Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads

I received a packet of 15 of these exfoliating pads, from where, I know not, although my guess is that it was one of those Beauty Events I was just nattering on about. Probably at Neiman Marcus or Barney's, because this is some high-end stuff.

Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating Pads (15 count)

The sample size packet I somehow acquired for free is available as a stand-alone item at Dermstore for $20.00.

The claims

Because I was working from a sample packet, which tend to be terse at best, I needed to visit the website to get more information. The Radical Skincare website claims this product will:

You know, I wish they had decided whether they wanted to employ the present or future tense. It would have made my blog post read that much more fluently. But no matter. There was no thought of pleasing me when they came up with these bullet points and their waffling, back-and-forth, pushmi-pullyu notions of time.

Here's what they say about their ingredients:

I am tactfully averting my eyes at the typos and missing apostrophes. The company mailing address is 20 Rue Cambon, Paris, which is pretty much across the street from the Chanel flagship store. I don't expect miracles of English usage from people who, if they needed a cup of sugar, could run across the street to borrow one from Coco Chanel. But I'm available for editing jobs at what I consider to be a reasonable price. Just putting that out there.

These are the actual ingredients, listed all legal-like:

This is where things get interesting. This product is like a multi-vitamin of acids and plant extracts, with both alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids in the lineup, specifically, glycolic and salicylic acids. There are also extracts of aloe, bilberry, coffee seed, grape seed, gotu kola, oat, echinacea, apple, chamomile, willow bark, tea, witch hazel, sugar cane, orange, lemon, sugar maple, tangerine, and Linalool, which sounds like it's right next door to Kalamazoo, or maybe Woolloomooloo, but is actually citrus peel extract.

Among the War and Peace-length list of ingredients, there are some that give me pause. I'm an insensitive person at best, but you might have a problem with any or all of these plant extracts. Also, I'm not thrilled with the inclusion of denatured alcohol. It's probably added as a penetration enhancer, which is OK, I guess, but I'm opposed on principle to alcohol being applied topically, when I much prefer it administered orally, where it might not do much for my skin, but will undoubtedly improve my outlook.

Shut up, Poppy. Just tell us whether this stuff works.

I am pleased to tell you that even though I consider the cornucopia of ingredients to be suspect at best (I mean, seriously, this thing rivals a can of Contadina tomato paste in its ability to squeeze an entire supermarket produce department into a single jar) I actually did get good results with these pads.

I should add that this was not without a certain amount of research, tweaking, and adjusting. I had to hit the internet to find out how to successfully integrate these pads into my existing skincare regimen. Finally, after using 13 of my 15 pads, I discovered that I had been doing it wrong.

Instead of wiping the pad over my face right after cleansing, I should have been using them 15 minutes after I applied my Vitamin C serum, and 15 to 20 minutes before I applied my nighttime moisturizer. Since I was down to my last two pads, I ordered another jar of them from Space NK (and yes, bought enough new stuff to get the gift bag SO SUE ME.)

This means that before I go to bed, I spend at least 45 minutes layering potions onto my face.  If you know anything about Korean skin care regimens, however, you would think I was the merest dilettante for mentioning that this process is somewhat time consuming. Because those K-Beauty babes use up to ten products at night, including a sheet mask. If I had spent as much time writing my dissertation as these women spend on their complexions, I'd be Dr. Poppy, and instead of blathering about skincare, I'd probably be correcting papers.

Never mind.

But Poppy, we thought you thought you had good skin. Why bother?

This is true. I mean, one of the things I discovered upon first dipping a toe into the world of Korean skin care is that most of the proponents are 20-somethings, and 90 percent of them have acne.  Since I don't suffer from either condition, I didn't think I would have much to learn.

I was wrong. It turns out I wasn't factoring pH into my regimen, specifically, that Vitamin C needs 15 minutes to penetrate, and that AHA and BHA products require an acid environment to do their work.

Once I let my Vitamin C serum soak in (and not coincidentally, acidify my face) and allowed the pads to work their 15 to 20 minutes, I saw immediate results. My pores were smaller, little cloggy places at the sides of my nose cleared up, and best of all, a couple of milia that had been bugging me worked their way to the surface of my skin and went bye-bye.

So, do they work? Yes. Would other products work as well? Maybe. Are they expensive? Cruelly.

60 pads for $75.00 at Sephora


  1. Mmmmm ... the thing I want to know is - what % glycolic Acid! I have used Pixi toner (5% I think) and it was nice but so hard to get ... so I now have Mario Badescu gycolic acid toner but ... its not as good at Pixi and they do not say what % it has in it. Mind you .... that Pixi put two acid rings in my special bathroom counter!!!! I know have it in a little porcelain container and I am not showing my hubby either !!!

  2. Good point! And succinctly put. That's what I was alluding to, but as usual, burying in a mountain of drivel.

    That's the thing that bugs me about these cocktail products.

    With a single-note AHA or BHA product, they tell you. They pretty much have to, or you wouldn't bother to buy it. For years I used Alpha-Hydrox's strongest cream (recommended for elbows, heels, and the like) on my face. But I knew what I was getting myself into, and I knew what I was getting, because the label told me it contained 12 percent lactic acid.

    The same is true of my Vitamin C serum; it's 20 percent L-ascorbic acid.

    There are so many ingredients in these Radical Skincare pads that I have no idea how much active ingredients are included. It's good that glycolic acid is the third ingredient, but that doesn't tell us enough.

    1. I am so scared to use anything that does not say what is in it!


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.