19 Nov 2015

Comparison Review: It's Skin Power 10 Formula GF, WH, VB, Propolis, & YE

I bought the Power 10 Formula from It's Skin quite some time ago, around Xmas time last year, so that’s about one year already. I should have been reviewing them earlier, but first I am a lazy writer when it comes to writing about things that I am not that excited about, and second I don’t have incentives finishing the products earlier so I can’t convince myself to write about them. I want to at least finish using them before calling them “useless”. So, yeah, you would have guessed by now that this is going to be a negative review on these products. Read on if you are still interested in knowing the bitter honesty.


Power 10 Formula is one of It’s Skin best-sellers. It’s cheap, it’s cute, it’s colourful and it has a variety of functions. Sound attractive just by the name, and the look of it. Each one retails for about RM 39.90 (US$ 8.00), making it one of the most affordable ampoule-type products in the market. The question is, is it as good as it sounds like?

There are 13 different types of essence in total (I wonder why they are called Power 10):

  • VC (vitamin C, brightening)
  • CO (collagen, elasticity)
  • YE (yeast, vitality)
  • GF (grifola frondosa, moisturizing)
  • WH (arbutin, whitening)
  • Q10 (Q10, firming)
  • PO (chameleon, pores control)
  • VB (vitamin B, sebum control)
  • VE (vitamin E, anti-oxidizing)
  • WR (caviar, anti-aging)
  • LI (licorice, soothing & anti-pigmentation)
  • Propolis (brightening & anti-acne)
  • Syn-ake (wrinkle-care)

Each of them have different colours:



Some of you may ask, what is an effector though? Is it an essence or a serum? Or some kind of alien products? By the ways they are described, I would like to think of them as an ampoule-type product.

An ampoule is a more refined or concentrated form of typical serum or essence. It is meant to be used after a toner and before a serum, an essence or a moisturizer. Ampoule is normally more powerful than serum as it can penetrate your skin quicker and deeper. Sort of like how mineral water with smaller molecules are better than normal water.

However, I personally think that these effectors are too weak to be qualified as an “actual" ampoule - if compared to the famous Missha Long Name ampoule. I sometimes even suspect that they are not more than a booster, like a complimentary-type product used to enhance the efficacy of your serum or essence. Using them alone won’t bring any impressive skincare benefits. Unfortunately though, their official website in English is too uninformative so I can’t provide you guys with more details here.

I have bought 5 effectors from this line: GF, VE, YE, Propolis and WH. I kept the GF, YE and Propolis to myself and gave away the other two to my boyfriend and my mom. These effectors can last you less than a month if you use it vigorously, or approximately 2 months if you use it liberally.

It's Skin Power 10 Formula GF Effector 30ml
RM 39.90 / US$ 8.00 / KRW 12,000

GF was the first effector that I’d used. I wanted to add more moisture into my then-morning routine with Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Toner + Emulsion and The First Essence. These three are not hydrating at all, and even worse - they dehydrate my skin. Normally, my skin does not produce oil. If it does, it only means that it is very dehydrated. The Nature Republic trio is giving me this trouble of oil-producing skin after every 3-4 hours. I thought GF would extend this to 7-8 hours, but OMG I was so wrong, the addition of this GF does NOTHING at all only maintaining that 3-4 hours oil-producing schedule. What have you been doing GF??? Are you sleeping, hibernating or what?


To find out why this GF is doing nothing for my skin, I take a deep dive into the ingredients.

So, GF stands for grifola frondosa or maitake mushroom, a polypore mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of trees. It is a less-known, less-research botanical extract that are thought to have anti-oxidizing and moisturizing properties. I can't find a lot of information backing the skincare benefits of this plant. A new, unpopular star ingredient featured here? Hmm…interesting.

Here’s the full list of the ingredients taken from It’s Skin official website:


INGREDIENTS
(click here to see my Cosdna profile)

Water, Grifola Frondosa (Maitake) Mycelium Ferment Filtrate Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Polyglutamic Acid, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Disodium EDTA, Mannitol, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Sucrose, Ultramarines (Ci 77007), Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium PCA, Urea

INGREDIENTS ANALYSIS

The list has a lot of delicious-looking ingredients like glycerin, polyglutamic acid, mannitol, sucrose, vitamin E, sodium PCA and urea. But, most of these are less-researched and uncommonly used ingredients in skincare. For example, polyglutamic acid is a derivative from the fermented soybean natto that will provide skin a smooth, elastic and soft film. But, this ingredient is more commonly used for healthcare and medical purposes instead of skincare. Urea, another ingredient being used here is required to present at low amount if used in cosmetic products. The moisturizing ability of this product sounds promising but again, it is also uncommonly found. 

Cosdna and my own research also flags a few problematic ingredients here, such as ethyl hexanediol, carbomer, triethanolamine (4/5 on hazardous score, controversies on-going regarding whether or not this may cause cancer, or is acne-triggering), disodium edta and ultramarines (a colouring agent). Except for ultramarines, the other 4 are also present in the rest of the It’s Skin effectors that I’ll be reviewing later.

Ingredients-wise, I don’t think this effector is as good as it sounds. It may contain a lot of moisturizing ingredients, but none of these are effective at doing what they should do. Instead of blaming the ingredients, I am starting to doubt the cheap prices and the formulation as a whole that fails to deliver what it should do at the very basic.

TEXTURE AND APPLICATION

The texture of this effector is quite acceptable although not my favourite. It has a thick watery like texture although still runny with a little bit of viscosity in it, and will be absorbed within minutes of light patting. Your skin will feel moisturized, like how Hada Labo toner does on your skin, but definitely not refreshed. One thing I like about the GF effector is the packaging (just the packaging?): it has a beautiful blue colour design with sparsely distributed blue particles that are said to encapsulate a lot of moisturizing factors. I also love the fact that it comes in a glass dropper, surprisingly “classy-looking” for the price. This product has no scent whatsoever, so it would be a good news for those who are sensitive to fragrance.


TO PUT IT SIMPLE

In short, I must say that I am really disappointed with the performance of this effector. I have high expectation on it, hoping that it would moisturize my dehydrated skin caused by Nature Republic Super Aqua Max but it has done almost nothing for my skin. I tried using Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum just to compare the both and the Innisfree one managed to extend the oil-producing period to 7-8 hours. That’s saying something about this GF effector.

Even if I use this alone at night, it wouldn’t be able to hold moisture before I go to bed. My skin still produces some oil before I hit my lamp. Most of my skincare items can keep me moisturized before I sleep but GF is one of the few exceptions.

To be fair though, GF is still a pleasant essence to use. It glides on smoothly and gets absorbed pretty well without being sticky and overwhelming. However, I really doubt will long-term usage really do something for my skin. If it doesn’t, why would I spend my money on something useless and only pleasant to use?

Yea, that’s basically my take on this product. It feels pleasant to use although it won’t give you any fantastic results. I am not advising you to stay away from this essence, but wouldn’t recommend it based on my personal experience with it.

PS: My cousin has combination skin that is a bit on the oily side. She likes this and would give it a B+.


It's Skin Power 10 Formula Propolis Effector
RM 45.90 / US$ 11.00 / KRW 14,000

The next one I am going to talk about is the Propolis effector. This is the only It’s Skin effector that I’ve finished using. 


The Propolis effector is said to have brightening, detoxifying and anti-inflammatory results with its honey and propolis extracts. It is claimed to brighten up dull skin, tighten large pores and reverse the effects of stress and damage on your skin. Sounds like an ideal product for more mature skin type.

The effector comes in a beautiful and more “expensive-looking” yellowish bottle, just like your honey and bee hives colour. The essence is not yellowish though. It is a transparent, light-weighted and slightly serumy type of liquid that can be absorbed easily onto your skin. For those who are sensitive to fragrance, this essence has a pretty strong sweet and slightly perfumy smell although it will dissipate within minutes. 


INGREDIENTS
(click here for my Cosdna profile)

Honey Extract, Propolis Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Niacinamide, Sea Water, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Freesia Refracta Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Fragrance, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA

INGREDIENTS ANALYSIS

The Propolis effector is packed with a good deal of ingredients. It contains no water, which means it's undiluted, only honey and propolis extracts as the top two ingredients. Honey is a great anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. Propolis, on the other hand, is a resinous substance collected by honeybees from tree bubs with excellent anti-bacterial, anti-acne and anti-inflammatory effects.

Scrolling down the ingredients, I can see that most of the ingredients here are for anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidizing, anti-acne, wound-healing, moisturizing and brightening purposes. In other words, this is an essence for someone with acne-scars and have sensitive, itchy, flaky, acne-prone and combination skin. This essence might not be that great for oily skin because it doesn't contain a lot of oil-controlling ingredients.

Of course, like GF effector, it also contains some problematic ingredients but at least for this one, the good outweighs the bad.

TO PUT IT SIMPLE

In terms of effective, I am regrettably saying that I’ve again feeling nothing for this essence. I have normal skin that is on the drier skin, without any acnes, blackheads or sensitivity issues. So, propolis won’t help much in that sense. The only thing I am looking for in this essence is the brightening and moisturizing properties of it. But, I see NOTHING. My skin doesn’t change or improve much after using this essence. It does not brighten up or become more moisturized after using it.

It just gives me a sweet, light-weighted and pleasant feeling of having a layer of “something sweet” on my skin. Other than that, I don’t feel that I am using an essence-type product. This even does less than my sleeping packs which can at least provide all-night-long moisture that I can still feel the next morning when I wake up.

So, I guess this is an above-average essence (ingredients-wise; for the price) for the wrong person. I am sure someone with flaky, troubled, sensitive and scarring skin can get more benefits from it, but that's not me.


It's Skin Power 10 Formula YE Effector
RM 39.90 / US$ 8.00 / KRW 12,000

The YE effector is said to be a must-buy of this brand. This is also the 3rd best-selling effector after VC (vitamin C) and CO (collagen), and has made it appearance on the Korean TV show comparing it with some well-known effectors such as the Estee Lauder Night Repair Serum and Lancome Genifique. Packed with yeast extract, it is sort of like an ampoule version of the SK-II essence.


The YE effector is claimed to be a skin-reviving serum which can boost cellular growth and hasten the cellular turnover process to improve skin texture and restore clarity. It also has anti-aging formula which can aid cellular repairing process and increase skin's energy level. Skin feels super soft and smooth after using.

It is packed in a brown bottle (looks familir? Estee Lauder Night Repair Serum?), and has glass dropper just like its other effectors.


Unlike GF and Propolis, the YE essence has a pearly white appearance that is semi-transparent in colour. The texture is close to an essence but is more watery than that. Like Propolis effector, this gets absorbed very fast as well with a faint perfumy smell without any greasy finish.


INGREDIENTS
(click here for my Cosdna profile)

Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Polyglutamic Acid, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ppg-26-Buteth-26, Fragrance, Disodium Edta, Saccharomyces Polypeptides

INGREDIENTS ANALYSIS

Again, I am highly disappointed with the ingredients in this essence. The star ingredient, pseudoalteromonas ferment extract comes as the 4th in the ingredients list. Another yeast extract, saccharomyces polypeptides, is listed at the bottom.

Pseudoalteromonas ferment extract is a peptide (a protein derivative). Studies of in vitro samples showed a 128% increase in collagen I production over 15 days; 81% in collagen IV; and 31% in elastin. It also shown to reduce wrinkle dept by an average of 50-60% when skin is treated with cream containing this ingredient. An improvement in hydration is also observed. However, most in vitro and in vivo tests performed on the pseudoalteromonas ferment extract was conducted by Lipotec, a Spanish firm responsible for producing and selling this ingredient to other cosmetic firms. Only very few independent studies corroborate these findings.

As for the saccharomyces polypeptides, it is merely a peptide form of the original saccharomyces used in the popular treatment essences. And it even gets listed as the last ingredient in the list, how little is that?

All other ingredients are emulsifiers, fragrances, emollients, preservatives, humectants which are more or less the same as the Propolis and GF effectors. Nothing is particularly exciting here.

TO PUT IT SIMPLE

As for the results, this is another “zero-feeling” product for me. Like, literally nothing. I have never used any of the Estee Lauder or Lancome products, but I’m sure that this is definitely nothing like my Nature Republic, Primera and Secretkey treatment essences. After using this for 4 weeks continuously, I observed no significant improvement in my skin tone and skin texture. My freckles were still there, and my fine lines did not improve.

I thought that was because I have pretty much good skin already, so I gave it away to a friend of mine who had badly scarred skin.

These are his verdicts after using the other half of the bottle for 6 weeks:

  • the essence is comfortable to use (texture, application and such) 
  • no obvious result is seen; even if there is, the effect is not long-lasting 
  • not sticky for oily to combination skin type 
  • have lesser acne problems after using it 
  • still brings some positive improvements on the skin, but not a major one 

On top of that, he gives me positive review (effective, moisturizing, refreshing etc.) on another yeast product that he asked me to buy for him, the IOPE MEN Bio-Essence Intensive Conditioning. So he is not feeling nothing about everything.

So far, these are the three It's Skin effectors that I'd bought and used personally. The review should end here, but I thought it would be fair to just slightly touch on the other two that I'd bought as gifts for my mom and my boyfriend: WH and VB.


It's Skin Power 10 Formula WH Effector
RM 39.90 / US$ 8.00 / KRW 12,000

The WH effector is a whitening essence with arbutin to brighten up your skin tone and lighten pigmentation. It can control the activity of tyrosinase and inhibit the formation of melanin with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Prolonged usage of the WH effector is claimed to reveal brighter skin tone and reduce freckles and pigmentation.


INGREDIENTS

(click here for my Cosdna profile)


Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Polyglutamic Acid, Arbutin, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Carbomer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Triethanolamine, Disodium Edta, Fragrance, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract

INGREDIENTS ANALYSIS

Same old ingredients here. Arbutin (brightening, de-pigmentation) is listed as the 5th ingredient, and chamomile flower extract (soothing) as the 6th. Licorice root extract (skin-renewing) is added at the bottom just like saccharomyces peptide in the YE effector. I seriously doubt why are they even putting the licorice there, except for more marketing vows. Will their present (very little of them) make any difference?

My mom has not reported any changes in her skin after using this. This essence is very watery with no smell whatsoever. I recall that it has an enticing perfumy smell when I tested it out at the local store, so does that mean that the fragrance fades as time goes by?


It's Skin Power 10 Formula VB Effector
RM 39.90 / US$ 8.00 / KRW 12,000

The last one I would like to touch on is the VB effector. I bought this for my boyfriend who have sensitive, dehydrated, troubled and oily skin. This effector is said to be an oil-free formula that can balance out sebum production at your skin. The main ingredient here is vitamin B6 which is claimed to prevent the formation of pimples, acnes, and revert dullness. It is also highly effective against external irritation which will leave your skin healthy and clean.


The effector has a light-weighted and runny texture with a slightly spicy kind of smell which is hard to describe. It is not very moisturizing with almost no presence on your skin after applying. You won’t feel that you have patted something onto your skin. It is like a thicker form of alcohol that evaporates when it touches your skin.


Mr. Bad Skin has been using this for some 3 months (quite occasionally, 2-3 times a week as he didn’t like it) and has seen no changes in his sebum production when he uses it. He would prefer his Hada Labo toner over this. So, another “no-feeling” feedback on this essence.

INGREDIENTS
(click here for my Cosdna profile)

Water, Alcohol Denat., Butylene Glycol, Polyglutamic Acid, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Carbomer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Triethanolamine, Niacinamide, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Schizandra Chinensis Fruit Extract, Fragrance, Amylodextrin, Calcium Pantothenate, Maltodextrin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Disodium Edta, Pyridoxine Hcl, Tocopheryl Acetate, Silica

INGREDIENTS ANALYSIS

This effector has denatured alcohol which comes as the 2nd on the list. Denatured alcohol is a solvent, astringent (to shrink pores), and viscosity decreasing agent (to make your mixture appears more runny). However, denatured alcohol is also found to be potentially irritating, drying and cytotoxic (toxic for skin cells).

Both Phellodendron amurense extract and schizandra chinensis fruit extract (known in Chinese as “five-flavours-berry” 五味子) added here have limited research backing their skincare benefits. I cannot find information on phellodendron amurense bark extract except knowing that it is a skin conditioning agent. As for schizandra chinensis, it is a type of berry with anti-aging effect when apply topically.

Calcium panthothenate, a type of vitamin also known as panthothenic acid is also added here. The vitamin is believed to function as a humectant and softener while several studies significantly demonstrate its ability to optimize skin hydration and wound healing. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is another great ingredient here. It is a relatively new vitamin C derivative that is able to treat acne and stimulate collagen production with skin-whitening abilities.

The star ingredient vitamin B6 featured in this effector however comes near the bottom of the list. Vitamin B6 is reported to be a good antibacterial and anti-acne ingredient that can also prevent dandruff, eczema and psoriasis. However, the ingredient is also linked to safety concerns such as cancer, photosensitive dermatitis and development & reproductive toxicity.

TO PUT IT SIMPLE

Although VB promises some acne-controlling and antimicrobial functions, it doesn’t seem to carry much sebum-controlling ingredients. Not a lot of moisturizers are identified here either for dehydrated-type oily skin. If you have acne-prone combination skin, this might be the thing for you, but seriously do not expect a lot of oil controlling. It also contains a lot of controversial and harmful ingredients just like its other effectors. So, make sure that you do some spot-testing before buying.

Packaging ★★★★
Texture ★
Scent ★
Ingredients ★★

Performance ★

THE BIG CONCLUSION

I know this is a very, very long post. Some of you might be starting to hate me already for writing so much. And some might not be patient enough to read till this line. But, it is my responsibility to give you a detailed review of each of these products so do bear with me on that.

I have bought 5 out of 13 products in this range, so that’s close to 40%. None of these are working well, even for my friends and family. 

photo credit: http://goo.gl/g7gWv9

Of course, sometimes you might not see obvious results just by using one bottle of them. But, our skin renewal period is 28 days. After that period, if a product is working, you should have at least seen some changes in your skin. But I have seen none in mine. Even their moisturizing effectors meant to provide hydration (something that you should feel immediately or at most a few hours later after applying) is useless as well, not to mention their brightening line.

This makes me wonder: if they are so ineffective, why they are raved about everywhere over the internet then? I can't think of other reasons than placebo effect. A placebo effect is the illusion of something is working out although they don't in reality. Sometimes in scientific experiments, patients given fake treatment report that it has helped them as they believe that the treatment will be helpful.

Skincare benefit is such a subjective feeling over the efficacy of products and most consumers including myself don't have the scientific knowledge or expertise to test on that. So, it is totally normal that people attribute any positive changes in their skin to the products they are using, especially positive changes from very cheap products. Of course, there will be people who actually obtain a lot of skincare benefits from these effectors, who will be cursing me now for badmouthing their holy grails, but these are indeed my personal and honest opinions after using these effectors. So, I am not saying that you should not try this. If you want, you could, but just buy each at a time, don't buy a few. At least you won't waste more money when it doesn't work out on you.

Oh well, these are all I want to say about these effectors. Thank you for reading and hope you have a nice day ahead! See you guys in my next post.


You can get this from: Hermo / I-Meiou / Althea
[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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