I am always a little nervous about trying new skincare brands because of how sensitive my skin can be to treatment, however, a few weeks ago I was given the chance to trial the youth-activating serum from a new skincare line by Algotherm that’s meant to be safe for all skin types, including sensitive.
It didn’t take much of a leap of faith to add this Algotherm serum to my daily mix of skin elixirs because Algotherm happens to be a French skincare brand that’s not just the undisputed pioneer of marine-based skincare products but it is also a company that has been around for more than half a century. Now, if that isn’t a heritage that speaks loudly of the brand’s efficacy, I don’t know what is. Fifty years is a good amount of time to perfect almost anything, don’t you think? That said, however, I can’t talk about something I haven’t tried personally and while I can come away with a conclusion from immediately to less-than-a-day for cosmetics – I need to take my long, sweet time with skin care products in order to assess the effects or impact on my skin. In this case, I’ve been spending five intimate weeks getting to know this Algotherm Marine Life Serum (or Serum de vie Marine in French). Speaking retrospectively, I also fully intend to continue usage and squeeze out every last drop of this serum from its bottle and you’ll understand why later.
Before I proceed, I think it’s important that I make sure we are all on the same page so I’m going to ask an obvious question…
WHAT IS A SERUM?
Sounds like a silly question but you would be surprised at how many people mistake a serum for being simply a moisturiser.
Sure, some serums can be as hydrating as a moisturiser, but simply assuming a serum is your basic moisturiser would be doing a great injustice to the full potential of a serum.
Here are some notes about what a good serum is-:
- One of the key features of serums as opposed to a cream or lotion is what it doesn’t contain. Unlike creams and lotions, a serum contains less ingredient filler and, as result, is more lightweight on the skin, faster absorbing and more concentrated in the active ingredients that will help improve your skin.
- And, where moisturisers are more superficial in the way they rely on a barrier or wax component to hold in moisture to the skin’s surface , the fantastic power of an effective serum lies in the way it is designed to penetrate right into the skin to deliver a powerful dose of concentrated and active ingredients targeted at skin and cell repair. Formulated to contain smaller molecules than your average moisturiser, the tinier serum molecules sink right into the skin to deliver benefits at a sub-dermis level.
- Adding a serum to your regular skincare routine can also maximise the benefits of your other skin care products by making the skin more happy to accept the best benefits of these other products. Start with layering a serum into your usual skincare routine by applying it to freshly cleansed skin and before your moisturiser for best effect.
- The downside to using a serum and enjoying all of the accelerated benefits of its more active ingredients is unfortunately but usually the price. A serum product is by far one of the most expensive parts of any skin care range. The upside to this is that as far as serums go, a little goes a long way and you won’t need to be using a lot to see results.
ALGOTHERM ALGOTIME EXPERT:
THE MARINE LIFE SERUM – AN INTRO
The Algotherm Marine Life Serum is one of the latest products coming from the labs of Algotherm and is the first step in a range that’s targeted at giving new life to dull, slackened, pigmented and maturing skin. This is one of five products being launched under Algotherm’s new AlgoTime Expert Line and is the line’s only total treatment product against all the visible signs of ageing. The other products in the range are designed to target more specific aspects of ageing. According to Algotherm, the official wrap on this product as with all products in the AlgoTime Expert Line, is that it contains a patented (Algogene-4) formula of active ingredients derived from four types of specialised marine algae varieties –
- Undaria pinnatifida – reduces wrinkles and fine lines
- Alaria esculenta – restores firmness, elasticity and suppleness
- Ulva lactuca – is for lifting, redefining and sculpting the facial contour
- Dictyopteris membranacea – is an anti-dark spot active ingredient
Apparently combined, this quad of algae is able to activate the 35 genes involved in the anti-ageing process and so, a youth-activating serum and anti-ageing collection is born. This intriguingly active formulation combined with Algotherm’s 50-year heritage of making solid skin care treatments made me feel that I was in good hands with the Marine Life Serum and I was eager to try it.
Packaging-wise, The Marine Life Serum is as lovely as the little skincare luxuries that are housed under Lancome, Estee Lauder and other higher-end brands. The colour of the bottle is a relaxing deep lavender and will look great on the vanity in and amongst your other lotions and potions. As with only some of the best skincare products in the world, this serum is housed in a weighty glass bottle with a pump dispenser that is both hygienic and handy to use. Thankfully, this pump cap is very well made and isn’t one of those overly enthusiastic ones that spews product out in all directions at the slightest touch. The Marine Life Serum administers just the right amount for the face and neck in a single, light-handed pump. Certainly, at the price of this product, I’m glad that dispensing is measured and easy to control. The Marine Life Serum is lovely but doesn’t come cheap. You won’t want it sloshing about and ready to waste.
Before I talk about my experience with the Marine Life Serum, I’d just like to show you a few closeups of the formula itself so that you know what you can expect ‘out-of-the-bottle’. There is a softly pearlescent shimmer suspended in the pink serum and if you spread it out, your skin instantly takes on a very delicate radiance that comes from the presence of very, very fine sparkles that catch the light. The serum spreads onto the skin colourless and contains no grittiness at all but the presence of some shimmery particles is visible to the naked eye once the serum is spread out on the skin. This shimmer is akin to what you would find in a highlighter makeup product.
It’s difficult to capture the effect on camera but if you look carefully at the images below, you may just be able to make out some of the glimmer. Personally, I don’t think the presence of shimmer is necessary in a serum but I guess it does impart an immediate sheen and radiance to the skin when it catches the light. However, with my oily skin, I was a little worried that this could make me look excessively shiny during the day so I tempered my skin (and paranoia) with a dusting of finishing powder over my BB Cream for day wear when I use this serum. At night, however, the highlighting shimmer is more welcome but at such a low intensity it’s hardly noticeable in the low light.
For those of you to whom it matters, the product does have a scent and thankfully, it’s not at all fishy despite being a marine-based formula. The actual scent is fragrant and almost floral. It doesn’t smell sweet but it does smell like what you would expect from an upmarket lotion – a sort of pleasant and pretty feminine smell. The smell reminds me a little of Lancome’s Hydrazen moisturising fluid but is actually, in my opinion, more pleasant and milder than that. Don’t be too worried, it’s not an offensive scent and doesn’t linger on the skin for too long after application but it is there at the start.
- Oily T-zone
- Dry, often flaky cheeks and nose area
- Prone to redness and flushing
- No acne/ Occasional spots
- Mild Atopic Eczema triggered by heat/ sun exposure
- Skin Condition is sensitive but relatively good for my age
- No crows feet/ laugh lines, some light wrnkles under the eyes
- Fair-Medium tone but easy to tan
THE MARINE LIFE SERUM:
ABOUT THE TRIAL
I added the Algotherm Marine Life serum to my skincare regime over the course of five weeks (35-days) and applied the serum to my face and neck area in the evening each night before bed. I began my trial with the application two times a day as suggested by the instructions – once in the morning and once again before going to bed but I have actively oily skin that worsens as the day wears on. I found that a daytime application can be somewhat rich for my skin and when worn under makeup. After two weeks I decided to switch to night-only application but extended the trial period for review from 3 to 5 weeks. Being quite the lazy wench when it comes to skin care, this was the first time I have actually recorded any dedicated use of a serum on my skin for such an extended period. As much as I love skin care products, I’m guilty of being quite scatty with my personal skin care program and tend to rely on luck and whatever happens to be on hand to wing it through a period of good skin. I know I really shouldn’t be so scatterbrained with my skincare because I have sensitive, easily irritable skin but old habits die hard and so I often find myself swinging frequently between good skin days and patchy flare ups. My bad, I know. I need to get a handle on this sort of carelessness if I want more good skin days.
- Dry patches around the cheeks have all but disappeared and I have discovered that there is no longer any visible flaking or peeling of the skin that used to plague me daily. Skin texture is improved and there is no longer any feeling of tightness associated with dry skin.
- Due to the reduced flakiness around the cheek area, my makeup is easier to apply and looks much more even and natural. On some very lazy weekend days I even go without any base, just the serum.
- My skin feels plump to the touch. I know this is not very scientific but it does feel springy when I pinch my cheeks and I checked the mirror and I don’t yet see any slackening around the jaw line.
- I have been getting more compliments on my skin from random people I don’t even know as I go about my day – just yesterday morning the lady at the video store told me my skin was great and asked me what I used. I told her Algotherm serum and Korean BB Cream.
- People generally tend to tell me that they think I’m younger than I am – I find this strange but this happened even before I started the serum so it must be a genetic thing or their eyesight needs a check but whichever way, I am grateful. These people seem genuinely spooked when I do tell them my age and I wickedly get a kick out of this ;P
- My skin is still oily and looks oily so no, there is no mattifying or oil-control effect from this serum. There may be a little less shine across the t-zone than at at pre-trial but not enough to say that this product is mattifying.
- Fortunately, I don’t really have any crows feet or deep wrinkle lines to speak of but those very fine lines that were under my eyes pre-trial are still there but I think this has more to do with lack of sleep than anything. I’m getting roughly about 5 hours a night of sleep lately which is quite frankly for me, not enough! I don’t think there is a serum in the world that can save anyone who abuses themselves with a shortage of z-hours.
- Thankfully, no allergic reaction or breakouts of eczema or spots during the trial period. You can’t imagine how important this is to me. Some products cause an immediate flare-up of redness on my face and body. I’m pleased to say that my skin tolerates this serum well.
* Just as an aside to the point above, if you have ultra-sensitive skin and don’t want to dive right into a product – consider a swatch test on your inner elbow area first. If you don’t experience any irritability or discomfort during a 24-hour period then you could do a second swatch test on the sensitive patch of skin behind your ears. If there is also no allergic reaction here after 24-48 hours then you should be alright to go ahead with application to your face. An alternative but more costly option is to run your new product though with a qualified dermatologist before you proceed to use it. Choose the method that gives you the most peace of mind but consider at your own risk.
THE ALGOTHERM MARINE LIFE SERUM:
MY PERSONAL CONCLUSION
The Marine Life Serum feels soothing, non-astringent and comfortable on the skin. For those with oily skin like mine, it leaves my skin feeling hydrated enough to make me think that I don’t require a moisturising product. My makeup base has also been easier to apply because the improved hydration has resulted in a better skin texture and hence, canvas for makeup application. I’m not a big fan of primers and tend not to layer a primer under my foundations/ bb cream at all for my daily needs but my skin seems to take up my base creams just as adequately. I’m happy that since I added the Marine Life Serum as a layer to my skin routine that I’ve had no flareups of my eczema. I’d also be lying to say that I’m not delighted about the fact that people have told me that my skin is great and asked me what I’m using. I can even take photos without the need to add a filter…Yay to a #nofilter face in this day and age! Do note that this serum does not have any mattifying properties to speak of and the light shimmer effect seems to add some shininess to my skin on application. For oily skin, consider tempering the little added shine from the shimmer with an oil-control base product or a dusting of finishing powder. I suspect the shimmer inherent in this serum, however, would benefit those with dry, aged or papery skin because it would instantly impart an immediate (albeit cosmetic) radiance to a dull skin surface. My final note about this product is that it does not contain any SPF but this seems to be the case with serums in general so I would advise you to include another layer of skin care to your program that contains a decent level of sun protection. Really, I can’t stress enough about how bad the sun and UV can be to skin so all of your pricey skincare efforts would be in vain if you continued to expose delicate skin to these skin-damaging rays without an adequate level of SPF.
THE ALGOTHERM MARINE LIFE SERUM:
RM320 for 30ml – Made in France
Now, I would love to purchase this product when I finally empty the trial unit but I need to start budgeting for it NOW!
At RM320 for 3oml the Algotherm Marine Life Serum is going to be a very pricey addition to my usually haphazard skin care regime but the benefit of adding something this costly to my skin program would be the fact that it would encourage me into a more devoted pattern of good skin care.
This might be the factor that holds you back from jumping in with this serum but notably, as pricey as the Algotherm Marine Life Serum appears to be, it does fall within the standard pricing range for similar serum products from other brands.
With that in mind, I leave you with this quote so you can decide for yourself whether you might want to try the Algotherm Marine Life serum for yourself…I think it helps explain the pricing of serums compared with other skin care products.
” Serums contain the most potent dose of anti-aging ingredients – antioxidants, peptides, and skin brighteners such as kojic acid — you can find in nonprescription products. “They’re the true workhorses of any product line” – Ni’Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist.
In terms of purchasing the product, it is interesting to note that this is not a departmental store brand and that you will need to source all of Algotherm’s products through specially trained and dedicated spas around the country so I’m including the the contact details of Algotherm-aligned spas nationwide below for your convenience. These spas also offer in-spa treatments using Algotherm products.
For more information…
For other countries…
KUALA LUMPUR 1. Green Apple Beauty Centre, Taman Cheras, 03-9132 5330 2. Nutribon Beauty Sanctuary, Times Square, 03-2142 3229 3. Beleza Beauty, Kepong, 03-6242 1663 4. May Beauty Line, Permaisuri, 039171 6030 5. La Beautylicious Story, Taman Desa, 011-2366 8428
SELANGOR 1. Slim Tech Beauty Therapy, Rawang, 03-6733 4099 2. SS Beauty & Slimming Centre, Tmn. Equine, 03-8942 1811 3. Ovrio Beauty Therapy, Setia Alam, 03-3343 8082 4, La Senses Beauty House, Damansara Utama, 03-7710 1232 5. Wellys De Beauty,Ara Damansara, 03-7734 3387 6. Elam Beauty, Puchong IOI Boulevard, 012-269 0155
JOHOR 1. Liz Beauty Academy, Johor Bharu, 07-3323 902 2. Pure Bliss Sanctuary & Spa, Plaza DNP, 07- 3333 232 3. Pure Beauty House, Tmn. Mount Austin, 013-7755 888
Marinna Beauty Therapy, Ipoh, 010-3892 579
Zentuary Beauty & Spa, Alor Setar, 04-7717 877
1 M Beauty & Spa, Kota Kinabalu, 088-231 668
[Disclaimer: The Marine Life Serum was sent to me for trial and review. This does not affect my experience or opinion of the product. Commentary is my personal experience and opinion of the product. Consider at your own risk. Links are non-affiliate and for informational purposes only. Some official product images from Algotherm. Blog photos remain the property of me and this blog and may not be used without permission or credit.]