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Vichy

Aqualia Thermale Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Cream-Gel

2.50 fl. oz. for $ 28.00
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Brand Overview

Vichy’s Aqulia Thermale Night Spa Replenishing Anti-Fatigue Cream-Gel has a fancy, long name that sounds like skin’s getting an overnight treat. Sadly, the highly fragranced formula and poor choice of jar packaging is far from indulgent for your skin.

This moisturizer’s beautiful cream-gel texture is capable of providing intense hydration. Esthetically, it’s a luscious texture to smooth over skin, and once it sets skin feels protected against moisture loss—a comforting fact as you complete your nighttime routine.

But the fragrance…wow. The formula contains an amount likely to irritate skin, not to mention it also contains more coloring agents than the called-out hyaluronic acid. See More Info for details on why fragrance—especially a lot of it—is a problem for skin.

Second to the scent issue is the fact that this moisturizer is packaged in a jar, which can degrade delicate ingredients over time and introduces a risk of contamination. This moisturizer lacks such ingredients (too bad, as they can nicely benefit skin), but because it’s water-based there’s still the contamination issue. See More Info for details on that as well.

Note that the brand positions this as an overnight treatment but also recommends applying it 1-3 times per week. Confusing, yes, but ultimately we don’t advise applying this at all—there are better, super-hydrating options, including those on our list of best overnight hydrating masks.

Also confusing is Vichy’s mention of this product’s “conditioning oils”. The formula is oil-free, so we’re wondering if they’re referring to the emollient squalane or the silicone ingredient dimethicone, which can have a oil-like feel. Either way, it’s misleading to state “conditioning oils”.

Pros:
  • Beautiful cream-gel texture intensely hydrates.
  • Leaves skin feeling protected against moisture loss.
Cons:
  • Highly fragranced formula poses a strong risk of irritation.
  • Jar packaging won’t help keep the most intriguing ingredients stable once opened.
  • Formula contains more artificial color than called-out hyaluronic acid.

More Info:

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: Jar packaging is rarely ideal, but if a moisturizer lacks antioxidants, soothing and nourishing plant extracts and oils, and skin-repairing and skin-restoring ingredients, it’s not as much of a problem because the product doesn’t contain any of those beneficial ingredients that will break down when exposed to air or light. On the other hand, jars are still unsanitary because you dip your fingers into them with each use, contaminating the product—especially water-based formulas.

So, generally, it’s best to buy products in airtight or air-restrictive packaging. But, if it’s a ho-hum ordinary moisturizer, it’s not the worst thing we can think of, although your skin deserves better than just ordinary!

Reference for this information:
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1–10

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: Yes

Aqualia Thermal Night Cream brings the benefits of a spa treatment, hydrating skin to leave it supple and comfortable. Contains hyaluronic acid and conditioning oils Use as an overnight treatment for fresher, radiant-looking skin in the morning.

Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide / Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Ci 42090 / Blue 1, Ci 42053 / Green 3, Dimethiconol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Poloxamer 338, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Xanthan Gum, Parfum / Fragrance Code Fil : B159170/2.

Vichy At-A-Glance

Vichy's products, though well-intentioned, are incapable of addressing several common problems. About all you can expect from most Vichy moisturizers is relief from dryness. That's it. Every product's claims "talk the talk," but they cannot possibly walk the walk because what's in them is, for the most part, standard, and without any research behind it to show that it makes a difference.

A big-deal ingredient for Vichy is their Thermal Spa Water. It is said to reduce irritation, strengthen skin's natural defenses, and provide free radicalquelling activity thanks to its trace minerals and salt. There is no substantiated proof to support these claims, save for a somewhat primitive chart Vichy provides to show this water helps reduce cutaneous signs of irritation (what it was compared to, if anything, is unknown). Two other L'Oreal-owned brands, Biotherm and La Roche-Posay, have similar special waters, each claiming to be mineral-rich. Yet if these are so unique and wonderfully beneficial for everyone's skin, why don't all L'Oreal-owned lines such as Lancome, L'Oreal, Kiehls, SkinCeuticals, and The Body Shop, use them, too?

As expected, there are some bona fide winners among Vichy's products, but using Vichy exclusively with the expectation that their products have the answer to whatever your skin needs to have fixed is like thinking green tea is the only food your body needs.

Note: Vichy is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Vichy does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they dont test on animals unless required by law. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Research Team.

For more information about Vichy, owned by L'Oreal, visit www.vichy.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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