[REVIEW] Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask (Before and After)
Texture: Lightweight gooey liquid
What you get: 40 ml or 150 ml
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Propanediol (Solvent + Moisturizer/Humectant), Glycerin (Skin-Identical Ingredient + Moisturizer/Humectant), ♦️Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate (Emollient + Emulsifying), C9-12 Alkane (Solvent), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), Kaolin, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Polyisobutene (Viscosity Controlling), Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate (Surfactant/Cleansing), Stearic Acid (Emollient + Viscosity Controlling), C13-15 Alkane (Emollient + Viscosity Controlling), Platonia Insignis Seed Butter, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalane, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Saccharide Isomerate (Moisturizer/Humectant), Hexylresorcinol, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Gluconolactone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Malachite Extract, Ethylhexyl Palmitate (Emollient + Perfuming), Butylene Glycol (Moisturizer/Humectant + Solvent + Viscosity Controlling), Sodium Chloride (Viscosity Controlling), Sodium Hydroxypropylsulfonate Laurylglucoside Crosspolymer (Surfactant/Cleansing + Emulsifying), Maltodextrin (Absorbent/Mattifier + Emulsion Stabilising), Hydrated Silica (Abrasive/Scrub + Viscosity Controlling + Absorbent/Mattifier), Curcumin, Ethylhexylglycerin (Preservative + Deodorant), PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate (Emollient + Solvent), Maltooligosyl Glucoside (Hydration + Film-Forming Agents + Emulsifiers + Film-Forming/Holding Agent + Texture Enhancer), Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate (Moisturizer/Humectant), Retinol, Spirulina Maxima Extract, Sodium Phosphate (Buffering), Pei-10 🔴[Not enough research, it’s supposed to be a Suspending Agent + Nonsurfactant ], Citric Acid (Buffering), Sodium Citrate (Chelating + Buffering), Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine (Moisturizer/Humectant + Emulsifying), Potassium Phosphate (Buffering), Potassium Chloride (viscosity controlling), Silica Dimethyl Silylate (Emollient + Viscosity Controlling + Emulsion Stabilising), Arginine, Sodium Hydroxide (Buffering), Caprylyl Glycol (Moisturizer/Humectant + Emollient + Deodorant), Tocopherol, ♦️Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract,♦️ Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Hexylene Glycol (Solvent + Emulsifying + Perfuming + Surfactant/Cleansing), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (Viscosity Controlling + Emulsion Stabilising), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Extract, ♦️Flavor/Aroma(Natural Fragrance), PVP (Viscosity Controlling + Emulsion Stabilising), Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative)
[THE PERCENTAGE OF RETINOL USED IN THIS PRODUCT IS NOT DISCLOSED]
Most interesting ingredient:
🧬Retinol: Belongs to a class of compounds called Retinoids, all different versions of Vitamin A. Retinoids are molecules that can penetrate the deep layers of your skin and bind to the surface of receptors on your cells. They activate them to induce transcription of genes involved in skin cell renewal (influencing the secretion and transcription of growth factors). [Maintains healthy skin functions] They also protect against collagen degradation as they inhibit Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) which are enzymes that degrade different skin matrix components (and get remarkably inhibited when you expose your skin to the sun). [Anti-aging + Photoprotective]. Retinoids also decrease the activity of enzymes involved in lipogenesis and greatly diminish the differentiation and cellular divisions of sebocytes (sebum-producing cells). [Anti-acne] When it comes to scar formation, retinoids block the transport of melanin to epidermal cells, decreasing hyperpigmentation and scarring. [Treats hyperpigmentation]
📝The most studied and one of the most effective retinoids known is tretinoin. The difference between retinol and tretinoin is that retinol gets converted into retinoic acid as it gets absorbed by the skin. In contrast, tretinoin is a pure form of the acid, hence more efficient. Retinol is usually more suited for sensitive skin types.
⚠️The problem with retinoids is that they cause the skin layers to peel off so rapidly and penetrate the layers so profoundly that your skin will need to adjust to most retinoid products. You will usually experience redness, flakiness, and peeling if you’re not careful. However, this product by Glow Recipe is formulated to minimize these adverse effects and should - in theory - be safe to use every day (unless you have very, very sensitive skin).
Kaolin: Clay mineral that soaks up excess oils (Sebum) and pulls impurities from the skin
Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil: Nourishing (Vitamins A, E and D. Oleic, Linoleic and Palmitic Acid) + Highly Moisturizing + Antioxidant
Platonia Insignis (Bacuri) Seed Butter: 🔴[Not enough research] According to one of the manufacturers of this ingredient, Beraca: ‘‘This nourishing ingredient is rich in magnesium, zinc, and calcium, and contains vitamins D2, E, and K. It increases energy production at the cellular level and delivers deep hydration […] Beraca conducted in vitro assays with human skin cells that revealed a 40% increase in the transport of chemical energy (ATP) within cells. Furthermore, 15-day clinical trials with Bacuri butter at concentrations of 2% and 4% performed in female volunteers over 45 years of age revealed a 30% improvement in the integrity of the skin barrier, an 8% reduction in trans-epidermal water loss, and a 15% increase in skin’s moisture levels.’’ [source]. There’s also one study on rats where potentially anti-inflammatory properties were found.
Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract: Antioxidative + Potentially photoprotective. Avocado fruit is not well researched when it comes to its topical application on the skin. Most studies are made on its oil (usually oils are more concentrated and might have a few additional compounds when compared to the fruits or seeds from which they are extracted). Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil: Nourishing (Vitamins A, E and D. Oleic, Linoleic and Palmitic Acid) + Highly Moisturizing + Antioxidant
Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG). GAGs are usually synthesized in the cell and linked to either elastin or collagen fibers. These molecules participate in maintaining skin structural integrity and are high in water-holding capacity, which means they also hydrate your skin. Moisturizing + Wound healing + Decrease in HA is related to skin aging.
Sodium Hyaluronate: Hydrating (water-binding properties) + Wound healing (promotes microcirculation)
Squalane: Naturally produced by the body (production slows dramatically after age 30), repairs, deeply moisturizes, and has anti-aging benefits.
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Green tea/Matcha): Antioxidant (Polyphenol) + Anti-inflammatory (Polyphenol) + Antimicrobial (Catechins)
Hexylresorcinol: Prevents hyperpigmentation (Inhibits Melanin forming activity of Tyrosinase) + Potentially anti-inflammatory
Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract: Moisturizing + Antioxidant + Anti-inflammatory + Potentially wound-healing + One ingredient manufacturer (Symrise) has combined Ginger with Bisabolol (Present in the Matricaria flower extract) and claims that this duo works to sooth the skin and take down redness
Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract: Antioxidant + vitamin E and fatty acids anti-aging (vitamin E plus vitamin B and squalane) Antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene enzymes like CoQ10 provide active component
Tocopheryl Acetate (Synthetic) + Tocopherol (Natural): Vitamin E (Most abundant antioxidant found in human skin, works as a photoprotective agent + Anti-inflammatory ). Popular culture suggests that it also helps in wound healing, but this is not adequately backed up by research.
Gluconolactone: A form of PHA (Polyhydroxy Acid) that reduces cell adhesion in the top layer of the skin (decrease cellular bond between corneocytes), which leads to an exfoliating effect. PHAs have a larger molecular structure that presumably serves to make them gentler and less sensitizing as they do not penetrate the skin as deep as AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). [Anti-aging + Antioxidative + Photoprotective + Moisturizing]
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice: Treats burns (Inhibits thromboxane, which causes a restriction in blood supply to affected skin tissues) + Moisturizer (mucopolysaccharides (water-binding) along with amino acids and zinc) + Wound Healing (Stimulates Collagen production pathways)+ Anti-inflammation (Magnesium lactate in the gel prevents Histamine production).
Malachite Extract: 🔴[Not enough research] Judging by the color of this product and the lack of pigment in it, I’m guessing this is Malachite green, a green pigment. According to what I could find (which isn’t much), this should be a safe pigment when used topically on intact skin. More research is needed to claim any benefits, but popular media likes to associate ‘antioxidative,’ and ‘detoxifying’ claims to it.
Curcumin: Antioxidant + Anti-inflammatory + Wound-healing + Anti-bacterial + Potentially Anti-acne
Spirulina Maxima Extract: Hydrating + Improves skin barrier + Sebum control
Arginine: Antioxidant + Hydrating (acts as a humectant (chemical structure attracts and entraps water molecules)) + Anti-aging (increases collagen production through different pathways)
Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Extract: Antioxidant (Flavones) + Potentially anti-hyperpigmentation + Potentially anti-aging (inhibited collagenase and elastase activity) + 71-76% Linoleic Acid [Moisturizing + Anti-inflammatory + Wound healing + Lightens pigmentation (Suppress melanin production)]+ 12-15% Oleic Acid [ Emollient + a couple of studies found a correlation between Oleic Acid (The main fatty acid component of olive oil) and acne formation.]
Cetearyl Alcohol: Emollient + Viscosity Controlling + Emulsifying + Surfactant/Cleansing + Emulsion Stabilising
Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract: Anti-inflammatory (Rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, and carnosol, exhibit anti-inflammatory activities in particular acne-causing pathogens response) + Antioxidant (Rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid)
Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract: Mostly acts as a perfuming agent. Some recent studies suggest a possible skin-calming benefit, but this depends on people as some are irritated by the oil/extracts.
Flavor/Aroma*(Natural Fragrance): Perfuming [has the potential to irritate or sensitize your skin, yes, even if it’s natural]
Claims taken from the Glowrecipe product page.
1.Radiant and plump skin: After a month of using this every night and occasionally during the night and day, I can report that my skin is a bit more radiant. It has brightened up, and some of my acne scars have also lightened up. The mask has a nice combination of hydration, moisture, and ingredients with properties that contribute to more radiant skin. When it comes to plumpness, I’ve also noticed a small effect, notably in my smile lines but not on my forehead. However, I have tried products with a faster and more noticeable plumping effect, like the Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum and the Skin&Lab Red Serum. So this claims checks out, but the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask doesn’t do a particularly remarkable job when it comes to it. More notably, in my last two weeks of testing it out, my skin had a couple of awful days due to a lack of sleep, and this mask didn’t help with my deeper than usual smile lines or dull-looking skin. So if you’re having a bad skin day, this mask won’t save you.
2.Reveal smoother, hydrated skin with each use: Your skin will eventually become smoother thanks to the exfoliating properties of retinol and PHA - see the in-depth ingredient list above for more information. I did get a pimple (two to be exact) when I started testing out the product twice a day (night and day), but this is probably due to over-exfoliation since using retinol products too frequently has that effect. Now, while it did reveal smoother skin, the process was very slow, it took me around 20 days to start noticing a result, and even then, my texture was still rough with bumps. And after 45 days, I still have a rough, bumpy texture, as seen from the pictures below. By comparison, I had an almost perfectly smooth texture with no bumps by day 20 when I used the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner. As for hydration, I’ve been using this product alone (as always) and can report that my skin’s hydration needs have been met. It’s important to note that I’m currently living in Florida with an obvious warmer climate. But just from the general ingredients used in the formulation, I can tell that this cream would be hydrating even in drier weather. However, if you live in a much drier and colder climate or if you have dry skin, this probably won’t be enough to quench your skin’s thirst.
3.Retinol is great for helping to reduce the appearance of pores as well as brighten the appearance of dark spots: Well, yeah, as I mentioned in the in-depth section, retinol is indeed tremendous and does all of these things. But this product doesn't really do all of that. I've used a lot of retinol and tretinoin (a retinoid) products in the past, at different concentrations and with varying combinations of hydrators and moisturizers, and have always gotten excellent results after 2 to 3 weeks. Don't get me wrong, you can get disastrous results if you're not careful, but I've gotten the hang of it. The point is, I always ended up with acne-free, smooth, and radiant skin. That's why I was so excited to try this one out - I don't review the ones I've used in the past because I don't need a prescription for them in Lebanon, but the majority of you guys reading my reviews usually do. I expected a lot with this mask and got kind of mediocre results. My pores still look the same (you can't reduce their actual size, but you can reduce their appearance by cleaning them up with an exfoliator), and my blackheads are still there (more popped out, actually). Although my skin is a bit brighter and my dark spots are a bit lighter, I have achieved far better, faster, and more noticeable results with the SOME BY MI Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Serum, which makes the results I got with the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask look kind of mediocre.
4.We used an encapsulated version of retinol in this formula, which releases slowly over time, whereas traditional retinol releases immediately upon application. This initial surface interaction is what can cause irritation in retinol beginners, so encapsulated retinol is the perfect option for newer users or for those with sensitive skin. Pairing retinol with soothing and hydrating ingredients also makes it appropriate for use on sensitive skin: Yes, the way they encapsulate the retinol here makes the mask suitable for sensitive skins. Glow Recipe has also paired the retinol with nice hydrators and soothing ingredients. But they also paired it with ‘natural’ fragrance and lavender ‘extracts,’ which aren’t exactly skin-sensitive-friendly, especially when paired with retinol. I would much prefer to use an over-the-counter retinol product and use it with fragrance-free products that can soothe down irritation and rehydrate the skin. There are plenty on the market; one that I always recommend with any kind of retinoids is the Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream (for its soothing property) paired with any good moisturizer. I know that the appeal of the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask is that it’s a one-step retinol product. But given its effects which are not comparable to good retinol products, I would much rather invest in three products or one-step retinol that actually works (like the La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Aging Retinol Serum, but if you have sensitive skin, you will still need a good moisturizer)
5.This product can be used on all skin types, including acne-prone and sensitive skin: So, Glow Recipe uses fragrance compounds in the majority of their products. I went on and on in my last review on the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner, so I won't tackle that again. You can use this link and search for ‘LONG PARAGRAPHS ON THE ISSUE OF FRAGRANCE IN THIS PRODUCT’ (It’s next to the before and after picture). My conclusion on that last review was that the brand claimed it did not use any harmful compounds in its fragrance but that since they didn't precisely state what their perfume was made out of, it was up to you, the consumer, to decide whether or not you would trust Glow Recipe with your skin. In the case of the Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner, I got excellent results, and the perfuming ingredients were vague enough not to trigger any alarms in my head (which might make me naive). Regardless, it's not the case with the Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask. Here, on top of the 'natural fragrance' (a gentle reminder to not let the word 'natural' fool you because arsenic, mercury, and cyanide are also 'natural'), there is rosemary and lavender extract (an extract is usually a diluted version of oil when it comes to fragrant compounds) as well as 'flavor/aroma' which is just a fancy hippie name for a fragrance. Now I might have looked past this had I had amazing results with the mask, but the fact of the matter is I didn't. I understand the concept behind the mask: a lot of people hear about the beneficial effects of retinol and are afraid of using it because it can have so many repercussions if not used with care. But I don't see the point of using a retinol product that doesn't deliver retinol-worthy results. Anyway, I digress, pertaining to the claim: it again all depends whether you choose to trust this brand or not when it comes to the use of fragrance and the compounds it is composed of - because fragrance acne and sensitive skin aren't really besties.
I want to add one thing: I think using this as a wash-off mask is a waste of money. The way this mask is formulated promotes a prolonged release of the encapsulated retinol and requires daily usage of the product to notice any difference. It's not strong nor hydrating enough (in my humble opinion) to have the benefits of a wash-off mask. Wash-off masks are adequately potent and usually show you a difference in skin after their first use: at the minimum, you will see a glow or a minor difference in acne, for example. Here I saw nothing.
Anyway, I don't recommend this mask to anyone. I don't think that the product is bad, and I believe that if I continue to use it for the next three months, I will eventually see retinol-worthy results. Still, for me, the time required to see results and the market availability of better products is simply not worth buying this one.
Regardless, if you choose to use it, pay close attention to your skin's reaction. And note that if you have oily skin, you might end up hating how avocado-thick this mask feels.
Encapsulated retinol is great for people who are afraid of using retinol in an inadequate way
Presence of fragrant compound which can lead to irritation and sensitization
Will not tighten your pores
Will not get rid of bumpy texture
Results are very slow to show (even after 45 days)
Results are a bit mediocre compared to retinol-product results
Way too thick for oily skin (when it comes to comfort)
🍉Score:1.8/5 ——— I’m giving it points since it can make your skin eventually look better in the long, very long far away future.