I’ve been contemplating getting started with product reviews, but was unsure if it would be a fit for my platform. After some serious thought, I’ve decided to give it a go! Just to put a disclaimer out there, I am in no way profiting off of this review. In this review, and future ones, I will be giving my honest feedback. For companies wishing to have their products reviewed by The Eco Well, only send your products our way if you’re okay with our unadulterated feedback. At the end of the day, I think reviews are a great way to disseminate things on the market and a good educational tool. With all of that said, here’s my first review - FEY Hydrating Serum.
Initial Impressions, Packaging
My initial reaction of the packaging - it’s very sleek! I really like the gold on black. When I look at packages, the first things I usually look at are claims. For the most part, I’m okay with most of FEY’s claims on their package. It certainly is very hydrating, given the humectant content with hyaluronic acid, an extremely potent water-absorbing ingredient, as well as propanediol and glycerin. Hyaluronic acid is also a really lovely ingredient for skin softening - I’m always impressed with how good of a job it does at this, even at percentages as low as 0.5%. I’m a-okay with the softening claim.
Elasticity and fine lines… I can see why they may say this, but I find these two claims a wee bit unrealistic for a cosmetic. Why? Well first, this is a cosmetic product and not a drug. For a product to truly impact these two things, they would have to have good skin penetration and a more long-term skin impact… which is not what is aloud, from a regulatory stance, in a cosmetic product. For a product to have these non-transient, deeper impacts, for it to be truly effective long-term, it would come in the form of a drug and not a cosmetic product. Hyaluronic acid is an extremely popular ingredient in ‘anti-aging’ products, especially the low molecular weight options. The idea is that they’ll be able to replenish the hyaluronic acid in the deeper layers of your skin because they have greater penetrance due to their smaller size. While it will certainly hydrate your skin and give you a more dewy appearance, these kinds of ‘anti-aging’ changes have little evidence realistically. For more details on hyaluronic acid, check out this blog post.
My final thoughts on their package are regarding the hypoallergenic and free-from claims. Hypoallergenic is a term that is, more or less, unregulated on a label. To add, someone somewhere will be allergic to x ingredient. Can something truly be hypoallergenic? For free-from claims, it feels a bit like fear-based marketing, indicating to the consumer that the ingredient that the product is ‘free from’ is inherently bad, which isn’t really the case based on the available evidence. It’s a complex topic, but from my own view, I find these claims can perpetuate misinformation. As a result, I tend to prefer that marketing focuses on positives in a product rather than promoting what’s not in it. Of course, not everyone agrees with me, and I can understand why FEY chose to use these claims in light of consumer preferences and trends.
Second Impressions, ingredients
I’m a-okay with their ingredient choices. With the hyaluronic acid, I typically prefer to use the high molecular option due to a few studies that indicate potential for irritancy. With that said, I totally get why they chose to incorporate the low molecular weight option - it’s easier to formulate with for one. While the high molecular weight version absorbs so much water that it can be very tricky to use at higher percentages (i.e. it gels up and becomes unworkable past around 1%), the low molecular weight option doesn’t have that problem. It’s less hydrating as a result, but has improved penetrance as well. With that said, don’t be fooled into thinking that it will replenish your hyaluronic acid stores in your skin. I just wanted to also call out their choice of vitamin C, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP). The problem with vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) in cosmetic products is that it’s VERY prone to oxidation. Even with careful formulation and thoughtful packaging (e.g. airless pumps that aren’t translucent), it will degrade in the formula. Ever get a vitamin C product that has a yellow to tan color? This is why. At this point, there’s probably no active vitamin C left. In comes derivative vitamin C options, such as MAP - these are more stable in the product. As a result, MAP, as well as a few other derivative options, are my go to in a vitamin C type product. For more details on vitamin C in products, check out this blog post.
Third Impressions, actually testing out the product
When it came to actually trying out the product, it felt quite nice as I applied it. With that said, it had a bit of a ‘soaping’ effect that I wasn’t a big fan of - i.e. it rubbed in white and took a while to completely rub it onto my skin without the whiteness. I’m making the assumption that this is from their emulsifier - Inulin Glyceryl Caprylate. Usually, this soaping effect happens when the HLB of the emulsion isn’t quite right. Often times, this can be resolved with a volatile oil, most commonly dimethicone, but there are also EcoCert volatile oils that could help reduce this effect, or potentially different emulsier blends. This isn’t a big deal breaker though, you just have to spend a wee bit of extra time rubbing in the product. Once rubbed in, it also had a bit of ‘tackiness’ as well - it felt a little sticky for a while after application. This is very common when there’s slightly too much xanthan gum. Glycerin can also contribute to this effect. After about 10 minutes, the tackiness went away and the serum left the skin feeling very soft and hydrated. This is a big winning point for hyaluronic acid in a formula, it does a really good job hydrating the skin and making it feel soft. One note, for best use with this product, you only want a thin application. I found a thicker application resulted in a bit of product flaking, especially after makeup was applied. Not totally sure what's causing this at a glance, but I have experienced this myself in formulation with MAP when not fully hydrated. Maybe this is what's causing the flaking, but again, not sure without testing the product more. Overall, I liked this product.
Interested in purchasing a FEY product? Use the discount code THEECOWELL for 15% off :).