Avène is one of those skincare brands that puts me in mind of gentle, effective products tailored to suit whatever needs you have; be it dehydration, dryness, eczema, blemishes, or sensitivity. Having quite enjoyed using their Soothing Hydrating Serum, I decided to try out one of their moisturisers to see if it would work some magic. My skin is predominantly oily but can be prone to dehydration if I don’t have a proper moisturising routine. With that in mind, I began researching the only Avène moisturiser I was aware of that might cater to my skintype, which was the Avène Hydrance Optimale Light Hydrating Cream.
This cost me €19 in Boots, which is steep enough for a moisturiser considering that it’s something you intend to use twice daily. But I thought I’d try it out anyway. I’m not crazy about my Ren Clearcalm3 Replenishing Day Cream, which feels a little heavy on my skin, although it doesn’t break me out. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find moisturisers which cater to oily skin that don’t leave you feeling like you’ve dipped your face into a bag of chips.
The Hydrance Optimale Light Hydrating Cream is formulated for normal-combination skin, something which I’d normally run a mile from. But the product description online states that it contains ‘sebo-absorbing capsules for a light mattifying effect and a matte finish’. This sounded great; something that would hydrate my skin with that lovely French thermal spring water, but rein in those pesky sebaceous glands. Also, it claimed to be non-greasy and non-comedogenic, which is usually music to my ears. As well, it has a slightly more expensive UV resistant sister, which I thought I’d try this summer when/if the weather got warmer.
The packaging is functional but nice, and the tube dispenses as much or as little as needed. The formula is more lotion-like than creamy, and smells really nice, like babycare products. It does, however, contain fragrance – which is surprising, for a brand which prides itself on its hypo-allergenic properties. But anyway, the scent is lovely. It takes a minute or so to sink in, and doesn’t leave any noticeable residue behind. My make-up applied perfectly and I had no more (or no less) oiliness during the day.
It wasn’t mattifying as promised, but I could deal with that for the sake of a decent moisturiser. After all, that’s what primer and blotting powder is for. The little dry patches either side of my nose cleared up, and everything felt hydrated. But less than a week later, my skin became dreadful. Those little hard, bumpy spots that I’d spent a couple of months trying to eradicate were reappearing like the bubonic plague. My make-up suddenly looked terribly patchy, no matter what I did. In particular, my cheeks became so, so clogged. It really disappointed me actually as I’ve spent a lot of money on trying to get it to a somewhat clear state.
I re-checked the ingredients of the Hydrance Optimale; lo and behold, it contains safflower seed oil. How I overlooked that, I’ll never know. I might as well have been spreading sunflower oil on my face twice a day, for all the good it did. I stopped using it straight away, ramped up the chemical exfoliation and slowly, things are clearing up and smoothing out. This had been pretty much the only new addition to my skincare routine in a while, apart from the Soothing Hydrating Serum which is water based and oil-free anyway.
This was really disappointing as I do struggle to find a good moisturiser for my skin and this one was an expensive mistake. I think I allowed the good reputation of the brand cloud my judgement on this one. It’s a lesson learned but hopefully not one to be repeated; and the search for a holy grail moisturiser goes on!
Have you tried any Avène products before? Ever been disappointed with a moisturiser?