We all know that the new year doesn’t miraculously make everything new and shiny again, especially when it comes to skin health. After sticking to a clean and minimal skin care routine last month, my skin has reset and it’s ready for something more intensive. To address my dark circles and tired skin (consequences of holiday season partying and disrupted sleeping patterns), I promised myself to begin 2022 with a healthier lifestyle and that includes a thorough anti-aging routine.
Though MARY & MAY is relatively new brand in the Korean skin care industry, it’s already a favorite among YesStylist editors and beauty influencers. Its innovative and sensitive-skin-friendly products are formulated with EWG green-grade ingredients, and made to target various skin concerns. I previously tried their Idebenone + Blackberry Complex Serum and loved everything about it, so my expectations are high for the five MARY & MAY products I’m reviewing this month.
First Step: Cleansing
What is it? A silky foam cleanser formulated with 46.6% low-molecular-weight marine collagen and 1% niacinamide to gently lift away grime and impurities while restoring skin’s firmness and radiance. This formula also contains hyaluronic acid to improve moisture retention and leave skin feeling fresh and supple.
The cleansing form comes with a fresh and mild floral-like scent. The formula glides silkily on skin and lathers into fine yet fluffy foam that washes off easily, leaving my skin refreshed and toned. As it’s a foam cleanser, this product left my skin feeling a little taut at times, though not dry. I prefer using White Collagen Cleansing Foam at night to wash away all the dirt and grime from the day, but I also like using it in the morning to instantly refresh my skin!
Second Step: Exfoliation
What is it? A mildly acidic cleansing pad enriched with 1% gluconolactone (PHA) and 10% betula alba (silver birch sap) juice to soothe, hydrate and gently exfoliate skin. The gentle formula is suitable for daily use to remove grime, makeup residue and dead skin cells without leaving a taut feeling.
The solution from the pads left a slightly sticky and foamy finish on my skin that I felt had to be rinsed off. I also tried using it as a standalone makeup remover, and it did the job perfectly in wiping away all traces of my makeup.
Sometimes I used the pad after the White Collagen Cleansing Foam, just to make sure any leftover grime and makeup residue was thoroughly eliminated.
The cleansing pad feels nice and cool on skin. It has a refreshing, slightly floral scent although I can’t quite identify its origin – perhaps it’s from the silver birch sap juice? I lightly wash off any residue after use, and pat my skin dry with a towel. I love how it makes my skin super soft, cleansed and refreshed. So far, I’ve used this cleansing pad three to four times a week, usually in the evenings, and I’ve noticed visibly less blackheads on my nose.
Third Step: Serum
What is it? This anti-aging serum is packed with six types of peptides to boost skin regeneration, smooth fine line and wrinkles, and improve skin elasticity for firm, supple and youthful-looking skin.
The serum’s texture is clear and transparent, with a slightly gloopy and viscous consistency. It feels as fresh as water on skin. The formula gets quickly absorbed by skin, leaving a dewy and hydrated finish. The serum is generally scentless and easy to incorporate into both morning and evening routines. Most of the time I mix a drop of it with the Collagen Booster Lotion for a synergizing effect, and this combination also saves time in my routine.
Fourth Step: Moisturizer
What is it? A nourishing facial lotion containing 1.3% low-molecular-weight marine collagen, as well as peptides and a plant-based lipid to stimulate collagen production and improve skin elasticity.
The lotion gives off a similar fruity floral scent as the White Collagen Cleansing Foam. Its white-jelly-like texture glides silkily on skin and blends out for a dewy look. Once dried, it leaves a soft, glowy finish. I applied one pump of this lotion together with a drop of the 6 Peptide Complex Serum every day as an essential moisturizing step of my morning and evening routines.
Fifth Step: Eye Cream
What is it? An intensive eye cream formulated with 1,000ppm of tranexamic acid and antioxidant-rich glutathione to brighten dark circles and suppress melanin production. Additional active ingredients like Vitamin C fade dark spot for brighter-looking skin.
The eye cream has a slightly metallic scent that is not overly unpleasant. Its velvety and rich texture spreads like butter on skin and blends smoothly without leaving any icky after-feel. I’ve been using this eye cream twice a day for three weeks now, applying it before makeup in the morning and at the end of my nighttime skin regimen. A pea-sized amount is plenty enough to cover both my eye areas, including the skin around my eyebrows. This eye cream leaves my eye area soothed, moisturized and soft with zero discomfort.
The beauty of MARY & MAY’s skin care products is in the experience. Throughout the month, I felt immense joy and comfort going through this 5-step routine. Whenever I apply a step of this anti-aging routine, I feel like I’m receiving a hug.
My favorite out of the five products is the Collagen Booster Lotion. I love everything about it from the scent and texture to the effects. I actually skipped heavier face creams entirely during the trial, as the MARY & MAY lotion was nourishing enough to keep my skin soft and moisturized.
Although three weeks seems too soon to see significant anti-aging effects, I’m impressed how well the MARY & MAY products have maintained my skin’s firmness and suppleness so far. These products are great for an anti-aging routine that you can start using in your 20s. Not once has my skin felt saggy or dull during the trial. Even after an all-nighter or two, my skin still glowed.
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