Product Review: Acne.org Moisturizer with Licochalcone

After deciding to buy from Acne.org, I went straight for their Moisturizer with Licochalcone.

They offer:

  • Their “regular” 8oz. for $17.42 ($2.18/oz.)
  • A value and waste-minimizing 16oz. for $28.24 ($1.77/oz.)
  • And a 3.4oz. travel bottle for $10.78 ($3.17/oz). (This is the maximum amount of liquids the TSA allows in a single container)

I opted for the travel bottle since I hadn’t tried any of their products before.

Shipping was $2.50, bumping the total price to $13.28. I usually recalculate the price per ounce to include the price of shipping so I can keep track of the full weight of the purchase in my product spreadsheet, so this became $3.90/oz.

I ordered on January 27, my order shipped from Union City, CA on January 28, and it arrived on February 6.

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This is what the bottle looks like on top of a flowery pillowcase because why not

Acne.org (recently?) updated their packaging, and I really like the clean, minimalist look of it. The bottle is a satin-finish, opaque, white, so no light gets in and damages any light-sensitive ingredients (I actually don’t know if there are any in particular in this formula, but I like being reassured by stable packaging anyways).

The label is also a satin finish, and the whole thing has such a fresh look that makes me feel like I know what I’m doing as an adult trying to take care of my skin.

Even though it’s white, it doesn’t attract dirt, but even if it did, the label is water-resistant and very easy to wipe off.

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Hand for scale
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About 1/4 teaspoon on the back of my hand

It’s a pale yellow color due to the licochalcone, apparently (you can read more about licochalcone here). On my skin, I don’t notice this having any effect on my skin color whatsoever, but then again I have yellow undertones anyways. According to the reviews on the Acne.org website, a number of people have reported that this did make their skin yellower over time (is yellower a word, I think it is even though it sounds wrong). If you have lighter skin or pink undertones, this may be something to watch out for.

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It’s a fairly runny consistency so it drips easily

The fluid consistency feels really smoothing during application. Like many people, I’m much rougher than I should be when I’m applying lotion to my face, so I feel that this helps me avoid being overly vigorous.

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A closeup of the color and consistency
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Starting to be rubbed in
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This is after 25-30 seconds of rubbing in
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At the top of the picture, note the white streaks starting to appear

Even though it’s a runny lotion, it takes longer than expected to rub in. When you see those white streaks start to appear after about 35-40 seconds, you’ll know you’re almost finished applying.

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This is the finish after the one-minute mark.
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After application, it becomes a satin-matte finish. Ignore the grey speck of dust.

Alright, so let’s take a look at their claims:

Overly dry skin perpetuates the acne cycle. Since benzoyl peroxide is a drying and peeling agent, it is important to properly rehydrate the skin. This generously sized, intensely (1)hydrating, (2)non-comedogenic lotion eliminates dry skin and flakiness completely, while (3)soothing acne-prone skin. It goes on (4)clear and absorbs quickly, leaving no residue. It has a super-light feel and is fragrance-free and dye-free. (5)Use it liberally without fear.

  1. Like most lotions, it’s supposed to be hydrating, so that’s good I guess. It is indeed moisturizing, but given the light consistency, it’s quite a medium-to-heavy-duty moisturizer.
  2. “Non-comedogenic” is a stupid claim so we’ll ignore that for the most part. People can be allergic to anything. However, I’ve been using this for about three weeks now, and I can confidently say it does not break me out. I did a patch test for the first few days as well. It is fragrance-free, so there is that much less of a potential for irritation.
  3. I do experience the “soothing” feeling they speak of. It’s mildly cooling, but not in a minty way.
  4. It does go on clear and absorb relatively quickly once you rub it in (gently) all the way. It performs well under makeup due to the satin-matte finish, since there is no residue that balls up.
  5. You can, indeed, use it liberally without fear. For those on The Regimen or with very dry skin, they recommend using 4mL of product, which is a little over 3/4 of a teaspoon. I’ve used this amount several times and have had no problem getting it to sink in properly, but most of the time I don’t need that much.

I usually use it at night, but occasionally I will also apply some in the morning. They estimate that the bottle should last you 12-13 days using the ±4mL twice per day, but at the three week mark, I’m only about halfway through this bottle.

I also experimented with mixing in other oils (blueberry, blackberry, apricot kernel), and 1-5 total drops mixed in very well with 2-4mL. You could mix in more, but you may not need such a super rich formula. It does help the bottle last longer, so if you have any oils around (even coconut, olive, sesame, sunflower, or jojoba), that could make it even more cost effective.

Overall, I am very, very pleased with this as a facial moisturizer. I definitely feel that the price is worth it given its vegan and cruelty-free status, it’s soothing formulation for my dry and acne-prone skin, and the polished packaging that encourages me to use the product more and take care of my skin. I’m very likely to repurchase after I try out two other facial moisturizers I recently acquired. I’ll also probably be trying their AHA once I use up my current non-vegan one.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about trying Acne.org:

  • They have travel/trial sizes of each of their products (except the jojoba oil)
  • Decent shipping prices and fast processing time, though I can’t speak for their larger sizes of course.
  • It’s not guaranteed to be non-comedogenic. Always patch test.
  • It may be a more intense moisturizer than the average person needs, but I could totally see it working if a smaller amount is used.
  • The yellow color may potentially show up over time if you have pale-light skin.
  • It’s definitely pricey for a body moisturizer, but may be worth it for the soothing effect if your acne extends beyond your face.
  • Mixing in a few drops of oil can make a bottle last even longer. Just be sure to patch test the oil individually as well.

Shipping + Packaging: 1/1

Claims: 0.5/1

Formulation + Application: 1/1

Value: 1/1

Did it help my skin over time: 1/1

Rating as of 2/27/2016: 4.5/5

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Company Introduction: Deciding to Buy from Acne.org

I’ve been searching for a new vegan, cruelty-free facial moisturizer ever since I found out the one I’d been using wasn’t actually vegan (the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion—more on that soon in another post).

I first heard of Acne.org from the Skincare Addiction subreddit a few years back. I think I was just starting my vegan experience, but even though their products are clearly marked as vegan, I didn’t feel compelled to try their products.

It probably had something to do with them calling it “The Regimen.” I get the need for simple branding to refer to the carefully-crafted products, but this just rubbed me the wrong way. It seemed arrogant in the same way that Proactive is: this is a one-size-fits-all routine! With only three products!

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Poor Adam Levine 😦

Yeah right.

Even Paula’s Choice, with their strict guidelines and constant side-eyeing of trendy skincare, encourages people to try other products outside their own through their Beautypedia reviews. Skincare is very rarely as easy as a 1-2-3 routine.

I did like their website design and packaging though. It was clean, simple, but still friendly with the handwritten script.

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Source: Olina Loves

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I searched /r/skincareaddiction for vegan moisturizers and remembered Acne.org existed. I decided to read more about the company before getting into their products, and promptly facepalmed when I read the “About Us” page:

Acne.org started in 1996 when Dan’s friend Karen recommended he read a book called “The 7 Spiritual Laws Of Success” by Deepak Chopra. In the book, Chopra asks the reader to ask him/herself the two questions, “What are my unique talents?” and “How can I use these talents to best help people?”

Source, Archive

I despise Deepak Chopra. I might dedicate another post (or several) to him another time, but in a nutshell, he promotes pseudoscience (Archive), misunderstanding and distrust of science (Archive) and the scientific process, and makes lots of money off of those who don’t know better (Archive). So, seeing Chopra’s name as a positive influence was not a good sign, even if the influencing questions were pretty tame.

Still, this was merely an annoyance and not a good reason to doubt the efficacy of the products themselves.

The Beautypedia review gave the moisturizer with licochalcone four out of five stars. One star was deducted because the formula might be too heavy for oily skin and because it is misleadingly touted as non-comedogenic. Here’s what Beautypedia said about the latter:

We understand that many consumers look for the non-comedogenic claim for reassurance, but the truth is no skin care line can legitimately guarantee their moisturizers won’t clog pores. Some may be less likely to clog pores than others, but so many variables are at play (everything from your skin type to what else you use and when) that it’s easy to see why the claim isn’t regulated!

Source, Archive

There are many health buzzwords that are unregulated, so I understand the ease and temptation of describing a product with one of them. For the sake of the less-informed though, it would be better if Acne.org took out this particular word. It promises something that cannot be promised. According to his own story, Daniel Kern of all people should understand that frustration (Archive).

All of Acne.org’s products are vegan and cruelty free, but I don’t know how passionate the company is about either of those two issues altogether. Daniel Kern, the founder, uses Almay and Gillette products and also consumes fish oil as a supplement (Archive), so it’s safe to say he isn’t trying to live a cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle. However, I still appreciate any dedication to making vegan products and remaining cruelty-free.

Another thing I considered was Dan’s blog, the official forum, and educational resources for those wanting to learn more about acne. To me, this pretty much makes up for admiring Deepak Chopra and being simplistic at times. These three features of the website encourage critical thinking, questioning, feedback, helpfulness, and science literacy—at least when it comes to skincare. I’ll always celebrate opportunities for the public to engage in those practices. With that, I decided that I’d be alright with giving Acne.org my business.

I’ve had really dry skin so far this winter, so I was looking forward to the somewhat-heavier formula. Plus, they recently redid their packaging design, and I think it’s a great improvement. It’s much more sophisticated than the previous design, and it makes the company seem professional.

In the next few days, I’ll review and analyze the actual product.

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Source: Acne.org