Mattifying Moisturizer: Oil Control
Follain’s Mattifying Moisturizer: Oil Control provides lightweight, oil-free hydration ideal for combination to oily skin. Unfortunately, the formula fails to support some of its claims and it carries a slight risk of irritation from some of the plant extracts present.
Let’s start with the positives: The opaque bottle topped with a smooth pump dispenser is great for keeping for the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
Hydration is provided by a blend of polyhydroxy acid gluconolactone, glycols such as isopentyldiol, classic glycerin, and silicone alternative coconut alkanes, which serves as a light emollient. Together, these create a gel-cream texture, but unfortunately do not lead to a shine-free finish. You will see shine, especially over oil-prone areas, although once this absorbs it feels matte.
Follain references the resurfacing AHAs and BHA, and although this contains the AHA glycolic acid, it does not contain BHA (salicylic acid). Instead, the brand is relying on willow bark extract, except research hasn’t shown this ingredient exfoliates as salicylic acid can. Willow bark is a source of salicylic acid, but the skin cannot convert it (this happens when the plant is ingested, but of course you don’t want to eat your moisturizer). Although willow bark cannot exfoliate, it is a very good anti-inflammatory for skin.
Oddly, Follain doesn’t make mention of the polyhydroxy acid gluconolactone working to exfoliate, yet it’s present in a much greater amount than the glycolic acid, which we suspect is in here at around 2%. But even though the combined amount of gluconolactone and glycolic acid could exfoliate, this formula’s pH of 4.2 is just outside the ideal range of 3–4 these ingredients require to deliver that benefit most effectively.
As mentioned in the introduction, we’re also concerned about the fragrant plant extracts present, including Rosa damascena, clover flower, and thyme leaf, which contains volatile fragrance components shown to irritate skin. Despite this, it must be stated that we could not detect a telltale scent, which minimizes (but doesn’t eliminate) the risk of irritation.
In the end, this is a mixed bag; it is capable of hydrating and even supplies some anti-aging ingredients like sodium hyaluronate, a peptide, and bakuchiol, a plant-derived ingredient that shares many of the same benefits as retinol. But you can find many other oily-skin appropriate products, from serums to boosters to moisturizers, with those types of ingredients without this one’s drawbacks.
- Super light gel-cream texture ideal for its intended skin types.
- Packaged to keep its light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable.
- Doesn’t have a truly shine-free finish.
- The pH is slightly too high for the AHAs and PHA to resurface.
- Willow bark isn’t true BHA (salicylic acid).
Oil-free Mattifying Moisturizer delivers the essential hydration and anti-aging benefits oily skin needs without a greasy, heavy afterfeel. The result? A shine-free, smooth, even-toned complexion. The lightweight gel cream works by combining soothing Allantoin and resurfacing AHAs & BHAs with age-fighting actives like Bakuchiol (a non-irritating alternative to Retinol) and a Peptide Complex to smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Quickly dries to a matte finish that looks gorgeous on bare skin or under makeup.
Follain began as a retail and e-commerce venture focused on curating what they deemed to be the best “clean” beauty products from various brands. As their popularity grew, they decided to create their own line of products with the philosophy that “non-toxic is non-negotiable” when it comes to skin.
What qualifies as “clean” vs. “dirty” or “toxic” varies depending on you ask (clean beauty is an unregulated term so any company can create their own definition of what that means). Follain’s approach is to formulate their products to be free from ingredients that fall on their restricted list, which in their own words, “plays it safe” when it comes to cosmetic ingredients that could potentially be a red flag.
While some of their ingredient callouts are warranted and backed by research attesting to the problems they can cause for your skin, others on their restricted list get misbranded as bad based on outdated research, fallible studies, or simply anecdotal advice that doesn’t match up to current scientific literature.
That said, there’s no harm in playing it safe if the formulas are still effective and non-irritating. How does Follain fare in that regard? It’s hit-or-miss. Their products feature beneficial ingredients, but some are potently fragranced with essential oils proven to sensitize skin. (Essential oils are a classic example of how natural “clean” ingredients aren’t necessarily better for your skin.)
In the end, Follain’s collection does have some decent products—it’s just a matter of finding the right ones (hint, hint, our reviews do the detective work for you). Learn more about Follain at follain.com/collections/brand-follain.
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.