Sunday, April 12, 2015

Brand Overview & Review: Core Clarity Skincare

Brand Overview & Review: Core Clarity Skincare

Hello, friends! As you may have noticed, this blog has been down for a few days at various domains. But now, officially, all roads (previous URLs) will lead you here! How exciting! There are still some minor changes that need to be made, but I'm really happy to say that it's all (slowly) coming together.

But enough about boring business stuff. Today I'd like to share with you a relatively new skincare line from a company called Core Clarity. I was sent these products to review, but that won't impact my opinions in any way.  I've been testing these every day for two weeks, so let's get started!

Brand Overview & Review: Core Clarity Skincare


Core Clarity is a new skincare brand marketed specifically at teens and young adults. More specifically, it's aimed at young girls, but I'm sure it's suitable for all genders. They pride themselves on being eco-conscious, using modern acne-fighting technology such as zinc-PCA and sodium-PCA, along with natural, plant-based ingredients such as organic argan oil and various mixed fruit acids. I'll be honest, I don't know what PCA stands for, but that's just a claim.

They list their product benefits as:
  • Natural acne-fighting skincare line
  • No parabens, sulfates or phthalates
  • Won't over dry sensitive skin
  • Made in our 100% solar-powered facility in Southern Callifornia
  • Never tested on animals

Alright, let's get into the products:

* For reference, My skin type dry-combination. My T-zone can be a little oily in the summer but my cheeks go from dry in the summer to super dry in the winter.

Foaming Facial Cleanser ($9.49 for 8.38 fl oz)

Foaming Facial Cleanser ($9.49 for 8.38 fl oz)

Ingredients:  Water (Aqua), Sodium C14-16 Olephin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamidopropylamine Oxide, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Cocamide DIPA, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Zinc PCA, Glycerin, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Gluconolactone, Citrus Grandis (Pomelo Grapefruit) Seed Oil, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate (Natural Chelate), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower (Rose) Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium (Willowherb) Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Stem Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Neroli Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Extract, Red 40 (CI#16035), Red 33 (CI#17200)

Foaming Facial Cleanser ($9.49 for 8.38 fl oz)

Packaging: It comes in a pump dispenser, which I prefer for a lot of skincare products. The cleanser is dispensed in one perfect pump, so you don't have to mess around with measurements. It also locks, so if you turn it to the left, it won't pump out. The packaging isn't 100% spill proof, because I had to keep this on a slight diagonal in order to fit it into my drawer, and I would find a little bit of cleanser on whatever it was leaning against the next morning. I can't tell where it was leaking out of, though it was screwed on as tight as it would go. So if you purchase this, I would keep it standing up on your sink or in a cabinet.

Consistency: It's a foaming cleanser, so the pump dispenses it a as a pink gel, and then you rub it in between your hands with a bit of water, and it foams up. It foams up quite nicely, and it also works well with a Clarisonic. Caroline Hirons frequently states on her blog that foaming cleansers and other surfactant-based cleansers can cause skin to turn alkaline (having a pH greater than 7--normally your skin is around 3.4-3.9), which is a breeding ground for bacteria. This is kind of ironic, since foaming cleansers are often for acne-prone skin, and acne is caused by bacteria. This is not specifically Core Clarity, but in general. So, with this cleanser, I would recommend using a toner afterwards to restore your skin's natural pH levels. There are days when I did not do this and saw no adverse affects, but it's just something to keep in mind. If you already use a good toner in your regimen, you shouldn't have to do anything different. Or, you can not use a toner, but if you see yourself with more acne while using this, it might be a good idea to add a toner.

Foaming Facial Cleanser ($9.49 for 8.38 fl oz)

Testing: I used this product in the morning every day during the first week of testing. It reminded me of Clean & Clear's Morning Burst cleanser, only it's not a scrub. It has that refreshing citrus fragrance that could wake you up in the morning. Normally I try to stay away from products with citrus, since it is known to cause a phototoxic reaction with the sun (see Paula's Choice), but not in this case. Since it's a cleanser and the product is only on your face for a minute, I don't think there's any reason to worry. In general, I try to stay away from fragranced products since I have sensitive skin, but this didn't seem to bother my face at all. The only downside for me was that I found it to be drying, but I have dry skin and am used to using a cream cleanser. I think people who have oily skin or frequently use a foaming cleanser in their routine might like this.

3-in-1 Acne Fighting Face Wash ($10.99 for 8.38 fl oz)

3-in-1 Acne Fighting Face Wash ($10.99 for 8.38 fl oz)

Ingredients:  Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 2%. Inactive Ingredients: Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Cocoglucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Glycereth-26, Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract, Citrus Grandis Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract,Rose Canina Fruit Extract, Salix Nigra Bark Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butyrospermum Parkii, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil, Saccharum Officinalis Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract, PEG-150 Distearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium PCA, Sodium Citrate, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citric Acid, Blue No. 1 (CI 42090), Violet No. 2 (CI 60725).

3-in-1 Acne Fighting Face Wash ($10.99 for 8.38 fl oz)

Packaging: Same as the Foaming Cleanser. Convenient pump that might leak slightly if you put it on its side or diagonally facing up.

Also, to note, the directions are a little funny. "Use up to 2 to 3 times a day"? Does anyone wash their face three times a day?

Consistency: Very similar to the Foaming Cleanser. It foams when you rub it in between your hands. Identical in consistency, only it's blue. 

3-in-1 Acne Fighting Face Wash ($10.99 for 8.38 fl oz)

Testing: I used this product every morning for the second week of testing. found this to be extremely similar to the Foaming Cleanser. This one contains salicylic acid, but as I stated earlier, cleansers spend barely a minute on your face, so your skin can't absorb as much of the ingredients as they would on a serum or moisturizer. If you're looking to buy a cleanser from them, you could decide either on price (the Foaming Cleanser is cheaper), scent (this one smells vaguely like cherry medicine to me), or color (blue is pretty?). Let's all just start picking our skincare based on color. 

If they're only going to have five products in their line, two of them being cleanser, couldn't they have made them more different? They could have made their fifth product a creamy cleanser instead, or a chemical exfoliant, or a serum. Just something that doesn't make any sense to me. 

Exfoliating Face Scrub ($4.99 for 5oz)

 Exfoliating Face Scrub ($4.99 for 5oz)

Ingredients:  (These aren't online so I typed them up--please ignore any typos) Water (Aqua), Sodium C14-16, Olephin Sulfonate, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Decyl Glucoside, Cocmidorporylamine Oxide, Cocamidopropyl Betanine, Acrylates Copolymer, Bambusa (BAmboo), Sulfosuccinate Rosa Damascena Flower (Rose) Oil Extract, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Zinc PCA, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Saccharum Offinciarum (Sugar Cane) Stem Extract, Salix Nigra (willow) Bark Extract (Natural Beta-Hydroxy Acid), Citrus, Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet NEroli Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinesis (Black Tea) Leaf Extract, Sodium PCA, Maleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil , Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Rose Canina Fruit (Rose Hips) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Camellia Olefera Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Simmondsia Chinesnsis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Prsea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Disodium Lauriminodiropionate Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Phosphate, Lonicera Caroifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Metyhchoroisothiazolinoline, Methylsothiazolinone, Red 4 (C1#14700) , Red 33 (C1#17200), Citric Acid

 Exfoliating Face Scrub ($4.99 for 5oz)

Packaging: This face scrub comes in an opaque squeeze tube, making it easily accessible.

Consistency: This is a pretty thin, gel-like consistency for a scrub. It's like someone took the Foaming Cleanser and put tiny pebbles in it. I can't tell what the actual "scrub" particles are by looking at the ingredients list. I usually prefer jojoba beads in face scrubs, since they're rounded and won't create micro-tears in the skin. These particles aren't rounded, and I can't tell what they are exactly, but they kind of remind me of little tiny bits of salt or sugar. Something white and not completely rounded or identical in size.  

 Exfoliating Face Scrub ($4.99 for 5oz)

Testing: I used this product a few times over the course of the two weeks. To be fair, I'm not much of a "scrub" person, since I prefer chemical exfoliants. So, I'm not one to judge, since I don't really like any scrub all that much. Though this seems to me that it's a really good deal, since you get a lot of product in here and you shouldn't exfoliate every single day. My face always felt smooth after using this, however. 

Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer ($8.79 for 4.22 fl oz)

Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer ($8.79 for 4.22 fl oz)

Ingredients:  Water, Squalane, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerie, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyl Dimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Pentylene Glycol, Simmondsia Chinesnsis Seed Oil, aliz Alb Bark Extract, Persa Gratissima Oil, Olea europaea Fruit Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil, Lonicera Caprifolium Flower Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii Fruit, Argania Spinosa Kernal Oil, Abyssinian Oil, Behenyl Alcohol, Gluconolactone, Polysorbate-60, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Zinc PCA, Xnathan Gum, Decyl Glucoside, Saccharum Officinarum Stem Extract, Disodium Lauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl Phosphate, Citrus Medica Limonum Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit, Pyrus Malus Fruit Juice, Tocopherol, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Salix Nigra Bark Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa Kernel Extract, Citric Acid

Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer ($8.79 for 4.22 fl oz)

Packaging: This comes in a nifty pump-dispenser packaging. It never leaked on me, which is great, and it locked like the other two pump products. A lot comes out of a pump--half a pump was enough for my face and neck.

Consistency: This is surprisingly thin in consistency. It looks like a cream, but it dispenses out like a very thin gel. I think this would definitely suit oily skin, since I can't see something so thin clogging pores (but then again, everyone has different pores so I can't say). It's tacky upon application, and it takes a few minutes to soak in and not be sticky. If you're putting this on at night, it might not matter to you.

Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer ($8.79 for 4.22 fl oz)

Testing: I used this every night for two weeks. It has a weird fragrance--not bad or rotten, or even terribly strong, but it's definitely not fragrance-free. I can't identify the scent, but for the first week I couldn't stand it since it would linger on my face. After the first week, I got over it, but I still wish it was unscented.

It gets the job done. After it soaks in, my skin feels soft. However, on some days I would have the desire to layer another moisturizer over it, and on some days I used a face oil underneath it so my face wouldn't feel so dry.

I noticed my face as a little redder and splotchier than usual these past two weeks, but it wasn't so much that it would be incredibly noticeable to anyone else but me. However, one day my arms were dry, so I applied this to my arms, and they immediately became red and splotchy and itchy. It was right before bed, and I had to take a Benadryl to stop it. I don't know why it made my arms itchy and not my face, and it could have been a one-time thing or a coincidence, but I could be allergic to this moisturizer or something. I'm going to stop using it, but I don't think that it will give that affect to everyone.

This, to me, is the "get the job done" moisturizer. There are no fancy thrills and textures, but it will last you awhile. I think if you have oily skin that isn't too sensitive, you could potentially like this.

Acne Spot Treatment ($6.29 for .75 fl oz)

 Acne Spot Treatment ($6.29 for .75 fl oz)

Ingredients: (These aren't online so I typed them up--please ignore any typos. Also, I hate it when companies only print the information on the box!): Water, SD Alcohol 40B, Glycerin, Methyl Gluceth-20, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Polyacrylamide, Lauren-7, Cyclopentasilxane, Dimenthicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitis Vinifera Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Grandis Fruit Extract, Cameilla Sinesis Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil, Saccharum Officinialis Extract, Citrus Medca Limonum Extract, Cktrjs Aurantium Dulcsis Extract, Pyrus Malus Extract, Salix Nigra Bark Extract, Butrospermum Pakii, Rose Canina Fruit Extract, Cyamopsis Tetagonaloba Gum, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTAR, Sodium Hydroxide. 

 Acne Spot Treatment ($6.29 for .75 fl oz)

Packaging: The little tube comes in this clear plastic box. The ingredients are only listed here, and not on the actual tube, which is a bummer, but the tube is also very small.

Also, the directions are kind of vague. They just say "Apply to affected area." Is this for pimples, blackheads, everything? I'm sure it's not a big deal, but it's just something I noticed.

Consistency: This is a thin, cloudy gel. 

 Acne Spot Treatment ($6.29 for .75 fl oz)

Testing: I applied this to any acne spots I had (pimples) daily. I don't know the pH of this salicylic acid treatment, so I can't say if it's technically effective. I don't get a lot of spots on my face, but I used this on any spots I had on my chest at night. I think they're a little bit smaller, but that could also be because of time. These kinds of things are so hard to test, and I don't have the scientific information so I can't say if it'll truly be effective. 

The Verdict: 

  • Inexpensive
  • Sulfate/paraben/phthalate-free
  • Easy to find
  • Relatively good packaging

  • No ingredients list online
  • Not for all skin types, as advertised 
  • Some irritating ingredients -- Might not be suitable for sensitive skin

My final thoughts on the brand: 

I have an issue with all of their products being labeled as "for all skin types," considering no product is for all skin types--that's why there are so many kinds of products in the world. They're not the only brand to do this, but it's something to point out. In my opinion, the products I have tested might work well for oily skin types, so I would probably put them in that category if I had any say in their marketing.

Many, many brands are guilty of this, but they list their products as "dermatologist tested." It's just not a noteworthy claim. Who is this dermatologist? Are they a good dermatologist? How many dermatologists tested it? What are their skin types? Are they on the company's payroll? I'm not insinuating anything, but it's just something to think about. So, I always take that claim with a grain of salt, whenever any brand uses it. 

Core Clarity doesn't have full ingredients lists online, which is a bummer. The best I could find was this, which only highlights a few. Not cool. I wish every company had an ingredients list on their website. Three of the products (both cleansers and the moisturizer) are listed on Amazon, and have the ingredients listed there, but I had to type up the other two lists by hand. That's not cool--they're very long so excuse any typos. If companies are proud of their ingredients lists, why not show them off? It baffles me.

This is with multiple companies, but brands that advertise as using fruit extracts and other natural ingredients are sometimes shooting themselves in the foot. Ingredients such as fruit extracts can be irritating to the skin, since they're often fragranced. Plus, what's wrong with synthetic ingredients? Unlike natural ones, they're specifically made to go on your skin, unlike fruit (which doesn't exist for the sake of going on our faces). I personally don't understand the "all-natural" craze, but if that's something you care about then go forth.

Core Clarity reminds me a lot of Clean & Clear, in that it focuses on anti-acne skincare for teens and young adults. I don't want to go as far as to say it's a more expensive version of Clean & Clear, but I definitely see a resemblance. Clean & Clear has a larger variety of products, though they've been around much longer. I would love to see Core Clarity take a page from their book and show on their website what skin types each product is for, full directions on how to use it, and a full ingredients list. The way I see it, from here on out they could either expand their line to cater for more skin types and/or skin concerns, or go could go the route of Clean & Clear and aim at puberty-stricken teens (or really, anyone) dealing with oily skin. 

What's your favorite skincare product from the drugstore? I love discovering hidden gems! 

Want to see more reviews? Click here!

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Disclaimer: Core Clarity sent me these products to test out and review. Not sponsored or affiliated with any mentioned brands. All thoughts are my own.