Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 Moisturizer ($41.00 for 1.7 oz.) is supposed to be an anti-aging, daytime moisturizer for combination and dry skin that’s oil-free with UVA/UVB protection. I bought this a couple of months ago after seeing several readers rave about it, and I’ve been trying to find a daytime moisturizer that I can settle on for awhile. The most important things to me were that it be hydrating, lightweight, quick-absorbing, and have sunscreen.
The consistency was thicker, more like a medium-weight cream with a lot of air in it. It was not quite like a whipped cream (reminded me of a body souffle), but there was a lightness to it that isn’t there with other creams I’ve seen with a thicker consistency. It spread well across the skin, and it took about ten to fifteen minutes totally absorb. The moisturizer didn’t leave the skin feeling greasy or oily afterwards or later on during the day. I found it moderately moisturizing, so it was good on most days, but if I had drier spots or any areas that had some flaking, it didn’t keep up with it. I didn’t have any issues with this if any of it gets in my eyes–no burning or irritation. Makeup wore well on top of it, and it didn’t seem to shorten the wear of anything I put on it. It had a light citrus and white tea scent (a little herbal but not strongly so).
I didn’t notice any anti-aging-related changes in my skin as far as I could tell, and for me, my signs of aging include primarily fine lines around my eyes and some smile lines around the corners of my mouth. I really liked this and would be more than happy to continue using this, but I’m not quite ready to settle down and commit. My impression of it was it’s a nice, hydrating cream that works well for daytime use, underneath makeup; it’s not an aggressive anti-aging product, so it’s not reversing the hands of time at all, but it’s helping to prevent some of it!
The consistency was thicker, more like a medium-weight cream with a lot of air in it. It was not quite like a whipped cream (reminded me of a body souffle), but there was a lightness to it that isn't there with other creams I've seen with a thicker consistency. It spread well across the skin, and it took about ten to fifteen minutes totally absorb.
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Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream ($62.00 for 1.7 oz.) is one of the newest releases from Kiehl’s, and I really don’t leap to test skincare, let alone anything that makes as many claims as this one. What intrigued me the most was that it promised visible results in two weeks–not four, not six, not eight, a mere two–and the skeptic in me immediately thought, “Well, then maybe you’d actually see visible results in four or six weeks at least…” The exact claim is that “Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream is clinically demonstrated to simultaneously lift, firm, visibly redefine skin contour and re-texturize skin within 2 weeks and double efficacy within 4 weeks.” According to Kiehl’s, their chemists selected Jasmonic Acid (supposed to be “highly effective … for its ability to support epidermal renewal … smoothing and retexturizing the skin’s surface”), Beech Tree Extract (said to “improve skin firmness and visibly improve plumpness and density”), and Fragmented Hyaluronic Acid (listed to “reinforce skin’s natural short and long term moisturization … improve skin elasticity while reducing skin roughness”).
Kiehl’s is basing its claims on a clinical test of 50 women (described as multi-ethnic and those experiencing multiple signs of aging). It’s rare to receive so much specific information from a brand, so I would have loved to see the full ingredient list posted on their website as well. I’ve been using it for just over two and a half weeks now. I’ll update this post after I’ve finished the jar (probably around four or five weeks of use).
It feels like a lightweight cream, though the texture is thicker but not heavy. There’s a very faint herbal scent, though it is touted as fragrance-free (I expect it is just from the ingredients themselves), and I didn’t notice it once applied and mostly only caught the scent if I sniffed the jar. It absorbs for the most part within five minutes, but it takes a full fifteen minutes to really sink into the skin. The cream never feels sticky on the skin, and it doesn’t look greasy. The one thing I can say with absolutely certainty is that it is nicely hydrating, and it remedied some lingering dry patches I was contending with. I’ve worn it underneath makeup, and I haven’t had any issues doing so–as long as you give it proper time to absorb.
I’ve been looking for visible signs of, well, anything, since I hit the one-week mark, and after a week and a half, the one thing I kept noticing was my under-eye area seemed less shadowed, slightly less puffy. I don’t have major, major bags and shadowing, but my lack of sleep has become more noticeable over the past year. It hasn’t reversed it, and it is only minor improvement, but it’s something I’ve kept remarking on each time I’ve taken a moment to note what visible results I’ve seen. I haven’t seen the fine lines around my eyes really smooth out or become improved in any visible way. The general clarity and evenness of my skin’s tone has seemed to be slightly better. I don’t expect to be able to weigh in on firmness/lift, as my current signs of aging are the fine lines around my eyes. I’m quite impressed with how hydrated my skin is, and it does feel… plumper? in a way as my skin can when it’s really getting the hydration it needs. It’s not quite a miracle cream after using it for two weeks, though I like it and it is majorly hydrating, so we’ll see how it stacks up after more prolonged use.
Kiehl’s says to use this twice a day (morning and night), but without SPF, it’s just not a feasible daytime solution–putting a sunscreen on and this will feel and be too much for most. To clarify: When I know for sure I’m not leaving the house, I’ll skip the SPF and just use this in the morning, but on days where I need SPF, then it can take a couple of hours before the skin feels ready for makeup (this, of course, will vary depending on what product you use in combination–I’m using Origins’ A Perfect World, and I did try one day with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial and experienced similar results as when I used my Origins). I’d love to see a complementary product with SPF for this product or else a version with SPF.
Update: The final verdict is that this is a great cream for hydration. I think it helps to give skin a healthier, smoother, and clearer look overall, but I didn’t notice any fading, softening, or diminishing of the fine lines around my eyes or forehead.
Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum Light Wrinkle Plumper ($165.00 for 1.6 fl. oz.) is supposed to hydrate skin while minimizing the appearance of wrinkles. According to Guerlain, after 30 hours, 72% hydration and 27% reduction in wrinkles were apparent. It is also supposed to be a lighter version (in terms of texture) of their Super Aqua-Serum, so it is more suitable for normal to combination skin types.
In the late spring and summer, my skin tends to be closer to normal than normal-to-dry (just as in the winter, it is drier rather than normal), so I reached for this when I needed something in the evening. I liked it a lot, and a lot of what I loved came from two things: 1) the fine lines around my eyes (which are, at present, my “major” signs of aging) look softer the next morning after using this on a consistent basis, and 2) the texture is incredibly lightweight and thin but not watery or runny. The texture is thin, like a lotion, and absorbs very quickly (within a minute of applying).
It is actually very hydrating–so hydrating that I really didn’t need to use a moisturizer afterwards, but you may find you can stretch a bottle further by using and applying it as a serum (so less, or only on some areas) and following up with moisturizer. I also tried it as more of as-needed product for near fine lines, around my nose, and the tops of my cheeks (all areas I tend to be a bit drier), and it worked nicely as a spot hydrator. It doesn’t top my go-to for dry spots, but Guerlain’s has a nicer texture and faster absorption (and will work better under makeup). It has a floral fragrance–not the strongest I’ve come across, but it’s not light; it’s on par with Guerlain’s skincare range in general and strong enough that there is a lingering scent even after it has absorbed.
The benefits last about as long as you keep using the product, but it’s not correcting signs of aging, just camouflaging them by “plumping” the lines so they look less visible. It worked well for me, and it did all the things it was supposed to, and it did them with a really lovely, quick-absorbing texture while still delivering great hydration. That being said, a good smoothing primer (usually something with silicones in it) can also work well for smoothing out fine lines–at least for a few hours (as compared with a day or so with this). While I liked it, I’m not sure it’s the one and will continue to see what else is out there before committing to this price point. (I’m also not very bothered by the fine lines I do have, so naturally, I’m less inclined to pay a lot to minimize something I don’t notice often.)
Bioelements Ray Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
Bioelements Ray Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($42.00 for 4 fl. oz.) is described as a “hydrating broad spectrum SPF 30 moisturizer to protect skin.” It contains several active ingredients so that there is protection from both UVA and UVB rays (to help remember which is which, I think of “A” for aging and “B” for burning, but you want a broad spectrum sunscreen!).
It has more of a cream consistency, so it is thicker, but it doesn’t feel heavy on. This does make it easier to apply the amount you need for good protection. The spreadability is fairly good, though I do prefer to do half the face at a time to ensure even coverage. It doesn’t feel oily once applied, but it doesn’t fully set for fifteen to twenty minutes. The cream seems white initially but after spreading and working the moisturizer into the skin, the white cast disappeared.
Despite the thicker consistency, the hydration seems appropriate for normal, slightly dry, and slightly oily skin. It didn’t give me quite enough moisture when I had a couple of drier areas on my face during the time I used this (I occasionally get dry areas from over-swatching, especially on cheeks and eyes), but it worked well for most of the time I’ve been using it. It does smell like sunscreen (not coconut and sunscreen or the beach, just sunscreen), which lingers for an hour or so. I had no trouble with applying makeup over this, and it didn’t seem to interfere with the wear of any of the foundations I used. However, if this gets in my eyes, it is painful, so I wouldn’t wear this if I was going to be active outdoors (enough to sweat on the face) or heading into water (pool, ocean, lakes, etc.).
Overall, I liked it, and I think it works well: it gives broad spectrum protection and hydrates the skin. I only wished it absorbed faster, because I can imagine that if you were layering this on and needing to apply makeup right after before heading off to work or school, it could be a deal-breaker.
Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream ($45.00 for 1.70 oz.) is supposed to have 24-hour hydration with a greaseless formula and contains SPF 30. For sun protection, the active ingredients are Avobenzone 3.0% (UVA I) Octisalate 5.0% (UVB), and Octocrylene 7.0% (UVB), so the formula does not protect against the UVA II portion of the spectrum.
I tested this moisturizer out, because I was looking for something with sun protection (ideally, you’d get full coverage across both UVA and UVB ranges, but many sunscreens miss UVA II part of the UVA range) and didn’t want a juiced-up, hopped-up, anti-aging-injected moisturizer. I just wanted something that would 1) hydrate and 2) offer sun protection. I’ve really tried to reduce the amount of skincare products I accept for testing, particularly those that are high in price and (supposedly) high in anti-aging benefits, only because I don’t feel I can adequately test the efficacy of most anti-aging products to ever justify a three-digit price tag. Check back with me in a few years
It’s a thicker cream, but I felt like it was rather airy–so it didn’t feel too heavy in the jar, and it had great spreadability on the skin. It took about fifteen to twenty minutes to absorb and really sink in, but after that, it didn’t feel greasy or look oily. I wore it under makeup numerous times, and it did not interfere with the longevity of my foundation, blush, and the like. It hydrated incredibly well; my skin never felt dry or parched in the evening, and some lighter-weight moisturizers can leave me anxious to take off my makeup and apply my night cream.
The elephant in the room is the amount of fragrance Lancome puts into their skincare range. Bienfait Multi-Vital was tamer compared to other Lancome moisturizers I’ve tried, but it was still heavily scented with a nondescript floral perfume. Because of the scent, amount, and that it’s not a scent I want to tolerate, I wouldn’t purchase a jar.
I only tested this product for three weeks or so, because Shaun was also using this (mostly) daily in the morning as well–much to my dismay, of course. If I don’t give him his own moisturizer, he will steal whatever is my section of the bathroom counter! I did ask him for feedback, and he didn’t have much, other than it has a strong scent but otherwise worked well for him.
Lightweight, Quick-Absorbing – Better for Oily Skin Types
NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer ($58.00 for 1.8 oz.) is described as a “aqua-rich gel-cream that hydrates, revitalizes, and fortifies the skin.” It’s supposed to improve water retention, keep skin feeling supple, and soften fine lines. It is “synthetic fragrance-, paraben-, alcohol-, and oil-free,” according to NARS.
In the past, I’ve used the previous version of the Aqua Gel, and I really liked it and found it hydrating enough for my skin type (normal-to-dry; more normal when I was testing this, as it was during the summer). It was actually a go-to product for when my skin was getting dry. A lot of what was great about the original is true here: it’s lightweight, feels and glides on like a gel-based moisturizer, and it sinks into skin quickly. There is a little tackiness, though, even if it doesn’t look or feel oily/greasy. It has a pleasant smell, though it is hard for me to articulate the scent; it’s not quite herbal, but it seems natural enough–not perfume-y or anything like that. During the summer, it was lovely against the skin, because it felt cool when applied.
This moisturizer is much more suitable for combination to oily skin types; it was not hydrating enough for me with normal skin. I would use it at night, but my skin really need more moisture. NARS says it is ideal for normal to combination/oily skin types, but it was not hydrating enough for when my skin was normal. I went through the jar in a month, only using it at night time. I didn’t notice an impact on minimizing or softening fine lines.
Ultimately, this is a lightweight, quick-absorbing gel moisturizer that will be most suitable for oilier complexions.