Dr Dennis Gross

Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion

fullsizeoutput_402dDr Dennis Gross, the genius behind my beloved Alpha Beta Peels, Ferulic+Retinol Serums, basic skincare boosters and of course it wouldn’t be complete without basic hydration products. DrDG line had a Hyaluronic Oil Free Moisture Cushion Moisturizer for the longest time. However early 2017, DrDG launched a new version of this moisturizer called Hyaluronic Marine Oil Free Moisture Cushion Moisturizer. Obviously the packaging changed with electric blue plastic jar and metallic lid. See right there it upgraded from Toyota to Lexus!

This post intends on unravelling the differences in formulations, performance and results. First up at the heart of the formulation is ingredient listing:

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OLD Inci ListWater/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Stearyl Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octadecane, Glyceryl Behenate, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Collagen, Sodium Hyaluronate (12), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Phospholipids, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Saccharide Isomerate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Acrylates/Carbamate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, Ethylhexylglycerin, Isododecane, Ceteareth-20, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Disodium EDTA-Copper.

New Inci list (new ingredients added are in black bold font): Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Stearyl Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octadecene, Glyceryl Behenate, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate (11), Caulerpa Lentillifera Extract (12), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Phospholipids, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Saccharide Isomerate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Collagen Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Acrylates/Carbamate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, Ethylhexylglycerin, Isododecane, Disodium EDTA-Copper, Ceteareth-20, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Sorbitan Oleate, Linalool, Limonene, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Citronellal, Hydroxycitronellal, Citral, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol.

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Predominantly what differentiates the new formulation with the old:

  • The ranking of Sodium Hyaluronate from 12th to 11th ingredient
  • Followed by Caulerpa Lentilliofera Extract aka Algae Extract, which is known to be rich in essential amino acids and B vitamins, enhancing skin’s elasticity and moisture content. Also as you pursue and compare the inci list most of ingredients remain in same order.
  • Tocopherol which is basically Vitamin E
  • Collagen Amino Acids which is suppose to plump and firm the skin
  • Finally, last two new additions to the formula include Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate and Lactobacillus Ferment (recommend reading this post to understand ferments better).

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So whilst the soul of the product hasn’t changed, a tiny make over has a new improved sexy version. I didn’t feel any difference in terms of texture, consistency and smell. Continues to be light, fluffy, and the colour is same as well.

So you ask: well did all the new additions of ingredients improve the performance? My Answer is Yes. While my experience with the OLD was nice, nothing I particularly disliked. It left skin hydrated and worked well under makeup too.

Lizard Face.pngThe NEW formulation however kicked the OLD one’s arse. Applied beautifully, absorbs immediately (also sometimes mixed with DrDG Hydration booster), and truly leaves skin plump all day. At work, the temperature control is horrible and during winters the heating sucks every bit of moisture leaving me a lizard face 👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽

I used this through the cooler months and thoroughly enjoyed it. Its extremely rare I use the same moisturizer daily, every single day. With the new one, I didn’t miss a day. I got through it in 3-4 months. Also layering with DrDG Hydration booster worked really well. Both hydration products are light but majorly impactful.

HHW.com

xx

Sunday Facial

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Facials Facials Facials, something I’ve tried in so many places from all over the world. Everyone has their own method, technique, products and most important is philosophy. So the question begged to be asked is what is my philosophy? Well its a holistic combination of atmosphere, state of mind, products and LOT of facial massage. I’m not particularly huge on gadget treatments but I do use a couple at home. Another crucial aspect for me is skillful, experienced hand at Extractions! Another reason why I have regular facials to maintain the health of my skin and ensure any underlying congestion is addressed. Generally I go for professional facials every 6-8 weeks however it can be a pricey affair so I do many interim maintenance facials at home. This post delves into how I indulge in at home facials.

Atmosphere: Typically I would also indulge in bath, so water in running in bath with capful of a bath oil (Aromatherapy Associates bath oils are amazing). The bathroom air fills with relaxing aroma of bath oil while I get started with a double cleanse. In addition, a gorgeous soy wax based candle is burning. Cleansing the skin with an oil or balm, taking it all over my face, neck, chest, behind ears and massage. Cup my palm over my nose and take deep breaths as I massage. This helps calms my raging mind, center my energies on the moment I’m about to indulge in.

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To remove the balm or oil, I have warm steaming wash cloth, air it for few second before I slap it on my face to ensure the temperature is not too hot for the skin. Cocoon my face in warm towel before I compress the towel on my face. The warm towel steam’s amalgamation with rich essential oil balm is truly transcending.

Next up, prep for exfoliation. Either physical, acid or enzyme, or combination. Choice is entirely yours! I have a separate post on all types of enzyme and physical exfoliators. Upon schmearing my enzyme exfoliator all over, I will steam my face. Steaming with enzyme exfoliator loosens surface dead skins and making it a whole lot easier to buff it away. Also preps skin for next step which is extractions. Not something I’d recommend to do at home – go to a professional if you don’t know what you’re doing. I typically only limit to extraction for blackheads, whiteheads and spots only if they’re ready to pop.

Skin can be stimulated at this point with steam, exfoliation and extraction – so Pause, Breathe. Mist some rose water. Dry your face and next up is a gadget High Frequency Facial Machine.

fullsizeoutput_435e.jpegHigh Frequency  helps treat and prevent stubborn acne, shrink enlarged pores, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, decongest puffy eyes, fade dark eye circles, rejuvenate the condition of the scalp and nourish hair follicles for healthier hair growth.

Most professional high frequency machines used in spas, salons and medical offices operate at a frequency of 100,000-2500,000+ hertz (cycles per second). However the machine I have here is only 50-60 htz, which is enough for regular at home use. Also assuring to know with such low frequency it isn’t going to damage especially when it is in DIY spirit.

Basically two types of high frequency with orange (neon gas) used to treat aging, promoting hair growth, tightening pores and skin elasticity and on the other hand is violet gas (argon gas) which is anti bacterial and wonderful for treating acne.  The violet argon gas frequency is typically used in spa’s however for at home function I find the orange neon gas works just fine on spots, pores, elasticity, blood circulation and  promoting overall health of the skin.

Soon after high frequency, I follow with clay or mud mask to tighten the pores after the treatment and continue the spirit of detoxifying and purifying the skin. Leaving it on for no more than ten minutes and I do not let it dry completely. When its completely dry (to a point where you’d need a chisel) you’ve drawn out all moisture from skin too. Taking it off with warm towel, next up is my personal fave step. The step for which I desperately and achingly look forward to a facial.

fullsizeoutput_4395Massage with a light, high linoleic acid carrier oil. The mantra here is firm pressure, no feathery, flimsy, sissy massage, you need firm pressure upward and outward. Following the muscle structure in the face. When hands, palm and fingers are tired, I employ Jade Gua Sha. This is literally the bomb of blood circulation and lymph drainage.

Massage has endless benefits some of which include: promoting blood circulation, lymph drainage (stuff that has toxin build up and makes you look puffy and dull), supports vitality in your skin, pressure point massage particularly fantastic for sinus sufferer like myself, better absorption of products in skin and most important of all it is incredibly relaxing. A good facial massage can put you to sleep (of course when someone else is massaging). To remove oil from skin, followed by another warm cloth compress, followed my misting with rose water again.

Here on, I begin layering products on skin to wrap up the facial. First up is acid treatment, followed by toning mist. Next up is one more gadget for eyes, from Dr fullsizeoutput_4396Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite EyeCare Pro, a FDA approved device featuring 72 LEDs, with a full spectrum of therapeutic light. Again a tool made for home use to replicate the professional light therapy used in medical clinics. I was extremely dubious about this product however using it for 3mins for last 20 odd days, I’ve noticed a visible difference in skin around my eyes. It’s tighter, firmer and smoother. I don’t have deep set wrinkles, I have fewer lines under my eyes but nothing that is major aging (if you know what I mean). I’ve also noticed when applying eye makeup, my skin near eye is more resilient and not so thin. I will continue using and keep you posted if I see more improvement. So following the light therapy near eyes is a retinol based eye serum.

From here, I finish off routine with an active Serum, treatment cream or balm or oil and hydrate a LOT with water. My choice of products and ingredients can vary for each facial however it is really driven and dependent on what my skin needs.

Also I specifically wanted to call out one more point about which type product I like to use in each category. This topic could be a post in itself however this gives you an indication where I’d like to put my money.

Medical cosmeceutical product vs. Green/natural product

  • Green/Natural – Cleansers, Toners, Masks, Balms, Oils – Typically on the surface of skin, and not much ‘face time’
  • Cosmeceutical (blend of cosmetic and pharmaceutical) or Over the Counter  – Acid Treatment, Serum, Eye Cream, Active ingredients (retinol, aha’s, peptides, etc) – This is deeper penetrating in skin and one which will show more visible results

*Personally I dont use any pharmaceutical product (yet)

There are other types of facials I do as well, which include micro dermabrasion but that facial routine looks completely different. Im curious to know, how do you do your at home facials?

HHW.com

xx

Dr Dennis Gross C + Collagen

Recently Dr. Dennis Gross launched new line and products, C+Collagen, including toning mist and vitamin C serum. I was lucky to receive the products from DrDG team to try, and as with most DrDG products they did not fall short in impressing me. First up is the C+Collagen Perfect Skin Set & Refresh Mist intended to protect, hydrate and refresh the skin. mist.png

I’ve used this mist under makeup (after cleansing and before moisturizing) and over makeup. It truly does hydrate and replenish the skin. Generally I avoid misting spring water, toners over makeup because it makes me look oily, makeup cracks in pores and skin feels dehydrated. This however, I’ve been spraying at all random times during the day (purely because I’m greedy for glow) over makeup. Plus it has a wonderful pleasant scent. The inci list is quite remarkable too.

Inci List: Ingredients: Water, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Collagen Amino Acids, Niacinamide, Panthenol, Superoxide Dismutase, Ubiquinone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phytic Acid, Phospholipids, Sphingolipids, Colloidal Oatmeal, Carnitine HCI, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Soy Isoflavones, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice , Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Sodium PCA, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates/Carbamate Copolymer, Glycolic Acid, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Wood Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Rose Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Cupressus Sempervirens Leaf/Stem Extract, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Extract, Polysorbate 80, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Cananga Odorata Flower Extract, Citrus Auranitum Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Triethyl Citrate, Linalool, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol.

Moving onto the newest launch, C + Collagen Brighten and Firm Vitamin C Serum

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The brand and product claims:

This weightless, fast-absorbing gel-serum is power-packed with collagen amino acids plus our proprietary vitamin C (3-O C technology) and energy complex. Fuel cells for increased collagen production and accelerated repair to improve imperfections like dullness, dark spots, rough texture, and expression lines. Aging and environmental aggressors deplete energy, disrupting normal skin functions. This new energy-generating serum combines vitamin C with a unique complex that charges skin’s battery to keep it fit and tone. Our proprietary energy complex – featuring CoQ10, superoxide dismutase, carnitine, and niacinamide – recharges skin so it can maximize vitamin C for accelerated repair and protection to help build collagen and brighten. In addition, collagen amino acids aid in strengthening skin’s fibers. Rev up tired looking skin for an immediately radiant complexion. Long term, experience an improvement in the appearance of wrinkles and banish the look of dark spots. Turn dull to bright, slack to tight, wrong to right.

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Source: QVC Beauty

Lets start with the packaging, in an air tight bottle with a pump. I couldn’t ask for more, exactly same packaging is used for Ferulic + Retinol Overnight Serum. Being on my second bottle of overnight serum, I can safely say the packaging is faultless all the way through. Sometimes one may experience clogging of the pump, however none of that experienced here. Also I must attribute that to the texture and consistency of the product itself. Its gel like consistency makes it super light and absorbs in the skin instantly. I’ve seen in many other vitamin C serums where the product leaves a tacky, glossy and even glittery (not going to name and shame but yes they add that to the formulation) finish on the skin. None of those offensive and glow deceiving feels with DrDG serum.

Some chatter on Inci list:

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Wonderful inci list, with inclusion of AHA Lactic acid, Mandelic acid, Niacinamide, Amino Acids, CoQ10, Superoxide Dismutase (12th), Carnitine (14th). Preservatives are listed mainly towards end of the inci list. One point to be noted is the website does not list full inci list, this is from the packaging. This formulation would suit all skin types.

Now onto when to use, used after toning, this serum also laps on other products effortlessly. Layering other serums, either over (my fave Manyo Factory Galactomyces Niacin) or under has been a breeze. The product doesn’t pile or roll off.

Onto the most crucial part, the results and performance. Now I won’t classify my skin sagging or loosing elasticity but this serum makes it feel firm and taut (in the best possible spirit). Old scars (PIH) have gradually faded. Skin overall appears brighter and I won’t delude you in believing BAM Glow. It has a sure, but subtle glow to the skin. This experience with Vitamin C serum has been reassuring and refreshing after using countless vitamin C products. One of other vitamin C serum from DrDG is the Hydra Pure Vitamin C Brightening Serum, unfortunately I was not a fan of its silicony texture. The results are visible but I personally cannot get past the silicone feeling on skin (gives me nails on blackboard feeling).

Overall, here’s a Bold claim on my part…possibly the best vitamin C serum I’ve ever used and can see myself using this for a long time to come. Yet another star🌟under DrDG banner!

Finally a heads up, I’m currently working on detailed guide to DrDG brand and products…..it’s coming soon!!!!

HHW.com

xx

Winter Skincare Wardrobe

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As the colours change, and temperatures drop, the state of skin is temperamental, agitated and protesting the change. Over the years, I’ve come to a solid conclusion my skin has a mind of its own and I need to adapt it’s care needs accordingly.

With fluctuating environments of strong wind chills, to artificially heated offices, cars and homes my skin is almost in an eternally dehydrated and confused state. Whilst it’s predominantly combination skin, with an oily T-zone and drier cheeks, during winter the ‘combination situation’ is exasperated. In addition, let’s not forget to complicate matters worse with a bout of dehydration and breakouts. Now that the problem is sufficiently moaned about, here’s how I adapt my skincare regime.

Aim of the game is similar to Asian beauty routines, where a number of thin layers of hydration and nourishment products are slapped on. With this method, the skin remains hydrated and nourished for longer.

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Cleansers typically I use oils or balms to remove makeup and second cleanse. Well that wouldn’t change for the evenings. However my morning cleanses, will include a lot more nourishing cream cleansers. Some of my faves in this category are, MV Organic Gentle Cream Cleanser, Trilogy Cream Cleanser and, and Good Things Manuka Cleanser.

Some mornings where I could get away without cream cleanser, I resort to milk cleansers and a strong fave has always been Institut Esthederm Osmoclean or Bioderma cleansing milks. New on the block is Forest Essentials Deeply Nourishing Cleansing Paste with ground paste of almonds, pistachios, and other lush Ayurvedic ingredients which provide skin gentle exfoliation and nourishment in one step. Smells Delish too!

Acid or other forms of exfoliation is driven strictly by my skin need, of how strong of an acid I use and which specific type of acid I use.  

Combination of various Acids: Dr Dennis Gross peels (of varying strengths), Biologique Recherché P50 range, MD Sun Skin Exfoliation Pads, Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Peel Pads, M61 Power Peel, Neogen Wine Peeling Gauze

Glycolic Acid: Alpha H Liquid Gold, Bravura London Calendula Toner, Pixi Glow Tonic, Cane & Austin Miracle+ Pads, Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexurising Peel

Lactic Acid: Kate Somerville Clinic to go,  Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel

Milk Peels (the new thing!) – Primary Raw or Dr Jart+ milk peels are gentler on skin OR Pre Lab Toning Peeling tap which is essentially exfoliating with enzymes.

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“Toning Mist & Amp up with Essences” A regular toning spritz post acid to stabilize the pH level in skin. Some examples could be basic floral hydrosols such as Rose Water by MV Organic, Alteya Organic, Santa Maria Novella, Whamisa Damask Rose, Andalou Naturals, Forest Essentials, Kama Ayurveda, Just Herbs etc. Or Zinc based like La Roche Posay Serozinc. Other toners with a combination of ingredients to hydrate and provide other benefits to skin could include Farmacy Skindew, Patyka Revitalizing Toner, Sjal Mineral Kalla toner, Antipodes, Aesop or Trilogy toners.

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These toning mists are then followed by serious hydrating or fermented essences to inject and plump the skin. My absolute fave is Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner, and from same brand Refresh and Original are just as wonderful. To name a few others: Decleor HydraFloral Essence Lotion, Blithe Vital Treatment Essences, Earth’s Recipe Energy Boosting Toner, Missha Time Revolution The First Essence Mist, Bio Essence 24 Gold Water, Shiseido Ibuki essence, Rohto Hadalabo Shirojyun or Gokujun.

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Masks including Sheet Masks Lots of hydration and moisturizing masks, good ol’ sheet masks are fabulous in this category. In saying so, I also throw in one detoxifying or purifying mask, least once a week. I tend to incorporate this everyday if not every second day. Masks are the best way to turbo boost and treat the skin.

Serums or Ampoules are used as usual to specifically target the problem of the day/week/month/season. I have a whole separate post on Guide to Serums for all conditions and skins.

Moisturisers and Oils are the cornerstone of protecting skin’s barrier and thoroughly nurturing it with lovely oils and ingredients. Some wonders which have stood the test of time with me are; Decleor HydraFloral, Mahogany Naturals Manuka Honey Cream, Whamisa Fermented Water Cream and Nourishing Cream, Bravura London Azulene Cream, Pistache Skincare Hydrating Moisturiser, Missha Misa Geum Sul Emulsion, Yuri Pibu Asiatica, Trilogy Rosapene Night Cream.

Here’s a tip if you don’t want to invest in a separate night cream however are quite content with your  regular moisturiser, just add few drops of oil to your day cream and use in your night routine.

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Balms have a special place in my heart and stash! I view them as amplified  version of oils, and of course more lush experience as well. Strong fave continues to be Mahalo Rare Indigo Balm, followed by Mahogany Naturals Blue Lover, May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon, Mahalo Balm, Darphin Purifying balm, Decleor Rose d’Orient balm. In terms of lip balm, there was one and always be the one, Nuxe Reve de Miel. The rich beeswax coats the lips and leaves it matte. In saying so, I have a separate post on Lip Balms which explores other lip products too.

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Since I complete my evening skincare routine by 5pm, I Re-balm or Re-Oil my skin one more time before bed. Or mist SKII Overnight Essence, which is moisturizing to skin but also leaves a tingly refreshed feel on the skin. Other categories to nourish much drier skins also includes Overnight Masks which can be argued is a richer version of a night cream.

How do you plan to amp up your skincare routine for the winter?

HHW.com

xx

Retinol Treatments

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We’ve all heard horror stories about Retinol, here are some forms of Vitamin A (lowest strength to the strongest),  Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol Propionate,  Retinyl Linoleate, Retinol, Retinaldehyde, Adapalene, Tretinoin, Isotretinoin, and Tazarotene. The prescription strength retinol treatment has Retinoid acid. Basically a derivative of retinol which is super effective.

There is common misconception that retinols exfoliate the skin, in fact they go deeper into skin, enhance collagen production, aid with skin smoothing, evening out of pigmentation, helps with spots and future prevention of spots and addresses skin blotchiness.

Today there are three prescription-strength retinoids:

  • Tretinoin (brands include Atralin, Avita, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova),
  • Tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac), and
  • Adapalene (Differin).

Many dermatologists find tazarotene stronger (and potentially more irritating) than tretinoin; adapalene is the gentlest but may be less effective.

In this post, I will not be delving into prescription products, instead will be covering various products and brands that offer retinol solutions without any dryness irritation and some added benefits of other ingredients.

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La Roche Posay Redermic R ($57) My first array in Retinol, and it was instant love. Enriched with Retinol and Retinyl Linoleate (15th and 16th ingredient in formulation) with a cream textured gel like consistency in a metal tube, with no exposure to air or light. Due to its mild strength and addition of Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, it doesn’t dry out skin and gradually does its job. I’d say if you’re starting with retinols I think LRP option is a safe bet as it’s gentler on skin and comparatively lower price point.

Auspect Clinical Pro A Serum is an Australian skincare brand. The formulation is enriched with Fireweed extract, Retinol, Lactic Acid, Kakadu Plum (one of my fav Aussie ingredient) housed in an opaque twist up pump action bottle designed to address skin resurfacing, even tone and firmer skin. I’ve used it multiple times, and it left my skin firm, under control (as far as spots are concerned), even toned and overall skin appeared wonderful. Did not experience any dryness or tightness or sensitivities (obviously wore sunscreen).

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65) is the only Retinol solution I’ve come across with the least possible ingredient listing. The brand claims to have 1.5% retinol (third listed ingredient after Cyclopentasiloxane and Squalane) however I did not experience any dryness or flakiness. Slightly silicony texture but absorbs beautifully in the skin. Excellent for calming angry skin, and resurfacing skin tone and texture. Packaging is poor with see through glass bottle and pipette.

Kate Somerville RetAsphere Micro Peel – Retinol Glycolic Treatment ($90)  is a treatment peel in combination with Glycolic Acid (AHA). The formulation has Glycolic Acid listed as second ingredient with additions of Lactose, Glycerin, Arbutin, Plankton Extract, Opuntia Ficus-indica (Napol Cactus) Fruit Extract, Soybean Extract, Kelp Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid,  Adenosine, Licorice Root Extract. Whilst all these are great additions, Retinol is listed as third last ingredient. I think the title of product is misleading in that the third last ingredient is prominently advertised. Nothing wrong with Glycolic peel but don’t shift focus by calling it Retinol and charging extra moolah for that. That aside, in my experience this product works better as stand alone after toning. If layered under an oil or moisturizer it does roll off the skin. Major kudos for packaging in a white opaque tube with a pump.

Colleen Rothschild Retinol Treatment ($65) is a relatively newer addition to my retinol familia. However one which makes me question why didn’t I look into this sooner. Retinol (listed as 4th ingredient), Retinyl Palmitate (listed as 5th ingredient), followed by thoughtful additions of Boswellia Serrata Gum Extract, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Bakuchiol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Plankton Extract, Lecithin, Glycine Soja Extract. The formula is light gel cream texture and absorbs instantly in skin. Can be wonderfully layered under or over any other skincare treats and yet doesn’t compromise its efficacy. I’ve used this 5 nights in a row as well and not noted any dryness or flakiness.
Dr Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum ($85) is an odd ball for me. The ingredient listing is heavy of Shea butter and other skin moisturizing ingredients and retinol pushed all the way at 16th place followed by more nourishing ingredient like Jojoba. Overall the formulation appears very heavy on emulsifiers and preservatives. Therefore the results on skin are at best mild. The “resurfacing” term could be very misleading. Although credit to be given where its due, excellent packaging in an opaque bottle, zero exposure to light and heat with pump mechanism.
Cosmedix Define Treatment with Hydroxy Acids and Retinol ($80) This brand I’ve always known of but never took a plunge with. The ingredients and reviews all were in favour of the brand and its products. Eventually I welcome Define treatment and I found myself head over heels.
Unlike Kate Somerville peel, Define is very clear and mentions AHA first which is corroborated with Lactic Acid as second ingredient, followed by Glycerin, Albumen, Retinol (AHAAAAA 5th ingredient – claims to have microencapsulated retinol complex), some more acids: Stearic Acid, Malic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Witch Hazel Water, Olive Fruit Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice, Sweet Almond Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil, Peach Kernel Oil. See this is why I love this product so much. No dryness, no sensitivity, no flakiness and overall noticeable improvement to skin with continued use. Texture and consistency of thick cream but once pushed into the skin absorbs seamlessly. On top if an oil or moisturizer is added no rolling or pilling either. Housed in a tube with limited exposure to light and humidity. This will definitely be repurchased.

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Eye creams with retinol are by far the most effective and results are visible sooner. From the picture above I guess needless to say but Dr Dennis Gross range of Ferulic+Retinol is my preferred choice.
La Roche Posay Redermic R ($46.95) is a fabulous eye gel cream enriched with Glycerin, Caffeine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Retinol, Retinyl Linoleate, Adenosine. Easily the most used eye cream for me with visible results. Smooths and tightens the skin around eyes.
Cane+Austin Glycolic Treatment Eye Cream ($105) is the priciest option on this list, comparable to any other face serum in terms of price. But the inci list may or may not justify the pricing. Glycolic Acid, Kelp Extract, Camellia, Green Tea Polyphenols, Retinol, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone (bioflavinoid), Sodium Hyaluronate, Phytonadione (Vitamin K), Milk Thistle Fruit Extract, Indian Gooseberry Fruit Extract,  Ascorbic acid, Arnica Montana Powder. The packaging is wonderful with a pump and no exposure to light or air. Absorbs nicely in skin, and helps with fine lines near the eye. Still cannot justify the price point.
Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic+Retinol Eye Cream ($68) possibly my fave texture and consistency in eye cream. So creamy, whipped and not as rich to cause any milia. The inci list tickles my soul with some acids (amino, ferule, gallic, ellagic,glycolic, lactic), retinol, caffeine, algae, sodium hyaluronate, lipids, and skin moisturizers, this is a definite repurchase for me however the Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic+Retinol Eye Serum ($68) is my preferred choice. The light gel texture is amazing, and feels like nothing on skin. Absorbs beautifully and within a week I had noticeable results. The fine lines under my eyes were less visible/deep, and overall skin appeared taut. Some of the ingredients in this formulation include Centella Asiatica Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ferulic Acid, Retinol, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Morus Nigra Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Quercetin, Caffeine, Ubiquinone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Panthenol.

Hylamide SubQ Eyes ($35) is a unique one, in that, on application I experience a slight tingle. Now I’m all for tingle on skin however near eyes it makes me uncomfortable (just personal preference). This is much raved eye serum however for me, this is my least preferred eye serum. Not impressed with inci list, not impressed with feel on skin and not impressed with results either.

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In my experience, my absolute favourite and most reliable products for retinol are Dr Dennis Gross’s Ferulic + Retinol range. Started my journey with their Brightening solution but soon fell in love with rest of the range.

Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid & Retinol Brightening Solution ($88) Repurchased this product for its effectiveness with acne scars (including any extraction scars), dark spots, and sun damage. Jam-packed with Ferulic Acid, Retinol, Licorice Root Extract, Bearberry Extract, Arbutin, Mulberry Leaf Extract, Willow Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, among others.

I have a detailed post comparing the Brightening Solution and Overnight Serum (click on link) where I take deeper dive with ingredients and expected outcomes. As for the Wrinkle Recovery Pads, are wonderful weekly or bi-weekly boosted treatment for the skin.

Some say its best to dive into prescription strength retinols, I beg to differ unless you have a serious skin concern which warrants that. Over the counter skincare products do a fine job at daily maintenance with added benefits of other ingredients. However it can argued both ways and not one is right or wrong. It’s what works best for you and your skin. Now that’s just my two cents on the topic.

HHW.com

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