I saw first Avene products behind locked Mercury Drug glass cabinets during the time of my fascination with French brands like Clarins and Estee Lauder. Like those two, Avene had an acclaimed name, a cult following and a steep price. So I approached the brand with caution, but apparently I wasn’t careful enough. Specific sin of omission: not reading the label.
Avene’s Skin Recovery Cream was said to be a “re-balancing, soothing and protective care for hypersensitive and irritated skin.” With its miracle Thermal Water as base, the cream is light, basically unscented and massages well into the crooks and crannies of stressed skin to give near instant relief. Good stuff, thought I. So I was happy to pay for its reasonable P800+ price at the counter. By then I have made the mistake of swiping my credit card without reading the ingredient list. To wit:
Avene Thermal Spring Water (Avene Aqua), Mineral Oil (Paraffinumliquidum), Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Squalane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Clycohexasiloxane, Serine, Carbomer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, Water (Aqua).
Mineral oil. Really, Avene? Such betrayal. ‘But it must be high grade mineral oil,’ argued my optimistic sister. ‘There is no such thing,’ I muttered weakly. But I did not want to waste it and still gave it a try. My skin was calm after a few days of slowly integrating it into my routine as a day and night moisturizer. A few days past a week and my skin sported unsightly bumps under the surface. Why, hello there clogged pores! Haven’t seen you in a while since I switched to Human Heart Nature moisturizers.
Le sigh. Le disappointment.
I know the reviews are awesome for this product, and I don’t discredit any of those. But in this household, Avene’s Skin Recovery Cream is a nay. And for the record, mineral oil is a by-product, it is basically free, and it does nothing to the skin other than clog it, specially in quantities that deserve its 2nd spot in the ingredient list. See a more informed rant here.
That being said, my Avene trip did uncover a gem.
Avene Cleanance Gel Soapless Cleanser. From its Cleanance line, this cleanser is tailor made for sensitive, oily and acne prone skin (waves hand enthusiastically). I apply this as a second cleanse, by squirting a small drop of gel on my damp hand then massaging it on dry skin. Add a little bit of water to help the lather, but do not expect suds since yes, it is soapless, which is GOOD. SLS (a.k.a. that foaming stuff) does not cleanse the skin but only unbalances the ph levels thanks to the suds. Gently wipe off with a clean damp face cloth, and face is clean without being tight and dry. A little bit goes a long way so expect the P1200+ worth bottle to last forever. Winner.
Avene Sensitive White Whitening Lotion. This one I expected to hydrate and gently lighten unevenness and spots on the skin. Did it do any of those? I’m still not sure. To its credit, it did not break me out, and it feels like a hydrating enough follow up to the Clarins White Plus HP Brightening Peel. But I still alternate it with the Human Heart Nature Balancing Toner, and I know I like Juju Cosmetics Aqua Moist Vitamin C Toner much better. That being said, I’m still using Avene’s take on sensitive brightening. So the final verdict is still out.
Photo credits to owners.