I was recently sent some skin-care products from InstaNatural, an American skin-care brand I wasn’t actually familiar with, but have since become totally intrigued by.
InstaNatural use premium grade organic ingredients (minus the parabens, sulphates and nasties) to produce innovative skin-care lines without sacrificing quality. So far so mainstream, (eh hello Neal’s Yard, Jason, The Body Shop, Espa, Antipodes, Dr. Hauschka, The Organic Pharmacy, Burts Bees…… The list is literally endless). BUT a quick browse online leads to literally flawless feedback from thousands of (presumably not all bribed!) customers… Hence my intrigue.
For the past fortnight I’ve been trialling the Retinol Serum, and Retinol Moisturiser – Both of which contain retinol (quelle surprise)… When absorbed into the skin, retinol (Vitamin A) is converted into retinoic acid – a metabolite controlling cell growth and development. Medicinally retinoic acid is used to treat the likes of leukaemia, as well as obviously being synonymous with dermatology. It’s clinically proven to treat acne (with prescription-only medication such as Roaccutane), as well as reducing fine lines, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation and scars.
I’m normally quite hasty in using any retinoid derivative on my face – In my opinion they should be used only as treatment rather than prevention. Retinol (whilst seemingly magical) is extremely harsh, and with this obviously comes side effects – taking shape in the form of skin irritation, dryness, hot flushes, redness, and sensitivity.
Hence the apprehension. But I wanted to see what the fuss was all about at the same time. Obv. And so for the last two weeks I’ve been using the InstaNatural moisturiser and serum as part of my night time skincare routine. The directions for both products recommend twice daily application, but as retinol causes skin sensitivity to sunlight I chose not to apply either product in the morning.
Obviously two weeks isn’t the lengthiest of testing parameters, but at the same time I feel I’ve given both products a fair chance to prove their worth. As recommended, I’ve been using the serum and moisturiser together, and therefore can’t adequately differentiate the results between the two, but overall my skin has definitely reacted to the retinol – in ways both good and bad.
But first – the packaging. Not the biggest fan of it in a superficial sense (it’s definitely not a trophy ornament for the dressing table!) – but it does fit their whole “organic/ ethical/ natural” vibe I guess. On a practical sense though, the pump dispenser on the moisturiser makes for a more hygienic and less wasteful design. It’s also a very generous 100ml bottle, which seems supersized beside your standard 30ml tubes – Value wise that shit cray. (Provided you like it of course!)
As well as containing 2.5% retinol, (très impressive for non-prescription), InstaNatural also packs in 20% Vitamin C, 10% Hyaluronic Acid (vegan, obv), shea butter, green tea and jojoba oil – all of which are renowned for beautifying one’s visage. I love Vitamin C in skincare, it’s fantastic for brightening your complexion, whilst hyaluronic acid is synonymous with hydration. So far so amaze.
After the first application, I had a full on hot flush experience, where my skin felt (very briefly) super warm. This is actually a really common side effect for first time users of retinol – and so if you’re skin is extremely sensitive this may not be for you. From evening two onwards though it was plain sailing.
The cream is quite thick, but non-greasy and so whilst it’s not the most luxe of moisturisers to apply, it dries in fairly quickly upon application. The serum on the other hand feels lovely – it’s an orange, quick drying formula and smells divine – very citrus-esque. Of the two, the serum seems by far the most potent – as is always the way. You can obviously tailor the dose to your needs – perhaps using it every second night if you feel it’s too harsh when used daily. The serum reminds me quite a bit of the Image Vital C serum, (probably due to the vitamin C content and orange fragrance). The Body Shop’s Vitamin C range also rings a bell.
After literally two or three days of using the serum and moisturiser combined, I started to notice some benefits. My skin started looking a whole light brighter in the mornings, although it also felt somewhat drier. Me using these coincided with a serious drop in the temp outdoors, and I was also switching from some heavy duty hydrators (my trusty Kiehls Midnight Recovery layered on top of Guinot Rich Lift Firming Cream). But again, dryness of the skin is a pretty common side effect thanks to the retinol. Credit to the hyaluronic acid which counteracts any dire drying of the skin.
Thankfully I’m not quite a wrinkled prune just yet – At 28 my anti-aging battle is more prevention than cure. I therefore can’t say I noticed much improvement on the whole anti-aging front, but I have noticed a definite reduction in visible pores on my nose. Which is actually pretty amazing considering I’ve never come across another product to do so. Plus it’s very early days for me (week 2) so I’ll fo’sho be using this for the foreseeable future.
As well as using this on my face, I’ve been applying it at night to my neck – or more specifically to a surgical scar on my neck. And as predicted, the retinol has (ever so slightly) faded the scar tissue already. Impressive stuff. I’d imagine if you’re suffering with the likes of acne scarring, stretch marks, hyper-pigmentation etc these two products will fit in blissfully to your skincare regimen.
Side note: I have also grown a spot on my chin in the last week – Perhaps hormonal, perhaps chocolate binge related… Although I’ve pretty much outgrown the random spots phase and I always eat chocolate/have hormones. Perhaps it can be blamed on the retinol. Although I’ll take one spot and slightly drier skin for brighter skin /reduced pores/ / faded scars.
All in all I’m a Instanatural fan now, natch! You can buy these from their Florida based site here, or else via Amazon here (they’re currently 50% there)… I’m now pretty tempted to invest in some InstaNatural hair products, and also am loving the look of this aromatherapy diffuser! Need.