The thing about trying out beauty products from entire ranges is that it can be daunting. Daunting in the sense that you don’t know which items to pick and trial first before moving onto the rest of the products. You don’t know for sure if the products you’ve picked will work on you until you’ve tried it out – and spent the money to afford it. And if they don’t give you the radiant skin as promised, you don’t even think you’ll want to consider the other products in the same range.
But one thing that many people forget is that the more you experience this, the more you’ll get to know and understand your skin. You’ll know what ingredients you are allergic to, what scents you like and don’t like, what packaging suits your lifestyle the best, and so on. Then, you begin to make better and more informed decisions the next time you’re tempted by the new bottles sitting prettily on the beauty counter.
It’s only from years of doing this that I’ve come to understand my skin as being sensitive to alcohol, sensitive to foam, sensitive in general (sometimes getting red patches for no reason, which then fade away on their own after an hour or so), oily and dry. That’s why when I was invited to give the new Aquaderm range from Korean skincare brand DCS a try, I specially selected a few products which I thought would work out for me.
Let’s take a look at them now, shall we?
You might be shocked but I’ve never had a toner before this one. The only one I ever tried was one from another Korean brand but somehow, it didn’t give my skin any benefits worth raving about, so I just gave up on toners all together. They all look and feel like water anyway, and they don’t minimise the size of your pores, so how good could they be?
The DCS Aquaderm Super Aqua Toner is such a surprise for me. First up, it doesn’t claim to tighten your pores, which toners really do not do (if you’re interested, a dermatologist explains on Huffington Post what affects pore size). It also does not contain alcohol, which is an ingredient that ironically ends up in most toners out there. Alcohol dries the skin up, and while I do get that drying out the sebaceous glands will result in smaller pore size temporarily, you don’t want nasty alcohol giving you the flaky flakes. The best way of drying out your pores is to produce less oil, and this is determined by genetics, hormones and proper medication – not a skincare product.
The toner is non-sticky after it’s absorbed quickly by the skin, and it helps keep my skin feeling refreshed and awake. It soothes sensitive skin and the slight redness in my skin seems to have subsided since I started using it. I feel like my skin’s protective barrier is restored over time and my skin can better absorb whatever product I apply on next. I recommend adding about 3 drops of the toner onto your palms and then just applying it directly onto your face. This is so that you don’t waste any product, unlike when you use a cotton pad. If you pamper yourself with mask sheets from time to time (like I do), after applying this toner would be the best time to do it.
Water, Sea Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Agave Americana Leaf Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betaine, Caprylyl Glycol, PEG-32, Acrylic Acid / Phosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Coceth-7, PPG-1-PEG-9 Lauryl Glycol Ether, Perilla Ocymoides Seed Extract, Beta-Glucan, Tremella Fuciformis Polysaccharide, Allantoin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Viola Tricolor Extract, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Adenosine, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Theanine, Milk Lipids, Glutathione and Fragrance.
The toner is my favourite product out of the three I tried but let’s see what the other two offer.
Like the case with the toner, I never really had a day cream until now. The DCS Aquaderm Super Aqua Day Cream comes in a blue glass bottle that fits firmly in the palm of your hand. It contains SPF 20 PA +, which is good enough for me. I’m not sure if this contains alcohol but I’ve not had any allergic reaction to it since using it, so if it does contain this ingredient, I suppose it would be in an extremely minimal amount. I apologise, but the ingredient list in English wasn’t attached to the sample I received (and I don’t understand chemical terms in Korean).
The day cream is thick and white and doesn’t spread as easily as a gel or silicone moisturiser would. I suggest applying this sparingly if you’re in a humid climate like Singapore’s because it can make you look oily if you put on too much. For the fact that it has sun protection and smells mildly refreshing, I find that this cream works as it should.
I’m in love with the DCS Aquaderm Super Aqua Ampoule (even though not as much as I love the toner). Ampoules as we know them, are power packed with a high concentration of active ingredients and serve to boost your skin to Korean celebrity status. They aren’t intended for daily use, but rather for the weekly pick-me-up. As Wendy at xoVain puts it, every time she opens her own bottle of ampoule, she imagines angels singing from above.
I don’t use this ampoule every night now because doing so gave me a little outbreak – it’s too strong for that. It works great when used once a week, however. I recommend using it on Sunday nights, so you go to work the next day with fabulous skin to fight the Monday blues. To use it, I drop 3 drops onto my fingertips using the dropper from the packaging. Then I apply the product onto my skin in a light, tapping motion. This helps the skin to absorb the product better. Any nighttime moisturiser should come after this step.
It contains a slightly higher concentration of sodium hyaluronate than the toner, which is good because hyaluronates – wait. I haven’t explained hyaluronates to you yet.
Well, hyaluronates are the salt form of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in our skin and is known to be able to hold up to 6000 times its own weight of moisture. This just means that the more hyaluronic acid we have in our skin, the better our skin can be moisturised, and the plumper and more youthful-looking our skin is. Hyaluronates, being in the salt form, are much smaller in size and therefore can penetrate the skin’s outer barriers better. This means that by using hyaluronates, we can moisturise the deeper layers of our skin.
Now, knowing that, you’d be sure to look for a skincare product that contains this ingredient if you’re seeking more moisturised skin. But that’s not enough.
Yes, hyaluronates can absorb a huge amount of moisture – but there must be moisture to be absorbed in the first place! This means that on top of the ampoule, you need to end off with your serum and moisturiser. The ampoule is going to absorb all there is to be absorbed from your other skincare products, and bring them right into the depths of your skin. Now that, is what I call effective skincare.
Water, Sea Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycereth-26, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Niacinamide, Agave Americana Leaf Extract, Betaine, Polysorbate 60, PEG / PPG-17 / 6 Copolymer, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sclerotium Gum, Acrylic Acid / Phosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate Crosspolymer, Arginine, Allantoin, Perilla Ocymoides Seed Extract, Beta-Glucan, Tremella Fuciformis Polysaccharide, Steareth-21, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Steareth-2, Stearic Acid, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Viola Tricolor Extract, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Extract, Adenosine Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Theanine, Milk Lipids, Glutathione, Fragrance.
If you look closely at the ingredient lists above, you’ll notice sea water is the second one in both lists. This sea water is obtained from the volcanic island of Jeju in Korea, where the water contains minerals like selenium, zinc and iron. Selenium improves tissue elasticity and prevents cell damage; zinc reduces excessive sebum production and alleviates acne damage; and iron promotes regeneration in skin cells. The only thing I don’t understand is the need for cetyl alcohol in the ampoule.
Overall, the three products I tried didn’t disappoint. If you could only pick one product out of the three, I’d say go for the toner. All the products – in fact, all products from DCS – are not tested on animals, and are therefore cruelty-free. The products also do not contain the following harmful chemicals: paraben, lanolin, ethanol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone and carbomer. You’ll be pleased to note that the agave cactus extract is the exclusive ingredient to the Aquaderm range, out of all the ranges from DCS.
To get your hands on this range, just hop on over to any Watsons store near you. You can also check the range out on Watsons’ online store.
To well-moisturised skin,