Allies of Skin Bright Future Sleeping Facial Review

AOSHave you ever had a product where you originally thought it was good, but not great, only to later decide that it is actually pretty amazing? That’s the gist of my experience with the Allies of Skin Bright Future Sleeping Facial (gifted by Cultbeauty.com).

Before I get into my experience with the product, here is some basic info.

Cost:
$120 for 1.7 oz ($70.6 per oz making it comparable, and actually slightly cheaper, than Sunday Riley Good Genes or Drunk Elephant TLC)

Texture:
This has a gel texture that leaves a tacky film on my skin, especially when I apply a generous layer. It means when I sleep I try to sleep on my back (which is better for preventing wrinkles so I guess I can’t be mad at that).

Where can you buy it? Alliesofskin.comDermstore, Netaporter.com, Barneys.com, beautyhabit.com, Cultbeauty.com

What’s in it? 

  • Cliff notes version: AHAs, BHA, an encapsulated form of stabilized Retinaldehyde, Niacinamide, other brightening ingredients and antioxidants.
  • Longer summary:
    • The active ingredients in this start off with an 8% blend of glycolic (AHA), lactic (AHA) and salicylic acid (BHA) to exfoliate the skin and unclog pores.
    • It also has 5% Niacinamide (multi-purpose skin superstar, Wohlrab, & Kreft, 2014) + Prickly Pear Enzyme (soothing and hydrating) as well as encapsulated Retinaldehyde and  Lysophosphatidic Acid to help prevent and repair signs of aging.
      • To find out more about retinaldehyde, check out this post.
    • It also has Diglucosyl Gallic Acid, which is said to be a next-generation skin brightener. The AOS website claims that it is “60 times more potent than kojic acid in brightening the skin tone” and at least one study published by the manufacturer (Chajara et al., 2015) has some promising results.
    • To round things off, it has a lot of great ingredients to soothe and hydrate the skin (including Manuka honey UMF17+, hydrolyzed silk, yogurt, amino acids, sodium hyaluronate)
    • It also has 7 antioxidants to  help fight harmful free radical damage (including Spin Trap, which always excites me when I see it in an ingredient list).
  • Complete INCI:
    • Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Triethyl Citrate, Butylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Silk, Lactic Acid (L), Salicylic Acid, Yogurt, Sodium Hyaluronate (L), Dimethyl Sulfone, Diglucosyl Gallic Acid, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Sodium Lactate, Mel (Honey), Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus-Indica Flower Extract, Rosmarinyl Glucoside, Lysophosphatidic Acid, Rubus Chamaemorus (Cloud Berry) Seed Oil, Polygonum Cuspidatum (Giant Knotweed) Extract, Lysolecithin, Caffeyl Glucoside, Gallyl Glucoside, Retinal (Retinaldehyde), Phenyl t-Butylnitrone (Spin Trap), N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Mirabilis Jalapa Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Lysolecithin, Lecithin, Galactoarabinan, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Cyclodextrin, Xanthan Gum, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tetrasodium EDTA, O-cymen-5-OL, Sclerotium Gum, Sodium Gluconate, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool.
What does it claim to help with? And did I see those results? [Spoiler alert]
  • Exfoliates the skin
    • Yes, I saw improved skin texture and softer skin
  • Refine and reduce the appearance of large pores.
    • Yes, but only with the a thick layer and with a hydrating essence or serum underneath
  • Brightens dull, uneven complexion
    • Yes, but only with the a thick layer and with a hydrating essence or serum underneath
  • Reduces breakouts and blemishes
    • I find that it does help with inflammation and reducing (not eliminating) the size of the pimple, meaning I wake up to a slightly smaller less-inflamed bump.
  • Provides a mega dose of healing hydration overnight
    • I didn’t find it particularly hydrating, but I also didn’t feel like it dried out my skin. It left my skin with enough hydration to feel balanced. 

How often did I use it:

  • I will usually use this for 2 days in a row once a month or sometimes every two weeks. (The brand suggests you use it 2-3 nights in a row and that the results will be cumulative, I think that sometimes the results taper off after day 2, so I almost always skip day 3).  I like to plan my consecutive days for Friday-Sunday  so that my weekend PM routine can be super streamlined. I will also specifically reach for this if my skin looks dull, my makeup starts looking like it is sitting on top of my skin, and I have a lot of texture.
  • I have also used this as an overnight  spot treatment for cystic pimples and it does help make the pimple less inflamed and large.

Now on to my experience!

When I first started using this I liked it, but I was a little underwhelmed. My skin was soft after using it but it wasn’t anything to write home about. I used it two weeks later for 3 nights, applying it the same way as before (cleanse, apply a somewhat thin layer of about 1.5 pumps to dry skin and on the 2nd or 3rd night I would finish it off with a moisturizer). Again, I liked the results but I wasn’t WOW’d. I thought maybe my skin was just at a really good place and I should temper my expectations. I did the 2-3 day stint a couple more times and felt like my final opinion was that I liked it but it definitely wasn’t better than my favorite acid exfoliator (Sunday Riley Good Genes).

I wondered what kind of results someone might see if they didn’t have a skin care routine already. So I gave a tube to my brother and sister-in-law who use a moisturizer at night but that’s about it. Since they don’t ever use acid exfoliators I was curious about how their skin would respond. I told them to apply to clean face with nothing below the product and nothing after the product and about a pump or so should do. They both used it for 3 consecutive days and gave me their feedback.

  • Brother and SIL Feedback
    • They said it was tingly at first application and that it tingled the most on day 1.
    • The next morning they both thought their skin felt smoother but they didn’t see any other really noticeable effects. By day 2 they thought their skin was even softer. Both felt like they didn’t see any huge difference after day 3.
    • My brother noted that he didn’t  have any redness or irritation, even after shaving each morning.
    • My SIL thought it smelled a bit odd but not terrible.

SO.. basically they had the same experience as me. My skin felt softer and smoother but I didn’t see a lot of other changes. Importantly, they were also using only a pump or 1.5 pumps and they didn’t put on anything before or after the product.

But that’s not where this story ends…I have had a major changes of heart after changing how I used the product.

In preparing for this review, I went to the website to look up the ingredients and saw that AOS suggests misting before application (or even applying a hydrating serum) and they specifically said to apply a Generous layer. So when I went to use the product again, I applied a hydrating essence before using it, I applied twice as much as usual (3 pumps), I misted after applying it, and then on the 2nd night I also finished it off with a moisturizer. And THAT is when I was wow’d.

To make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me the next time I used it I did a split face where I applied it the old way on one side (thin layer, nothing below the product) and this new way on the other. The photo below shows my results. Both sides were smooth and soft, but there were other noticeable differences when I applied twice as much product and hydrated before and after. *(The photo below was taken on the same morning. One side of the face had the generous layer and hydrating essence before and after and the other side had a thin layer and nothing applied before or after)

AOS2.jpg

So now, I can say that aside from just giving me soft skin regardless of  how I apply it, it lives up to the claims of reducing the appearance of pores, brightening the skin, and improving the appearance of fine lines.
I have continued to use this “new” application approach whenever I use it and I can finally say that I get the hype. And I can also say this ties and maybe even beats Good Genes. Good Genes has a slight edge because it doesn’t leave my skin tacky, but on the other hand my husband loathes the smell of Good Genes so much that I rarely ever use it. But both plump up my smile lines and make my skin look great.
So, to sum up.. I think this is a great product IF I follow the following rules:
  1. Don’t be stingy. Applying a thick generous layer is the way to go. 3 pumps is my sweet spot.
  2. Use a mist or hydrating essence before and after application

 

 

References:
Chajra, H., Redziniak, G., Auriol, D., Schweikert, K., & Lefevre, F. (2015). Trihydroxybenzoic acid glucoside as a global skin color modulator and photo-protectant. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology8, 579.
Wohlrab, J., & Kreft, D. (2014). Niacinamide-mechanisms of action and its topical use in dermatology. Skin pharmacology and physiology27(6), 311-315.