MD Formulations

Moisture Defense Antioxidant Spray

8.30 fl. oz. for $ 28.00
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Brand Overview

MD Formulations' Moisture Defense Antioxidant Spray is among the few toners we enthusiastically recommend. It's gentle, fragrance-free formula contains an exciting mix of repairative, soothing, and antioxidant ingredients that can benefit all skin types, including sensitive and those prone to breakouts.

Housed in an opaque bottle to preserve the potency of its light- and air-sensitive ingredients, this spray-top toner produces a sheer mist that provides light hydration without a trace of greasiness or lingering shine. It absorbs relatively quickly but not completely, as its combination of glycerin and lipids leaves a repairing, protective (yet nearly imperceptible) layer on skin's surface.

Should you spray this on throughout the day or use it over makeup? That's more personal preference than necessity, but we'd caution against spraying this over makeup. The ingredients it contains (including main ingredient water) can cause makeup to smear or smudge, compromising its longevity. For best results, spray this on after cleansing your face in the morning and again at night, then follow with the rest of your skincare routine.

Moisture Defense Antioxidant Spray is an easy toner to recommend. You get a lightweight, gentle formula that offers treatment benefits in an easy-to-use package that also works to keep this formula's most delicate ingredients stable during use. What's not to love?

  • Gentle, alcohol- and fragrance-free formula is suitable for all skin types.
  • Treats skin to a good mix of reparative and antioxidant ingredients, some of which also calm skin.
  • Easy-to-use packaging also keeps key ingredients stable during use.
  • Provides light hydration.
  • None.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes
Your best defense is a fast offense. Restore vital moisture and rebuild your skin's protective barrier with a quick push of a button. Our light, oil-free spray reactivates skin hydration whenever you need it throughout the day.
Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium PCA, Glycosphingo Lipids, Phospholipids, Cholesterol, Millet (Panicum Miliaceum) Extract, Superoxide Dismutase, Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis) Extract, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

MD Formulations At-A-Glance

Strengths: The entire line is fragrance-free; some well-formulated AHA products featuring glycolic acid and ammonium glycolate; a selection of very good cleansers; some extraordinary moisturizers and serums; very good toner; an oil-rich lip balm with broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Weaknesses: Some AHA products that include alcohol and other irritants; jar packaging; sunscreens without sufficient UVA protection; the at-home peel kit is an irritation waiting to happen; adhering to a routine of several MD Formulations products may expose skin to an excessive amount of exfoliation; incomplete routine(s) for blemish-prone skin.

This medically oriented, spa- and salon-sold skin-care company has its roots in alpha hydroxy acids, and was selling products with these ingredients as early as 1983, years before the cosmetics industry at large began promoting AHAs as the latest antiwrinkle miracle. The AHA craze has long since quieted, but ongoing, substantiated research has proven what a valuable asset properly formulated AHAs can be for skin. MD Formulations uses glycolic acid and ammonium glycolate (an exfoliant and pH adjuster related to glycolic acid) as its chief AHAs. Glycolic acid, in particular, has the most long-term research establishing its benefit for skin. Its list of benefits for skin is impressive, and these include improving photodamaged skin, normalizing the surface of skin so it appears smoother and healthier, improving the function of the skin's outer structure so it protects skin and reduces dryness, eliminating a dull surface, and stimulating collagen production (Sources: Journal of Dermatology, January 2006, pages 1622; Experimental Dermatology, 2003 Supplement, pages 5763; Cutis, August 2001, pages 135142; Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, July 2000, pages 280284; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, March-April 2000, pages 8188; Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, May-June 1999, pages 111119; Dermatologic Surgery, August 1997, pages 689694; Journal of Cell Physiology, October 1999, pages 1423; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 1996, pages 867875).

This is exciting information, but it's critical to keep in mind that glycolic acid (and AHAs in general) is not the only answer for aging, sun-damaged skin. Luckily, MD Formulations thinks so too, because several of their latest products contain AHAs along with antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients (such as peptides and phospholipids), and retinol (cell-communicating ingredient and antioxidant). Research has shown that combining an AHA with retinol enhances its bioactivity in the lower layers of skin without altering the efficacy of the AHA (Source: Dermatology, 2005 Supplement, pages 613).

In many respects, next to the Lauder-owned lines, MD Formulations has a fantastic roster of antioxidant-laden moisturizers and serums. Even their toner is highly recommended, and we don't often get excited about toners (well, except my own, but that's another review). Surprisingly, for a company that is close to the cutting edge of creating state-of-the-art skin-care products, they still use jar packaging for many products whose ingredients are light- and air-sensitive. Those products should be avoided, especially for what MD Formulations is charging.

It's also distressing that half of their sunscreens lack sufficient UVA protection and a handful of products contain well-known irritants that don't promote healthy, intact skin (what were they thinking?). Due to the manner in which well-formulated AHA products work, sun protection is essential. As skin's outer, thickened layer is removed, the vibrant, "new" skin is more vulnerable to sun damage. It would be optimal if MD Formulations stocked a wider variety of effective sunscreens, and added as many antioxidants to them as they do to most of their moisturizers and serums. Still, plenty of other lines sell beautifully formulated sunscreens, so you can cherry-pick the suitable prime options from MD Formulations and fill in the sun-protection blank elsewhere (which isn't a bad ideathis is an expensive skin-care line).

For more information about MD Formulations, call (800) 451-3940 or visit www.mdformulations.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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