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Recently I picked up the three of the latest launches from Glow Recipe: their Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm | £29 |, Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore Tight Toner | £31 | and Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum | £37 | so today I'm going to share my thoughts on them!
Glow Recipe is actually an American brand but you'll notice it's very K-Beauty inspired. The founders are of Korean descent, and focus on bringing South Korean skincare innovation to the American market. The packaging is very cute and all the products are fruit-inspired. They've been available here in the UK via Cult Beauty for around about two years, I believe.
Let's start with the cleansing balm. This really intrigued me because I've not really come across an exfoliating cleansing balm before. This cleanser is formulated with moisturising oils, alongside papaya enzymes to gently exfoliate the skin and also antioxidants in the form of fruit and root extracts. The only potentially problematic ingredient I'd look to flag up is polyethylene; this is a form of plastic, which (based on my research) I see as perfectly safe to use, however there's a potential environmental impact. From my own reading, there are a lot of conflicting sources on the matter; of course we all know microbeads are bad, but it's not been proven that other forms of plastics in cosmetics have the same impact. A lot of cleansing balms use this ingredient to create that smooth texture, so if you want to avoid it then I recommend a cleansing oil or hot cloth cleanser to remove makeup instead. It does have a scent to it but it's nothing overpowering for me.
Onto the product and how it actually performs for me; I absolutely love the texture and feel of this cleansing balm. It feels luxurious and it's not at all gritty or lumpy; it melts onto my skin and glides across the eye area to loosen up makeup without any need for tugging or pulling. You simply splash some water on your face to turn this into a milky emulsion, which can then be wiped away with a damp cloth. This is so effective at removing my makeup and sunscreen and I don't get any sort of filmy excess on the surface of my skin after I remove the balm. There's no need for me to go back in with an eye makeup remover or micellar water around the eyes. My skin looks clean, fresh and feels soft after use, but I wouldn't say I see nor would I expect to see huge brightening results with a wash-off product. I wouldn't buy this for the papaya enzyme element but it's a great first cleanse.
Moving on to the exfoliating toner. After many years on a diet of Pixi Glow Tonic and REN Ready Steady Glow, I've been way more adventurous with my acid toners this year and Glow Recipe's formula has been an absolute hit! I'm pretty against manual exfoliation the majority of the time, but totally understand the importance of finding the right type of chemical exfoliant for your skin type. PHAs work incredibly well for me, and they're included in this formula. They have a larger molecular size than AHAs or BHAs, so are absorbed more slowly by the skin, meaning that many people find them gentler. They offer a great surface exfoliation and can be a great option for dry or sensitive skin types. This formula also contains willow bark and a beetroot-derived alternative to salicylic acid, both of which can be considered BHAs. They don't have the same scientific backing as salicylic acid (known for its ability to penetrate pores, preventing breakouts and clearing up blemish scarring) but anecdotally, many people find them gentler.
In terms of other ingredients, there are fruit and plant extracts like watermelon, cactus and cucumber, which are hydrating and refreshing on my skin. There's also licorice extract, which has brightening properties, so works well alongside the exfoliators. My only negative is the fragrance in this formula. It honestly causes me no issues, but the combination of exfoliation (which compromises the skin barrier to begin with) and fragrance could cause irritation to skin that's prone to sensitisation.
Let's get into how I got on with the product itself. I loooooved the texture of this; it's a little thicker than your traditional toner, almost heading towards gel-essence territory. And I'm into it. I love how hydrating this formula is, which isn't something I typically associate with exfoliating toners at all! It leaves my skin soft, smooth, hydrated and glowing. The BHA has also helped with active breakouts and in preventing them from scarring. I absolutely love this toner and think it might be my favourite Glow Recipe product thus far!
Finally, I've got the Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum | £37. This serum contains some really nice stuff! There's hyaluronic acid, of course, which is a humectant, drawing water into the skin. I always apply it to slightly damp skin so it has some water to pull on for this function. It's a must-have skincare ingredient for me and my dehydrated skin to get that plump, dewy look. Alongside this, we have snow mushroom, which also draws water into the skin. There are also fruit extracts, including flavour of the month: kakadu plum, which is rich in Vitamin C (though there's some debate on how efficiently these benefits can be delivered to the skin by just applying such ingredients) and minerals, which all act as antioxidants, protecting the skin from environmental damage.
Overall, this is a solid serum. It gives me that fresh, dewy glow without any sticky or filmy finish, which can sometimes be the case with hyaluronic acid. My only real negative is that it's a touch pricey for what it is; we all love a fresh, dewy skin serum, but at almost £40 this seems on the higher end of the HA scale. Additionally, for those who want to know: it does contain fragrance. This doesn't cause my skin any irritation.
Have you tried any of their latest launches?