REVIEW: Apothekari Skin Care Products

by - August 28, 2020

I am SO EXCITED for today's review, you guys. For the past couple of months I've been using these three products from Apothekari Skin Care - you may recall I reviewed a couple of their Body Care products a while back - and they have been so incredible that I can't wait to share them. Not only have I seen incredible results personally with these products, but they're very much backed up by solid science - this is a brand that was started by a Pharmacist who really cares about formulating products that are effective, transparent and safe, and you really, really can see that ethos when you look at the ingredients in these formulas.

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I'm just going to parrot exactly what I said in my last post here - because it's still exactly how I feel about the brand and it really drives home what makes me really excited about sharing it with you guys.

The formulations contain ingredients that serve a purpose and are clinically proven to work and nothing is added just because it's trendy or marketable. They place a focus on safety in a way that I haven't seen a lot of brands doing, and while they don't claim to be "clean" (which I highly, highly appreciate) I think that their level of transparency and focus on safety surpasses many of the so-called "clean" skin care brands out there. Rather than me continue to go on and on about how much I appreciate their philosophy, I definitely recommend checking out their Our Philosophy and Our Science pages if you're interested in the brand because I really, really have a lot of respect for how they've decided to approach their business practices. 

100mL | $35CAD
Apothekari Cloud Nine Foaming Cleansing Creme (100 ml/3.3 oz) is a new generation of gentle, foaming cleanser, that not only cleans, but also moisturizes and protects skin. Rich with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients, Cloud Nine Foaming Cleansing Creme soothes aging and sensitive skin, while delivering a healthy glow to all skin types. This is the cleanser you’ve been waiting for.

One of two cleansers in Apothekari's line, I actually decided to try this one for two reasons. The first will be obvious to anyone who reads this blog - I am an absolute cleanser fiend and I find it to be one of those important steps in my skin care routine. The second is that this cleanser sounded exactly like that I personally look for in a cleanser - it promises to be effective while also being gentle and hydrating. While their AHA cleanser definitely looked interesting and would totally be something I'd be willing to try, this one was just calling to me and I knew that it would be right up my alley - giving me that really gentle, hydrating cleanse that I love. So, anyway, I probably get more excited about cleansers than a lot of people, but it really is a hugely important part of my skin care routine and I couldn't wait to try this one.

The experience of using this cleanser is really, really lovely. As promised, it's a really gentle, hydrating formula that leaves my skin feeling thoroughly clean, but no stripped. I don't personally find that this foams very much in the big, sudsy way that foaming cleansers generally do. It more because a fine, milky foam that I think really lends to that gentle cleanse. One thing that I find with some hydrating cleansers is that they can be a little bit more difficult to remove, leaving behind something of a film on my skin that I really don't like, but this one really rinses clean and leaves my skin feeling hydrated without any of that filmy feel. I honestly think that anyone could probably enjoy this cleanser, but particularly people with dry or sensitive skin that can struggle with cleansers being too harsh will really love this. It's one of the most gentle cleansers I've ever used. 

30mL | $75CAD
Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging Retinal Serum (30 ml/1 fl oz) could be called a miracle for skin if one existed. Formulated with patent-pending IconicA, Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging Retinal Serum incorporates stabilized retinal (retinaldehyde), the ultimate retinoid because it is the direct precursor to Retinoic Acid, the form of Vitamin A that is used by the human body. But this serum offers even more, with ingredients that deliver photo-aging protection, exfoliation, anti-inflammatory/anti-irritant properties and skin brightening effects.

Retinoids are a game changer when it comes to skin care and I personally think that everyone over 35 can benefit from having them in their skin care routine, not only for immediate visible results but also for long term benefits to skin. Personally, I haven't been as consistent with using them recently as I have been in the past, but I've always seen really amazing results when I do. When I test out a retinoid, what I always look for is one that's going to give me really quick results - seriously, I think you should be able to see benefit within a couple of weeks if not within a couple of days - and I also want one that isn't going to sensitize my skin or leave it peeling or overwhelmed. I know, a really effective retinoid will often have some peeling, but personally I tend to steer clear of anything that makes my skin feel like that. To try and avoid that particular outcome, I always start carefully with a retinoid, using it every second or third night, and I find that I really don't need to use it any more often than that if the formula is good. 

The first thing that jumps out at me from this ingredient list is the fact that aloe leaf juice is above water on the ingredients list. I actually love this because aloe has those really skin soothing properties that I think are a benefit in this type of serum because retinoids can be a little intense on your skin, especially if you're new to them. In fact, there are a lot of great skin soothing ingredients in this formula, which I really think provides a great balance to the very effective retinaldehyde. If you're new to the world of vitamin A products, I think the most important thing to learn is that they are not all created equal and all over the counter retinoids - retinaldehyde (or retinal), retinyl palmitate, and retinol - need to undergo a conversion process in the skin to retinoic acid in order to be utilized by the skin. Retinaldehyde is the closest to retinoic acid that you can get without going for prescription strength, which makes it the most effective retinoid available OTC. (Is this making sense?) It's pretty clear to me that not only was Retinaldehyde chosen for this formula because it is the most potent and effective non-prescription option, but it was also formulated with all of these soothing ingredients to make it a little more gentle. 

I've tried quite a few different retinoids in my time and have had some great successes, but this one has really jumped ahead of the pack for me. I have been using this every second night for the duration of the testing period and I haven't had any sensitivity or peeling from it at all, which is really nice for me personally. I really do think it is that this formula has that strong retinoid paired with really skin soothing ingredients to balance it out and make it a little more gentle on the skin overall. Like I said earlier, I want to see rapid results with a retinoid - not miracles, but visible improvements in my ski and this really offered me that. The biggest change that I personally saw was in the texture of my skin, which really improved as I was using this. I struggle with uneven texture that can make me feel really insecure and I really did notice a visible difference while using this product. Like I said, I want to see results quickly and I also want to see them progress, and as I used this I really did think it hit on both notes. I honestly can't say enough good things about this formula and I think it would be a great option both for people who are new to retinoids as well as people who are really familiar with them, it's just a really, really good formula.

30mL | $95 CAD
This new Vitamin C Serum is formulated with L-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid and Vitamin E AND made to order just for you! Apothekari Bespoke Vitamin C 15% Serum does not include propylene glycol or other harsh additives so it is suitable for all skin types. Our made to order process ensures that your formulation is potent and effective to deliver the best possible results for your skin.

The things that initially really jumped out at me about the Apothekari Bespoke Vitamin C Serum are that A) it's made to order so you know you're getting the most potency possible in your bottle, and B) it's available in 10% or 15% varieties so that you can choose your strength, which I think will especially be good for people with sensitive skin because 15% could ultimately just end up being too strong for skin that you need to be a little bit more gentle with. I love antioxidant serums and I think a well formulated one can really, really make a huge difference in your skin, while a poorly formulated one can... just basically do nothing, so I was really excited to try this one out. Not only have I been super impressed with the results from my own testing, but also with the powerhouse formula that this product is packing - it's seriously impressive. 

When it comes to the ingredient deck in this serum, I have to say I'm kind of blown away, if I'm being honest. Let's just go through it point by point (because I've tried writing this paragraph several times already and it's just too much awesome to try and manage any other way.) Obviously we have the Vitamin C in here, listed as Ascorbic Acid, but it's also packed full of other really potent antioxidants, including Ferulic Acid, which is an antioxidant that also helps to stabilize Vitamin C. Between those two ingredients, we've got some really solid humectants in the form of Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate, which is the salt form of Hyaluronic Acid and what you most often see in HA serums, in my experience, owing to it's compatibility with the skin. Next, we get into a whole raft of super solid antioxidants starting with green tea and pomegranate seed and moving into various carotenoids like Lutein and Lycopene. Seriously, as I was going through this ingredient list for this review, I just started to geek out so hard - I'm kind in love with how this was formulated and I really feel like it highlights the care that was put into formulating these products. 

Honestly, this is just another huge winner for me. First off, I've always found that higher potency Vitamin C serums have a distinct and familiar sting on the skin, in varying degrees, but even though this one is the higher potency at 15% I don't have any stinging at all when I apply it. Now Vitamin C isn't something that I expect rapid results from, so as I've been using this as the only antioxidant serum in my routine I've really been paying attention to the results in my skin and I'm super impressed. As I get older, I'm really becoming aware of uneven skin tone (probably caused by all the sun damage I did as a kid running around outside all summer without sunscreen) and because my complexion is so fair, I really, really notice it. Since I've been using this, I've really been noticing that my complexion is becoming more even overall. Because of having to wear a mask so often these days, I've been skipping foundation to avoid the whole mess of skin issues that can come from that, and I've really noticed in the past couple of weeks that the light amount of tint in my daily SPF is more than enough to completely even my skin tone because it's just improved so much recently - which I definitely attribute to this skin care routine, and specifically to this serum. I love it, like a lot. 

Honestly, I had really high expectations from this brand and it would have been really easy to let me down, but throughout my testing I have found those expectations didn't even reach where this line falls for me. It's really, really thoughtfully formulated and filled with just powerhouse ingredients, but every product has also brought a really incredible balance of being gentle and caring to my skin while also being really effective in what they promise. Obviously, if you've read through to this point, you know exactly how beautiful and impressive these products have been to me and I highly, highly recommend them. HIGHLY. 

If you're interested in trying out any of these products, you can click the links above, and if you're interested in trying ALL of them, I would recommend checking out the Apothekari Skin Care Ageless Skin Set, which includes all three along with their Daily Infusion Moisturizer for $225CAD.

Thanks for reading!

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