The skin rundown before we delve in; I have normal skin with the tendency to be oily at times. I am extremely adamant about wearing sunscreen as well as removing all traces of make-up before bed. I do not smoke and I drink more water than necessary (it's probably actually an excessive amount). While I do get the occasional breakout I would consider myself to have "nice" skin. I don't get any skincare treatments such as facials done anymore because I live in Vancouver and am going to be poor forever.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of skincare I think of budget friendly drugstore or designer Sephora brands and somehow overlook the entire derm skincare market. You know the section I’m talking about. It’s usually one pr half of an aisle at Shoppers Drug Mart that separates the cosmetics from the drugstore priced skincare with white backlighting. It features brands like Vichy, Avene, and Neostrata.
I sometimes avoid shopping in this section because all of the products seem so “technical” and deciding where to start can be overwhelming. Neostrata was a brand I heard of before, but knew nothing about. When the Neostrata team reached out to me I decided to do some research and see what sets derm skincare apart from other types of skincare. Neostrata has been around for 40 years specializing in researching skincare ingredients.
Neostrata was kind enough to gift me their Restore line, formulated for sensitive skintypes with Polyhydroxy Acid (PHAs) as their superstar ingredient aimed to protect skin’s moisture barrier while providing gentle exfoliation. I won’t lie I was a bit apprehensive to try out because I tend to stick to skincare brands that are mostly natural/organic as I find my skin can react poorly to anything with too many ingredients.
I am also someone who finds using acids on my skin intimidating. What are the benefits of using acids? Acids breaks down the binding and build up between skin cells to help exfoliate and give your skin that good glow. Other acids, like AHA tend to me more popular, however PHA are much more gentle therefore better suited for sensitive skin.
PHA Facial Cleanser
This non-foaming PHA Facial Cleanser is soap and fragrance free making it ideal for sensitive skin types. If you’re use to a rich lather, this gel can take a bit of getting use to however even though it doesn’t look like a lot, it does a lot. My skin felt cleansed after use and didn’t feel stripped or leave any residue. I did find that it wasn’t as strong as I hoped it would be for makeup removal so I ended up double cleansing at the end of the night.
The product is generous 6.8 fl oz and only a quarter sized amount needed so expect a little bit to go a long way. This is a product I would repurchase because my skin felt like it was “back to normal” after using it, not deprived of all of its natural oils with no residue. $30 CAD
PHA Eye Cream
Spoiler alert: the PHA Eye Cream is my favourite product in the line without a doubt. The cream was lightweight and hydrating while soaking into my skin immediately. It’s fragrance-free which makes it non irritating to your skin and to your eyes. Their site claims that the eye cream also visibly reduces fine lines and improves skin resiliency, after 4 weeks of use I hadn’t notice any change to fine lines but did notice an immediate plumping effect.
For me, the selling point of this eye cream is that it played well with my other products. My foundation/concealer has a tendency to wear off around that area of my face but since switching to the Neostrata Restore eye cream my makeup has worn better. $52 CAD
Bionic Face Serum
The Bionic Face Serum with 10% PHA to really up the moisturizing properties and prepping skin for layering additional skincare products. The serum left my skin naturally radiant and worked well with other products. The consistency is a bit on the gel-water side so it did spread easily and absorb quickly.
As much as I liked this serum I didn’t fall head over heels for it and it’ll probably not be one I repurchase in the future since it’s a bit on the pricey side. There was nothing in particular about the serum that made it stand out among other serums I have tried in the past. $85 CAD
Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream
Between the two moisturizers I received, the Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream was the more lightweight one in terms of texture and formula. I opted to use this one as my day cream since it left no residue and seemed to work well with layer cosmetics on top. Since I wear glasses I find that sometimes my base makeup can slide around my face by the end of the day, however something about the Neostrata helped makeup adhere better to my skin.
I did find that this significantly reduced my dry spots and had high spreadability that I honestly just ended up dotting a bit on my forhead, nose, cheeks and chin to get enough cream to moisturize my entire face and neck. Between the two moisturizers I tried this was the one I prefered for my skin type. It is on the pricier side of face creams I tend to pick out but due to how well it played with other products I would repurchase this. $68 CAD
Bionic Hydrating Face Cream
Neostrata’s Bionic Hydrating Face Cream was the richer of the two face creams I tried and I found it only suitable for evening use (for me personally). When trying to apply primers and foundations over top of the cream it had a tendency to pill and decreased the longevity of my makeup application. The formula itself is better suited for drier skin types as it is more of an emollient paste instead of a cream. Because of its paste-like texture I found that I had to apply heavy pressure to get the product to melt into my skin and it sat on the surface of my skin for a while before absorption. Out of all the products I tried this one had the highest amount of PHA (12%) so unsurprisingly this left my skin feeling baby soft.
Honestly I think if I had drier or more textured skin this product would be a lifesaver and when I had an upper lip waxing mishap (aka: ripped off a little bit of skin) this cream worked wonders as a spot treatment to help repair the tears in my skin while being gentle AF. $75 CAD
It did exactly what it claims to and restored my skin to what I think would be its optimal moisture and texture. I test out a lot of skincare products and will continue to use the Neostrata Restore line between testing new products because it seemed to be like hitting reset on my skin. I believe introducing and testing out new products with this skincare line will help me get a better of idea of product performance.
The fine print: as always, none of the above links are affiliate links, cross my heart. This post is not sponsored and I made approximately $0 for writing this and if you buy anything from the line due to this review that number doubles to a cool $0. I write skincare reviews because I am a nerd and love skincare reviews.
The team at Neostrata was kind enough to gift me all of the products reviewed however as per usual all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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