinging/burning sensation on my face and quickly cleansed it, but my face was already red and in the morning my cheeks were irritated with contact dermatitis (eczema). It took a few weeks for my skin to calm back down. I chalked up the skin irritation with being dumb and thoughtlessly combining two products that can be sensitizing/irritating (vitamin C and glycolic acid/AHA). Second time, I went back to using the Daily Moisturizer for day and Night Cream before bed and no other skin care products. Around the third day I noticed small patches of redness and dryness on my cheeks--not as severe as last time, but enough to convince me that these products aren't right for me in regular use. Therefore this post is less of a proper review and more like my general thoughts on these products.
What does this mean for you? Not much, just that they weren't suited for my skin. There are a handful of ingredients my skin does not tolerate well, yet are in products that many people use without problems, and I guess vitamin C is one of them. Vitamin C has many skin care benefits, but it can cause stinging and irritation for some people. If you have sensitive skin and want to try this line, patch test first and/or try to purchase from a retailer with a flexible return policy so you can return if you experience irritation.
|Daily Nourishing Cream, Hydrating Night Cream, Daily Exfoliating Scrub|
My pick of the three would obviously be the Daily Exfoliating Scrub; since it contains no vitamin C, there's no risk of irritation there for me. I was genuinely surprised and pleased with my smoother skin and that the scrubbing was very gentle, which sensitive-skinned types might like. After that, it would probably be the Daily Nourishing Moisturizer. It provides decent everyday sun protection at SPF 30, as well as a hygenic pump packaging. The Night Cream includes emollient mango seed butter, but you get less product for the same price and the jar packaging may compromise the potential antioxidant benefits from the Southernwood extract and vitamin C (this bit is debatable, apparently.) I wouldn't recommend either moisturizer for people with very oily skin (lacks oil/shine control, too heavy) or very dry skin (not hydrating enough); they would work best for people close to a normal-dry skin type.
Last note, I haven't found much about Southernwood extract aside from a sponsored study, so there's not a lot of information at the moment to back up claims about its antioxidant activity or ability to repair environmental damage. Just an FYI to take the claims about the benefits of this particular ingredient with a grain of salt.
Edit (Feb 25/15): MizzJ has pointed out that polyethylene, which is in the Daily Exfoliating Scrub, may not be great for the environment. I am not sure if the polyethylene in this product is present as microbeads for exfoliating purposes or as a binder/thickener (or if it even makes a difference what form it's in). There have been reports that polyethylene beads are too small to get filtered by sewage systems and end up in oceans and freshwater bodies (source). Some cosmetics companies--including Aveeno's parent company Johnson & Johnson--have pledged to work towards phasing them out. Interestingly, Paula Begoun says polyethylene is not as harmful for the environment as some may think, although the study she cites is from 2010. If you are concerned about polyethylene in cosmetics, you will probably want to avoid the Daily Exfoliating Scrub.
Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30 ingredients:
Medicinal ingredients: homosalate 12%, octisalate 5%, avobenzone 3%, oxybenzone 3%, octocrylene 1.7%
Non-medicinal ingredients: Artemisia abrotanum extract, butylene glycol, Caesalpinia spinosa gum, candelilla/jojoba/rice bran polyglyceryl-3 esters, cellulose gum, cera microcristallina, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose, chlorphenesin, citric acid, disodium EDTA, ethylhexylglycerin, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, hydrolyzed Caesalpinia spinosa gum, magnesium aluminum silicate, octyldodecanol, octyldodecyl neopenanoate, panthenol, parfum, phenoxyethanol, polyquaternium-51, potassium cetyl phosphate, potassium sorbate, retinyl palmitate, silica, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, sodium hyaluronate, sodium hydroxide, sodium PCA, sodium stearoyl lactylate, tocopherol, tocopherol acetate, trehalose, triacetin, urea, water
Available at London Drugs, other mass market retailers: ~$19.99 CAD / 74 mL
Fresh Essentials Hydrating Night Cream ingredients: water, octyldodecyl neopentanoate, glycerin, dicaprylyl carbonate, butylene glycol, Mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, behenyl alcohol, candelilla/jojoba/rice bran polyglyceryl-3 esters, glyceryl stearate, vinyl dimethicone/methicone silsesquioxane crosspolymer, potassium cetyl phosphate, phenoxyethanol, cetearyl alcohol, sodium stearoyl lactylate, hydrolyzed Caesalpinia spinosa gum, magnesium aluminum silicate, cera microcristallina, cellulose gum, chlorphenesin, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium PCA, urea, Artemisia abrotanum flower/leaf/stem extract, disodium EDTA, panthenol, tocopherol acetate, retinyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ethylhexylglycerin, Caesalpinia spinosa gum, polyquaternium-51, triacetin, trehalose, sodium hyaluronate, sodium hydroxide, citric acid, tocopherol, arachidyl alcohol, octyldodecanol, stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, lignoceryl alcohol, potassium sorbate, parfum
Available at London Drugs, other mass market retailers: ~$19.99 CAD / 49 mL
Fresh Essentials Daily Exfoliating Scrub ingredients: water, glycerin, ammonium lauryl sulfate, polyethylene, glyceryl stearate, lauryl glucoside, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, caprylyl glycol, sodium hydroxide, cetearyl olivate, Oryza sativa (rice) bran wax, Luffa cylindrica fruit, Cocos nucifera (coconut) fruit, chlorphenesin, sorbitan olivate, citric acid, tetrasodium EDTA, caprylhydroxamic acid, butylene glycol, Artemisia abrotanum flower/leaf/stem extract, hydrolyzed Caesalpinia spinosa gum, Caesalpinia spinosa gum, parfum
Available at London Drugs, other mass market retailers: ~$12.99 CAD / 145 mL