Moisturizers — a fundamental in the skincare routine that has undergone a resurgence in recent years. At the height of face oils, these creamy staples were nearly vilified as inactive, inert products; an extraneous step that those who wrote them off are now re-examining. Many with oily or acne-prone skin swear off moisturizers altogether until realizing, often all too late, that the right moisturizer could have done so much.
Moisturizers are perhaps the most misunderstood products in skincare, and contrary to their name, moisturizers are primarily made to support the skin barrier rather than actively increase moisture in the skin. For the former, we’re looking at occlusive ingredients that can form a seal on the skin surface which will help increase water retention by preventing trans-epidermal water loss (or TEWL). For the latter, we’re looking at hydration that happens under the skin surface which require smaller molecules that penetrate deeper. At the end of the day, it’s not an either-or scenario, healthy skin should have good moisture retention in the skin, and a strong barrier function. That’s where a good moisturizer comes in.
The formula: Royal Fern’s Phytoactive Anti-Aging Cream is a dermatologist-made cream moisturizer from Germany that has only 8 ingredients:
Royal Fern Complex (1%), hyaluronic acid, retinol, vitamin C from the Acerola cherry, vitamin E, cocoa butter, macadamia nut oil, mineral oxides.
The product: Made to be fast-absorbing and weightless, the cream feels like a rich viscous Asian yoghurt (which are much more liquid than US varieties). The texture sits between La Mer and gel-creams, giving it the perfect balance. Those opting for a thick cream will be delighted to know a Rich version of this cream exists too.
Ingredient analysis: The ingredients in Royal Fern’s Phytoactive Anti-Aging Cream are few but purposeful, all quality and no redundancy. The Royal Fern Complex is an antioxidant derived from Ferns that is cell protective, hyaluronic acid is a hydration powerhouse that works well here because there are occlusive ingredients like cocoa butter to form a barrier over this, retinol is a gold standard anti-aging active and so is Vitamin C; their results together with Vitamin E mean that the skin receives the three most beneficial actives, while macadamia nut oil helps to further assist cocoa butter with the surface protection, and mineral oxides give some texturizing benefits.
Review: What you’ll feel when you apply Royal Fern’s Phytoactive Anti-Aging Cream is that the moisturizer sinks in almost immediately and there is this strange feeling of your face being pulled up like it’s defying gravity for about 5 minutes. When that subsides, your skin feels more and more moisturized (as opposed to most moisturizers that are the other way around), with areas that are usually prone to dryness and tightness feeling totally soft and plush.
The smell of the cream is very dermatological, not in a bad way, but in the best way that feels results-oriented which is good since there is no added fragrance and the smell comes directly from all of the powerful actives. The entire experience is luxury more as a top-end, dermatological-grade treatment than a ladies-who-lunch frou frou product, which is what we prefer when shopping for high-end products.