Maelove Brand Overview

Maelove Brand Review


If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that I love The Glow Maker by Maelove. It is tied as one of my favorite Vitamin C serums. But Maelove has some other products that are also pretty stellar and now that I have used all of the products for a long time, I wanted to write up a LONG overdue product review.

(Products were gifted by brand, with no requirement for review or posts– this is not a sponsored post)

Full disclosure, I really like the owner, Jackie Kim. I have reached out with questions  in the past and she has always been so helpful and transparent. As they release new products, they have always sent them to me to try (never asking for any posts in return, just asking for my feedback).

Brief brand overview: Since trying the Glow Maker over 1 year ago, I have grown to really love and respect this brand. The owner, Jackie Kim, genuinely wants to make products that are accessible and not unnecessarily expensive. She has turned down different opportunities that might reduce the quality of their products or increase the price (check out their newsletter for a great look inside this brand ethos). They have a  direct-to-consumer business model that is meant to reduce markups and keep marketing costs low. And I also think that they are smart formulators and I have been consistently impressed with the ingredients they choose and the overall formula of their products.

  • Made in the USA
  • Cruelty free
  • Vegan
  • Free of dyes and fragrances
  • EXCELLENT return policy: You are able to return it within 100 days for a full refund — no questions asked.

Also…Shipping is Free! Love love love that. 

  • Right now they don’t ship internationally, but in their 2018 newsletter Jackie said that they hope to start international shipping in the latter half of 2019. Saying, “Most likely, we’ll start with Australia, Canada, and the UK. Then we hope to expand to Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East.” What I think is really great is that she is upfront about trying to find an economical solution so that they can charge less than $10, have an accurate tracking system, and have all duties/tariff fees covered by Maelove. Pretty impressive goals!

I am going to talk about them in the order that I would use them in a routine.

Face Wash – The Refresher

Maelove The Refresher

  • $18.95 for 4.7 oz ($4.03/oz)
  • Received Jan 22, 2019
  • pH= 5.4 (tested with my meter: +/- 0.1 accuracy)
  • Shelf life: 2 years

Texture: Creamy liquid (sort of like how liquid soap feels… but without the stripping feeling left behind). It does lather up a bit. I find it works best applied to dry skin & sometimes I let it sit for a minute before washing off.

What’s in it? This has lactic, tartaric & malic acid (hence the “triple AHA” name) BUT because of the low concentration paired w/ the pH, these will serve as moisturizing ingredients.

Lactic acid in particular is great at increasing moisture levels in the skin (more so in leave-on products though). Tartaric also has minor antioxidant activity & some research suggests Malic acid can help unclog pores a bit.

It also has Spearmint & Peppermint oil—both of which are essentially fragrance components and skin-conditioning agents which give it a really refreshing, cooling effect. (BUT if your skin is sensitive to these types of oils I would avoid).

If you enjoy the cooling sensation of the Tata Harper Clarifying Cleanser then you will like the feeling of this. (FYI: That cleanser dehydrates my skin if I use it consistently–this doesn’t.)

How I used this: I only used this as a morning cleanse or as a 2nd cleanse at night. I don’t use this to remove makeup because it stings my eyes.

I enjoy using this and think it’s great for a refreshing cleanse! I was able to use this almost every day & I didn’t notice any dehydration or signs of irritation. (keep in mind my skin’s barrier is pretty healthy at the moment, but if it were feeling sensitized I wouldn’t use this that day). It left my skin feeling really soft and balanced (I wouldn’t say it left my skin AS moisturized as some other cleaners I have).

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycol Distearate, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Malic Acid, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Propanediol, Cocamindopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Menthol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

Would I purchase a replacement? Maybe. I need to see if I really miss it when its gone. The thing is, I don’t like having more than 2  or maybe 3 cleansers open at a time and right now I have two favorite cleansers that are in constant rotation and then I use this about once a week. So while I really liked using this, it didn’t take a top spot. But again.. it’s affordable enough that if I do end up missing it, I will pick a new one up when I finish my current one.

P.S. Quin (my husband) bumped the bottle off our counter & broke off the pump, so that’s why it’s a little tilted looking in the pic.

Cleansing oil — The Day Eraser Face Cleansing Oil (**Discontinued**)


  • 3.9 oz for $18.95
  • Using since: April 2018

This can be used morning or night, but I pretty much exclusively use this at night to take off makeup/SPF. A major selling point for me is that I can use this to take off eye makeup and it doesn’t sting my eyes.

This is a great oil cleanser that comes with a pump and dispenses a a silky oil made up of a great combination of oils like: Rice bran oil (nourishing and moisturizing), Rosehip (skin-restoring), Jojoba (moisturizing and balancing), Grape seed (barrier repair and AOX properties). I LOVE that the carrier oil is Rice Bran because it is really nourishing and moisturizing, it has a good balance of oleic and linoleic acid acid and is packed with antioxidants like Vit E and gamma-oryzanol. (Tatcha also uses rice bran oil as its carrier and I think the Maelove one is very similar to that one, but for much less.). It also has a few Rosemary extract which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and astringent properties.

How I use this:  I apply this on dry skin (usually about 3-4 pumps) and I massage it over my face and eyes. My favorite part is that it emulsifies completely and washes off cleanly. What I mean by that is that when water hits the face, it turns milky and easily washes off. You can certainly use a wash cloth, but you don’t need to in order to remove all of it properly. I will say that I use a washcloth around eyes to get off more stubborn mascara.

I love that it has a pump and that it is in a nice glass bottle, but some may not like that because it is more prone to break but I really like glass packaging.

It has a very subtle scent which just smells fresh to me, maybe like rosemary and lavender.

Finally, I love the backstory of this cleanser… it was the co-founder’s mom’s recipe – she was a huge skincare enthusiast in Korea and created her own products and they took her recipe and updated it a little bit.

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isohexadecane, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Sorbitan Oleate, PEG-10 Laurate, Decyl Glucoside, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Water (Aqua), Ethanol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Tocopherol.

Will I buy a replacement? Yes! After a year, I am coming to the end of my bottle (a have a lot of oil cleansers because I love to rotate through those so it takes me longer to go through oil cleansers). But more often than not, this is the one I reach for because I really love using it!

Vitamin C Serum – The Glow Maker

Maelove Glowmaker

  • 1 oz for $27.95
  • To read my full review of this serum click here
  • Started using in late Jan 2018 and my bottle lasted me 4 months


As an update to that review, since then I have gone through another bottle of Paula’s Choice C15, and finally tried and used a whole bottle of Drunk Elephant C-Firma. (And before those I used Skinceuticals CE Ferulic and the Timeless Vitamin C). So I’ve tried a number of vitamin C serums and Paula’s Choice and Maelove are still my two favorites. How I differentiate PC from Maelove is that Maelove’s formula has an advantage over PC in terms of helping with redness and giving a bit of extra hydration.


Water (Aqua), Ascorbic Acid, Ethoxydiglycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ferulic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Callus Culture Extract, Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Metabisulfite, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyglycerin, Maltodextrin, Tocopherol.

Will I buy a replacement? Yes. I knew I wanted to do a split-face comparison of the Paula’s Choice and Drunk Elephant products, and now that that is done and I have finished those products, I was all ready to order a new Glow Maker, but then I was sent two other new vitamin C products. Once I’m done testing those I am placing my order for the Glow Maker.

Eye Cream – The Eye Enhancer 

(**9/8/2022- Now there is an updated formula and packaging**)

Maelove Eye Enhancer

  • $27.95 for 0.5 oz
  • Using since: Early Dec. 2018

This looks like sweetened condensed milk and has a gel-like texture–almost like a thick serum. I also love how it is cooling after application. I find that it absorbs very quickly and hydrates well.

How I use this: I like to use this in AM to reap the benefits of the de-puffying action. When winter was really kicking my skin’s butt, I did end up layering a more moisturizing product on top. I can apply this over serums and it doesn’t pill and it hasn’t even caused any milia (those white hard bumps that sometimes appear). It works well under makeup too.

When I first started using this, I was trying out a stronger acid and retinol and my skin’s barrier wasn’t in great shape. There were a couple times when I applied this that I felt a stinging sensation, so I stopped using it for a few weeks and then revisited it and I’ve never experienced the stinging again. So it was probably an interaction with other products in my routine paired with an impaired skin barrier. I’m glad I didn’t write it off though because it hasn’t happened again and it has turned into my go-to morning eye treatment.

Bottom line, I find myself reaching for this a lot–which is a testament to how much I like it because I have alot of eye creams open at the moment (#sorrynotsorry). In terms of other eyes creams that de-puff I think this is the best I’ve tried. I have the Sunday Riley  Auto Correct and although I much prefer the SR pump packaging, it doesn’t do as good a job at de-puffing and I found it dried out my under eyes over time. My other de-puffer is the Origins GinZing eye cream. I like that one because it has reflective particles to hide dark circles, but the Maelove is once again far superior in de-puffing and has much better ingredients overall in my opinion.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Glycosaminoglycans, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Coffea Robusta (Green Coffee) Seed Extract, Deliciosa (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lilium Candidum Flower Extract, Actinidia, Pfaffia Paniculata Root Extract, NHydroxysuccinimide, Steareth-20, Chrysin, Ptychopetalum Olacoides Bark/Stem Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Alcohol, Carbomer, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol

Will I buy a replacement? Yes!!!

Moisturizer – One Cream

Maelove the One CreamIMG_6516 (1)

(Please excuse the fact that the jar has been well-loved and isn’t as clean as day 1. haha! Now I see why some people take photos of products when they FIRST get them and save the photos for when they do reviews!)

  • $27.95 for 2.06 oz
  • Using since: Early Dec 2018

This has a dense texture in the jar (for instance, it doesn’t jiggle in the jar, and I could do the Dairy Queen Blizzard test and flip it upside down and it wouldn’t fall out… I really hope someone gets that Blizzard reference. haha) But it looks thicker and richer than it feels on the skin, because it feels lightweight and silky upon application.  It also applies nicely and isn’t annoying to rub in.

How I use this: I don’t wear this in the day time because my combo skin gets a bit too shiny midday when I use it. So it’s a little bit too rich in the day time for me. I love using this at night. During the Minnesota winter, this has been a staple at night. The test of a true moisturizer for me is that I want to wake up and have my skin feel just as moisturized as when I went to bed, and this succeeds at that. When I really want to create a lush experience, I mix a couple drops of oil in it and it is bouncy, beautiful, perfection.

It doesn’t feel heavy or greasy, but it does leave the skin feeling supple…Not sure the best way to describe it. It actually reminds me a lot of Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer. In fact I put Maelove on one side of my face and DE on the other and my skin felt identical–like soft, moisturized skin (Note: I’m not saying this is a dupe for that, because I don’t think skincare works that way. DE Lala has very different ingredients, but how it feels on the skin is similar and I thought that might be helpful for people because more people may have had a chance to sample or use the DE moisturizer).

I really like that it has  squalane which is great for preventing trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), it also acts as an antioxidant, and enhances the penetration of other ingredients. Basically that, paired with the glycerin and coconut extracts really hydrates and the skin and locks in moisture. Then there is some witch hazel water to give it some astringent, soothing, and antioxidant properties. It also has fructooligosaccharides, which is a prebiotic, that is not only a natural hydrator but it is supposed to help promote the growth of healthy bacteria to strengthen the skin’s immunity.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Squalane, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Xanthan Gum, Phytic Acid, Fructooligosaccharides (D-beta), Citric Acid, Lithium Magnesium Sodium Silicate, Alcohol, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract,   Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Potassium Sorbate

Will I buy a replacement? It takes me awhile to go through moisturizers, but yes, I would because this ticks off all of the boxes for what I like in a nigh time moisturizer (for some this could be a daytime moisturizer too). It is affordable, it keeps my skin soft, when I wake up my skin still feels moisturized, and it doesn’t clog my pores.

Mineral SPF – The Sun Protector, SPF 30


  • 1.7 oz for $17.95
  • Using since: April 2018 (It’s hard to say how long the bottle lasted me because I rotated it into my routines with three other SPF)

This is one of my favorites, if not my top favorite, mineral SPF primarily because it doesn’t make me oily and it absorbed really easily (which I think is key because I have tried a lot of mineral SPF that you really have to massage it in to the skin to get it to absorb. For example, some seem to turn whiter as I try to rub it in).

On my fair/light skin, it didn’t leave a white cast. But if you have a deeper complexion, you may find that this leaves a slight white cast. Jackie sent a bottle to Danielle ( @ashleyellebeauty  ) and she said that while the white cast isn’t as bad as other mineral SPF, it was still there and when she reapplied the SPF throughout the day it became more noticeable and the it sort of gave a purple tint. [I recommend you go to Danielle’s IG page and watch her SPF story highlights because she has tried and reviewed lots of SPF!]

The smell reminds me of oatmeal and the texture is really light and silky. After applying, it does have a slightly tacky finish, but I apply makeup on top so it doesn’t bother me (actually, I found that that works really well under makeup–almost helping the makeup adhere to the skin much like a primer would). It is comfortable to wear (I don’t feel it on my skin) and it didn’t leave my skin feeling dehydrated.

As mentioned, a major reason this gets a thumbs up from me is that it doesn’t make me greasy throughout the day. In fact, I did a split face with my fave SPF for a week and it performed just as well in terms of keeping my skin more matte (or really… less oily. My oily-combo skin is almost  never matte, and that’s okay).

They were sold out for a while because the zinc they use is apparently pretty tricky to source. But Jackie decided to not substitute the ingredient since its vital to the product. Good news is that it is now back in stock and I will be picking up a replacement!


Zinc Oxide (18.6%)

Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Sorbitan Stearate, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Lactate, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, PEG-8, Carbomer, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, Teprenone, Phoenix Dactylifera (Date) Fruit Extract, Polygonum Aviculare Extract, Disodium EDTA, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Plankton Extract, Micrococcus Lysate.

Will I buy a replacement? Yes. I like to have a mineral-only SPF option on hand to go along with my other favorite SPF by BeautyRX (chemical-mineral combo) (My BeautyRx review can be found here).

Acid Exfoliation – The Night Renewer

Maelove Night Renewer

2 oz for $27.95

  • pH= 4.0
  • 10% Glycolic acid
  • Using since: April 2018

This product has a really smart formulation because even though it has 10% Glycolic acid, it also has a number of heavy-hitting soothing ingredients (like Arnica Flower and Aloe) to help avoid irritation and it also incorporates Hyaluronic acid, Shea Butter, and Squalane to help keep the skin hydrated. I will say that I always top this off with a moisturizer/oil combo to really drench my skin in moisture. Sometimes I feel a slight tingle on my skin (similar to what I feel with Sunday Riley Good Genes) when I apply it, but when my skin’s barrier is in particularly good shape, I don’t feel any tingling.

How do I use it: I use this about once a week or every other week as my overnight acid treatment. And I use it on a night that I am not using a retinoid product. I have found that my skin feels and looks better when I keep exfoliation to a couple times a week (usually using a gentler AHA more often than “treatment” AHA).

I usually apply this immediately after cleansing (but I make sure I allow time for my skin to fully dry so I can avoid any additional tingling. Water helps with absorption, but that also means it can make active ingredients sting a bit). But I’ve also used it at the end of the routine with some hydrating serums underneath. Either way, I almost always apply a moisturizer on top because even though it has soothing ingredients I still like the extra moisture.

When I first started using this, I did experience a minimal amount of purging right around my hairline. I wasn’t mad about that because I could tell it was bringing to the surface some congestion that I had hanging out near my hairline from a new shampoo I was using that my skin didn’t love. To read about the difference between purging and breaking out, there is a great blog post by Michelle of that I recommend (click here).

If you’ve followed me for a while you may know that Sunday Riley Good Genes is my favorite treatment acid (meaning, an acid that I use sparingly because it is stronger) and because of that, I end up comparing all other acid treatments to. The Night Renewer doesn’t give me the overnight (but temporary) fine-line plumping that Good Genes does, and it isn’t as moisturizing, but it is as effective in terms of getting rid of dull skin and boosting skin radiance after a couple uses. (Plus, it is much more affordable!)

I do wish it came in a pump rather than a tub, only because that would help me regulate how much I use each time and I just prefer pumps.


Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Glycerin, Squalane, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cetearyl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanyl Palmitate, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Laureth-7, Ammonium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol.

Will I buy a replacement? No. Although I liked this, I just don’t use AHA treatments as much and instead I focus on trying to always use a retinoid product at night.

Face Oil – Pure Marula Oil and Pure Argan Oil

  • Each are $27.95 for 1 oz
  • Received Jan 22 2019
  • Expiration –

Marula Oil 

This oil is harvested in South Africa and it has a beautiful, light consistency with a subtle nutty smell. It leaves the skin moisturized and with a slight sheen/glow. Maelove recommends it be used within 6-8 months after opening, but if it kept in a cool place then it can last longer.

For those that have used the Drunk Elephant Marula oil, this is similar but there are some differences. The DE has even less of a scent and absorbs down a little drier (i.e., it hardly leaves any hint of an oil on the skin, which is one reason I like it). The Maelove Marula oil dries down really nicely but it leaves a slight glow to the skin. It’s a very subtle difference though.

Marula oil is high in oleic acid (~70%) and improves the ability of the skin to hold moisture deep in its layers. It is also said to have antioxidant (it is high in Vit C) and healing properties and that it helps to protect the barrier function of the skin (Parker, 2014, Power of the Seed). To check out a facial oil infographic that @roadtoglow and I made, click here.

Argan Oil

This is 100% organic and cold pressed and is equally lightweight and silky as the Marula oil. This one dries down a bit more than the Marula, leaving less of a sheen/glow. Like Marula oil, it is very nourishing and helps to seal in moisture and protect the skin (it is high in squalane). It also has antioxidants to help protect the skin and it has anti-inflammatory properties. This is an oil that is said to be good for acne, psoriasis, and eczema (Parker, 2014). Whereas the Marula oil is very high in oleic acid (which is great for dry skin), this has a moderate amount of oleic acid (~45%) as well as a moderate amount of linoleic acid (~45%) –this balance works well for my oily-combo skin. It is also why it isn’t in the facial oil infographic chart that I linked to above because that chart showcased oils with high concentrations of different properties and Argan oil is more balanced in the different properties.

How I use these: I really like adding a couple drops of this in my moisturizers at night or sometimes in the day for days I am feeling dry. With any oil, before I apply it I make sure my face is damp to help it absorb better and quicker.

I am going to use  the Marula on my hands and cuticles because it is AMAZING for that, and then I am going to use the Argan oil on my face because that one works a bit better for my oily-combo skin. I can use the Marula on my face at night as well. Bottom line, these are both really beautiful oils.


So… I think it is clear that I have been very impressed with all of Maelove’s products! If I HAD TO  choose my top 3 products, I would say they are the cleansing oil, Vit C antioxidant serum, and SPF…..and the eye enhancer is tied for third.