If you followed my whirl through South East Asia from beginning to end you’ll know it kicked off with a bang when I almost burned off my vagina in Bangkok thanks to underwear soaked in Environ’s Derma-Lac. Probably not the press the brand would want and yet – surprise – they were the very first to send me new products to trial when I got home. (For the record, Derma-Lac was one of the first products I bought after my plane touched down. Sure, it attempted to murder my lady bits. But I love it and have yet to find another affordable AHA product that does half as good a job at stripping off self-tan.)
But ja. Let’s chat about one of the new kids – Focus Care Moisture+ Vita Antioxidant Hydrating Oil Capsules (R730). I like that they do exactly what they claim to – hydrate dry, dull-looking skin. And yes, they’ve included a smidge of retinol but they’re not making mad claims like ‘expect a brand new gesig in just ten days!’
Ingredients-wise, the ‘base’ is mostly silicones and sunflower oil that give the product a silky, viscous feeling. I say viscous because it’s texture is ‘thick’ and luxe – a bit like John Frieda’s Frizz-Ease silicone serum for hair. This handles the hydrating and the antioxidant aspect is covered by the addition of green tea extract, vitamin C, vitamin E and retinol, the latter three also being good collagen-encouragers.
The form of vitamin C they’ve used – ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate – is a great pick for those with sensitive skin as it’s most potent of all the non-irritating versions on the block. It’s also important I mention that the amount of retinol in this product is just a smidge. If you choose to buy this and are serious about anti-ageing, don’t think you can tick a proper retinol serum off your shopping list. Ideally, you’d want to work your way up to a 1% retinol product and, as it stands, I still recommend Dermaceutic’s. (Environ have retinol serums too, but they don’t disclose their percentage which is maddening, but I still live in hope of a reveal. The SA market is crying out for truly potent retinol products at a price that won’t crush their wallet. Being a trusted brand, if Environ put out a 0,5% and 1% at a price that undercut the rest they’d literally kill it. Des! I hope you’re reading this.)
Anyway, the reason I’ve really enjoyed using these caps is that I got off the plane (four, in fact) after an insanely long, nightmare journey (shot for the cancelled flight, Ethiopian Airlines!) and my skin felt like drek. I was dry. I was dull. I even felt sensitized. I was all the things Environ’s caps aim to aid and applying them to my skin felt delicious. It was like the facial equivalent of applying lip balm – an instant soother. And while my sad, dehydrated face immediately felt quenched and ‘sealed’, it didn’t feel occlusive, heavy, greasy or gross. Being combination-skinned, some silicone/oil-based products make me feel like I’ve smeared a samoosa packet on my face. This guy, however, sunk in beautifully, but left me feeling supple and glowy. You could use this every day if you wanted to, but I’ve decided to use it as a ‘mask’ – a nice, pampering treat for when my skin is feeling dry and I want to give it a little extra TLC. Or for the next time I have to fly. You have no idea how much I wished I’d had these guys when I was in transit.
Still, it’s not all magic and rainbows. I’m not a fan of capsule packaging as I consider it unnecessary. Just put the thing in a blerrie pump bottle and then I can dispel the exact amount I want – not a huge glob – and make it stretch for longer than 30 days. Still, I do realise brands are consumer driven. Women want their fancy pants capsules, yo! I also have to admit, Environ’s definitely gotten sexier looking. You’ll notice the boxes now have a mooi geometric design hiding inside of them.
Also, while I don’t think the product’s crazily over priced, I must mention that there are similar things out there that cost less so, if you’re one of my #budgetbabes currently being crushed by the soul-destroying petrol price, consider something like African Extracts Advantage Facial Oil (R180,99, Clicks). Being silicone-free, it’s not nearly as luxe-feeling and it also doesn’t contain any retinol, but it does include vitamin C and E (the same type Environ’s used) in coconut oil-derived base. I know which one I prefer, but you can let your wallet decide.