Skipping the Needle with Goldfaden, MD Needle-less Line Smoothing Concentrate

This Goldfaden, MD Needle-less Line Smoothing Concentrate came in one of my Petit Vour Boxes and was paired with the Gel moisturizer also from Goldfaden, MD.  It was suggested that the two be used together, but alas the gel cream only had enough cream in the tube for three days of moisturizing and thus ran out well before this serum.  I wasn’t terribly sad about running out of the moisturizer as it was sticky and not a moisturizer I wanted to use long term. 

The gel and the concentrate

This serum however was one of the Goldfaden products that intrigued me most when I perused their site.. I am beginning to get some fine lines fanning out from my eyes and I feel the longer I can keep them at bay the better, so this sort of thing is right up my alley.  However, the full sized version of this product costs $110 so having a sample size to try first so that I know how it reacts to my skin before I go out and purchase it, makes me much more comfortable in spending the money.  Well, it makes me more comfortable purchasing it if I like the product.

Having the sample to try for the Goldfaden MD Needle-less Line Smoothing Concentrate is extra important for me as Goldfaden, MD products and my skin don’t always get along.  But before we go into how I felt about this sample, let’s see what I have been led to expect from the product page.

Dr. Goldfaden’s smoothing concentrate is the ultimate non-invasive solution to reduce the appearance of fine lines and deep creases.

Pure Hyaluronic Acid and advanced Hexapeptides make skin feel plump, appear firm and diminish the appearance of fine lines and deep creases. Nutrient-rich Seaweed Extract promotes a long-term, youthful-looking glow. With continued use, your skin will reap the benefits of looking younger, feeling smoother, and appearing more radiant. Ideal for all skin types.

Ingredients: Seaweed extract, Distilled Water, Hyaluronic Acid, Acetyl Hexapeptide – 3, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Red Tea Extract

Goldfaden, MD

Over all that isn’t a massive list of claims or a massive list of ingredients, so let’s break them down.

Seaweed is packed with all sorts of vitamins and minerals that skin tends to like and  is there to help soothe, soften, and reduce sensitivity, boost hydration, and can work as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Distilled water makes sense to see as if you are trying to plump skin up with moisture you need to get the moisture from somewhere. I find it nice that the concentrate provides it.

Hyaluronic Acid is quickly becoming one of my favorite skin care ingredients.  It  helps retain moisture, making it one of the most effective ingredients for hydrating skin. When applied, it creates a protective barrier, so the moisture stays locked inside the skin. In a product designed to plump the skin and fight wrinkles and fine lines this is a great ingredient to see.

The Concentrate is a thin clear liquid

As you know I am not a chemist, I had to do some looking into this one.  According to the site FutureDerm (an excellent site for looking up skin care information in basic easy to understand terms by the way) Acetyl Hexapeptide – 3 also known as argireline, is a neuropeptide which is often used as a muscle relaxer. It is a shortened peptide sequence of BotoxTM that is able to be used over-the-counter. I highly recommend reading the article linked in this paragraph if you are interested in more about this ingredient.It is fact filled, but not overly science-y.

Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative that is useful for keeping all sorts of nasties from growing in your skin care and Ethylhexylglycerin is an emollient and humectant in skin care that boosts the anti-microbial performance of other ingredients to protect products from spoilage.

Finally, Red Tea extract is there as an anti-inflammatory agent that is said to fight dullness and fine lines and wrinkles.

So those are the ingredients that are in this Needle-less Line Smoothing Concentrate from Goldfaden MD.  I had a little over two weeks to try out the product. Unlike most serums you do not put this all over your face, you sort of spot treat the crow’s feet area and forehead wrinkles.  This of course uses less product so it will last longer. Normally, it takes thirty days to see real results, but I have to say I did see a small improvement after about a week of use.  Thus far it is actually the best Goldfaden MD product I have tried. 

I will say that when applied it also had a warming effect.  It was warm to the point where I double checked to see if it was burning my skin.  It wasn’t, there were no red spots or visible irritation, but this concentrate got uncomfortably warm on my skin.  The entire time I used this sample, I kept wondering if I was having a reaction to it. 

Now I will say that I had no actual allergic reaction.  There was no skin irritation, no inflamed patches or break outs. But every time I applied it, I felt very nervous. Even though it did plump out my fine lines, I was somewhat relieved when it ran out and my testing was through.  I think because my skin never got used to it, i.e. the burning lessening over time, I remained nervous.  Add to that the fact that I was putting it in my crow’s foot area right next to my eyes and the discomfort factor went up a couple of notches.  I am somewhat protective of my eyes.

Does it work? Yes. It worked well.

Will I by a full sized bottle? No. 

I just don’t like that burning feeling so close to my eyes.  If it went away the more I used it, this would be a different conversation, but it didn’t. My skin was uncomfortably warm and while the feeling faded after a few minutes of it on my skin I was very worried about how it would react with other products.

I think I panic researched every ingredient in every product I applied both before and after this concentrate to make sure there would be no reactions and even then, it just made me nervous to put something that burned that much so close to my eyes so often. Now in all fairness, there were no reactions.  So it could be just my paranoid nature speaking, but I also know myself.  Even though the serum did what it claims to do, I just wouldn’t use it if I purchased the bottle.  It would sit on my shelf and I would find excuses not to use it. I might dab it on once in a blue moon when I was going out and wanted to make certain my lines were as gone as possible, but I would not use it on a daily basis. So for me, this is not an item I will be purchasing. I wouldn’t chuck out a sample if it came my way again, but it would be used judiciously the week before a major event.

Three of the sites I used to provide more information regarding some of these ingredients are Simple Skin Care, Future Derm and the Paula’s Choice Skincare site.  If you are interested in learning more about skin care ingredients, you might want to check them out.  Paula’s Choice in general does a really good job of breaking down all sorts of ingredients. They also have really good products, but their articles about skincare topics are really great too.

Paula's Choice UK - General - 468x60

Trying out the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

Normally I start with the introduction of the product and then cover what it is supposed to for, but I will be honest, I have flip flopped on my opinion and put off this review for the sole reason that I am very much on the fence about the Sulwhasso First Care Activating Serum. I figure it is best to just get that out up front so that no one is confused when I seem to waffle between pros and cons.

So the sample size of the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum came to me in an Allure Beauty Box. I have heard many people rave over this brand and I know two people who are just absolute die-hard fans. So the brand was on my list to try out, I just hadn’t quite gotten around to it yet, mostly because I wasn’t certain which product to try first. Having one appear in a subscription box really helped me with that decision. 

First off, it must be said, how stinkin’ cute is this bottle?  I was prepared to open it and have a little squeeze to drop the product into my hand and was pleasantly surprised to find  a tiny little pump. I don’t know why that gets me, but it does.  I just think it is adorable.

The product itself comes out in a brownish color.  It actually reminds me a bit of the Dermelect Self Esteem serum I tried (and loved) a while back.  It even has a similar scent.

Similar, because there is one big difference. But I will get to that in a moment, here I am going to pause and cover what the serum is supposed to be doing when I apply it to my face.

Formulated with JAUM Balancing Complex™, a potent cocktail of five Korean herbs, this unique prepping serum designed to be the first step post-cleanse that hydrates, nourishes and visibly firms, while boosting absorption of subsequent products that are applied on top.



Okay, it isn’t a long list of things this product is attempting to accomplish it is really only one thing.  It is designed to help other product absorb faster.  And to be honest, it does this really well.  Applying my moisturizer after this meant I spent less time waiting for it to absorb and could cut my getting ready time down a little.  I know the point isn’t making morning preparation shorter but to help your skin absorb more of the ingredients, but I don’t really have a way to measure absorption rate.  I do know that more of my moisturizer absorbed and it absorbed into my skin faster when I used this serum than when I didn’t.

In that sense it worked really well and was fantastic.

I know what you are thinking.  This is going to be another scent issue.

Only partially. 

This time it is scent with a side concern.

Remember I said it smelled almost like the Dermelect Serum but with one big difference? The Dermelect Serum smelled like many different herbs that had been distilled to create a single herbal-ly smelling serum that smelled very medicinal. 

This Sulwhasoo Serum smelled like similar herbs distilled in rubbing alcohol. The scent was somewhat strong actually and when you look at the ingredients list it is easy to see why.  Alcohol is rather high up on the list.  Which means there is a pretty high concentration of it. 

This is where my waffling comes in. Where skincare is concerned, I know that alcohol can be really good in the short term, but have rather bad long term effects on the skin.  If it is low on the list of ingredients I am less concerned by its presence, but when it sits that high on the list, I start backing away from the product.

So here is my final sense of the product. It works well, really well.  It does exactly what it says it is going to do. However because that alcohol sits so high up in the ingredients list and the product smells like herb infused rubbing alcohol, I think I am going to give it a pass.  I will poke around a bit more for information bout the product and its ingredients and talk to a few people whose profession is more in tune with the skin and ingredients upon it than my skin care junkie self, but for now, the alcohol in the product makes it a pass for me, despite how well it seems to work.

La Roche-Posay- ACD

Sunny side up with 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum from Timeless Skincare

A while back Timeless Skincare graciously gifted me with several of their products to try and I have been putting them to the test.  I slowly rotated each one into my skin care routine, so as not to bombard my skin with all new ingredients.  The fourth and final product from my Timeless Skin Care trial was the 20% Vitamin C + E and F Acid (retail . $25.95). I have been using it for one month straight. 

But before we get into how I felt about the serum, let’s look at what it claims on the product page…

Give your skin a mega dose of Vitamin C. Our 20% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid serum brightens skin, builds collagen and evens out tone. Enhanced with Vitamin E & Ferulic Acid, this serum is a great pick me up for dull, discolored and stressed skin, while providing 24/7 protection against environmental pollutants. Recommended For: All skin types. As always Timeless Skincare is Paraben Free, Fragrance and Dye Free, Cruelty Free, has More actives, less chemicals and is Made in the USA.

Ingredients: Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Alpha Tocopherol, Polysorbate 80, Panthenol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid.

Timeless Skincare
the pump top

One thing I love about the Timeless skincare products I have tried is that their ingredients lists are not a mile long.  Admittedly this one has some tongue twister words so lets take a moment to break them down.  (As a reminder I am not a medical professional of any kind and I am certainly not a dermatologist, I am just a skin care enthusiast who really likes to try and understand what it is I am putting on my face.  At the end of this post I’ll like a few articles for those who want to look into more professional assessments of the ingredients I am breaking down. )

So first up there is water.  I am always happy to see that.  While many ingredients can lock down moisture, they need moisture to lock down, otherwise they are just sort of sealing in what you have and not adding anything.

the product in hand

Next up is the Ethoxydiglycol.  While a mouthful of syllables its purpose is to dissolve ingredients, increase the efficacy of the other active ingredients in the serum.  One of the ingredients it is increasing the efficacy of is the L-Ascorbic Acid which is a form of vitamin C very often used in skin care because it is a potent antioxidant and skin-soothing agent that can improve the appearance of signs of aging.

The Propylene Glycol acts as a humectant which means it secures the water and takes it to the outer layer of your skin.

Alpha Tocopherol is the Vitamin E listed in the name of the product and it also acts as an antioxidant  while Polysorbate 80 attracts and suspends oils, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away.  So essentially, if my understanding is correct the Vitamin E helps pull the bad things in your skin to the surface and the Polysorbate 80 acts as the bouncer who kicks them out of Club Dermatitis.

Full face before the trial (L) at the end of one month (R).

Panthenol softens and sooths the skin and helps it build up a barrier against water loss.

Ferulic Acid, the F mentioned on the product label, is an antioxidant that works to boost the effects of other antioxidants and  Sodium Hyaluronate helps to restore the skin’s moisture, promoting a more revitalized and youthful complexion. 

And finally we get to Benzylalcohol, whose chief function in cosmetics is as a preservative, and it’s among the least sensitizing preservatives in use and  Dehydroacetic Acid a non-toxic ingredient used to keep the product from spoiling and acts as a fungicide and bactericide .  Not very sexy ingredients to end the list with but very necessary.  After all there is nothing good about expired skin care.

While those are some very scientific words, the end result is that the ingredients are used to lock in moisture, while sending in a team of antioxidants and promoting healthy youthful looking skin.

While youthful looking skin may be a judgment call, I can say that my skin feels hydrated and soft.  I had no issues with clogged pores or redness with the sun as can sometimes happen with Vitamin C based products (at least it has happened to me a couple of times).

The scarring and sun damage on my cheek before the trial (L) after one month (R)

The product is in a yellow colored plastic dispenser.  The color of the container keeps the sunlight away from the product, which I appreciate, but it also prevents me from knowing how much product remains.  Foolishly I forgot to weigh it before I started my trial.  Unlike the other serums and oils, I’ve tried from Timeless Skincare, it does not come with a dropper, but has a pump that you press to dispense the serum.  I’m guessing it is to keep as much air out of the product as possible. 

One pump is all that I needed to cover my face.  The product absorbed into my skin quickly and easily.  As you can see in the photo it is clear and despite the fact that Panthenol often has a floral scent to it, this serum has almost no scent to it at all.  If you stick your nose right down into it, you might smell something, but then you have to be close enough that you risk inhaling the serum.  I do not recommend inhaling the serum.

I don’t think anyone recommends inhaling any serum actually.

But it means that for those of you sensitive to scent, there will be no problem.  I will say the photos aren’t as dramatic as with the Hyaluronic Acid serum.  In the front facing before and after photos you can see that some of the sun discoloration on my forehead has been reduced and in the side photo showing the scarring on my cheek, you can see a little fading as well.  There is more fading in the sun damage than in the scaring, but there is some noticeable fading. You have to remember that with skin care thirty days of use is generally when you start to see results.  I think that if I continue using this product, over time I would see more fading of the damage as the active ingredients went to work on my skin.  It is less dramatic than its HA counterpart, but still a very nice serum.  And to the touch my skin feels softer and more hydrated, which doesn’t show up as clearly in the photos. 

So will I continue to use this serum?  Yes.  I will be using it up completely.  Will I place this on my to be ordered list? Yes I think I will.  I have other serums in my skin care drawer I want to try, some of them Vitamin C based, but thus far this 20% Vitamin C + E and Ferulic serum has worked really well with my skin and is in the top five of the vitamin C products I have tried before. I am very happy that I got a chance to try this product out and share my thoughts on it. For those of you interested in more scientific break downs of some of the ingredients I listed out, you might want to look into and the Derm Review.

SodaStream USA, inc

Reviewing the Balance Me Vitamin C Repair Serum

I love serums. I really do, and I love testing out new ones. In July I received the Balance Me Vitamin C Repair Serum in my Look Fantastic Box.  This serum is a trial sized version and had just enough product to get through two week’s worth of use.  Actually it ran out a day early but I decided it counted as enough product to let me get a feel for the serum.

According to the Balance Me website…

Our award winning brightening serum reduces pigmentation and uneven skin tone while boosting elasticity, refining lines and texture. With stabilised bio actives and skin lightening boerhavia diffusa for maximum efficacy with zero irritation.

It brightens, bringing radiance back into skin, addresses uneven skin tone and pigmentation, intensely hydrates.  It is suitable for dehydrated skin, skin lacking in radiance and tone and reducing pigmentation and signs of sun damage.

Full Ingredients List

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Coco-Caprylate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Propanediol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Candelilla/Jojoba/Rice Bran Polyglyceryl-3 Esters, Glyceryl Stearate, Borage Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Smithsonite Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract,Squalane (Olive), Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Red) Peel Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange Sweet) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Litsea Cubeba (May Chang) Fruit Oil, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Maltodextrin, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Citronellol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

Balance Me Website

In addition to the vitamin C that my skin loves, this serum has olive based squalene which my skin really reacts well, so I had high hopes.  I also like the fact that the t tube has been made with a mix of new and over 50% post-consumer recycled plastic and a widely recyclable PP cap.

It has a creamy texture and not much product is needed to cover the entire face.

The serum is a creamy formula which I wasn’t really expecting.  I tend to think of serums as being looser and more liquid in consistency.  However, I didn’t have a problem with it, I was just surprised. 

The serum absorbed well into my skin and I have to say, I really liked the way it helped lock in moisture.  I put the serum under my moisturizer and I could really feel a difference on they days I spent a lot of time outside.  I tended to be less dehydrated. 

Generally on the days I spend a lot of time outside I replace my regular moisturizer with a night cream as I need the extra moisture it provides.  With this I didn’t have to add the night cream when using a regular moisturizer.  As I switched from a night and day moisturizer to a day cream after a few days, I just used a moisturizer I know works well for me in the evenings instead of the night cream just to test it out.

While I liked the way this serum felt on my skin and I liked the fact that it didn’t clog my pores and break me out, I did have one issue. 


This serum smells exactly like Lemon Scented Pledge Furniture Polish. Growing up, Saturday one of my assigned chores was to polish the furniture and I was given a t-shirt that had become too holey to be worn as a rag and the spray can of Lemon Scented Pledge and sent to work.  It is a scent I remember well.  And this serum smells exactly like Lemon Scented Pledge.  I don’t mind the scent, but it ties to a very strong scent memory.  One sniff and my brain thought furniture polish.

Every time I applied it.

It felt somehow wrong.

The serum worked well, but for me that scent might be a deal breaker.  I don’t know if I can think skin care and furniture polish in the same sentence every day.  I’m sure over time the association would dim, but it might take a while.  It might be worth it to try as this is a fairly inexpensive serum ($30.90 for a full sized – 30 ml bottle – the trial size of 7 ml lasted two weeks if you want a comparison.) and it did work really well for me.  If it weren’t for the scent, I think I would put it on the repurchase list.  Because of the scent, I am going to have to put it in the maybe pile. 

I feel a little bit bad about it actually as it is a really nice serum on the skin and the scent does fade almost immediately.  It is just the initial scent that has me lowering it from a yes to a maybe.  I think what I might do is pick up a travel sized version (around 10 ml of product and try it again at a later date to see if I can fully get past the scent.  If the scent doesn’t affect you, this might be a good product to try.  If you are somewhat scent oriented, you might want to look into the travel size first just to make certain. Perhaps you won’t think Lemon Scented Pledge Furniture Polish in quite the same way I do.

Regardless I am glad that this was included in my July Look Fantastic box as I was eyeing the serum well beforehand. I’ve tried a couple of items from them in the past and was interested. I am just going to have to think about that scent.

And yes I occasionally go on skincare sites and lurk. thus far no serums or moisturizers have filed restraining orders. I am a respectful skincare lurker. Admittedly there are a few products I tend to stalk, but that is another thing completely. Although one of the items I tend to stalk is the Elemis Pro-collagen Marine Cream. It is constantly on my wait for a sale and then pounce list (hence the stalking) According to the August Look Fantastic Pamphlet though, I may be able to hold off on the poincing for a little while as this Elemis product was the sneak peak for the September box. Seriously, when a beauty box sends you Elemis, how can you not love them?

Reviewing the Snow Mushroom Water Serum by Volition

The newly opened serum with the innovator card

Volition beauty recently sent me three products for the purpose of review.  While they did send the products to me, the reviews of them are my own opinions. As a quick note, the links included in this post are for the Volition website and while I highly recommend visiting their site to anyone interested in finding out more about their products or the company (and they are a really interesting company) only ships to US and Canada. If you are not in either the US or Canada, @cultbeauty ships Volition Beauty worldwide, and @meccamaxima / @meccacosmetica ship to Australia and New Zealand.

Snow Mushroom Water Serum|Free Shipping, Free Returns & Free Sampling

When testing skin care, I tend to rotate products in one at a time and let my skin get used to them before swapping out any other elements to my skin care.   The first product I added in of the three I was sent was the Prismatic Luminizing Shield with SPF 50, mostly because I needed a sunscreen I would actually wear. It is billed as the sunscreen for people who hate sunscreen (which is me) and is a fantastic product that has gotten me into the habit of actually wearing sunscreen daily. The link above will take you to the fill post if you are interested. 

The second product I rotated in was the Snow Mushroom Water Serum and then a week later I added the Celery Green Cream.  So next week I will be posting the Celery Green Cream Review after using it for a full month.

For those that are unfamiliar with Volition Skincare. They produce clean, cruelty free, vegan skincare.   In addition they produce crowdsourced items.  So if you have an idea for a product, you fill out the form and send it to them.  They then ask the community what they think of the idea.  If it is approved, then they set a team of specialists to work turning the idea into a product. 

I thought this idea was interesting when I came across it the first time.  I have to say that having tried some of the products produced thorough this system, I am even more impressed by it.  I love that each product comes with a innovator card, letting you know who came up with the skin care idea.  The Snow Mushroom Water Serum was thought up by Keidy. And what is the serum supposed to do?

According to the site…

Snow Mushroom. It’s nature’s sponge. It holds nearly 500 times its weight in water. It’s the wonder ingredient in this hydrating face serum that delivers a surge of moisture as it naturally minimizes the appearance of pores.

Now I am the first to admit, I love a good serum.  I will also say, I love mushrooms.  I love all sorts of mushrooms and for a while I was even growing my own blue oyster mushrooms.  (mostly because I could never find them at my local grocery). I was a little skeptical about them in my skin care though.  However, I am all for minimizing the appearance of my pores.

However it isn’t just the snow mushroom that makes up this serum.  It has some help.

  • Snow Mushroom: Delivers hydration and helps improve moisture retention.
  • Marine Water: Helps detoxify skin, reduce shine, and minimize the appearance of pores.
  • Watermelon and Apple Extracts: Excellent sources of Vitamins C and A; visibly brighten the look of skin.
  • Lentil Extract: Rich in Vitamin B5; Helps to soothe and smooth the skin while helping retain moisture resulting in the appearance of softer, clearer, firmer-looking skin.

Full Ingredients: Tremella Fuciformis (Mushroom) Extract, Propanediol, Glycerin, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sea Water, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Water, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, N-Prolyl Palmitoyl Tripeptide-56 Acetate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Diheptyl Succinate, Xanthan Gum, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Sodium Carbomer, Ethylhexylglycerin.

As you can see there are a lot of good ingredients listed.  My skin loves vitamin C and it is often in my serums. I’ve never thought of lentils as a skin car ingredient but I do have a favorite recipe that uses both lentils and mushrooms so I find it oddly comforting to see them paired together here. (and yes I realize that makes little scientific sense, but it is still true)

Before I used this serum I took a look at the reviews. I like to kind of see if there are any problems I should look out for when trying a new product out. Plus I also like to find out whose reviews closely match mine so I can compare with other products.  The reviews were overwhelmingly positive.  I lifted a skeptical eyebrow and continued on. Given how positive the reviews were however, I was very much hoping my experience was as positive because it sounded fantastic in a Liz Lemon -I want to go to there – kind of way.

And yes, the first thing I did was open the bottle to take a sniff. 

Cause it’s me and you know that’s what I am gonna do. 

I was expecting a kind of earthy mushroom funk. I will say there is a slight underlying earthy note, but it doesn’t come right out and say I am mushroom come smell the funk.

Which is fine.  I may love the smell of sautéed mushrooms, but I wasn’t too certain of how I would feel about the scent in my skin care. While it does have that base earthiness, the serum just smells fresh and clean.  Maybe it is just because they used the snow mushroom water.

Or because they weren’t sautéing them.

I know that the Snow Mushroom Water is one ingredient, as opposed to water pairing with serum, however this serum has a very thin ‘water-like’ consistency. It is extremely light weight.  If you fear heavy pore clogging serums, then lean in this direction.  It feels extremely light on the skin and I had no trouble with any clogged pores while using it.

A small amount covered my face neck and decollete with no problem.  After applying it though, I did need to wait a minute before moving on with the rest of my skin care.  It wasn’t terribly long. 

I generally found if I applied it, and then brushed my teeth, then by the time I finished with my mouthwash rinse, my skin was ready for the moisturizer. If I didn’t wait then the two products mixed and both took longer to settle in. Since I had to brush my teeth anyway, it wasn’t a hardship to wait.

I used this serum twice a day for a full thirty days as part of my trial.  I applied it in the morning and in the evening.  After thirty days I am exactly halfway through the bottle.  So It is a fair estimate that the bottle will last two months. 

For me this is good to know because I will so be ordering a replacement bottle when this runs low and I need to know when to order it.  I really enjoyed this serum.  While it is light weight on the skin, it really does a heavyweight’s job. My skin felt hydrated and refreshed.

The pores on my cheeks and nose were reduced enough that I actually used a non-pore filling primer and  my skin still looked smooth.  I  also noticed a reduction in the fine lines at the corners of my eyes.  The skin was plump enough with retained moisture that they were less noticeable.  I stopped using my eye cream while using this serum for my trial because I wanted to make sure it was this product doing the line filling and not a combo effort. 

It was definitely the Snow Mushroom Water Serum.


My only criticism of this product, and it is a slight one, has to do with the packaging.  It is in a lovely frosted glass bottle with a nice rose gold cap.  When you turn the cap the top pops up and operates the dropper inside.  All of this is fabulous.  It worked really well and it was easy to tell when the bottle was opened or fully closed.


  The only drawback I had was that the entire cap is smooth.  While opening it is no problem, closing it involves either hands still slick with left over serum after I’ve massaged it into my skin or hands slick from washing them post application. (yes I dry my hands but they are still slightly slick) There were a couple of times I almost dropped the glass bottle.  If the lid had just a little bit of texture to it, I would be less worried about dropping it with slick hands.  

I know I could just wait until I reach the end of my skin care regimen and my hands are clean and dry, but I don’t like leaving products open too long after I use them.  Plus, I recently had to bid an untimely farewell to one of my favorite concealers because I forgot to recap it. So it is sort of on my mind.  But with this I really was worried about dropping the glass bottle. 

While I’m sure it is shatter resistant, I wouldn’t want to risk losing even a single drop.  I may have to set this aside to try out new skin care items, but I know this is one that I will consistently return to use when I am not testing things out or need a break between tests. At the moment I am considering easing out of using it so that should my next trial not go as smoothly, I will have product remaining to repair whatever damage it does. It is a fantastic formula and The Volition Snow Mushroom Water Serum will remain on my favorites list for a long time to come.

Volition Beauty|Free Shipping, Free Returns & Free Sampling

Soothe Sample Pack from Annmarie Organic Skincare, is it worth it?

The sample pack with the three serums added in

I am a sucker for samples.  I love them  If I can try something before I buy it then generally I am all in whether it is a tiny spoon of ice cream before I commit to a cone or a face cream I have never tried before, trying it before I commit makes me a happy camper.  I find this especially true with skin care, especially if I am just getting to know about the company. 

Sample Kit with free Skin Detox Guide

Annmarie Organic Skin Care sells a starter sample pack for about $10.  With this sample pack you get a sample of their cleanser, a facial oil and they send you three samples of their bestselling signature serums.  And if you are thinking, why would I pay for samples, don’t.  The sample kit comes with a $10 coupon that you can use towards a future purchase should you decide you like the products.

How could I not be interested?

Especially when I started looking into their website and products. Not only are they natural and organic but they are heavily into sustainability. All of which made me more interested to try them.. After all how can you not love something called ‘Wild crafted’?

There are several different kind of kits available and they are labeled via skin concern: Balance for normal to combination skin, Purity for oily skin, Restore for dry or Mature Skin and Soothe for sensitive skin.

The container is collapsible paper and the packets are stiff paper that doesn’t fall over and drip product everywhere

The company very kindly sent over the Soothe Sample kit for me to review. They also sent over samples of additional products so while this is a review of their sample kit and a first impressions of the products, I will be able to do my full two week review after using the products for two weeks.

Actually what is nice is they sent samples of their cleanser, serum, facial oil, face scrub and two types of masks so that for the duration of the trial I can use only their products which I really appreciate.

 So to The Soothe Sample kit.  It includes a sample of their Aloe Herb Cleanser and the Herbal Facial oil for sensitive skin.  The three serums that came with the kit are the Citrus Stem Cell Serum, the Probiotic serum and the anti-aging serum. 

Right off the bat I have to say that I love that the packaging is paper, easily collapsible and recyclable.  I also like that they provide a website link for further instructions. 

By following the link and going to the Sooth kit I find that…

This herb-infused, mildly formulated sample duo includes our Aloe Herb Cleanser which gently lifts away impurities, while our Herbal Facial Oil for Sensitive Skin delivers essential oil free, lightweight moisture to keep skin calm and at ease.

At Annmarie Skincare, we handcraft skin care, using organic and wildcrafted ingredients, that promises beautiful, glowing skin.

The directions suggest using the cleanser and following up with the oil.  Nothing strange about that, but it doesn’t mention the serums.  I believe that the serum is supposed to come between the two.  Because they left out the serums I decided to try the duo without the serum in between first and then get to the serums later.

These are very much sample packets and I had two concerns when opening them.  Concern one was that there would be very little in the packet.  Concern to would be that there would be a lot in the packet.  If you’ve ever used little sample packs often having them for more than one use gets messy.  You open them, use them once and then set them aside to use the remainder later and they leak all over the sink and make a mess.

While these packets did have more than one use in them.  The paper packet is designed in such a way that the top, if you tear it right, only exposes a little hole for the product to come out of and the paper is also designed to stand upright.  The way it is folded on the bottom means that it won’t slump over and spill everywhere.

I know it is kind of a silly thing to be excited about, but I really was excited about this.  (it’s the little things in life right? Plus it shows they really thought about things, which I appreciate).

So that you aren’t flying blind on product usage, they provide a website link to explain more about the products in your kit so you don’t have to navigate their main website looking for it and they don’t wast paper printing details out.

But packaging means nothing if you don’t try the products. 

My first run was with the cleanser and facial oil.  The cleanser smells like lemon verbena which is one of my all-time favorite herbs in the garden.  It is in face what summer smells like in my mind because my Mom used to use it in her homemade bug spray.  Whatever mix she concocted (I do not have the recipe) had loads of lemon verbena in it and we were hosed down with it to keep us bite free. It worked pretty well actually.

While I adored the scent of the cleanser, I also really enjoyed using it.  It took very little to wash my face and the small packet managed to stretch to four face washes, so I got two days’ worth of use out of it. It took off my makeup, although it needed a little extra help with the mascara (but that is one of the reasons I keep a Makeup Eraser around).  Quite frankly the scent makes me perfectly content to let the mascara slide. Most cleansers have issues with it and not all of them smell as good or leave my skin actually feeling conditioned. Seriously, it felt good enough that I really didn’t want to put anything else on my skin.

But I did.

The Herb Facial oil came next.  It smelled like oil with some indefinable herbs infused into it.  It was thicker and more viscus than I expected and only a drop or two was actually needed. Going on the skin it felt kind of sticky, but after applying, I gave it a moment to do its thing and it absorbed well.  I finished with a light moisturizer and was very happy with the results.

Later I tried the serums and they too contained enough product for multiple tests. The Citrus Stem Cell serum smelled slightly citrusy but mostly herb and the other two just smelled very herby. My nose couldn’t pick out any distinct herbs but the probiotic serum did smell slightly sharper than then the Anti-Aging serum.

While there was enough product in this sample kit to get a good feel for the products, there was not enough to see any type of results. Luckily the folks at Annmarie were kind enough to send other larger samples that I can try for the duration of a full trial.  I will have to report back after using them, but I have to say given my initial exposure, I have a very good feeling about them.  My initial impressions are all pretty good.  Thus far the only slight negative was the slight stickiness to the Herb Facial Oil. And even that goes away pretty quickly leaving the skin soothed and nourished.

While I eagerly jump into the trial of the skin care regime, this post was more about the sample packets and whether or not it is worth the initial $10.  I have to say I think it is.  There are two days’ worth of products in the packet and three separate serums to try so you can see what works well with your skin.  It is enough to see your initial reactions to the products and to learn if they are right for you. Personally, I really like sample kits of skin care products and I think the fact that it comes with a $10 off coupon is just the cherry on top. I’ll be back in a few weeks to let you know how the products work over time.

I have a good feeling about this one.

sample kit

Finally, a Kale I love.

Sweet Chef Kale + Vitamin B Serum Shot

One of the things I love about subscription boxes is that occasionally they send to me something I would never actually pick up for myself.  Because it is then in my house, most of the time I feel compelled to try it.  That was the case with this Sweet Chef Kale + Vitamin B shot (serum) (retail $20) that came in my January IPSY subscription box.

Now I know a lot of you out there love kale. And I cast no shade in your direction. Power to you. Go on loving kale.

I will come right out and say it, I am not a fan. As a kid I remember seeing it on my plate and having my grandmother lean in and say, ‘Don’t eat that, it’s just for decoration.’ It was the green background to a scoop of chicken salad, nothing more. In the garden it wasn’t planted with the vegetables, it was planted as a green backdrop to some of the more delicate flowers.

So they would shine.

To be honest, when I was little I thought kale was toxic, like rhubarb leaves.

Then its super food nature took it from being the inedible backdrop to center stage.  It began appearing everywhere from green juice to the chip bowl. Personally, I think taking on the potato is more or less trying to punch out of its weight class, but again, I’m not a fan. Spinach is my go to green leaf. And I love spinach with a nearly Popeye-esqe attachment.

But that is beside the point.  This time, kale came to me and it came not on the dinner plate, but in the skin care realm. 

Interesting invasion technique. Of course I had to try it. So first we look at the product page where it states…

Fan of green juice? Now you can use it on your face! The Sweet Chef Kale + Vitamin B Serum Shot is milky essence jam-packed with cult-favorite kale. This crunchy veggie is rich in nutrients and antioxidants to hydrate while vitamin B soothes. Bouncy, hydrated skin is always in.

It is a little thicker than many other serums I’ve tried but is absorbs well

The three active ingredients touted are Kale, Vitamin B and Aloe Barbadensis flower extract, all of which are known for anti-inflammatory skin soothing and moisturizing properties.

All in all, not a bad trio to have in a serum.  So I uncapped the lid and as always took a sniff, because you know I have to smell everything.  I swear if anyone wanted to knock me out it would be super easy.  But as I am not on anyone’s hit list I feel pretty safe at the moment. 

So the serum.  Well, it smells green. I know, sometimes my colors and scents get mixed up, so I’ll do my best to explain.  I know the bottle is tinted light green and the serum itself is a pale minty green, but the scent of it is a deep rich growing green. I’m guessing that’s the Kale, but it is the scent you get when you cut most of the iron rich salad greens in the garden in the high summer. (Incidentally most of the best salad greens don’t like high summer, but we have a patch of yard that is so over grown from overhead tree limbs that we can grow spring greens after spring has technically ended.  That shadowy cool green on a hot summer’s day is sort of infused into this green)

Because of the scent I expected the serum to be darker. In addition to being paler, it is thicker than I expected as well.  It is not quite thick enough to be a cream, but it is thicker than other serums. 

This did cause one problem.  The serum is dispensed via dropper.  The dropper is a shade on the thin side and the serum is a shade on the thick side.  The serum clings to the sides of the bottle so it makes it a bit difficult for the dropper to pick up the serum.  To solve this I took the dropper out, put my thumb over the opening, shook it a bit like a glass ketchup bottle and then put the dropper back in.  The shaking jiggled the serum off the sides and back into the center so the dropped could pick it up.  If you do this with the dropper in, then the dropper creates a hollow in the center so it is pointless.  You have to take the dropper out for it to work. A little extra step, yes.  Worth it? Oh yeah.

The green dropper is from the Sweet Chef Kale shot and the other is from more liquid serum for size comparison.

Despite the extra shaking, I really like this serum.  The scent is a good wake me up smell and the serum is wonderfully hydrating.  It absorbs into the skin really well and doesn’t slow me down in the morning and really sooths the skin.  Because of the smell, I also feel really healthy after I’ve applied it.  To be honest, except for the slight shaking required by the thickness of the serum, I have no negatives. It is a great product with a decent price, and in addition if I forget to re-order, it is also sold at Target so I can just pick up a replacement when I run out.  Truthfully, I will be picking up a replacement when I run out.  I will also be looking into the other serums in this line to see if they are as good.

Finally, a use for Kale I actually like. I knew it would come eventually. I suppose I have joined its legion of fans. I’m still not giving up my spinach, but kale skincare I think I can get behind.

12% Off Sitewide New Year Blast at Alyaka! Until January 31 ONLY. Use code NY12OFF

Morning Kisses MakeUp Eraser ONLY $14! Save 30% with code: TAKEOFF30

Joine the Geller Girls Rewards Program! Get access to fabulous freebies, savings and more.

QMS Medicosmetics Review

Both of my QMS Medicosmetics products came to me via Boxy Charm, albeit in two separate months.  The Intensive Eye Care Day and Night Cream (retail $140) came in November and the Lip Line Corrector Lip Serum (retail $200) came in the December BoxyCharm. Because I knew the lip serum was coming, I put the eye cream to the side until it arrived so I could test both of them at the same time.

Prior to their arrival I had never tried anything from the brand. It is apparently a British Brand that is branching out into the US Market from what I’ve gathered.

I have to say that given the price point of the products, the packaging wasn’t what I expected. Both come in plastic containers.  While the eye cream is in a pretty blue color with a silver lid and feels quite sturdy, the lip serum container feels a little thin. Admittedly that may simply be the top dispenser.  It is a twist up dispenser that you pump the serum from. 

While I like that it keeps the product away from the air, don’t actually like the pump.  There is no adjusting the pump to dispense smaller amounts of product.  You can’t pump it halfway down, it is one pump and that is it.  For me this was a problem as I only need about half of the product that came out of the pump each time I used it. I ended up using the excess serum on my neck but I still felt as though I was wasting it by dispensing more than I needed.

But as we all know, packaging is one thing, product is another. Since I’ve already started with the lip line corrector, I’ll continue and then move on to the eye cream. So on the QMS website the product is described as:

Formulated exclusively for the upper lip area, Lip Line Corrector targets fine line and wrinkles. This high-performance lightweight serum is specifically designed to hydrate and plump lips for a smoother, youthful appearance.

I will say that the serum is very light weight.  It is a very liquid formula and it takes a while to absorb into the skin.  I found myself adjusting my skin care routine to apply it as early as possible to give it time to absorb before moving on. Truth be told in the three weeks I used the product, I didn’t see any real difference in the lip area. 

I will however say that I did see significant improvement on the skin of my neck and décolletage where I applied the excess serum. There it smoothed and plumped skin and I saw a noticeable difference. Which I have to say that as I only put it on my neck because the pump dispensed too much serum for my lip and I didn’t want to just wash it down the drain, I find darkly humorous.

While I will continue to use this on my neck and upper chest, I probably won’t use it on my lip any more.  I have not tried a product specifically designed for my lip area before, but prior to this I used eye cream on my lip area and that has worked much better. So I think moving forward I will not be purchasing a separate lip serum, but returning to use what I know works.  I would be up for trying a different brand should one come my way but once this product is gone I will not be repurchasing it.

The eye cream was an interesting product. According to the website:

With its multi-action formulation featuring natural firming extracts and intensely moisturizing ingredients, Intensive Eye Care provides targeted treatment to the delicate skin of the eye zone. Its rich, nurturing texture is both gentle and highly effective in helping to reduce fine lines, dark lines and puffiness.

It came in a regular jar with no pump and where the lip serum was thin and fluid, the eye cream was thick, very thick.  A very little dab was all that was needed to cover my under eye and the fine lines in the ‘crows foot’ area. Even with using very little product, this cream needed a bit of massaging to get it to absorb into the skin. Its thick nature made it want to sit on top of the skin. It has a very old fashioned cold cream sort of texture (and scent actually).

I’m not certain if it is the scent or the texture of the cream, but I could see it more as a night cream than a day cream. Unfortunately for me, it made my skin break out so I had to discontinue use. I ended up with a sort of crescent shaped section of skin around the orbital bone breaking out in a very distinct row of pimples.  As it was in exactly the spot where I put the cream, I figured it was the culprit.  The suspicion was confirmed when I stopped using it and the break outs went away.

It did actually work well on the fine lines around my eyes before it broke me out and it was excellent at reducing puffiness which is among its claims. The fact that it was actually an effective product made the break outs more annoying. I don’t know if it was clogged pores or an allergy, but unfortunately this is not the eye cream for me.

Unfortunately for me neither QMS products will be making it into my must have’s list. Perhaps because of the price point, I expected more. As I have used many less expensive products that worked much better, I was quite disappointed. The lip line corrector makes a wonderful serum for the neck and chest, but did nothing for the fine lines around my lips and the eye cream gave me two lines of crescent shaped breakouts. Clearly, this is not the brand for me.

Juice Beauty Review

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum and Eye Treatment

This month I have been using two products from Juice Beauty and as they are both from the same product line (Stem Cellular Anti-wrinkle) I thought I would not only use them together, but review them together.  The two products I have been using are the Stem Cellular Anti-wrinkle Booster Serum and the Stem Cellular Anti-wrinkle Eye Treatment. As those are both really long names I will probably just call one Serum and the other Eye cream throughout this post.

My trial of both of these products ran twenty-two days instead of my standard two week trial. At the start of the trial the Serum weighed in at 4.47 ounces. The package contains 1 ounce of product so 3.47 ounces of that is packaging. The eye cream which has 0.5 ounces of product weighed in at 1.82 ounces with a package weight of 1.32 ounces.

The packaging is interesting.  The containers do well in keeping the product from the light and air which I really like as it lessens the chance that they will spoil before I can use them up. I don’t like the fact that you can’t tell how much product is left in the containers though.  Once I start getting low on a product, especially when it is skin care related, I like to make sure I have a replacement ready to go. I’m not entirely sure how you would fix that though.  The same feature that I like for the fact that it keeps out the air and light is also what keeps me from seeing how much is left.  It’s just sort of shrug it off and do the math for estimates sort of situation.

applicator nozzle from the eye cream

When I got the serum I was worried about the relatively small nozzle getting clogged.  I have to say that has not been an issue at all.  It has worked perfectly.  With the eye cream I was intrigued by the applicator.  I like the pump to release the cream and I like that I can apply it with the applicator, but the plastic is simply too hard for use on the skin under my eyes.  It works great on the fine lines on the side of my eyes, I just don’t like it on the under eye area.  Otherwise it too is a nice feature.  It dispenses just enough product so there is little waste and remained operational without jamming or having other malfunctions.  Overall I am happy with the packaging and I liked not having to dip my fingers into the jar of eye cream.

At the end of my trial I weighed the products again to see how much remained.  In this case it was actually a necessity as I had no idea how much product was left in the jar and could do no estimations based on sight.  At the end of the trial the serum container weighed 3.5 ounces. Given that the packaging weighed 3.47 ounces only 0.03 ounces of product remain in the container.  This isn’t much of a surprise as this morning when I went to apply it, the product squirted out in a not so steady stream, sputtering as it went from bottle to hand.  I am pretty sure it will soon be empty.  As yesterday was day twenty-two and I’m pretty sure I will have enough for tonight but not much past, I will say this product lasts about twenty-three  days for me. So a little less than a month.  With an $80 retail price tag that makes it $3.47 per day.

I also weighed the eye cream in at the end of the trial and it now weighs 1.5 ounces. Subtracting the package weight of 1.32 ounces and there is 0.18 ounces left of the eye cream. Given the math, I have about twelve days left of use in this product so it should last about 34 days in total.  As it has a retail price of $50, that ends up being about $1.47 per day for this eye cream.

But it is not all about packaging, volume, duration and pricing.  The most important part is the product itself. After all a product is only worth it if it lives up to it’s claims. So first the Serum.

 On the Juice Beauty website the STEM CELLULAR ANTI-WRINKLE BOOSTER SERUM claims to…

Reduce the appearance of wrinkles with this ultra-light gel serum. Power packed with an optimum dose of our proprietary blend of fruit stem cells infused into a Vitamin C, resveratrol-rich grapeseed formula to help boost and enhance skin tone and texture. Juice Beauty’s STEM CELLULAR™ Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum is ideal for all skin types and especially beneficial for skin showing the signs of aging.

Formulated to maximize the performance of the STEM CELLULAR™ Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizers by preparing the skin to absorb rich antioxidants.  A proprietary blend of fruit stem cells and Vitamin C infused into organic resveratrol-rich juices can improve the appearance of skin tone and luminosity. Hydrates and moisturizes skin with organic antioxidant-rich jojoba and shea. Provides essential fatty acid emollients and powerful antioxidant action with evening primrose, linseed & borage seed. Plant-derived hyaluronic acid provides plumping moisture to skin.

I will say it is an ultra-light gel consistency. While I don’t mind that, it does take a little while for it to absorb into the skin.  I generally found that I had to apply it and then postpone the rest of my morning routine while I went to make coffee and do a couple of other things.  While I know you are supposed to let serums sink in before putting moisturizer on over them, this one did seem to take an extra little while to settle.  It isn’t a deal breaker but it is something to watch if you are trying to get out of the house in a hurry in the morning.

I like that it has vitamin C in it as my skin usually reacts well to it and I appreciate that it is cruelty free and free of a whole slate of things I don’t really like. I wouldn’t say it made my skin luminous but it did make my skin feel soft and smooth.  It is a good serum and if it came my way, I would use it again, however I will not actively seek it out.  There are a couple of products that I sort of stalk and as soon as they are offered on sale, I pounce like a bargain seeking Ninja. This is not one of them. I like it, but it is not in my top tier of products. Perhaps I would feel better about it if I hadn’t just used a really good serum, but I still found it to be just okay. I will use it until it is gone though (which will probably be tomorrow morning).

On to the eye cream.

On the website the STEM CELLULAR ANTI-WRINKLE EYE TREATMENT has a similar description to the serum (it is from the same line after all) and it claims to be…

A proprietary blend of fruit stem cells and Vitamin C infused into certified organic, antioxidant-rich botanical juices works to reduce the appearance of fine lines around the eyes and minimize the appearance of dark circles. Juice Beauty’s STEM CELLULAR™ Anti-Wrinkle Eye Treatment is designed for all skin types and especially beneficial for skin showing the signs of aging. It delivers rich hydration around the eye area with organic antioxidant-rich jojoba and shea. Visibly reduces the appearance of under eye dark circles with organic essential fatty acids of evening primrose, borage & linseed. Delivers nutrients and vitamins around the eye area with Vitamins C, E & B5.

It too is cruelty free and without a bunch of ingredients I don’t like. And I am starting to get those fine lines around my eyes. While dark circles aren’t really one of my problems, I have to say I did like this eye cream.  While it didn’t erase the lines (which I think is an impossibility and not something I should expect) the formula of the cream worked well with my skin.  It sunk in quickly and made my skin feel soft and hydrated.  Even though it has a very similar product list to the serum, it is a ream rather than a gel consistency and I think that might be why I had less of an issue with absorption.

While I have no way to test whether I absorbed vitamins with the cream, I did enjoy using it and will finish the bottle.  I may have to set it to the side while I run a trial on the QMS eye cream but I will return and use the remaining product.  In addition I think I will put this on my ‘to stalk’ list as it is one of the better eye creams I have come across lately. I would not only use it again if I came across it, I would actually go out and purchase it.  And truth be told, I might not actually wait for a sale to do so. It gets two thumbs up and a claim that it is in fact worth the price.

So there you have it.  My take on two products from Juice Beauty. Both are good, but only one would I actively try to re purchase.

Affiliate links (I may receive some form of compensation when the links are used.)

Alyaka The Art of Beauty: Receive 15% off for your first order! Use promo code: SAVE15

Kypris Glow Serum Review

Kypris Antioxidant Dew Quench and Glow Serum

For the Month of November, Boxy Charm allowed Charmers to pick between the Juicy Eye cream and the Kyprus serum to have in their boxes. While it was a difficult choice for me, in my box I went with the eye cream since it is not usually a product offered and at the time I was running low on my eye cream. I was sad that I wouldn’t get to try the Kypris though as it is an expensive product ($90 per bottle) and not one I would pick up on a whim.  However, Boxy Charm then had the Kypris Antioxidant Dew Quench and Glow Serum offered in their add ons and I found I could purchase it separately for $12 which I did.

This was my first experience with Boxy Charm Add-ons and I have to say it was an all-round positive one.  I liked that I could order the product I didn’t chose for my box, which made me very happy.  I was not charged for shipping either which is always a plus in my book. It also surprised me a bit as it ships separately instead of in a box. 

Bubble wrap imprinted with hearts and the BoxyCharm logo

Add ons were chosen on October 7th and my package arrived safe and sound at my mailbox October 21st. As I thought they would ship November first when everything else shipped, I have to say that was a pleasant surprise as well. The product was mailed in a plain yellow mailer and wrapped in bubble wrap inside.  I found it amusing that Boxy Charm has its own bubble wrap imprinted not only with its own logo but a flurry of pressed hearts as well.  I don’t know why that amuses me, but it does.

But on to the product.

First the math.

The glass container with an eyedropper contains 1.59 fluid ounces of product according to the packaging. When weighed, the entire product weighed in at exactly 4 ounces. So the package itself weighs 2.41 ounces. After 15 days of use the weight of the full product is 3.5 ounces, meaning that in two weeks of regular use 0.5 ounces of product was used.  Extrapolating outward means the product should last a little more than six weeks. If you paid $90 for the product then you spent approximately $15 per week on serum.

But knowing how much is used and whether it is worth using are two different things. So let’s start off with what the product claims to do. According to the website it has a:

Featherweight texture with intense hydration. Antioxidant Dew lavishes skin with quenching encapsulated antioxidants, nurturing amino acids, and an array of soothing botanicals. Use as a lightweight hydrator or as a layering piece in your skin care wardrobe. For best results, use in combination with your favorite KYPRIS Beauty Elixir.

There are: 26 Active Natural Ingredients, Antioxidants Galore Phospholipid encapsulated Vitamins C & E and Superoxide Dismutase with Ferulic Acid and herb-derived antioxidants. Sea Algae Extracts studied for their impressive ability to hydrate, Waltheria indica A botanical gem from the Mallow family known to soothe skin’s appearance, and  DPHP – Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline is a botanically derived amino acid that smoothes skin’s appearance to enhance luminosity.

And here is where it gets a little hinky.

Given that the product has twenty six active natural ingredients, the ingredients label is quite long. In addition, the ingredients list given on the website for the full $90 bottle of serum do not match the ingredients list on the package that came in the mail. While most of the ingredients are the same, they are given in a different order. 

As ingredients are listed in the order of quantity contained within the product, with the highest concentration (and thus most active) of ingredients being listed first and decreasing in quantity as the list continues, this means that even though most of the ingredients are the same, they are featured in different quantities. Which essentially makes it a different product from the serum sold on the website. 

In addition, there are a few ingredients missing from the BoxyCharm version. The sea algae extract they specifically mention in their website description is missing as is the Reed extract. At the end of this post I will put the ingredients list for comparison purposes.  I am neither a chemist, nor a dermatologist (just a skin care enthusiast) so I am not certain what the changes between the two labels actually means in terms of product efficacy.  I just know they don’t match which makes them different products.

All that was said to basically say that I am essentially reviewing the Boxycharm version rather than the official one. I know long winded, right?

That kind of bothers me a bit. Economic and ethical arguments aside, since I can only review the version of the product made specifically for BoxyCharm unless you purchase the BoxyCharm version then you are essentially buying a different product and this review is not really helpful. Or it may be, I don’t know. without testing the original, I can’t compare.

Which is a real shame, because I really liked this product.

Actually I need to add another really in there.

I really, really liked this product.

It comes in a dark blue glass bottle.  The glass makes me happy because of recycling reasons and the dark color protects the product from light, which can wreak havoc on a lot of skin care products. The scent of the product is slightly medicinal in an herbal kind of way.  It reminds me of the health food stores my mom used to take me too when I was a kid.  I like the smell and truthfully it is not a terribly strong one. It dissipates rather quickly.  The serum comes with a dropper and three drops of the product is all you really need.  I put the drops in my hand, rubbed my hands together then applied the serum to my face.

The serum is milky and slightly viscus.  It sinks into the skin rapidly and made my skin feel soft and hydrated.  It is not greasy in the slightest and soothed the slight irritation I had on my skin from a nasty wind I spent too much time in. I really liked the way it made my skin look and feel. It gave me a kind of healthy glow and for the last two weeks I liked my skin enough to leave off my foundation and just used a dusting of powder on my skin.

Like all serums, it needed a few minutes to do its thing before moisturizer could be applied so after I put it on my skin I brushed my teeth and moved on to other tasks before applying the moisturizer and continuing with my morning routine. Even though I for the most part went without foundation for the last few weeks, I did try it under my make-up, foundation included and had absolutely no problems with it.

The serum sits well under the moisturizer and caused no problems at all.  And like I said I really liked the way it made my skin look and feel. I looked up the ingredients contained in the serum and unsurprisingly they are designed to soothe irritated skin, help you retain moisture and elasticity.  Growing up we always had an aloe plant in the house and anytime we had a burn, whether stove top or sun related, my mom would snap off a part of the plant and run the gel from the snapped plant part on the burn, so it is unsurprising that a serum including aloe soothes the skin well. 

In fact, I like the ingredients list for both products, I just wish they were the same so that I could have gotten a more accurate feel for what the official product was so that if I go to repurchase it I know I am getting a comparable product.  I am not entirely sure it would be the same if I ordered it.  A part of me wants to order it just to see if it performs the same or better, but that $90 price tag is a hefty gamble. It is something I have to think about.

I do keep a list of splurge products.  These are things that I might have a hard time convincing myself to pay for on the regular, but that I have tried and really like.  These are products that I will pick up if they go on sale or if I feel the need to splurge on something extra as a treat (hence the title splurge list). If the ingredients list were the same for both products I would not hesitate to put this serum on the splurge list. Then as soon as my bottle ran out I would stalk the site spending time debating a purchase with myself as I used other products hoping o find something I liked just as well.

But, because they are different, I am hesitant.

Its like they don’t want me to stalk them.

Imagine that.

While I am not one hundred percent certain about a repurchase, I do know that I will be using every last drop of this product up.  I may set it aside while I test something else (I know I have a serum coming in this month’s Ipsy), but after testing another, I will be going right back to this until it is all gone.  After that, who knows? Perhaps I will convince myself to splurge and test the direct from the company version of the Kypris Serum. If so, you’ll be the first to know my reactions and comparisons.

Listed below are the two ingredients lists.  As you can see the order is different for many of the ingredients meaning they are present in different concentrations in each product.  In addition there are a few differences in the listed ingredients, with some being present in one bottle and not the other in each version. I have marked the ingredients that differ from the two bottles (they are the ingredients in all caps, bold and underlined) so you can make your own judgement call.

Ingredients in the Kypris Serum according to the website:

Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Xylitylglucoside, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, ALGAE, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phospholipids, PHRAGMITES COMMUNIS (REED) EXTRACT, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, PORIA COCOS EXTRACT, Xylitol, Anhydroxylitol, Waltheria Indica Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Calophyllum Inophylum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Superoxide Dismutase, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mannitol, Dextrin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Levulinate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Gluconate, Xanthan Gum

Ingredients listed on the box that came with the Kypris Serum from Boxy Charm:

Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, xylitylglucoside, BETAINE, dipalmitoyl, hydroxoproline, pantenol, AHNFELTIA CONCINNA EXTRACT, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, anhydroxylitol, calophyllum inophyllum  (tamanu) seed oil, symrytum officinale (comfrey) leaf extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, waltheria indica leaf extract, citric acid, dextrin, ferulic acid, lecithin, mannitol, phospholipids, PRUNIS CERESIS (SOUR CHERRY) FLOWER EXTRACT, rosa centifolia (rose de mai) flower extract, rosa damascenta (damask rose) flower extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary)leaf extract, superoxide dismutase, Ascorbyl palmitate, sodium citrate, sodium gluconate, sodium hyaluronate, sodium levulinate, xantum gum, xylitol, sodium anisate