Being a daughter of a relentless skincare addict (hello mom!), I've been taught about the importance of good skincare from a very young age. In today's post I would love to chat to you guys about one of my recent discoveries: Instytutum.
About the Brand
Instytutum was founded by Natalia Derkach, a top-level executive of a successful pharmaceutical corporation, who dreamt about creating her own skincare brand with truly effective, innovative products. Natalia teamed up with a prestigious Swiss laboratory to create Instytutum, with all of the brand's products being 100% clinically tested. Most of the items I have here are made in Switzerland, with an exception of Flawless Skin Mask, which is made in the USA. Find out more here.
My Skin Type
Dry, dehydrated, sensitive. Prone to texture.
Claims: effectively cleanses, softens/ soothing and restoring/ hydrates/ removes all traces of make-up/ improves skin texture
Price: 49 USD for 120 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz
Key Ingredients: camomile extract, provitamin B5, vitamin A, sodium hyaluronate, bisabolol (soothing), allantoin (anti-irritant). More details here.
One of the things, which I love about the brand, is their very-simple-yet-sleek packaging. And product names, which are straight to the point. "Cleansing Milk". "Eye Cream". "Day Cream". There is nothing boujie or complicated about it, which in the century so powered by complex and well-marketed slogans, is like a breath of fresh air.
Cleansing Milk has quite a creamy consistency, which turns into a soft milky fluid, once it gets in contact with water. This is a scented product, which gives me a very subdued [geranium] floral vibe. You can certainly feel it while you're massaging this emulsion into your skin, but once you rinse it off - the scent is pretty much gone. To me, this would be an ideal second-cleanser. I spoke multiple times about my habit of going through a 1-2 or even 1-2-3 step cleansing process, depending on how much make-up I've been wearing on a given day.
I would typically use my favourite Caudalie Make-up Removing Cleansing Oil on my eyes and face first (this Caudalie cleanser removes even the most stubborn mascara, without blurring your vision; huge fan here!) and follow up with Cleansing Milk, but this time avoiding the eye area. I judge my cleansers mainly by a) how they make my skin feel afterwards; b) how well they remove make-up residue. Instytutum cleanser is incredibly delicate on the skin and it does get rid of all the remaining grime on my face. Even when I use Caudalie Micellar Water afterwards, there will be nothing on my cotton pad, which is quite impressive.
Verdict: Although Cleansing Milk will most likely suit all skin types, I think it would work best for someone with a normal-to-dry, dry or very dry skin types. Despite the fact that it has a perfume in it, it doesn't irritate, aggravate or break out my sensitive skin. Great product to use both in the morning or evening. It's a keeper.
Claims: visibly diminishes fine lines, wrinkles and appearance of dark circles/ smoothing/ tightens and brightens eye area
Price: 89 USD for 15 ml/ 0.5 fl.oz.
Key Ingredients: collagen synthethis-stimulating peptide, shea butter, caffeine, retinol, raspberry stem cells extract. More details here.
First Impression: scent-free, cream-meets-gel consistency, which blends effortlessly and gives my undereye a refreshing, smoothing sensation. It gets absorbed in a matter of a minute, maybe two. Eye Cream is a very lightweight, non-greasy product. Once it sets, you won't be able to tell that it is even there; at least not on my Sahara-dry skin, which just drinks it up. I also feel a very light "lifting" sensation whenever I use it.
Now, I am very picky with my eye creams and I also have very dark undereye [Panda] circles, which no eye cream was able to help with. Sadly, not even Instytutum little guy here. Over a course of one month that I have been using it, I did not see any difference in my dark circles *sob*.
Since I am still in my 20s and don't have visible undereye lines, I oddly feel like I am not an exact target market for this product (yet). I also think that if you have quite a dry undereye area like moi, this Eye Cream alone won't be hydrating enough. Whenever I wear it (both underneath my make-up or on its own), I notice that my undereye looks visibly drier as the day goes by, while my go-to Becca Aqua Luminous Concealer gets a touch cakey and collects in these tiny little baby lines under my eyes (ones that I would not even notice otherwise).
Verdict: Although I had incredibly high hopes for Instytutum Eye Cream, I had to switch back to my HG Kiehl's Avocado Eye Treatment because I found that I wasn't getting enough moisture from it. However! If you have normal or even slightly oily under-eye, this Eye Cream will be amazing for you. I can't deny it's impeccable formula/ingredients and judging from what I read on other blogs, this product is the king of eye creams for many skincare addicts out there. The day Instytutum come up with Eye Cream version for us Sahara-skin gals, I'll be 100% all over it.
Claims: improves skin moisturisation/ boosts collagen and skin elasticity/ antioxidant benefits/ firms, plumps/ anti-wrinkle
Price: 135 USD for 50 ml/ 1.7 fl.oz.
Key Ingredients: lifting peptide, collagen-synthesis-stimulating-peptide, provitamin B5, vitamin E, raspberry stem cells extract, retinol. More details here.
First Impression: lightweight, yet rich and soothing formula, which leaves my skin feeling well-hydrated and smooth. Once this product gets absorbed, it leaves amost a glowy sheen on the face, which is something I really like. This is (again) a scented product; I sense faint floral notes, which don't linger for that long, but are easy to detect. It works as a great, hydrating base and keeps my skin feeling soft and nourished all day/night long, which might have something to do with sodium hyaluronate (my bestest friend) being one of the ingredients.
Although it is designed with all skin types in mind, I think Day Cream will be mostly loved by people with normal, combination and dry skin types (especially during the winter season). Now, as much as I like this product, my only concern is that I don't ever use retinol during the day time. Especially since I am living in a very sunny place like Dubai. As you might know, retinol breaks down when exposed to the sun, potentially giving you a reversed, premature ageing effect. Although retinol is almost at the bottom of the ingredients list here, I would definitely save this wonderful cream for the night time.
Verdict: The brand suggests that you can use this product both in the morning/evening. Based on the fact that there is retinol here, I would personally use this cream at night only. I have to say that I did wear Day Cream underneath my make-up a few times and it worked perfectly fine, but judging from what I hear from my dermatologist, I would certainly avoid the risk and use it as an overnight treatment. You might have a different take on this whole "retinol during the day-time" debate, but generally speaking Instytutum Day Cream is great at hydrating, soothing, calming and every so slightly plumping the skin and I would certainly recommend it especially to those of you with drier skin type.
Flawless Skin Mask
Claims: lifted, tightened appearance/ improves skin elasticity/ refines pores/ plumps/ reduces appearance of wrinkles/ improves skin radiance and texture
Price: 69 USD for 5 sheet masks (25g each).
Key Ingredients: peptide argireline, collagen matrix, botanical complex. More details here.
Sheet masks are my weakness, so the minute I saw Flawless Skin Mask set (aka Age-Defying Perfecting Facial Sheet Mask) - I was all over it. I won't beat around the bush - I really love these masks. Inside each sachet you get two halves (for upper and lower part of the face), which you can easily adjust to fit your unique face shape. On me these masks slide a bit around the chin area, but overall I have no complaints.
I typically leave it on for 20-30 minutes, watch some Netflix or check Instagram and by the time I remove it - my skin feels soft, hydrated and overall happy. Typically I would apply a night cream or serum right after any sheet mask, but not with Instytutum. I find that the serum they've used is so well-formulated, I can easily go to bed without any "skincare" worries in the world. I find that I get best results the morning after; my skin feels radiant, plump and soft.
Verdict: I will definitely save these for big events or even long-haul flights; those occasions when you truly need that instant "pick me up" to look fresh and ready to conquer the world. I know these are "up there" in price, but if you do your math, you will quickly realize that you're actually paying around 13.8 USD per mask, which is a standard price for most sheet masks anyway. Big fan here and will definitely repurchase.
Overall I am happy to have discovered Instytutum. I would love to see the brand grow and launch even more skincare gems; meanwhile you can always find more inspiration here. Instytutum ship worldwide and offer 30% off during the cyber week. Use code SKIN30 at the checkout.