Thursday, August 26, 2010

Product Review:
Annemarie Börlind Treatment Products

Today I'm talking about repair products- a topic I take very seriously. Treatment products are designed to repair what bothers us the most about our skin; the thing we look in to the mirror and scowl at when nobody's looking. That's high stakes! If you can't swallow the entire review at once I've conveniently, and quite unintentionally, started with my favorite, and descended from there. Funny how our subconscious works sometimes, huh? Obviously, my hope is that you'll be so compelled by the fascinating nature of the review that you'll just fly through the article. However, you may need a bathroom break after Act II...

Naturesome Nature Effect Fluid $86.99 for 50ml 1.69 oz
Designed to hydrate, soothe and protect skin, Naturesome can be used by all skin types, though in slightly different applications.

The long list of proven ingredients start with nourishing jojoba seed oil. Jojoba oil is a great emollient for all skin types because it's chemically very similar to our skin's natural oil. While this may not seem a plus for oily skin types, studies have shown that jojoba oil can actually dissolve excess sebum in the pores, allowing it to be washed away. Shea butter and rapeseed oil also make appearances, adding free radical protection and added hydration. Shea butter, along with moisture-binding hyaluronic acid, also helps to lock in all of that lovely moisture.

White Tea, Vitamins C and E, and Ceramides join the party to reinforce the skin's protective barrier and reduce environmental damage, which can contribute to dark spots and wrinkles. Great ingredients, but not by a long shot are they uncommon, rare or expensive to produce-so frankly, what's in this stuff that makes it so damn expensive?

The company highlights the inclusion of sea fennel, and the fancy sounding immortelle, so I figure that's a good place to look for our dollars at work. According to my package, these ingredients "ensure a feeling of well being, happiness and relaxation". Um, OK. Not exactly quantifiable. In the non-metaphorical world, immortelle is known as an anti-inflammatory, and indeed aromatherapists use it for its calming, uplifting properties. On the other hand, sea fennel seems to fall a bit short. It may have some antioxidant and antibacterial properties, but that's really all she wrote.

Now on to the actual using, trying part. Since I have dry skin, I used this as a treatment, under my day cream. The first thing that struck me was the scent. I'd classify this as a light, slightly sweet but herbal floral. It actually reminds me a whole lot of the Victoria's Secret perfume Sexy Little Things. Applying the lotion, it feels light and non-oily, but takes its time absorbing into the skin. For people with dry skin types, think of it as a supplement to boost moisture and add environmental protection to your daily routine. For normal, combination and slightly oily skin types, I think this would work well as a daily moisturizer, but would likely be too much for extremely oily skin. My only caveat is that it doesn't contain SPF. For me, this was a non-issue since I was using it as a treatment, but for people wanting to use it as a day cream, it's a major deduction.

I like the feel and love the scent of this product, and will continue to use it, though I can't say I'll be running to replenish it when it's gone. I think Naturesome is a great product to soothe, hydrate and protect skin from environmental damage, but if I'm being honest, I think similar benefits could be found in a much less expensive product. If, however, you're looking for a treatment and this fits the bill, and you're willing to pay a premium for the piece of mind that Börlind's social and environmental practices provide, then this may be the product for you.

Orange Blossom Energizer $35.99 for 50ml/1.69 oz
This dual phase treatment is a mixture of botanical oils and extracts that Börlind says is meant to help skin regain firmness, and smooth wrinkles while revitalizing and strengthening skin.

Many of the oils that make up this formula are Natural Moisturizing Factors, meaning they mimic the way healthy skin functions. Because of this, they can help the skin's natural lipid barrier remain strong- which keeps bacteria out, reduces irritation, reinforces the skin's ability to repair and regenerate itself. The formula also includes anti-irritants and a decent dose of anti-oxidants. These components convince me that this product will indeed strengthen the skin.

This product was great to wake up to! As you may guess from the name, it's got a slightly tart, zesty scent that's derived from Sicilian blood orange extract and orange flower water. The sticky part is, both ingredients are potential skin irritants, and there's some suggestion that the extract can even prompt photosensitivity in fair skin. Luckily, these two components appear at the bottom of the ingredient list, so they may not be concentrated enough to cause problems. I certainly didn't notice any, and I'll remind you that not only am I extremely fair, but I use retinol, a prescription medication that causes photosensitvity itself. If someone were going to react, I'd think my chances would be pretty good (bad?)

With it's light-oil preparation, this product is mainly going to appeal to dry and severely dry skin types. It does sinks into the skin quickly though, and really could be used as a moisturizer for those with normal or combination skin. I liked how this felt going on, and appreciate the product's barrier strengthening potential. On the other hand, I think the formula falls short on it's firming and wrinkle smoothing promises. I didn't notice any marked improvement in that area, nor did I see any ingredients in the formula that seem to be able to cash that check.

This product is more reasonably priced than most of the Börlind products that I tried, and is a decent treatment for those looking for basic antioxidant protection, barrier repair and, of course, added moisture. However, for those looking to help ease the signs of aging, I'd suggest a product with more advanced anti-aging components.

Facial Firming Gel $49.99 for 50ml/1.69 oz
The name says it all here, according to the company, this product is meant to "give the skin a firm and smooth appearance." BUT WAIT! There's more! This slick gel also promises to minimize the appearance of pores and broken capillaries.

I don't put anything on my face without looking at the ingredients first; this gel was no exception. The first thing I noticed staring me in the face was the second ingredient- alcohol. If you read my review yesterday on Börlind's toner, you'll know that of course, I had to write the president of the company and ask "why? Why? WHY?" Her response was that alcohol is used because of it's astringent qualities, and a natural preservative, and that in the low concentrations used, it is not drying to the skin. Be that as it may, the presence of alcohol in this gel is not exactly unnoticeable since it smells a bit like a hospital. In addition to that, firming is not really a concern of mine, so I'll admit, my motivation to try this one was a bit lacking.

When I did get around to trying it, I definitely noticed a distinct tightening feel. Personally, I wasn't all that fond of it myself- having dry skin I do all I can to get rid of that feeling, but I can recognize that someone who is trying to improve the firmness of their skin may greet this tautness with open arms. Appropriately, this firming effect seems to be the result of an extract from the Baobab tree- better known as the African "Tree of Life" (you know, the one from The Lion King). Indeed. Horsetail also imparts a tightening effect, and some antioxidant properties, but can be irritating to the skin. Despite the tightening feel of this gel, Baobab actually seems to hold promise as a moisturizing and barrier strengthening ingredient, and glycerin is added to the moisture binding efforts.

While Börlind boasts of a 38% increase in skin's firmness after 28 days, I was unable to verify this, either with my personal experience or with my research. I'd like to flatter myself that my skin couldn't get 38% tighter, but lets face it: we all have areas. In the interest of science, I tested this product on an area of my body that is, shall we say, not as perky as it once was. Though the tightening feeling was quite apparent on my face, I didn't notice the effects...elsewhere. In my research, I didn't notice any ingredients that claimed to stimulate collagen production which is what would need to happen for this to have a lasting effect on the skin. Having said that, this did have a temporary tightening effect. For some, that may be enough. For right now, I'm just thankful I don't have to worry about it!

The products featured in this post were submitted for review consideration by a representative of the company. What does this mean? I didn't pay for it. My commitment is to you, my readers, and myself (it's called integrity, I like to have it). I can assure you that the opinions expressed in my product reviews are my own, based on my own research and experience; I am not paid in any way nor is the final outcome of the review influenced by the featured company.

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