Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Rant & Rave


Your Mission: Tell us what you love, hate, or are otherwise indifferent to about evening moisturizers. What drives you bananas? What makes them necessary?

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82 thoughts on “Rant & Rave: Evening Moisturizer

  1. Definitely an essential for me but lately this past year I’ve been reaching for Josie Maran’s Argan Oil instead of a regular night cream and it’s doing wonders for my skin.

    • meme

      I used JM Aragon Oil until Tarte’s Maracuja Oil came out and I tried that. It works so much better for me – treatment and it ballances my skin amazingly well – less shiny areas and those slightly dry are perfectly hydrated…so I am using my Aragon oil on my hair and body only – the Maracuja oil is for my face.

    • John

      While argan oil is an good emollient I wouldn’t recommend using just argan oil on a long term basis. Yes, your skin will feel soft and look good, but it isn’t enough to target and facilitate the many facets of restoration that the skin goes through as you sleep. This is because argan oil is just a plant oil that contains several fatty acids like linoleic acid, which is great. It also contains some antioxidants like ferulic acid and vitamin E. That’s all and good, but the skin, like any other organ in your body, is complex and no one ingredient will fully satisfy all of its needs. Not to mention that argan oil only has limited research to back up its suppposed benefits, and a lot of the research is about argan oil consumed orally instead of applied topically. However, If you find that you just have to use this product, I would recommend mixing it with a moisturizer that contains peptides, other antioxidants that besides neutralizing free radicals also have other benefits like skin brightening, anti-inflammatory, etc.. in order to have a wholly more complete night time regimen.

  2. Katherine

    I am probably in the minority as a follower of your blog Christine. I’m almost 50. If I could go back and change one habit it would have been to apply a good moisturizer at night. I didn’t because I had such oily skin and when I was younger there weren’t appropriate formulations for oily skin for evening moisturzier that did not cause breakouts. I do use Revlon Eterna 27 every night and have for the past few years. If anyone has very dry skin or mature skin this really is excellent. It does take a while to be absorbed so I put it on about an hour before bedtime. If I could give one piece of advice to younger women it would be to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. :)

    • Babs

      Katherine…. the only bit of advice I would add is that one should always use a sunscreen and NEVER expose facial skin to long periods in the sun. I have damaged my face so much from sun exposure as a youth… I wish I knew better then.

      • Katherine

        Me too Babs! How I regret that back when I was younger we weren’t as informed as the young ladies are nowadays! I agree with you. Sound advice for all the beautiful young ladies.

        • meme

          We did not know what we know now…The browner we could get the better we thought we looked! I used to lay on the beach or surf for 8 hrs a day – 6 days a week many summer days – when not at the beach, it was tennis and zero spf. We actually bought products that helped ATTRACT the sun and make us darker!!! I am very lucky I don’t have a zillion and one wrinkles now at almost 59. I stopped being in the sun by about 35 yrs – use spf 100% of the time now in daytime – even if I am not outside. It’s just a part of my everyday products. Unlike you Katherine – my mom did get me on some moisturizer AM and PM both from teens on. We went to a couple ladies that sold exclusive lines (not Avon which was really junk then)…I think one was Helena Rubenstein. Mom did find products for 1,2,3 type systems for my skin. And in HS I know Clinque was out with their little test they did to see which of 3 formulas was best for you and I started to use their system. It was good but for the alcohol in it.

          • Reni

            I have very similar story, Meme!

            Spent all day at the beach on my summer holidays and the browner the better… today I have brown spots on my face, hiperpigmentation and probably premature aging skin (which now I treat religiously).

            I spent the first 25 years of my life burning myself in the sun and for the past 10 years I’ve been using sunscreen and other very good sskincare products.

            I’ve noticed a great improvement, although it could have been better IF I hadnt had all the sun… having said that: would you exchange your best summer holidays for a nice skin? I wouldn’t!

            The best memories of my life are from those summers and had I stayed indoors or freaking out about applying sunscreen every 2 hours back then, I wouldn’t have those wonderful memories…

            Maybe would’ve tried to wearing a hat more often, but apart from that, I wouldn’t change a thing! I’m glad I had that and I try to think now that the marks on my face is a reminder of the amazing summers I had!

            You win some and lose some… :-)

            Hope that will make you feel less guilty :-)

  3. I LOVE CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM. My dermatologist recommended to it me and it’s awesome. It’s light but still moisturizes really well!

    • Tensy

      I agree about the CeraVe–great moisturizer for the price. My theory is to moisturize whenever possible (AM/PM/all the time on my hands and elbows) and absolutely at night when your face is most receptive to absorbing the benefits!

      • John

        Hey you two! :]

        Cerave PM is a great moisturizer that has a good amount of niacinamide. Not only is is great for wrinkles but also for acne because of the way it functions: by improving skin elasticity, preventing water loss, and stimulating circulation in the skin. However, this has no antioxidants whatsoever, so you may want to mix it with a topical antioxidant serum/cream or apply it under the Cerave. Niacinamide may address existing problems, but it doesn’t prevent free radicals from damaging the skin. Bascially niacinamide=treatment instead of prevention.

        One more note: This is fragrance-free. WHOO! Haha.

  4. XO

    Age makes night moisturizers necessary, LOL!

    I like cleaner, simpler moisturizers in general. Right out of the shower, I use coconut oil on my face before bed. I alternate that with a heavy night cream from ALBA or a retinol from ROC. After 30, we need retinols :)

    • meme

      Retinols really make a huge difference. So too do EFFECTIVE peptide products – but not tht many of them really are effective. I have one I am using now by Peter Thomas Roth that is very good peptide product – but you have to be persistent/diligent with any peptide product as you won’t see results all that fast.

      • John

        XO, Retinol is great, but if you want to see faster results, you’ll want a retinoid like tretinoin or tazarotene, which are only available from the doctor. Also the amount of retinol in the ROC product that you mentioned is on the lower spectrum of efficacy when it comes to retinol. However, if it is working for you, don’t stop using it.

        Meme is correct that peptides are phenomenal ingredients, but PTR is certainly not your only option. There are several great products out there at a fraction of the cost. Also, please note that you have to be “persistent/diligent” with any skincare product/ingredient in order to see long-term results. Peptides are certainly unique and special, but not in that particular way. xD

      • Kris

        Hi meme, I’m using PTR anti aging fash wash. Which is the peptide PTR product you are using? any good?

  5. Jessika

    Philsophy Hope in a Jar! cant live without it

    • Nora

      Amen, sista! It really is awesome.

      • John

        I know this product has a lot of hype and praise around it, but this really isn’t that great for your skin. First it’s packaged in a jar, so whatever antioxidants, like the meager amounts of vitamin E and A will begin to deteriorate the moment you open the jar. I know that Sephora has a giant size version and that’s a bad thing because more of the product will have been degraded because it’ll be opened more times and therefore exposed to more air. Not to mention the contact surface area will be larger. Now even if this wasn’t packaged in a jar, the vitamin E is not present in a very efficacious amount; it certainly doesn’t justify the price. And the vitamin A, which is present in an even smaller amount, will have almost no affect on the skin because it has to be converted to 3 other chemical forms before the skin can utilize it (and the conversion rates become increasingly small), and vitamin A works best at a pH of about 5-6. This pH of this product is about 3.2. You do the math.

        Second the lactic acid in this product will not exfoliate your because it’s in a different chemical form, lauryl lactate, which will not dissociate into lactic acid, at least not in a signficant amount.

        Finally this contains lavender oil, which isn’t good for the skin, though the amount present is probably negligible. But why take the risk anyways.

        I’d recommend finding another night cream.

        • Alison

          Thanks for all of your responses to all these posts John, you are uber knowledgable!!

        • Wow John, your chemistry is really good. Are you a chemist? 😛

          • John

            Well I’m an undergrad in college and I have studied inorganic and organic chemistry. However, the things I learn in those classes are typically unrelated to skincare, at least specifically. Sure there are certain common chemicals, properties, processes, reactions, etc… but nothing specific. The body is just too complex. xD

            The things I know here is just outside information that I’ve looked up myself.

        • Emily

          THANK YOU. I’ve hated this mosturizer ever since I bought it and I was beginning to think I was the only one! I find that Hope in a Jar breaks me out when I sleep with it on. Plus, it smells nasty.

  6. Restorative properties are a must for me in a night cream. Thick or
    overly greasy formulas are a deal breaker for me! I prefer a mousse-like texture.

  7. Brooke

    What is evening moisturizer? Is it the same as a night cream?

  8. Maureen

    I use the Yes To Carrots skincare products. So at night, I’ll put on the Blueberries Age Serum, Cucumbers De-puffing Eye Moisturizer, and Carrots Nighttime Moisturizer. I really want to try the Super by Nick Perricone products. Does anybody know anything about those? All I know is that they smell odd. Not bad, just odd.

    • meme

      Dr. Perricone does not ever put any fragrances in his products. So any smell is always from his formula ingredients. That’s hard for some folks as some of the things he uses in his regular line (not the newer simple, more single product line you are talking about), have some strange smelling products in them like DMAE. I have never tried his newer, less expensive line. I am a real fan of an AM and a PM treatment product of his…AM – High Potency Ester C Amine Complex – PM, High Potency Evening Facial Emollient. Both are treatment products and not over all moisturizers. However for me along with other products I use, I don’t need any additional product just for moisturizer. My AM routine I use a tinted spf daytime moisturizer as my foundation if I wear any at all.

    • Reni

      I tried Dr Perricone cold plasma and finished the whole bottle few months ago. It was expensive as hell… didn’t do anything special to my skin…

      I’ve always had a terrible whitehead problem, it’s on my skin always, for years… nothing can get rid of them.
      Cold plasma didn’t help at all. I know the cream is not specific for whiteheads, but the SA told me cold plasma would just fix every skin problem you might have. Well, it didn’t fix my whiteheads…
      I won’t buy it again, it’s just too expensive…

      • John

        Reni, remember that most SAs just want to sell you products and from personal experience, they will bend a lot of truths just to make you buy them. I’m glad you came on here to gain more knowledge. Always seeks a second opinion on anything, and third, fourth, fifth opinions never hurt. :]

  9. Natalie

    I love my nighttime moisturizer. It keeps my skin so soft and smooth, and in the winter it’s extra protection against the cold climate where I live.

  10. Agatha

    As Nicole, I have been using an oil as a moisturizer, but I am using an almond oil. I have an acne prone skin, but almond oil is actually very good for me and it helps with making my red scars less visible. My skin is very soft and never gets dry after I started using natural oils.

    • meme

      Some of the newer natural oils out there are very good for balancing out the skin. They have as close to the same kinds of lipids as are in our own skin. Almond oil in particular has very small molecules in it and depending on any other carrier products added to it, it penetrates our skin well. It also gets into nails really well which are very dry since they are just dead keritin like our hair is but no sebaceous glands to make the nails oily.

    • John

      Like I said above for Nicole, the first poster, while non-fragrant oils are great for the skin, they are not cure-all ingredients, or why would so many exist? Haha. Again, I would recommend mixing almond oil with a moisturizer that has antioxidants, peptides, anti-inflammatories, etc… Although… a good moisturizer should already have great emollients like the various oils mentioned (almond, argan) as well as shea butter, jojoba oil, for example, so there should be no need to mix unless you feel that the moisturizer alone isn’t emollient enough for you.

      The reduction of redness that you’re seeing is because almond oil is an excellent inhibitor of water loss and by providing a bouquet of fatty acids that help keep the skin barrier intact and healthy.

  11. Vania

    I don’t like heavy moisturizers, so I use a light one at night, (and none at all in the morning) which is the Chanel Hydramax + Active Gel. It absorbs quickly and my skin feels super soft in the morning, it’s the best I’ve tried. I also apply the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum before my moisturizer, especially if I have blemishes. Works wonders!

    • John

      I think that’s it great that you use EL’s ANR which is a good product, although the Idealist is slightly better. But the Chanel Gel is not good at all and I would not recommend using that product. Here’s why.

      The second ingredient is denatured alcohol, which is a very drying alcohol, so it’s not going to moisturize your skin at all. Also scanning the ingredient list, I don’t see any antioxidants, and other repairing ingredients at all. There are certainly some emollients, but it’s mostly comprised of silicones and film-forming agents with a dash of preservatives. It has a tiny, tiny amount of tocopherol, which is a form of vitamin E, but again it’s present in such a small amount as to be nonexistent. Oh it’s also packaged in a jar… Read above and you’ll see how I feel about jars. xD

      Finally it’s very expensive, as it is Chanel, so that’s not a good thing. If you must shop skincare at department stores, I’d recommend going to Estee Lauder, Clinique, or MAC and asking for a substitute for your Chanel gel. Make sure that it’s packaged correctly and check ingredient reviews before your make a purchase.

  12. meme

    I hate evening moisturizers that sit on top of my skin and don’t go in and get working – or do go in but come back up part way in the night and I am a grease ball by AM. I don’t have any like that – I either take them back if I am experimenting with a new product or if I cannot take it back I use it up on my legs. I have used up some $75 moisturizers as leg lotion!!! Fortunately I mostly now have treatment products that give me treatment with enough moisturizer along with them that I don’t need any other true night time moisturizer but for the middle of winter when I get some dry patches.

    Second big beef is if the night treatments stain my sheets and/or PJ necks. I have had through the years a lot that turn things yellow.

    • John

      Bahaha your leg is certainly getting the VIP treatment. :] I typically don’t have products that stain… any idea what ingredients are causing said stains? And you’re right, nobody likes yellowed PJs, one way or another. xD

  13. Ashley Seme

    LOVE my Skin Ceuticals Renew Overnight Oily cream! I have oily skin, but it doesn’t break me out, but actually helps keep my pores clear. Makes my face feel smooth and soft. Tried others, but always come back to this one!

    • John

      Glad you like this, but the exfoliants in this product are not BHAs or AHAs but fruit extracts that operate well in low pHs like orange oil, which will cause a lot of irritation and inflammation. You may not see it, but it’s occurring in your skin. Remember irritation=collagen breakdown. And while it has some emollients, it has nothing else to protect and repair the skin.

      Again this is packaged in a jar, which is okay in this case because there is only a tiny amount of vitamin E, which won’t make a difference even if this was in correct packaging. Everything else that’s irritating in this product will effectivelly neutralize the benefits of the vitamin E.

      I’d recommend finding a new product, but of course the choice is yours. Teehee. xP

      • Angie

        Hey John, can you tell me what skincare products you personally use?

        Also, can you recommend some general products for someone with normal-combination skin (overall feels normal, slightly oily in T-zone) with mild acne but scars easily? 18 y/o. Thanks! :)

  14. Adelita

    La Roche Posay Cicaplast, the France version, not the one that was produce in US. I don’t understand why 2 exact same product with the exact same labeling has different ingredients.

    • John

      I’d like to quickly review this product for you, but I can’t know for sure which one you’re using. Because I’m sure you can get US products in France, and we can get France products as well through Ebay or whatever channel.

      And I know right, isn’t it frustrating when exact products, label-wise, have different ingredients? Gah.

  15. Quinctia

    I don’t specifically use a moisturizer for the evening, I just use a moisturizer in the evening, if that makes any sense. I’ve been using Alba Botanica skincare almost exclusively, and I tend to alternate between the Sea Moss moisturizer (even though it has SPF, I like the consistency when I want it heavier) and a second–for awhile, I had the ACNEdote oil free moisturizer, but I’ve moved on to the Aloe & Green Tea oil free one for when I want a lighter moisturizer.

    • John

      Hey there,

      Make sure you’re not using the Sea Moss during the day because it doesn’t provide UVA protection. The Aloe and Green Tea is a good, light moisturizer because it packs quite a antioxidant punch. It’s too bad that it’s packaged in a jar because the second you open the jar, the antioxidants will start deteriorating. But you’re certainly headed in the right direction. Good for you.

  16. Morgan

    I moisturize in the morning and at night. I swear by CeraVe’s PM moisturizer for both. It was recommended to me by my dermatologist. I never thought I would use it because my skin is so oily, but it has completely rehydrated my skin. I learned that there is a huge difference between hydrated skin and oily skin.
    CeraVe’s PM moisturizer is absorbed almost instantly and leaves skin smooth to the touch. There is never any residue left sitting on top of my skin. I’m allergic to a lot of face products, but this is hypoallergenic! I can find it at the drugstore and the price doesn’t break the bank. One bottle has lasted me for almost 6 months now, with twice daily use.

  17. Lara

    (First post here!) For years as a teen, I used an Olay moisturizer. My mom would put one in my sister’s and my Christmas stocking each year. My mom was and is a firm believer in taking care of one’s skin – the rule in our house was that we couldn’t wear makeup to school if we weren’t prepared to wash it off at night. (Ah, the joys of being lazy!)

    I am in my early twenties now, and used Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion for a year and a half. When I went to the Clinique counter last (I want to say it was a half year ago) they were out of stock of the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, so I got Moisture Surge, and have been using that.

    I put on my moisturizer in the morning and evening, as well as a few dabs of Clinique’s All About the Eyes. I like their 3-step system, and have been using that as well. Because I’ve been sticking to it for a few years, I don’t get as many breakouts (that might be attributed to not being a teen anymore too).

    • John

      It’s good that you traded the Clinique DDML for the Moisture Surge. Though the formulation fo the Moisture Surge is significantly better, remember that it is packaged in a jar. Clinique certainly has better formulations and packaging but I have personally tried the Moisture Surge and the texture is divine. However, long-term, I’d recommend you pick something else.

      Furthermore, the All About Eyes is also in a jar, so the same thing applies. Jar=rapid deterioration of antioxidants the moment you open it. And both items contain plenty, which is a very good thing! It’s just the packaging that’s the issue.

      Finally I’d recommend not using step 2 of the Clinique 3-step unless it’s the Mild Clarifying Lotion because all of the other ones contain increasingly large amounts of a very drying type of alcohol.

  18. I started using facial moisturizers when I was a teen, and maybe in the past ~10 years have been diligent about using night moisturizers. Recently though, I’ve been on a search for night creams with anti-aging properties as, at 27, I’ve developed many fine lines under my eyes. I tried an Olay under eye wrinkle & dark circles cream to no avail, and have now been using Neutrogena’s Anti-Wrinkle deep wrinkle night moisturizer for almost two weeks. This is my first time using a retinol product, and though I’m not certain if one should wait until they’re X age to try them, I’m really hoping to see results! John, I’ve really enjoyed the advice you’ve given on this thread– any thoughts on my Neutrogena cream? It’s packaged in a nice little “ointment” tube! :)

    • John

      Well Rachel, let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first. Now, I’m assuming that the cream you want reviewed is the Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Deep Wrinkle Anti-Wrinkle Moisture, Night. Overall it’s a decent formulation: the first about ten ingredients are silicones, slip agents, and emulsifiers. Then comes the emollients like squalane, shea butter, and panthenol. Then finally, come the antioxidants, which comprise of vitamin E and A, in the forms tocopherol and retinol. The amounts present of these two ingredients are present in moderate to low amounts. Overall this works out to be a lightweight, decently beneficial moisturizer. Thankfully there’s nothing in the formulation that’s particularly irritating for the skin.

      Now to answer your other question, no you don’t have to wait until a certain age to use certain ingredients. I mean, young skin and old skin never stop needing the same nutrients. Take the human body for example, an old person and a young person will both need carbs, protein, vegetables, fruits, etc… in order for their bodies to sufficiently manufacture the amino acids and other enzymes that the body needs. It’s the same for the skin. In fact, the sooner you start using retinol or any other vitamin A derivative, the better.

      Now here’s come the hard part, or more like, a reality check. The main function of skincare is to maintain and protect the skin’s natural ability to heal, or in other words, preventative care. There are hundreds if not thousands of documented beneficial ingredients, but only a handful of them can really repair the skin where you will see a physical improvement. Such ingredients include tretinoin, hydroquinone, some anhydrous vitamin C derivatives, niacinamide, various peptides, and a few other ingredients. Now retinol is a precursor form of tretinoin, which means that it has to be first converted to retinal and then finally tretinoin. The conversion rate for each step becomes increasingly smaller so in the end, only a tiny amount of tretinoin is made. Remember, tretinoin is the only form of vitamin A that the skin can actually use.

      So here’s the bottom line: Retinol products should be used more for preventative maintenance, meaning you won’t see drastic nor fast results. If you want those faster results, you need to see your dermatologist and ask about retinoids like tretinoin. Note, there are side effects which can include severe redness, peeling, and/or flaking. This doesn’t mean that you won’t see results with the Neutrogena product. Just have realistic expectations. If you have very fine lines, you may see them disappear with tretinoin or long-term use of retinol. If you have very deeply etched wrinkles, no skincare product will get rid of those. You would have to resort to fillers like Botox or Juvederm.

      Anyways, hope this helps you.

      • Fortunately I haven’t had any irritation thus far. I’ve started by using it every few nights for the first couple of weeks & will try using it every other night. I certainly don’t mind being patient with these types of products, and like you said can’t expect very dramatic results, though I am happy enough to have a type of preventative care. It’s very helpful to have a breakdown of these ingredients just to know what they all *do*! Thank you John!

  19. Kris

    Great topic! I’m on a lookout for a night cream too! Hard to balance isn’t it? Feels light but not moisturising enough, thick enough to moisturise and repair but feels heavy. Any good ones with antioxidant to recommend? I am finishing my Sisley Creme Repair. It feels nice but too expensive to be a “normal” shea butter” night creme without any anti aging properties.

  20. Meera

    I have normal to dry skin and am currently using Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. However, as it gets cooler where I live, I’m looking for something more hydrating. Any suggestions? I like Clinique and am considering trying their Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (either the cream or spray bottle).

    I’m also currently trying out a sample of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate and am enjoying it–fortunately, no breakouts so far! Although I adore Kiehls products from a distance, they seem to break me out, sadly. Will see how MRC continues.

    John, I’ve noticed your responses in many skincare posts and am intrigued by what you have to say. If you have any feedback on these products, or suggestions, I would greatly appreciate that. I’m in my early 20s and tend to go for basic products–nothing too complex. Thank you!

    • John

      First of all, thank you for the generous compliment! But let’s get down to business. Haha.

      The MRC is not good at all so I’d recommend not purchasing it. Although it has great emollients like squalane, jojoba and evening primose oils, as well as a good amount of tocopherol or vitamin E, it contains an equally amount of irritating products like coriander, lavender, and rosemary extracts and various fragrances like linalool. Remember irritation=collagen breakdown. For your skin’s sake and that of my conscience, please stop using that. xD

      The Clinique DDML is a very basic moisturizer, in fact the Gel counterpart is significantly better. However they are both not at the top of the list. Now the Moisture Surge spray, which is a toner, is a good alcohol-free toner that immediately hydrates skin and delivers skin-conditioning ingredients like glycerin and aloe. It also has good non-fragrant plant extracts as well as small amounts of vitamin E and caffeine. Now, the one in the jar (please read above about how I feel about jar packaging), is a better formulation than the DDM Lotion and Gel. It’s not a very moisturizing cream as its vehicular base is made up of silicones and glycerin, rather than oils or butter. However it contains efficacious amounts of the antioxidant great tea, and the anti-inflammatory birch extract. It contains less of the peptide Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, which is a shame, but still this formulation is good. Because it’s not present in a high amount it acts more like a water-binding agent than a direction-giving ingredient. Finally, there’s some vitamin E and sodium hyaluronate, the salt version of hyaluronic acid, an effective water-binding agent. However, because it’s packaged in a jar, all of these potentially great ingredients add up to basically nothing. So ultimately, you will find better moisturizers that are packaged well from Clinique and other lines of course.

      Hope you had fun reading all that. ;]

      • Meera

        That was very helpful-thank you!

        I’m curious to know what products you use. 😀

        Additionally, you often mention the importance of a antioxidant-rich moisturizer, particularly one that doesn’t irritate the skin. Can you list some that you would recommend to us?

        • John

          No problem!

          Now, I hesistate to recommend specific products because there are so many aspects to consider when giving product recommendations, and I am certainly no M.D. Also, the most important thing is for YOU or any person to understand an ingredient list so that YOU can identify a good product from a poor one. If you want a moisturizer or serum with a lot of antioxidants, just look for things like vitamin E, C, A, any teas (Green, black, white), ferulic acid, resveratrol, etc… There are just so many! Just make sure that they are near the top or middle of the ingredient list.

          But keep in mind that antioxidants are just one facet of a completel skincare routine. There are also peptides, anti-inflammatories, and glycation inhibitors (and others) that you need to consider. Keep in mind that many ingredients can often be filed under more than one category. For example, green tea is a potent antioxidant but can also function as an effective anti-inflammatory.

          The bottom line is that, YOU need to be able to make the ultimate informed decision. I’m just a resource, or a guide as one might say. xD

  21. Cherokee

    I like my night moisturizer and eye cream to be quite thick, The reason I like it thick is because I sleep on my stomach with my face on the pillow. Although I have an oily t-zone, I feel thicker formula’s are better for me and won’t rub off while I am sleeping. In the morning my face is hydrated and not tight. My undereye area is the driest part of my face therefore the thicker the formula the better. My favorite night time moisturizer and eye cream are Origins High Potency Night A Mins. I am currently using Josie Maran Argan Oil because I ran out of my moisturizer.

    • John

      Please read my comments about argan oil, which is in the response to Nicole R., who is the first poster on this page. Now the Origins cream and eye cream both contain an absurd amount of very irritating ingredients like bitter orange peel oil, orange peel oil, linalool, neroli peel oil, and many others! Yes there are beneficial ingredients too like olive oil, which is an excellent source linoleic acid and some phenolic compounds, which act as antioxidants when applied topically. There are also moderate, but still efficacious amounts of vitamins A, C, and E.

      You would think that this combination of good and bad ingredients would basically neutralize each other. However, the skin does not work that way. After long-term usage of irritating ingredients the skin may become damaged to the point where it will no longer be receptive to many beneficial ingredients. Now I’m not trying to scare you but think of it like this: if you throw a small wrench into a large engine… regardless of the size and weight of the wrench, the wrench has the potential to compromise the entire engine.

      So yeah, I would recommend that you find suitable substitutes for face and eye moisturizers.

    • Mags

      It’s interesting that you mention that you sleep on your stomach. It has been suggested that it’s best to sleep on your back to further put off the onset of wrinkles and other signs of aging. This tip was mentioned a few times on the news–sounds like some studies have been done. I can’t quite remember the reasoning for it but just thought I’d mention it.

      • John

        Mags the reason why it’s been suggested that it’s best to sleep on your back is because when you sleep on your stomach, your skin (and the muscles attaching it to the underlying tissues) are being pulled away from the body due to gravity. And these studies suggest that after long periods of time (think years and decades if this sleeping habit persists) these muscles and tissues will become less pliable, resulting in more saggy and loose skin.

        Of course there may be other factors like less circulation, skin folding, and others that contribute to this overal recommendation.

  22. Mia

    Right now I am just using Nivea Creme as an evening moisturizer. As it gets colder, I’ll start to use Origins All Purpose High Elevation Cream. I get patches of really dry skin on my cheeks and nose year round, but during the winter, they are especially bad and the Origins cream is the only thing I’ve found that has managed to help. I’m still on the lookout for a facial cleanser to use during the winter that won’t dry me out like crazy. Even Burt’s Bees orange oil cleanser makes my dry patches worse during the winter.

    • John

      Please read my response to Cherokee above about Origins products. Though you are not using the same one, most Origins products have an abundance of fragrant plant extracts that cause irritation. That’s not to say that they don’t have good ingredients in them; the All Purpose cream does have a lot of ingredients. But remember, Origins is owned by Estee Lauder Corporations, so if you really like Origins formulations, you will find equally potent moisturizers from Estee Lauder, Clinique, or MAC but without all those mindless irritants.

  23. Here is what I use….not necessary all of them at once but what I feel is needed….Creme de La Mer…the staple night cream…Sometimes, too rich then I go for Santa Maria Novella calendula cream for both day and night. To firm the skin, because I need more than a moisturizer….I go for Santa Maria Norvella serum or the La Mer Lifting Serum with La Mer Concentrate. I also have Santa Maria noni night cream. I dont have dry skin….in fact, my skin is combination and I still break out occasionally and apply Rx retinol, but all these products seem to do well even if they seem rich. I used to be so acne prone that I never thought I would need these products. The most important evening moisturizer is to drink alot of water throughout the day…..avoid alcohol, the sun and smoking; these avoidance does more to your skin than any moisturizer.

    • John

      Hello! Keep in mind that drinking a lot of water has almost no effect on how dry or oily your skin is. Dry skin comes from a lack of oil, and oil is not water.

      Now about Creme de La Mer… I’ll try and keep this short. Haha. Overall this is a very basic moisturizer. It has an abundance of algae (which is the most common plant in the world) and mineral oil, a common emollient. It does have some other good ingredients like the water-binding agent lecithin and well as several excellent non-fragrant plant oils like sesame, sweet almond, and sunflower oils. However, there are many fragrant plant extracts that cause a lot ot irritation (irritation=collagen breakdown) like lime and eucalyptus extracts. Please also read my response to Cherokee about about how a combination of good and bad products don’t neutralize each other. It’s not math we’re dealing with here. There are virtually no antioxidants, peptides, anti-inflammatories, etc… which means there is nothing that’s going to repair the skin. And even if it did, the jar packaging will render them negligible from the monent you open them. (Read above for my opinion on jar packaging above). In the end, this is a decently hydrating and moisturizing product that with long-term use, will hurt your skin.

      Now some people stipulate that the algae in the product will produce lactic acid because it is permeated or treated with ultrasonic waves (during the manufacturing process) that ferments the algae. Now that’s good and all because the algae or kelp will function as a water-binding agent as well as product lactic acid. Here’s the problem. Lactic acid needs a low pH (about 3-4) in order to function as a chemical exfoliant. Now I don’t know the pH of this cream, but I doubt it’s that low. However, even if it is that low, lactic acid is readily available at a significantly cheaper price. Granted that this cream doesn’t offer much else… I can’t recommend it because it’s so expensive. It’s hydrating and moisturizing.. but that’s about it.

      Now the La Mer Lifting Serum thankfully is a good product! It’s very similar to the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair with just a few added antioxidants, and that’s never a bad thing. So while it is an expensive product, if you are swayed buy it, it will not disappoint.

      The Concentrate is even worse than the Creme de La Mer. From the many silicones and slip agents, this will make the skin very silky, like a primer, but it won’t treat or repair the skin. It’s got lots of, well what do you know? Algae. Again there are lots of potent irritants like lime, lavender, basil, and eucalyptus. There are tiny amounts of good ingredients like Vitamin E and B3 as well as emollients like sesame oil. Basically the Concentrate is just a silkier, less moisturizing version of Creme de La Mer. So it’s definitely not worth the money again and is damaging to the skin.

      So the Lifting Serum is very good but expensive. The other two are not recommended unfortunately. It’s so surprising to see basic formulations when La Mer is owned by Estee Lauder since EL usually excels when it comes to skincare formulations.

      • Mags

        Algae may be quite common, but it does have antioxidants.

        Hence, La Mer might not be as deficient in antioxidants as one might think. Whether or not those particular antioxidants can help out the skin when used topically is a different story–and not one I can answer.

        Yes, antioxidants can break down when exposed to air so jarred formulas can suck. However, since the antioxidants might be inherently part of the seaweed extract itself, this probably lends some stability. (At least I’d hope so, since many people actually depend on seaweed for its nutritional benefits and since cultivated algae is used to make vitamin supplements–and vitamins are certainly a type of antioxidant).

        I think what John means is that this costly cream has a main ingredient that is quite commonly found in many parts of the world (hence–why are you paying so much?). However, there are people out there who are willing to pay this price tag (including some MD’s).

        • John

          Actually algae is a loose category of more than 20,000 different known species. You are correct that certain species of algae can contain antioxidants like vitamins A and B1. (And of course antioxidants do not comprise a significant portion of these algae, as remember, algae is a living plant, or was… In addition, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to use the distilled and purified forms of these antioxidants than those from an algae extract?) Anyways, there are also algae that contain potent irritats. Of course these two properties don’t have to be mutuallly exclusive. And since Estee Lauder does not specify which species of algae is used, there’s no way we can trust their claims.

          Just as you pointed out, antioxidants that demonstrate beneficial potentials when ingested orally don’t translate to being beneficial when applied topically. Unless of course there’s peer-reviewed, substantied studies in the medical and other related communities that prove otherwise.

          While yes the antioxidants in this seaweed extract, if there are any, are partially stablilized due to being inherently part of the extract itself, as the electrons balance each other out, it doesn’t matter because they will still degrade much faster in a jar than a more stably packaged container, like a tube or an airless pump. I don’t dispute that the algae complex can make pure antioxidants more stable, again if they contain any, I’m just saying that the jar packaging neutralizes the efficacy of the product at a more rapid rate than other packaging. Period.

          Finally, just because some M.D.s are willing to pay full price for this cream, has virtually no weight on whether or not this is a good product. I mean, I personally know some M.D,’s who still recommend an alcohol-filled toner to control oily skin.

          Finally, although the price of the product is a portion of my decision of not recommending this product, it’s just that, a portion. The readers will untimately decide if this is considered very or tolerably expensive. But even if it wasn’t expensive, the deciding factors as to why I don’t recommend this product have nothing to do with price and have everything to do with the ingredients and product themselves. They are listed in the original (brief) review.

  24. Rita

    I agree with Meme, I have been using the Retinol 1% cream from I’m Fabulous Cosmetics and I love the results on my skin! I went from stress skin to clean, even, healthy looking skin in 2 weeks! Argran oil is good as a moisturizer but does not fix aging.
    Love this blog!!!

  25. Danielle

    I use idealist, the new one, the body shops, nutiganics night cream and avedas green schience firming eye cream. The eye cream is amazing and I have seen a big difference. I have normal to dry skin. John does this sound ok?

    • John

      I’m very flattered that you take my opinion so highly! Thank you! But please note that I don’t have a M.D. and even if I did, I’m just one source of information. In order for you to make a truly informed decision, you yourself have to be able to understand an ingredient list and have multiple sources of information because though science is concrete and generally consistent, the interpretations of those facts can be different from person to person, organization to organization. But again, I thank you.

      Now the EL Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator is a good product. It’s almost identical to the fragrance-free and less expensive Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector. The only difference is that the EL has fragrance and has a cosmetic ingredient that leaves behind a soft golden glow to the skin. This product has a lot of vitamin C, however the form present (ascorbyl glucoside) has not demonstrated any skin-lightening properties, so the claims that this will really even the skin are mostly not true. (The ingredient dimethoxytolyl propylresorcinol has been shown to inhibit melanin production, but not in real life models. It’s no where near hydroquinone or other anhydrous vitamin C derivatives). In addition, the “golden glow” that I mentioned before is only a cosmetic device that will make the skin look temporarily better. This serum also contains many beneficial plant extracts like gentian (an emollient), rice bran (an emollient), cucumber (an emollient and anti-inflammatory), sunflower (an emollient and anti-oxidant), and many others. Now, there is the irritating grapefruit peel extract, so it’s too bad that EL included this ingredient. Finally there’s a small amount of vitamin E. One more thing, the salicylic acid in this ingredient cannot exfoliate the skin because the pH of this product is around 4.4, which is too high. All in all, a very good product, but the I would recommend the Clinique counterpart instead of this one if price is an issue for you. Please note that Estee Lauder does sell better formulated products.

      Phew one down, two to go. I’ll try and keep these short. The Body Shop Nutiganics Smoothing Night Cream, is an emollient cream that makes the skin feel moisturized due to the generous amounts of glycerin, jojoba and olive oils, and shea butter. Olive oil is an excellent source of vitamin E so that’s great. However, besides that there isn’t anything else in this product that’s beneficial. On top of that, this contains a LOT of fragrance (linalool and citronellol) and other irritating plant extracts like alfalfa and thyme extracts. So yes this product has a rich texture, but I wouldn’t recommend this because of the irritating ingredients and the lack of a plethora of beneficial ones.

      Finally the Aveda Green Science Firming Eye Cream… First it’s packaged in a jar… so that’s not good. (Read above and below for my opinion on jar packaging). This does contain argan oil, so read my response to Nicole (the first poster) about argan oil. This is pretty emollient due to the amount of shea butter included in this cream. There are several excellent extracts like Brazil nut, olive oil, soybean, Lady Thistle’s, sunflower, and several others. I mean there is quite a lot of good ingredients! There’s also a moderate amount of peptide in the form of Acetyl Hexapeptide-8. The amount present is right on the border of functioning as a water-binding agent instead of a skin-instructing ingredient, but I can’t know for sure. Now, you would think that a product with such a collection of good ingredients would be highly recommened. However… the 3rd ingredient is rosemary extract, which is a potent irritant. Not to mention ginger oil! So given the irritating ingredients, and the jar packaging, which will deterioriate the many beneficial products as soon as you open it, this is not recommended. I know that this eye cream may feel amazing because of its rich texture, but there is ongoing damage that you cannot see until well.. you see it. xD And no one wants that.

      I hope that this was informative. Remember, try and find several sources of information that you trust. Never, EVER rely on just one opinion, no matter who it is.

  26. Lara

    For those moisturizers that are in a jar, would it be better to try to transfer it to some sort of tube? I hate the idea of my skin care routine losing its properties when exposed to air.

    • John

      Well certainly it’s better than keeping the product in the jar. However, remember that as you’re transferring the product into a tube or pump, the empty tube or pump is already filled with air. The only way to avoid this is to transfer the product while inside a vacuum. And since we’re not in space or in some specially designed manufacturing plant…. Or a NASA facility for that matter, that’s just something we can’t avoid. xD Now, as you fill the new container with the product, the product will displace the air inside. However, in that process the entire surface area of the product will be exposed to air. Unless the product perfectly fills up the new container, there will be air in whatever volume that the product did not displace. And if there are leftovers in the jar, that has now been exposed to air….

      I’m just brainstorming a few ways that the product can be exposed to air. There are many others and they can happen simultaneously. Obviously there’s no experiment or study done on this, but the rate of exposure can be the same or even greater after transference than if you just leave it in the jar. In the end, I just see that it’s not worth the effort. There are so many products out there that have excellent formulations that are in correct packaging.

  27. Definitely a must have! I use Korres moisturising cream from their organic range. I don’t recommend it because it’s expensive, has a plant smell and quite sticky. But it does moisturise so I really shouldn’t complain. 😛 The Korress yogurt mask is also a must have for dry skin, works wonders.

    • I use EL Daywear mixed with a pea size of 0.1% tazorac gel… John, I have been reading your responses on both posts(evening and day moisturizers) and I greatly appreciate your opinion :) I would love to read your thoughts on tazorac?
      Thank you!

      • John

        First, I hope that you’re using the Tazorac gel at night, because Tazorac like any other retinoid, will make your skin much more sensitive to the damaging rays of the sun.

        Now if that is not the case and you are referring to your nighttime routine, then I would recommend for you to not mix the Tazorac gel because that can and probably will reduce its efficacy. We don’t know what kind of interactions it can have with the other ingredients in a product. I would recommend that you cleanse, tone, then apply the Tazorac gel and let it sit for at least 30 minutes (an hour is preferable) and then apply your moisturizer.

        Now Tazorac (the brand name), or tazarotene (the name of the actual drug), is a newer 3rd generation synthetic retinoid. One study has concluded that 0.1% of tazarotene is at least as effective as 0.05% of tretinoin (Retin-A). Now why didn’t the study compare 0.1% of both drugs head to head? I have no idea, so here’s what I think:

        While tazarotene looks like a very promising new retinoid and has been around for a few years already (so I guess it’s not really new) and has established its credibility throughout the medical and scientific communities, it simply doesn’t have the proven track record and peer-reviewed research that tretinoin has. It’s certainly an excellent ingredient and by all means, don’t stop using it because obviously your dermatologist or general practitioner prescribed it to you, and that person knows his/her stuff much more intimately than I do, but only time will tell if tazarotene can knock tretinoin off its lofty pedestal.

  28. Jennifer


    Can you review Nars Hydrating Moisture Cream and First Aid Ultra Repair Cream? I am currently using the latter but am thinking of switching to Nars for my dehydrated, combination skin. Would really appreciate your opinion.