Reviewing the Snow Mushroom Water Serum by Volition

The newly opened serum with the innovator card

Volition beauty recently sent me three products for the purpose of review.  While they did send the products to me, the reviews of them are my own opinions. As a quick note, the links included in this post are for the Volition website and while I highly recommend visiting their site to anyone interested in finding out more about their products or the company (and they are a really interesting company) Volitionbeauty.com only ships to US and Canada. If you are not in either the US or Canada, @cultbeauty ships Volition Beauty worldwide, and @meccamaxima / @meccacosmetica ship to Australia and New Zealand.

Snow Mushroom Water Serum|Free Shipping, Free Returns & Free Sampling

When testing skin care, I tend to rotate products in one at a time and let my skin get used to them before swapping out any other elements to my skin care.   The first product I added in of the three I was sent was the Prismatic Lumnizing Shield with SPF 50, mostly because I needed a sunscreen I would actually wear. It is billed as the sunscreen for people who hate sunscreen (which is me) and is a fantastic product that has gotten me into the habit of actually wearing sunscreen daily. The link above will take you to the fill post if you are interested. 

The second product I rotated in was the Snow Mushroom Water Serum and then a week later I added the Celery Green Cream.  So next week I will be posting the Celery Green Cream Review after using it for a full month.

For those that are unfamiliar with Volition Skincare. They produce clean, cruelty free, vegan skincare.   In addition they produce crowdsourced items.  So if you have an idea for a product, you fill out the form and send it to them.  They then ask the community what they think of the idea.  If it is approved, then they set a team of specialists to work turning the idea into a product. 

I thought this idea was interesting when I came across it the first time.  I have to say that having tried some of the products produced thorough this system, I am even more impressed by it.  I love that each product comes with a innovator card, letting you know who came up with the skin care idea.  The Snow Mushroom Water Serum was thought up by Keidy. And what is the serum supposed to do?

According to the site…

Snow Mushroom. It’s nature’s sponge. It holds nearly 500 times its weight in water. It’s the wonder ingredient in this hydrating face serum that delivers a surge of moisture as it naturally minimizes the appearance of pores.

Now I am the first to admit, I love a good serum.  I will also say, I love mushrooms.  I love all sorts of mushrooms and for a while I was even growing my own blue oyster mushrooms.  (mostly because I could never find them at my local grocery). I was a little skeptical about them in my skin care though.  However, I am all for minimizing the appearance of my pores.

However it isn’t just the snow mushroom that makes up this serum.  It has some help.

  • Snow Mushroom: Delivers hydration and helps improve moisture retention.
  • Marine Water: Helps detoxify skin, reduce shine, and minimize the appearance of pores.
  • Watermelon and Apple Extracts: Excellent sources of Vitamins C and A; visibly brighten the look of skin.
  • Lentil Extract: Rich in Vitamin B5; Helps to soothe and smooth the skin while helping retain moisture resulting in the appearance of softer, clearer, firmer-looking skin.

Full Ingredients: Tremella Fuciformis (Mushroom) Extract, Propanediol, Glycerin, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sea Water, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Water, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, N-Prolyl Palmitoyl Tripeptide-56 Acetate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Diheptyl Succinate, Xanthan Gum, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Sodium Carbomer, Ethylhexylglycerin.

volitionbeauty.com

As you can see there are a lot of good ingredients listed.  My skin loves vitamin C and it is often in my serums. I’ve never thought of lentils as a skin car ingredient but I do have a favorite recipe that uses both lentils and mushrooms so I find it oddly comforting to see them paired together here. (and yes I realize that makes little scientific sense, but it is still true)

Before I used this serum I took a look at the reviews. I like to kind of see if there are any problems I should look out for when trying a new product out. Plus I also like to find out whose reviews closely match mine so I can compare with other products.  The reviews were overwhelmingly positive.  I lifted a skeptical eyebrow and continued on. Given how positive the reviews were however, I was very much hoping my experience was as positive because it sounded fantastic in a Liz Lemon -I want to go to there – kind of way.

And yes, the first thing I did was open the bottle to take a sniff. 

Cause it’s me and you know that’s what I am gonna do. 

I was expecting a kind of earthy mushroom funk. I will say there is a slight underlying earthy note, but it doesn’t come right out and say I am mushroom come smell the funk.

Which is fine.  I may love the smell of sautéed mushrooms, but I wasn’t too certain of how I would feel about the scent in my skin care. While it does have that base earthiness, the serum just smells fresh and clean.  Maybe it is just because they used the snow mushroom water.

Or because they weren’t sautéing them.

I know that the Snow Mushroom Water is one ingredient, as opposed to water pairing with serum, however this serum has a very thin ‘water-like’ consistency. It is extremely light weight.  If you fear heavy pore clogging serums, then lean in this direction.  It feels extremely light on the skin and I had no trouble with any clogged pores while using it.

A small amount covered my face neck and decollete with no problem.  After applying it though, I did need to wait a minute before moving on with the rest of my skin care.  It wasn’t terribly long. 

I generally found if I applied it, and then brushed my teeth, then by the time I finished with my mouthwash rinse, my skin was ready for the moisturizer. If I didn’t wait then the two products mixed and both took longer to settle in. Since I had to brush my teeth anyway, it wasn’t a hardship to wait.

I used this serum twice a day for a full thirty days as part of my trial.  I applied it in the morning and in the evening.  After thirty days I am exactly halfway through the bottle.  So It is a fair estimate that the bottle will last two months. 

For me this is good to know because I will so be ordering a replacement bottle when this runs low and I need to know when to order it.  I really enjoyed this serum.  While it is light weight on the skin, it really does a heavyweight’s job. My skin felt hydrated and refreshed.

The pores on my cheeks and nose were reduced enough that I actually used a non-pore filling primer and  my skin still looked smooth.  I  also noticed a reduction in the fine lines at the corners of my eyes.  The skin was plump enough with retained moisture that they were less noticeable.  I stopped using my eye cream while using this serum for my trial because I wanted to make sure it was this product doing the line filling and not a combo effort. 

It was definitely the Snow Mushroom Water Serum.

closed

My only criticism of this product, and it is a slight one, has to do with the packaging.  It is in a lovely frosted glass bottle with a nice rose gold cap.  When you turn the cap the top pops up and operates the dropper inside.  All of this is fabulous.  It worked really well and it was easy to tell when the bottle was opened or fully closed.

open

  The only drawback I had was that the entire cap is smooth.  While opening it is no problem, closing it involves either hands still slick with left over serum after I’ve massaged it into my skin or hands slick from washing them post application. (yes I dry my hands but they are still slightly slick) There were a couple of times I almost dropped the glass bottle.  If the lid had just a little bit of texture to it, I would be less worried about dropping it with slick hands.  

I know I could just wait until I reach the end of my skin care regimen and my hands are clean and dry, but I don’t like leaving products open too long after I use them.  Plus, I recently had to bid an untimely farewell to one of my favorite concealers because I forgot to recap it. So it is sort of on my mind.  But with this I really was worried about dropping the glass bottle. 

While I’m sure it is shatter resistant, I wouldn’t want to risk losing even a single drop.  I may have to set this aside to try out new skin care items, but I know this is one that I will consistently return to use when I am not testing things out or need a break between tests. At the moment I am considering easing out of using it so that should my next trial not go as smoothly, I will have product remaining to repair whatever damage it does. It is a fantastic formula and The Volition Snow Mushroom Water Serum will remain on my favorites list for a long time to come.


Volition Beauty|Free Shipping, Free Returns & Free Sampling

Annmarie SkinCare Review

The line up for the the two week Annmarie Skincare Trial

For the past two weeks I’ve been testing out various Annmarie Skincare Products.  They very kindly sent over samples for me to review.  I have to say it was very interesting to test out not one, but an entire series of products from the same company at the same time.  In case you haven’t heard of Annmarie Skincare, according to their website

We carefully select organic and wildcrafted ingredients — including herbs and plant extracts — to meet the highest standards of quality and effectiveness for your skin and body. We carefully audit our sources to ensure that they continue to meet our standards of purity and sustainability. 

I’m a big fan of their commitment to sustainability and was thrilled to be able to try out their products. Before I get into the individual products, let me go over the regime I’ve been following during the trial.

First up was the Aloe Herb Cleanser which I used twice daily, once in the morning and once at night. There was also the Anti-Aging Serum which I also used twice daily after cleansing. As AnnMarie Skincare provided me with two types of facial oil, I used the Herbal Facial Oil for the first week and the Anti-Aging oil for the second week.  The oil I applied twice daily as well, applying it to my skin after the serum was given a little time to sink in. 

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I used the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub.  The final element to this skin care trial were the face masks.  Two masks were provided.  The first week I used the Illuminating Pearl Mask Monday , Wednesday and Friday and the second week I used the Purifying Mud Mask for the same three day system.

The only item I didn’t have with this line was a moisturizer so I used the Purlisse Blue Lotus Moisturizer since I knew how it performed from an earlier trial of the product.

Over all, I really enjoyed these products and I think they worked really well together.  Individually there are some that I liked better than others. So let’s get into the individual products .

First up is the Aloe Herb Cleanser. It is an herb infused facial cream cleanser that smells of lemon verbena.  Seriously, the scent alone is worth buying the product.  It is a wonderful aroma to wake up to and equally pleasant to take off the day.  But a cleanser isn’t just about scent, no matter how scent oriented I am.  According to the product page…

The cleanser is creamy but doesn’t really foam up. It does however work well and smell amazing.

Cleanse and lift excess oil with this pH-balanced, aloe vera-based cream cleanser. Infused with beautifying herbs and a light blend of natural oils containing essential fatty acids, to keep your skin naturally hydrated. Gently removes makeup and impurities without drying or leaving any residue. Leaves your skin feeling nourished, soft and beautiful.

I have to say, my skin felt nourished and soft with no residue left behind.  It isn’t the greatest at removing mascara, but it took down all other makeup with no problems.  And then I did a quick clean-up of the raccoon eyes with the Makeup Eraser easy peasy. Since most cleansers have some issues with mascara, I’m willing to give it a pass on that, especially because of the scent.

Next up, was the Anti-aging Serum.  Again this is a product I really liked. The sample vial had just enough product to last for the two week test.  I took the eye dropper from an empty bottle of serum and used three drops of the serum for each application.  It covered my face well, absorbed quickly and smelled deliciously herbal.  I couldn’t identify any particular herbal scent but it is very herbal-ly smelling. I was very sad when the bottle was empty. I actually upended the bottle and tapped it on my hand to get the very last drops out of it befire I finally had to admit that it was empty.  On the product page…

This versatile, aloe vera-based serum provides active nutrients for all skin types, firming and tightening the appearance of aging skin. Hyaluronic acid hydrates, while the herbal extracts buddleja davidii and edelweiss protect skin from environmental stressors. Life everlasting flowers soothe and refresh.

Perhaps I couldn’t identify the herbs by scent because I am unfamiliar with how most of the ones listed actually smell on their own.  Either way I did see an improvement in my skin’s texture and while my fine lines weren’t magically erased, they didn’t get any larger and my skin had a healthy glow to it.

The anti-aging oil

Next up we come to the oil and I have to admit, I had a little bit of a problem with the oils. The scent of both the Herbal Facial Oil and the Anti Aging oil are sharply herbal, but despite the two oils smelling different from each other they both have a slight medicinal scent to their aromas that I didn’t find all that appealing.  Perhaps it is the willow bark. In addition, they both have a slightly thick texture to them that I didn’t particularly care for. It is purely a textural issue as both products performed well. 

The Herbal Facial Oil is…Specially formulated with cleansing botanicals, white willow bark and neem, this delicate herbal blend helps unclog pores and balances natural oils. Lightly moisturizing with a fast-absorbing grapeseed oil base. Leaves skin soft and smooth for a bright and beautiful complexion.

While the Anti Aging Oil is described as… This luxurious, herb-infused formula delivers intense moisture to keep dry and mature skin supple and dewy. Antioxidant-rich seed oils — chia, goji berry, and broccoli — firm and tighten, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Jojoba oil resembles your skin’s natural oil, softening and conditioning mature skin. Your skin vibrates in perfect harmony.

When applying them I had to think ’this is good for me’ before I applied them. And they were good for my skin, even if I wasn’t the biggest fan of the scent or texture.  My complexion is smooth and bright, my skin clear and kind of glowy. They really work well, but that scent and texture really threw me.

The scrub comes as a powder, which I like but it is a little too gentle a scrub for me.

The Ayurvedic Facial Scrub is designed for sensitive skin and is a very mild exfoliate.  The product page describes it as…

This fragrant Indian herbal treatment with horsetail and fenugreek seeds exfoliates and softens. Mineral-rich Rhassoul clay from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco absorbs excess oil. This gentle but powerful treatment leaves skin revitalized, fresh and alive.

It has a similar scent to the Purifying Mud Mask, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it has some of the same ingredients.  Like the mud mask, it comes as a dry powder that you mix with a little bit of water to turn into a paste. The process made me feel like a mad scientist when I used it.  It is a decent exfoliator and if you have sensitive skin, I can see this being perfect for you.  It left my skin feeling fresh, but I personally prefer a slightly more exfoliating exfoliator. It was fun to mix though and I enjoyed playing around with the consistency.

I reviewed both the Illuminating Pearl Mask and the Purifying Mud Mask in separate posts so I’ll just link those reviews instead of going into great depth here ( Previous in depth reviews: PEARL and MUD), but to sum up both posts; I loved the face masks. The Illuminating Pearl Mask left my skin glowing and the Purifying Mud Mask left me feeling deep down clean.  Personally, I prefer the Purifying Mud Mask, but I tend to lean towards more pore cleansing masks in general.  Both are good and well worth trying out.

Of the products I used during this trial I have to say the Aloe Herb Cleanse, the Anti-aging Serum and the two masks were the absolute best and they are products I will be adding to my list of products to purchase. I loved how they performed and how they made my skin feel.

While the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub is not my absolute favorite, I have a couple of friends with sensitive skin who I will definitely recommend it to as I think it would be more up their alley than mine. 

I think I would have to pass on the facial oils.  Although they did lovely things for my skin, I just don’t think I could take the texture of them long term. I think if I purchased them, I would look for reasons not to use the oil.  In all fairness though, my mother actually uses the Herbal Facial Oil for oily skin and she absolutely loves it. It is one of the few facial oils she can use that doesn’t leave her feeling greasy. Since a little goes a long way, and I was using two separate oils, I have some left over.  She has already staked a claim on them and they will be leaving my bathroom and going straight to hers where they will be used and well loved.

Over all I really liked this trial and I loved the way my skin looked and felt.  I found some products that I really liked and will be ordering and some that just weren’t for me. It’s always good when a brand that has such a good ethos also has good products and I was very pleased with Annmarie Skincare.