I posted this on Instagram, but I wanted to make sure I was able to provide a very in depth + sourced review on this. My goal with reviews is to be able to provide as much as possible so everyone can come to my blog and really learn about a product.
Let’s star with a pricing breakdown, you are getting a 200ml bottle for $32 which breaks down to $0.16/ml. Alright, so I enjoyed this cleanser, I find that it gave my skin an instant boost of radiance and that is likely because of the acetyl glucosamine that’s in it and it’s the second ingredient. I went looking for clinical trials on the ingredient because of their claims for brightening dark spots and was able to find a few that showed that it could reduce hyperpigmentation. The problem is that they are using a leave on, all over facial application of 5% Niacinamide and 2% Acetyl-Glucosamine. This study was a 10-week, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, full-face, parallel-group clinical study conducted in women aged 40-60 years. So, technically yes, they can claim it targets pigmentation because there’s evidence to support that, the problem that I have is that they claim that this cleanser will have the same benefits and it just wont. Legally, they are allowed to make this claim in Canada because the ingredient they use does have brightening properties, I just believe that we need to have stronger restrictions for products that are wash-off and have a less-likelihood to provide the deserved reduction of concern. They do have a serum and other topical leave-on products that contain this and I would certainly choose that over this any day.
It also doesnt strip the skin and this 200ml bottle lasted for awhile with morning and night usage. Stripping the skin, for those who don’t know, is when a cleanser has harsh surfactants that “damage” or “throw off” the pH balance of the skin, disrupting the acid mantle and the overall microbiome. When this occurs you will usually feel tight and have abnormally shinier skin, almost as if your skin is oily but there isn’t any actual oils on it.
There are also a few things that I do not like about it however, one thing is that it has added dyes. It contains Red 4 (CI 14700), Yellow 6 (CI 15985) which provides the cleanser with a soft orange tint to it. Dyes are allowed in cosmetics, however they have been found to have irritating properties and sensitizing after long usage. There are zero benefits to skin when topically applied and could have easily been removed. The second thing is that they market this cleanser to “target dark spots” and lighten them, but like I said, it gives a nice radiance to the skin, but because this is washed off within a minute or two, it won’t serve as any dark spot brightener, you would want something like their serum or a cream that contains acetyl glucosamine where it will be left on the skin. Lastly, it contains essential oils which I am not a fan of and somehow overlooked prior to purchasing. Essential oils have been said to provide relaxation, calming, etc factors when used in diffusers. I understand there is a cult following and people believe essential oils are equivalent to a vaccine - obviously not true. Essential oils are added fragrance and as we all know, fragrances whether natural or artificial, can be sensitizing after long periods of use and can irritate compromised skin.
I also wanted to mention for those who look for cruelty-free and vegan products, this is going to be a miss for you. NeoStrata does not test on animals themself, however they have made it very clear that they do third-party testing in countries where it is required to do so before selling in the country. This product specifically is also not vegan. I am not sure if any of their products are vegan, but if you do like vegan products, you likely wouldn’t shop from this brand because they are not cruelty-free technically.
At the end, would I repurchase? Probably not. I liked the radiance it provided, I like the amount of product you get, I like how long it lasted me while using it twice a day, but the essential oils + dyes are a turn off and I would much rather use a leave on product that contains acetyl-glucosamine than a cleanser that I rinse off.
This has also been removed from my best cleansers 2019 blogpost.