January 2016 Birchbox Review #2: Goodal Waterest First Essence

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Teeny tiny serum sample

Serums have been a part of skin care for a long time, but ever since K-Beauty arrived they have exploded onto the scene. Serums are having a moment and we need to acknowledge.

What exactly do serums do? I think of them as a compliment to your moisturizing routine. Have dry skin? There’s a serum for that. Concerned with aging? There’s a serum to help. Breakouts? Yup. It’s a little booster to help with problems.

My personal favorite K-beauty serum is the Dr. Jart+Ceramidin Liquid, which I use as part of my nighttime routine. It’s been helping restore some moisture to my skin in this dry weather without making my t-zone so greasy.

Birchbox has added the Goodal Waterest First Essence (USD $30.00, full size) to their serum offerings. Per their website, this is suppose to be a moisturizer that purifies and hydrates skin. The secret ingredient? Double-fermented lotus flower extract and hyaluronic acid. Now, I know hyaluronic acid is tried and try in helping skin repair itself. It acts as a cell communicator. I’ve seen this lotus flower ingredient boasted over in other Far East beauty products. I’m not sure about its effectiveness, but an eye cream I use in the morning has it, and it does help hydrate under my eyes and brighten.

The ingredients seem legitimate. The first ones listed are the extracts from lotus flower. If they’re listing in keeping with FDA rules, this should mean that these are the most prominent ingredients. Fillers, like alcohol, are closer to the bottom. However, the last ingredient is hyaluronic acid. I do wish there was a higher concentration of it, in order to claim it as a star ingredient. Worth noting: this product does have fragrance, so sensitive skin should be careful. It didn’t irritate my skin, but this is disappointing because I really prefer my skincare products to be fragrance free.

In order to get the hydrating benefits of the serum, you’re suppose to press it into the skin. Honestly, this really the only way you’re going to get this stuff on your skin, because the texture is very gooey and sticky if you try to rub it into the skin. It is a really refreshing serum, though it starts out on the tacky side. That goes away pretty quickly, though. I used this after toning, before my morning moisturizer.

Now, did it do anything for my skin? It did feel slightly more hydrated, but it wasn’t anything out of this world spectacular. I actually think it wasn’t moisturizing enough for my skin to see any significant benefit. But because it’s so light, it makes it ideal for daytime use, especially for oily skin people who want to provide their skin some hydration without leaving their skin looking and feeling greasy.

But other than that, I’m having some trouble seeing where the $30 price tag comes in. Yes, it does have all that lotus flower, but I just didn’t see any real benefit. I’ve been using this stuff for about a month now, but maybe the benefits are VERY long term.

I will give Goodal this: the sample looks ridiculously tiny, but you only need a small amount of product, so a full size bottle should last you a long time.

Rating: 3/5. This product is…ok. It didn’t hurt my skin, but it also didn’t provide the hydrating boost I expected. Kudos on them for actually having lotus flower extract as the main ingredient, but I’m also disappointed to see fragrance included and hyaluronic acid so low on the list. However, this may be worth a shot for oily skin people looking for lightweight hydration.

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