During my diagnostic interview (which involved seeing the real condition of my skin with the super-cool Skinscope at Project Skin MD), we identified that my skin was generally healthy and well-exfoliated, with a little bit of pigmentation (dark spots). I wanted a skin care routine that focused on attaining an Arwen-like radiance, as well as a bit of hydration for drier winter months.
Because of the number of products and how much information I wanted to share, I've decided to split my review of the products into three easier-to-digest posts. This first post will talk about the Gentle Cleanser, Serum 10 AOX+ serum, and Retexturing Activator serum.
SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser
I get pimples very, very rarely, but I noticed two small whiteheads coming up after I started using Gentle Cleanser morning and night. I cut back to using it only once a day and haven't had any more blemishes pop up.
The ingredients list is full of skin-conditioning agents that would help dry skin stay hydrated. Aside from water, the top ingredients are C12-15 alkyl benzoate, methyl gluceth-20, cetyl alcohol, tridecyl stearate, plus several more emollients. With so many moisturizing ingredients, I can see why someone with very dry and sensitive skin could really benefit from this formula, and why someone else might get a pimple or two.
Gentle Cleanser would probably have been better suited to my skin from 2-3 years ago; I have a pretty good skin regimen now and I drink more water, so my skin type is a little closer than normal than it once was. If you have very dry skin, I think Gentle Cleanser is worth checking out. If you're only a little bit dry or normal, I'd actually recommend Marcelle Ultra Gentle Cleansing Gel instead--it's similar but not so emollient. (I'm hoarding this bottle of Gentle Cleanser in preparation for my next eczema breakout though, when my skin feels uncomfortable, flaky, and dry.)
SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+
This is a watery, pale golden serum in a glass amber dropper bottle. It does have a funky, sort of sharp and bitter smell if you stick your nose in the bottle, but I use so little of it (2-3 drops) that I hardly notice the scent.
After cleansing, this is the first step in my morning skin care routine (yes, it has earned Regular Routine status!) I give it about 5 minutes to absorb and then apply my hydrating toners/serums and moisturizers on top. I've been using it for a few months and I'm so pleased with the results. It's helped with reducing the appearance of brown spots I got from sunny Hawaii, plus red marks left behind by the occasional pimple. I feel like my skin's appearance overall is more even and radiant. Serum 10 AOX+ is one of my favourite products from SkinCeuticals at this point.
SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator serum
The second ingredient in this formula is hydroxyethyl urea, which I've come to understand is similar to water-binding and hydrating superstar glycerin, while also having some skin barrier-strengthening properties. There's also pentylene glycol (skin-conditioning) and saccharomyces xylinum black tea ferment, which I think is an antioxidant? Lower on the list is also sodium hyaluronate (moisturizing, skin-repairing) and glycerin. I'm not sure which ingredient is responsible for the exfoliating part--maybe the urea? (The hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid seems to be for maintaining pH.)
Serum 10 AOX+ is by far my favourite of these three products. I previously thought I would have some trouble with it because of problems I previously had with another vitamin C product, but I didn't experience any redness or sensitivity at all. At $69 USD (Canadian pricing TBD), it is on the pricy side but totally worth it in my opinion, and I would buy it once I run out. On the other hand, Gentle Cleanser and Retexturing Activator didn't wow me. I don't think that either are necessarily ineffective products, just that they were formulated to address skin care needs that were different from my own.
Part 2 of this post series: SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture, MetaCell B3, Antioxidant Lip Repair
Part 3 of this post series: SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel, Physical Fusion UV Defense, Physical Eye UV Defense, + Conclusions
Available at select skin care professional locations: Gentle Cleanser ($34 USD / 8 oz); Serum 10 AOX+ ($69 USD / 1 oz); Retexturing Activator ($77 USD / 1 oz)
Gentle Cleanser ingredients: aqua/water/eau, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, methyl gluceth-20, cetyl alcohol, tridecyl stearate, tridecyl trimellitate, neopentyl glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, PEG-100 stearate, glyceryl stearate, Citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, phenoxyethanol, carbomer, triethanolamine, allantoin, polysorbate 20, methylparaben, disodium EDTA, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben
Serum 10 AOX+ ingredients: aqua/water/eau, ascorbic acid, ethoxydiglycol, propylene glycol, glycerin, zinc sulfate, phenoxyethanol, panthenol, ferulic acid, sodium hyaluronate, sodium hydroxide
Retexturing Activator ingredients: aqua/water/eau, hydroxyethyl urea, hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid, pentylene glycol, saccharomyces/xylinum/black tea ferment, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, methylparaben, phenoxyethanol