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report by Debra of the Cosmetic Connection Product Panel
The last review I wrote for the Cosmetic Connection was of ProActiv, a truly effective and reasonably priced acne treatment line. The main shortcoming of ProActiv for me, however, is that I am now 40. So even if I have adult acne, I'm concerned with lines, broken capillaries, and sun damage. Unfortunately ProActiv doesn't address these issues with their basic skin care line.
For several years I've been trying various acid products, both over the counter and prescribed, to find one that I could actually use. I've tried Retin A, Renova, Avon Anew, Murad, as well as products from Lancome and Estee Lauder. Each of these had dried my skin out to the point that the itching and flaking just weren't tolerable. (The mild irritation is supposed to fade away after a couple of weeks, but that never happened for me.)
Exuviance is a new line of products from Neostrata. Neostrata is generally available only from a dermatologist, though there are a couple of online sites I've found that sell it.
The Exuviance line is a consumer line, marketing to those who want to benefits of alpha or beta hydroxy acids, but who aren't able to use those products. Exuviance uses a poly hydroxy acid called gluconalactone. It is supposed to be non-irritating even for sensitive skin. So the Exuviance line appeared to be worth a try.
I purchased Skin Caring Foundation SPF 15 ($25), Evening Restorative Complex ($26) and Fundamental Protective Day Fluid SPF 15 Sensitive Formula ($24). With my purchase, I received a sample kit of their Sensitive Skin Care Line. The kit contained enough product for a 2 1/2 week test. In the kit was Gentle Cleansing Crème/Sensitive Formula, Soothing Toning Lotion/Sensitive Formula, Evening Restorative Complex and Fundamental Protective Day Fluid SPF 15 Sensitive Formula.
I really wanted to like this line. I have a bottle of Neostrata Facial Cleanser that I like, and I hoped that the mild acid in this line would work for me. Unfortunately, my overall impression of the products was "close, but not quite."
The Gentle Cleansing Crème works okay if you like a crème cleanser. However, the fragrance was just too much for me, and this was the first product I quit using (before the 2 1/2 week test was over). The Exuviance folks say the smell is "mango vanilla", but I felt like I was washing my face in a pina colada. I also saw significant traces of makeup on the cotton ball after I used the toner.
The Soothing Toning Lotion was an okay product, for a toner (seems you either love toners or could easily live without them). No strange smell here, and my skin felt clean after using it.
The Fundamental Protective Day Fluid is a nice, lightweight moisturizer with a good SPF. For $26 though, you can probably find better. I'm still using this product, but alternating it with a different moisturizer.
I liked the Evening Restorative Complex. This has a soft, silky texture and absorbs well into the skin. This creme not only has the gluconolactone acid, it also has triple oxidants, and vitamins A, C, and E. I use this product nightly and my skin looks "relaxed" in the morning. I'd buy this product again.
I found that using the cleanser, toner, Day Fluid and Evening Restorative Cream together was too much for my skin. I think I did a complete peel the first week! But this peel was not uncomfortable and I didn't flake so bad that I couldn't wear base.
The biggest disappointment was the Skin Caring Foundation SPF 15. Again, I wanted to like this! The colors were nice, and the pump bottle is a neat and efficient way to dispense the foundation. But here's the bad news:
But the thing that really sunk the boat for this foundation, and that actually sent me back to the store to return it, was the smell. I thought it smelled like plastic. My son couldn't come up with a better word than stinky, and my husband settled on saying it smelled like paint.
In conclusion, I just felt like this whole line was "close, but not quite." The main drawback to the entire line was the fragrance.
I bought my Exuviance products at Ulta, and I've also seen this line at Dillards.