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Confusing Sizes, Great Skincare… Futurederm; Skin Softening Cleanser, Peptide Rich Toner, Time

I began using Futurederm products back in 2013. Maybe even 2012! I have no idea how I found out about Futurederm and it’s creater, Nicki Zevola, but right away I loved her products because they were based on the most effective ingredients available on the market; vitamin C and retinol (vitamin A) ⭐️ And they are still the most effective ingredients available!  It sounds like a no brainer, but often skin care brands want to use new ingredients which sound like they are going to work. Skin care should not only help you deal with your complexion issues, it should help prevent problems – no matter how young you are.

Nicki also had a blog and that came before her own line of products. I love her blog because she teaches readers about ingredients and skincare formulas, from the perspective of a Doctor and scientist. Oh and she does product reviews too 😄👌 I trust her opinions and scientific findings as she was in medical school but dropped out to pursue her ‘true love’ – skincare! That takes guts. Getting into medical school is a massive achievement in itself, so I can only imagine how difficult it was to give up considering it would have taken years and years of hardworking to get there.

To begin with, Futurederm released their Time Release Retinol 0.5 and Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2. They also did a Toner for a while (7 Wonders Antioxidant Rich Toner) which I loved and some moisturisers (I never tried these). Now they’ve expanded on the Retinol and Vitamin C serum ‘treatments’ alongside the cult classics and in addition, added a cleanser and toner to the line! There are also ‘custom made skincare products made for you’ like a cleanser, toner, serum and moisturiser, but I haven’t tried these just yet. So let’s get into todays review of a new Retinol and Vitamin CE serum, plus a cleanser and toner! 🤗

So first of all… let’s talk about the sizes of the products lol When I opened up my parcel, I just thought ‘what the…’ LOL Because the big bottles don’t contain the cleanser and toner that I ordered and the little bottle aren’t serums. What the hell! 😂😂 It’s crazy because the cleanser is 350ml, the toner is 350ml as are the serums… so why are all the sizes of the bottles different? All the products are in pump, airless bottles, so it makes sense that the little bottles containing the cleanser and toner are just ‘condensed’ if that makes sense. There is a catch here though (I think – and it’s to do with the serums) but I’ll mention my thoughts on the sizing of each product as we go on with the review… something I do want to mention now though, is that I really dislike the stickers on each bottle. They look to be clear sticker, with the writing and product description being printed onto the clear sticker. The font is really unclear and pixelated. I can imagine that with time the font will rub off and it’ll be even harder to read. Because Futurederm create such well thought out formulas and products, it annoys me that the stickers look a little cheap. Because the products are not and I don’t want anyone to think otherwise! The OCD part of me also doesn’t like that only the Toner bottle has a gold ring/trimming on the bottle lol It’s not consistent damn it lol! Just my two cents on the packing 😉😅 The fact that each product is in an airless pump bottle is AWESOME though. It makes sense that someone so focused on. creating scientifically backed, effective skincare formulas, would also make sure  that the packaging was up to scratch when it came to safe guarding the contents from degradation (air, sunlight and contamination). So the pump, airless bottles are perfect!

FutureDerm Skin-Softening Cleanser Purifies the skin, leaving it soft and moisturized. Use twice daily for skin that is fresher, clearer, and renewed.DirectionsGently massage a quarter-size amount onto a lightly damp face, and massage for 30 to 60 seconds. Rinse and pat dry. Use twice daily and follow-up with your favorite serum and moisturizer.IngredientsPurified Water, Cocomidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Panthenol, Matrixyl, Haloxyl, Oatmeal Extract, Green Tea, White Tea, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, PCA, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Histidine, Phenylalanine

The Skin-Softening Cleanser is a no fuss silky cleanser that does a great job! 🧼 It’s a light gel-cream that’s not totally a cream but isn’t a gel either. It’s in-between the two 😊 Futurederm recommends that your skin is lightly damp when you work the cleanser into your skin. It doesn’t foam up but it does spread on the skin easily. It doesn’t leave skin feeling tight or dry but as promised, skin feels seriously soft and clean. I wouldn’t say it has a scent per se. It’s one of those cleansers that might seem a bit ‘boring’ and is easily missed in your shout out when it comes to your skincare favourites, but that’s only because it works so well  and is ‘no fills’. I love that it contains Oatmeal which soothes skin and green & white tea (antioxidants!). Make sure you massage your skin with the cleanser for at least a minute in order to get all the skincare benefits from the ingredients. The teeny tiny bottle is also brilliant for travel! Small and mess free, despite contains 350ml of product. The above photo shows you how much product I need to comfortably cleanse my face. The Skin-Softening Cleanser will cost you $39 USD. 

FutureDerm Peptide-Rich Toner A smooth, fast-absorbing, peptide-rich formula that delivers key antioxidants to your skin while priming and preparing it for serums and moisturizers to be more effective.DirectionsUse day and night. After cleansing, gently sweep over the face and neck with a cotton pad or fingertips. It can be used under a retinol serum or moisturizer. Skin is left really soft and smooth, and prepped for next steps.IngredientsAloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Methylsulfonylmethane, Glycerin, Argireline, Matrixyl, Haloxyl, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate & Lactobacillus, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Salix alba (White Willow Bark) Extract, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, PCA, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Histidine, Phenylalanine

This is a great toner because it dampens the skin and prepares it so you can soak up all the other skincare goodies you apply to your skin! Peptides have been around since the early 2000s and are generally known to firm skin and stimulate collagen production. But… not all peptides are created equal as Nicki would say 😉 so which peptides does the toner contain and what do they do?

Signal Peptides:  Copper peptides, Matrixyl, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-7, etc. These stimulate collagen production and are probably the most common forms of peptides on the market. Luckily for us, the Peptide-Rich Toner contains Matrixyl to help skin look firmer and plump!

Neurotransmitter Peptides: Argireline, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-28 and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38. These babies inhibit acetylcholine, which reduces muscle contraction. That’s why it’s sometimes called a ‘botox alternative’! Brilliant for treating expression lines. The Peptide-Rich Toner contains Argireline 😬

There are also ‘Enzyme Inhibitor Peptides’ and ‘Carrier Peptides’ but I’ll leave those for another day since the Peptide-Rich Toner doesn’t contain any of those (if you’d like to read up on them more, do so here on the Futurederm blog!).

So the toner contains two of the most common but also well studied peptides. Not bad! If it were a serum or moisturiser, more peptides would be brilliant, but I’m happy for a toner to contain two as toners don’t often contain ‘actives’. It also includes of course some great hydrators like glycerin & sodium hyaluronate, and some great soothing ingredients; allantoin, panthenol and aloe vera juice. What surprised me though is that there’s also a whole bunch of amino acids; Arginine, glycine, alanine, serine, valine, proline, threonine, isoleucine, histidine and phenylalanine 🤗 When your cells are producing collagen, elastin, and other proteins and fibers, if they don’t have enough amino acids, you end up with less of a desirable product, i.e., rough, thin skin. They are the building blocks of skin. How great is it that the toner contains so many amino acids?!? Winning!

What really surprises me is that the toner doesn’t contain water – the first ingredient is instead aloe vera juice. How cool! The consistency of the toner is like water though. I use the pump dispenser to dispense the product into my palm and then I use both palms to press the toner into my skin after cleansing. I don’t want to waste any product by using a cotton pad. Like the Futurederm Cleanser, the toner doesn’t have a scent. It’s just magical water 😉💧 Or aloe juice lol After application, skin is left feeling damp, softened and hydrated. I wouldn’t say it’s a hydration bomb… but it certainly leaves skin feeling softened and comfortable. Knowing it has so many brilliant ingredients, you are certainly doing something good for your skin by applying it daily after cleansing. Again, it might not have bells and whistles that sing out ‘LOOK AT HOW AMAZING I AM!’ like other obecause the toner is busy working away to boost your skin’s function (collagen synthesis etc.) and that’s what we are all after right?!?

You get 350ml of toner for $39 USD. Oh ye, and the bottle is super sleek and tiny! Perfect for travel and to minimise on space in your bathroom cabinet 👌

Now onto the serums which pack a punch! 🥊

FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.75 Retinol may improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and uneven texture. Wake up and see the glow!DirectionsApply a pea-sized amount to cleansed skin in the evening. Start use with 2x per week, then gradually increase frequency to every other night, and then every evening, as tolerated.IngredientsAloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Isopropyl Palmitate, Jojoba Esters, Glycerin, Methylsulfonyl-methane, Retinol, Sorbitol, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Inositol,Panthenol,Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, PCA, Glycine. Alanine, Serine, Valine, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Histidine,) Phenylalanine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caffeine

I’ve been using Futurederm’s Time Release Retinol 0.5 since 2013! Sure, sometimes I would take a break to use tretinoin based treatments (when my acne was back 😭😭😭) but I’m back onto it because get this, you can’t get stronger tretinoins than 0.05% or adapalene 1%! What the hell… in Australia that is. Unless you go to a compounding chemist. I’m still toying with the idea, but for now I’ve moved up from using retinol at a concentration of 0.5 to 0.75, because Futurederm has made two stronger retinols (there’s also a 1% retinol!) 🙌 Yay! Using ‘over the counter’ retinol still is majorly beneficial for the skin and Futurederm’s formula is amazing. Why? Two factors; The main ingredient and the formula in the way the active ingredient is delivered to the epidermis. Read on!

Retinol is one of those ‘wonder’ ingredients that actually works. It’s used both for mild acne control and skin repair (be it skin texture issues or fine lines and wrinkles). It can actually repair skin, be it sun damage or fine wrinkles, whilst firming up the skin. So why does the label say it ‘may prevent and repair’ fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and uneven skin texture? I think this may be because of US marketing laws… For example, I know you can’t say that the product contains 0.75% retinol, but you can suggest the concentration in the US 🤨 Stupid? Yes. But it’s certainly one of the only clinically proven ingredients to work – and this has been verified by independent scientists and dermatologists! The only problem is, that creams with a higher retinol percentage can irritate your skin quite a bit, so many creams you buy off the shelf don’t contain enough of the stuff to be really effective (companies don’t want their customers to experience any irritation whilst using their products). Also, retinol is still active and beneficial for the skin (if you use it at high enough concentrations) and in some ways better than tretinoin! Tretinoin is so active and strong because you skin doesn’t need to convert it into it’s active form (retinoid) to work in the skin. Retinol does, it needs to convert to retinoid. However…  In one study, when retinol was applied to skin samples, retinoids were uncovered in all five skin layers, including the deepest layer (the dermis) (Toxicology and Skin Health, 2006). This is not a bad thing at all –some of the retinol in the uppermost layers have enzymes that can convert retinol to its active form, tretinoin. But some of the unconverted retinol traverses your skin and gets into the deepest layers, where collagen is formed. On the other hand, when you apply tretinoin directly to the skin, it has been shown to work mainly on the uppermost layers of the skin. Why? It all has to do with the chemical structure of the molecules — smaller, nonpolar molecules tend to traverse the skin better. I learnt this fact thanks to the Futurederm blog too!

It’s micro-encapsulated suspended in a gel formula (I’ve never come across another another product containing retinol/vitamin A suspended in a gel formula) which sinks into your skin almost instantaneously. Most of the prescription forms of retinol that I’ve tried are suspended in a quite thick cream base (think sorbolene cream). This is because most retinols can also dry the skin and their light exfoliating action can cause flakiness in the beginning. The Futurederm retinol gel doesn’t irritate your skin like regular retinol creams do, because the gel doesn’t sit on top of your skin. The retinol slowly releases itself in the deeper levels of the epidermis for up to 8 hours after application because it is micro-encapsulated, lessening the likelihood of irritation. The capsule containing the retinol inside works by dissolving slowly in your skin, releasing the retinol steadily and slowly so that it is effective for longer. Micro-encapsulating retinol protects the retinol from light, air and air degradation. Not only that, Nicki the creater of the product also added aloe vera and jojoba esters into the formula to ease irritation even more. Even though my skin was used to vitamin A more generally (and tretinoin) it’s still amazing that this solidly concentrated retinol didn’t irritate my skin at all after I started using it! I have loved this 0.75 concentration and after finishing this bottle, I will move up to the 1% Time-Release Retinol. You know all those people that experienced serious side effects from using Drunk Elephant’s Retinol 1%? Because it’s 1% and they didn’t gradually get their skin used to smaller contractions of retinol! And they clearly didn’t use a micro-encapsulated time-release retinol 😉

While I didn’t experience any irritation when using the 0.75 concentration of retinol, I did experience minimal skin peeling on my nose initially. But it was minimal. Nothing like tretinoin! I can work with it and hey, at least I know it’s working right?!? It seems to have subsided now too. OH – and I almost forgot. Because this retinol is so active yet gentle, I use it around the eye area every second/alternate night (so I use it all over my face). This is a problem area for me and I want to prevent and repair damage. I wouldn’t suggest this unless you have started off with using smaller concentrations of retinol, working your way up. And never with tretinoin. There’s no reason that I see, not to use it around the eyes. And definitely only at night!

note Retinol helps to regulate sebum and works to lightly exfoliate the skin, so it unclogs pores (hence it was developed for treating acne originally). For this reason, you shouldn’t use it together with AHAs or BHAs (they do not mix well together and you may burn your skin) such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. When you use retinol long term, it will also start working to help even out your skin tone and tighten your skin. It works on so many fronts, that it will benefit everyone.

Pick up your FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.75 for $69 USD. 

FutureDerm Vitamin C 20 Vitamin E2 Vitamin C may brighten + tighten skin, reduce the appearance of age spots, and improve the look of sagging skin. You’ll see the glow!DirectionsShake well. Apply a dime-size amount to face and neck after cleansing. Ideal for use under sunscreen, moisturizers, or makeup.IngredientsAloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, L-ascorbic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate, Jojoba Esters, Glycerin, Methylsulfonyl-methane, Sorbitol, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Inositol,Panthenol,Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, PCA, Glycine. Alanine, Serine, Valine, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Histidine,) Phenylalanine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caffeine

FutureDerm’s original vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2 contains 16% L-Ascorbic Acid and 2% vitamin E, suspended in a silicone base. The vitamin C 20 Vitamin E2 serum is quite different to the ‘original’ CE serum. Firstly, it’s not suspended in a silicone base (which leaves skin feeling velvety and matte) so it feels incredibly different. This version is incredibly light – almost like a gel, has a watery consistency and it just glides over the skin. It takes a a few moments to sink in. I love the texture and consistency, however, the pump gives you too much product. Half a pump of product is perfect to cover an entire face (and yes, I started using this vitamin C serum under my eyes in the morning too! Under eye cream 🤗). For probably a fortnight or so, I was using too much product as I couldn’t work out the right ‘ratio’ if you know what I mean. I like being liberal with my skincare application, in order to make sure I am getting the ‘full effect’ of a product but I was probably being silly in the beginning when I first started using this serum!

L-ascorbic acid is the most common form of vitamin C and it has been researched extensively to demonstrate that it works wonderfully at brightening pigmentation, preventing pigmenation, protecting it from oxidative stress and boosting collagen production (in a concentration of 15% or higher!). Vitamin C is paired with vitamin E because each antioxidant can borrow an electron from the other, renewing itself in the process. It then also protects skin naturally from UV rays! But still wear sunscreen on top of your skincare daily 😉 Vitamin C is also an anti-inflammatory and will be extremely beneficial to those treating acne or breakouts. Pigmentation is also a form of inflammation, hence it’s brilliant power at brightening uneven complexions. L-ascorbic acid is notoriously  unstable, so having it housed in an airless pump where the serum is protected from light and oxygen, is perfect!

I developed some more pigmentation on my face when I was in Europe last year. Not because I didn’t wear sunscreen, but it was the tail end of summer and I had just gone back on the pill which makes your skin super UV sensitive and prone to pigmentation *sigh. This serum has helped to decrease my pigmentation and has prevented new spots from appearing at least. The C 20 Vitamin E2 serum retails for $99 USD. 

Left to Right: Cleanser, Vitamin C20 E2 Serum, Retinol 0.75 Serum

So now onto the serums containing 350ml product as per the packaging…. I have sent FutureDerm an email double checking whether or not there actually is 350ml of serum in both the C 20 Vitamin E2 serum and Retinol 0.75. It just seems that I finished up my C 20 serum very quickly (in less than 2 months of daily/morning use). Even though I used way too much product when I first started using the C 20 serum, 350ml of product should still last me MUCH longer. With some face creams that I use only once a day and liberally, they last me for months and contain 50-60ml of product. I really think there is only 30ml of product in the serums – because that explains why I would use it up within 2 months or so (that would be standard for a serum containing 30ml of product). 30ml of product is the usual amount of product when it is a concentrated serum. I do think this could just be a mistake on their behalf, but I am checking this out. I’m still going with the Retinol 0.75 because I only use that one every alternate night. Also, the ‘original’ Time-Release Retinol 0.5 and CE serums were/are each 30ml. So again, confusion! This really started to mess with me for a while lol If this is a mistake on their part or if I am wrong – I will let you know. I love FutureDerm products so I’ll continue to use them but it would be good to clear up for my sanity’s sake lol…

FuturDerm products are only available via their website. This is great because you know you aren’t buying from any dodgy suppliers and you are going straight to the source! If you want to organise international shipping, you need to send them an email. I don’t know why it isn’t an automatic option anymore 🤔 From memory, international shipping costs $20 USD flat rate. I use my shipping forwarding service WS1, to get the products to Australia because I general pay $18.60 USD for a small parcel which is courier shipped to my home address, meaning I get it within 2-3 days! 🧡 And I still save $1.40 USD 😅😇 FutureDerm offers free domestic US shipping over $75USD.

So that’s it Beauties! Longest post ever or what LOL it took me agggges to write up… would you like to try FutureDerm products? Do you use vitamin C or retinol products regularly? Let me know in the comments below!

Catch ya next time,


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