Radha Beauty Skin Clearing Serum

Here’s a product that was a surprise hit for me – the Skin Clearing Serum from Radha Beauty.

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Radha Beauty is a natural skincare line started by Singaporean-Indian Rebekah Letch in 2014.  In their own words, they are:

high performance with natural and healthy ingredients and partner with earth-loving, women-empowering organizations, use Eco-friendly packaging, and we never stop striving to improve our products and our impact on the world. Our products are Cruelty Free and Not Tested on Animals.

They are one of those companies that talk about how chemicals are “toxic”, which is a turn off for me.  But, since they are transparent about their ingredients and place an importance on actives, I thought I would give them a try.

Ingredients:  

Organic Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), MSM, Vegan Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Retinol, Olive Oil Squalene, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Carbomer, (2s)-2-Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree Essential Oil), Lavender Essential Oil, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin.

In terms of actives, this serum has 2% Vitamin C, 2.5% Retinol, and 2% Salicylic Acid (BHA).  Please note that I tested this serum to be at a pH of 6-7, which is not the range where BHA is effective.

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It also has one of my favourite ingredients, niacindamide.   I have combination skin with hormonal breakouts, and these are the ingredients I usually turn to to lighten my PIH anyway.   However, this cocktail might be a con for some in that there are multiple actives in one product.  It’s not great if you’re looking for a vitamin C product but not retinol, or vice versa.

Texture

This serum is milky white and slightly runny, and spreads easily on the skin.  I especially like it layered with my bottle of Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion.  It is not moisturizing enough on its own, nor is it intended to be used as a standalone in your routine.

Packaging

Love the pump dispenser.   It’s convenient, it’s hygenic, and I always get the right amount. This is probably the biggest plus of this product versus the other vitamin C serums I have used before (I have reviewed Instanatural’s and Valentia’s in the past, which both come in droppers).

Verdict

I didn’t think very much about this product, but I ended up liking it so much that it has made it’s way into my regular routine.  By no means is this a miracle product, and while it works very well to lighten my PIH, this was something that I expected with a well-formulated product with these ingredients.  The main reason I like this serum is because of convenience – its blend of actives were ones that I was already using, albeit in separate products, and I’m a huge sucker for pump dispensers.

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InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer and Vitamin C Serum

InstaNatural is US company based in Florida with beauty and skincare products inspired by nature.  They pride themselves on using natural and organic ingredients from the around the globe.  Today is the 6th and final installment of my reviews on InstaNatural’s products.  I saved the best for last, because these two vitamin C products are my favourite from InstaNatural’s line!

You can read my earlier posts on other products in InstaNatural’s line here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.

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Key Ingredients:

  • 20% Vitamin C
  • 5% Niacinamide
  • 5% Hyaluronic Acid
  • Plant Stem Cells
  • Peptide Complex

This moisturizer has an attractive ingredients list.  In addition to the vitamin C, it has two of my favourite ingredients – niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.  When it comes to moisturizer, texture is very important to me.  This moisturizer comes in a pump, and is a light lotion-cream with no discernible fragrance.  It applies smooth on the face and does take a little time to absorb, but is not unpleasant or tacky.  I used this as the last or second to last step (if I apply sunscreen) in my routine in the AM, and although I love the ingredients, I’m a little skeptical on how well the vitamin C can work because generally products with active ingredients should be used as one of your first steps after washing, not the last.  Regardless, this is a nice feeling moisturizer that does keep my face hydrated through the day.

71yEY9k9lAL._SL1500VITAMIN C SERUM

Key Ingredients:

  • 20% Vitamin C
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Ferulic Acid
  • Sea Buckthorn Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Rosehip Oil
  • Plant Stem Cells
  • Pomegranate

This serum comes in an opaque dropper bottle, and it is milky yellow with a pleasant citrusy scent.  The consistency of the serum is not too watery, and in my opinion it is the perfect thickness for a serum.  The type of vitamin C used here is sodium ascorbyl phosphate, which is more stable than L-ascorbic acid, and can perform at a higher pH.  That’s nice because I don’t have to worry about keeping the serum out of light/in the fridge or trying to use it up quickly.  I have been using this serum every other day for 2 weeks in the AM.  In my routine, I use it immediately after washing and wait for it to dry before applying toner, moisturizer and sunscreen.

Because I used both vitamin C products in conjunction, I can’t say which one worked the magic, but magic happened!  I noticed a significant improvement in fading hyperpigmentation, especially for newer acne scars.  Although some stubborn discoloration remains, the time it took for my new acne marks to go away was cut short by a few days, which makes a huge difference for me.  Going forward I plan to just use one product or the other, to avoid stressing my face.

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InstaNatural Retinol Serum and Retinol Moisturizer

This is part 4 of my series on InstaNatural‘s skincare products.  Today I’ll be giving you guys a lot on two retinol formulas, a serum, and a moisturizer.  You can read my earlier posts on other products in InstaNatural’s line here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 5.

Retinol is a type of vitamin A which can help clear away hyperpigmentation from sun damage and acne scarring, as well as smooth out fine lines and improve skin texture in general.  In my opinion, retinol may not be for everyone as it is very potent, so YMMV.  The last time I used a retinol product (Philosophy Miracle Worker), I experienced great results in the beginning, but it soon became too much for my skin, and I gave it up after struggling with constant dullness and flaking skin.  So, when using a retinoid, please start slow and work your way up to ‘full dose’, and remember to constantly evaluate the health of your skin. Because my current skincare routine contains both a BHA and an AHA product, and I’m currently trying InstaNatural’s Vitamin C serum for an upcoming review, I decided not to use these two retinol products on my face at the moment.  I decided to still do a post to share my thoughts on the packaging, texture, and smell, and to talk about the formulas’ ingredients, so please keep in mind that I am not evaluating performance.

AGE-DEFYING RETINOL SERUM

4NqjsbOMRbaMFu20KYfQ_5a394f1ad6b414e749dbd9ceb2ed3d05b1a24497Key Ingredients:

  • 2.5% Retinol
  • 20% Vitamin C
  • 10% Hyaluronic Acid
  • Plant & Fruit Acids

After looking at the ingredients, I think InstaNatural’s marketing department needs to get a pep talk, because this isn’t only a retinol serum, but also has an high concentration of hyaluronic acid as well as vitamin C.  In fact, according to the ingredient list, this has more vitamin C (3rd on the list) than retinol (7th), though of course this is because a higher concentration of vitamin C is needed than retinol for it to be effective.  For comparison, a vitamin C serum I reviewed a few months ago also has 20%.  While it’s fine to use both retinol and vitamin C in  your routine, I worry that having these two ingredients together takes away the option of finding out how your skin reacts to each, and also it may make it too intense for people looking to start using either ingredient for the first time.

This serum comes in a brown dropper bottle, and the product is milky-clear and fairly watery, to the point where the dropper will drip on its own.  I find this kind of annoying because it will drip before I’m ready to spread it.  The product smells like citrus, and a little bit can spread over a large area.  I do find that it takes a bit of time to absorb.

ADVANCED ACTION RETINOL MOISTURIZER

HpiPAnTzRxSJ7MxfO5pc_f0412b4cc55e0ae1938b722627ecdc5667c7cf60Key Ingredients:

  • 2.5% Retinol
  • Vitamin C
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Green Tea

Again, this moisturizer also has retinol AND vitamin C.   While the bottle doesn’t disclose the percentage of vitamin C, it is 8th on the ingredient list, so I feel like it doesn’t give me the same concerns as I had with the serum.

The moisturizer comes in a pump bottle, and the product is creamy but light.  It is fragrance free and does not have any ‘chemical’ smells.  Again InstaNatural opted to use aloe instead of water for the first ingredient, and I enjoy the cooling sensation when you first apply this product.  I tried this moisturizer on my neck and decolletage, and it absorbs well without a film, leaving behind noticeably softer feeling skin.  Between the retinol serum and the retinol moistuzer, I much prefer the moisturizer, and I think it would be a good choice for people not wanting to introduce an extra serum step into their routine.

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InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Serum

This is part 3 of a series on InstaNatural’s products.  InstaNatural is US company based in Florida with beauty and cosmetics products inspired by nature.  They pride themselves on using natural and organic ingredients from the around the globe.   In part 1 I covered the Youth Express Eye Gel, and today I will be reviewing its counterpart, the Youth Express Eye Serum.

If you want to read my reviews on more of InstaNatural’s products, follow the links: part 1, part 2, part 4, part 5.

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The Youth Express Eye Serum claims to

deliver exceptional results to the under eye area, resulting in a decreased appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles and puffiness.

It’s main ingredients are vitamin C, plant stem cells, astaxanthinn, kojic acid, passionflower, caffeine, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and matrixyl 3000.  Most of these ingredients are high up on the list, with vitamin C coming in third (after water and aloe), hyaluronic acid forth, matrixyl 3000 fifth, and plant cells sixth.  Wow.  I’m really blown away by this ingredient list, because it’s such a concentration of potent ingredients.  I’m not a chemist so I can’t say whether or not all these ingredients are in an environment to best perform, but, what I do know is that the type of vitamin C that they use, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, is more stable than L-ascorbic acid, and can perform at a higher pH.

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The Youth Express Eye Serum comes in a dropper bottle.  The formula has a citrus aroma and is alarmingly orange.  I suspect that the orange is for a immediate cosmetic purpose – to help even out dark undereye circles.

Because I have eczema, I didn’t use this serum on my eyelids, only my undereyes and temples.  I read that sodium ascorbyl phosphate has been shown to reduce sebum, which is great news for me as I tend to get some breakouts on my temples.  It goes on watery and imparts a prolonged cooling sensation which feels similar to Origin’s GinZing Eye Cream (although GinZing stings my eyes, whereas this serum doesn’t).  I don’t know what the cause of the cool feeling is, but I don’t really like it as I have very sensitive skin around my eyes and I am wary of eye products that gives any perceptible feeling.  However, if you suffer from puffy eyes, you might find this a nice relief.

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InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum

InstaNatural is a US company based in Florida that has a variety of skincare and hair products.  They say that their focus is on

premium organic and natural ingredients in their formulations without the use of harmful alcohols, parabens or sulfates…results-driven products backed by a lifetime satisfaction guarantee

At the moment their products are only available online, and are popular buys on Amazon.  InstaNatural has sent me a TON of stuff to check out, and the first products I’m going to review are the Hyaluronic Acid Serum, the Pore Tightening Vitamin C Toner, and the Youth Express Eye Gel.

If you want to read my reviews on more of InstaNatural’s products, follow these links: part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.

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HYALURONIC ACID SERUM

Hyaluronic acid is an effective ingredient for all skin types, and works to draw in moisture to keep your skin hydrated.  It is the powerhouse ingredient in one of my Holy Grails, the Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion (or, the Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Lotion), and is especially popular in Asian skincare products.  InstaNatural’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum claims to provide hydration to soothe dry and flaky skin and tackle signs of aging by increasing firmness and strength of skin.  It does not contain alcohol or parabens, and is enriched with vitamin C, green tea and aloe for a boost in antioxidants.  Looking at the ingredients, hyaluronic acid comes 4th, which is great.  Aloe is 3rd, but green tea is 9th, and vitamin C is 11th (E is 12th).  Being that low on the list means you shouldn’t really expect any benefits from the vitamin C.  The high aloe content gives this serum a gel texture, which feels nice but makes me wish the product came in a pump.  Used on its own, this Hyaluronic Acid Serum doesn’t feel moisturizing, but when followed by a moisturizer, it noticeably enhances absorption and hydration.   At $16.95 for 2 oz/60 ml on Amazon InstaNatural’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum is good value.  I wouldn’t ditch my Hada Labo Lotion for it, but for those in the US, this is much more accessible, and it is a better option than some more expensive hyaluronic products.

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PORE TIGHTENING VITAMIN C TONER

This toner is fine – just not outstanding.  I can’t decide if the scent is a nice aromatherapy kind of citrus, or a bathroom cleanser one.  Because it is in a spray bottle, I like this more as a refresher.

YOUTH EXPRESS EYE GEL

The eye gel has a really nice texture, and is refreshing on application.  Unlike some other gel formulas, this doesn’t leave a film.  This would be great for the summer, or for anyone with puffy eyes in the AM for a cooling effect.

I have lots more reviews on InstaNatural products coming up, so stay tuned!

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Unboxing From Jeju Special Memebox #46

Jeju sounds like an amazing vacation escape, especially during the dreary winter – but if I can’t go there, this Memebox is the next best thing! Jeju themed spa day at home, woohoo!

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SKINDECO VOLCANIC PORE CLAY SPARKLING HEATING MASK

Product Description: Melt away all oil, dirt, and sebum and tighten up enlarged pores with the Volcanic Pore Clay Sparkling Heating Mask. The high concentrate of volcanic clay, sparkling mineral water, and plankton from Jeju Island work to deeply cleanse, soothe, and firm up the skin.

How to Use: Spread the mask evenly over clean face. Rinse off after 15 minutes.

Oh boy, this mask looks like chocolate ice cream!! But don’t let its sweet appearance deceive you, it’s potent.  You can really feel the volcanic ‘heat’ when you first apply.

THEYEON JEJU HALLABONG ADE ENERGY PEELING TONER

Product Description: The Yeon Jeju Hallabong skincare series boosts its richly moisturizing and nourishing formula blend with organic hallabong (a sweet orange representative of and cultivated only in Jeju island), kiwi, and broccoli. The Hallabong Ade Energy Peeling Toner is enriched with papaya extracts and black willow extracts which help relieve skin of excess dead skin cells, leaving skin silky smooth and rejuvenated.

How to Use: Wet a cotton pad with toner and gently wipe away from inner towards outer contours.

Mmmmmh this toner smells so yummy!  I’m not a huge fan of fruit-scented products, so this probably won’t become a regular in my routine, but it’s a really nice pick me up.

SKINCURE SANDAWHA NATURAL MILD CLEANSING OIL

Product Description: Gently yet effectively cleanse away all dirt, oil, makeup residues, and skin impurities with a cleansing oil infused with 100% Jeju camellia oil. It’s extremely gentle and leaves skin highly moist and supple.

How to Use: Pump out 2-3 times onto dry hands adn softly massage over face. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

I love me some cleansing oil, though this 30mL bottle is strangely tiny for a full size product.

SECRET  NATURE FROM JEJU SERUM

Product Description: Enriched with Jeju complex-organic broccoli, carrot, aloe, and asparagus extracts- Secret Nature From Jeju Serum delivers rich nutrition and instant moisture surge deep down into skin. It’s free of paraben, artificial coloring, benzophenon, talc, TEA, and artificial fragrance.

How to use: Apply directly on the skin and pat it in for full absorbance.

This is my favourite product of the bunch!  I love the faux wood cap and the glass bottle.  The serum feels soothing on the skin, and is here at the perfect time too, as my current serum is running low.

ETUDE HOUSE CLEAR & MOIST GREEN TEA BLENDING SLEEPING CREAM

Product Description: A one-time sleeping cream packed with abundant nutrients from green tea cultivated in the Jeju island. It’s highly effective in soothing and moisturizing skin at the end of a stressful day.

How to use: Take out spoon from its package and separate the handle part of the spoon by breaking it apart. Use it as a spatula to scoop up the pack and spread it evenly over clean face. Rinse off with lukewarm water the nest morning. Make sure to apply the pack at the very end of your skincare routine as an overnight treatment.

Super cute! I love the concept, although I haven’t gotten around to using it yet because it’s one-time only, and I’m saving it for a special occasion.

ETUDE HOUSE SOOTHING & CLEAN GREEN TEA MASK PACK

Product Description: Relive, hydrate, and brighten skin with extracts from young green tea leaves, widely acknowledged for their soothing and moisturizing effects. More than anything they’re gentle to skin and can be used by all skin types.

How to use: Unfold and spread sheet mask over face. Remove after 15-20 minutes and gently pat to fully absorb remaining essence. Use 2~3 times per week.

This green tea mask is much better than the one from The Face Shop, although I wouldn’t choose it over a My Beauty Diary mask.  If I were in the mood for a green tea mask, I’d rather put on my homemade match mask.

THEYEON JEJU CANOLA HONEY SILKY HAND CREAM

Product Description: Replenish and nourish dry, roughened hands with honey-scented Jeju Canola Honey Silky Hand Cream. It’ll make your hands silky soft and help maintain a well-balanced moisture level.

How to use: Apply directly to hands as often as needed.

I haven’t used this yet, but I like the slim tube and the shiny gold text.  It’s a great size to throw in your purse!

Unfortunately, this From Jeju box is already sold out by now, but Memebox is always adding new and exciting boxes!  Right now I have my eye on Hair Salon box, hmm…

Click here to get a discount on your very own Memebox!

Use promo code BA26AM to get $5 off any $30 purchase in November.  Plus, when you click through to the link, you automatically get $5 off $100, or $10 off $150 at checkout.

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Samples Showdown: Exuviance

Today’s Samples Showdown features three products from the same company.  Awhile ago, Exuviance sent me a set of deluxe samples to try, which were the Performance Peel AP25, the OptiLight Essential 6 Serum, and the Evening Restorative Complex.  To be honest, I was a little scared of using the peel since I have sensitive skin, and also recently just recovered from some mad beach sunburn.

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EXCUVIANCE PERFORMANCE PEEL

Exuviance’s Performance Peel comes in two pouches, an activator pad and a neutralizer pad.  Upon opening the activator pad, I was hit in the face with some serious chemical smell that reminded me of a perm.  Thankfully, this went away after application, which was surprisingly gentle.  After a few minutes of leaving it on my face, the product became tacky to the touch, and my skin started tightening.  There was minor tingling, but redness or discomfort.  Following their directions, I removed the activator after 10 minutes using the neutralizer pad, and then rinsed with water.  Immediately I could feel that my skin felt smooth and firm.

THE VERDICT: If I’m ever shopping for an easy-to-apply peel, this would definitely make the list.  But I don’t think this is something I’ll need to buy for a long time.

EXCUVIANCE OPTILIGHT SERUM

I can’t say much about the OptiLight serum since I haven’t been using it long enough.  In terms of smell and texture, it’s unassuming but also not memorable.

THE VERDICT: Bleh.

EXCUVIANCE EVENING RESTORATIVE COMPLEX

This is a pretty nice moisturizer.  In a gel-cream formula, it feels light and absorbs quickly into the skin. It’s biggest downside is that it’s not quite moisturizing enough for my combination skin.

THE VERDICT: If you have oily skin, this will probably work for you as a nighttime moisturizer!