If you couldn’t already tell, using natural skincare is incredibly important to me. I have extremely sensitive skin that reacts negatively to anything it could possibly react negatively to — sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, many things with weird chemical-sounding names and, lo and behold, most drugstore makeup and skincare (woe!). I really just can’t use anything that isn’t geared towards sad, sensitive people like me. I’m really into skincare, and while most people can shop themselves silly at drugstores without a huge price tag and without worrying about the consequences, I just can’t. I have to wait and eventually shell out the big bucks for something that won’t make me break out, whether it be in blemishes or in hives.
When I was offered a sample of a product from the new company Stages of Beauty, I jumped at the chance. (I’m about to gush, so if you just want to know how I liked this product, skip ahead to my grading.) It’s a tantalizing premise: anti-aging skincare divided into age-appropriate product lines. Each product addresses the skincare needs of a woman based on the specific biological needs of her skin at her age — quoth the press release, naturally, but I believe it. Why? Because Stages of Beauty was developed by Jasmina Aganovic, an MIT-trained chemical and biological engineer. She says, “Skincare solutions should not be ‘one size fits all’ — our skin’s needs are not the same at every stage of our life.”
The age-specific collections are Radiance, for women in their 20s, Harmony, for women in their 30s, Elegance, for women in their 40s, and Grace, for women in their 50s and over. (My mom, who has officially entered her late forties, suggested that they should have called her age group Give Up. I disagree.) My favorite thing about these products is how legitimately natural they are. They contain minimal ingredients, and they’re things you’ve heard of before and can pronounce the names of. They are free of sulfates, paragons, petrochemicals, GMOs, phthalates, fragrance, and synthetic dyes and are dermatologist tested for safety with no animal testing. Furthermore, “each product is made up of a unique and synergistic combination of the most effective and beneficial elements derived from nature.” I chose the Radiance Antioxidant Serum to try.
Price/Availability: $52.99 for 15 mL, $74.99 for 30 mL. As someone who generally spends a lot of money on beauty and skincare, I think that this price is justified. The bottle is large and you only need to use a very little amount. I’ve been using the serum day and night for two weeks now and the bottle is still completely full. You can buy this product, and the rest of the line, at Stages of Beauty.
Packaging: Luxurious and traditional, with simple font and a little butterfly that I think is really cute. The one thing to be wary of is the fact that it’s made of glass, so you have to be seriously careful about keeping it somewhere it won’t fall and shatter. It has a dropper-style applicator, which I always enjoy because it makes me feel like I’m in an apothecary, which I am not.
Formula: It’s a little different from other serums I’ve used, but not in a bad way. While those have been more liquid, this is a liquid with a slight gel-like consistency. When you drop it into your hand to apply, it stays where you put it instead of running between your fingers like others would, which I like. It feels really fresh and soothing going on and absorbs quickly with absolutely no greasy feel. This is a true serum with no oil or stickiness. The ingredients list is truly minimal: hyaluronic acid, red tea extract, and sea botanicals.
Results: Since using it regularly, my skin has been less dry and brighter, without the ashy cast it sometimes gets when I’ve been a bit neglectful. I apply this serum first, after my cleanser and toner, then my other moisturizing products on top of it. I feel like this product makes my heavy-duty moisturizers and also my topical acne medication more effective. I haven’t gotten a pimple since I started using this.
Overall: I use many products and am always working at improving my skin. I’ll buy something, use it a couple of times, not like it or find it useless, and cast it aside. That isn’t the case with this product. I’ve been using it every day and it’s become a key part of my routine. I love the way it makes my skin feel and look. Will I buy it again? Most likely, though of course I prefer getting it for free! I’m also dying to try the other products (cleanser, scrub, and treatment cream) in the Radiance line because I enjoyed this one so much, so I may end up buying the whole collection.