Seeing “Dr.” in the name of a skincare product usually kills any interest I have in it. Not only is the product guaranteed to lack any skincaretainment value but I also don’t like it when brands pander to “serious skincare” seekers. There have been two exceptions to this rule: Dr. Jart, which pretty consistently churns out products that I like, and Dr.Ci:Labo, who’s MO of throwing every buzzy skin ingredient in their products makes me willing to overlook their name and their love of abusing punctuation.
Today we are going to look at one of their more popular products, the Aqua-Collagen-Gel Enrich-Lift-EX.
Dr.Ci:Labo Aqua-Collagen-Gel Enrich-Lift-EX / ドクターシーラボ アクアコラーゲンゲルエンリッチリフトEX
Invisible veil keeps skin lifted-up strongly! You can get elasticity, resilience, gloss to the skin with only this one! This is ultimate gel combating the sign of aging! ACG Enrich-Lift EX has eight function as skin toner, Emulation, Serum, Eye-treatment cream, Massage cream, Facial pack, make-up base
Where does it fit in your routine?
The instructions say to apply this after cleansing. It’s intended as an all-in-one product.
Size and Price
This stuff comes in a few different jar sizes. The one I have is 50ml. I purchased it as part of a limited-edition bundle (that also included the VC100 lotion) from Amazon JP through a shopping service. It’s also available on Amazon for $41.16 or Rakuten for ¥3580 ($31.14 USD before shipping).
Shopping tip: If you’re ok with slower/cheaper shipping through Rakuten, leave Kenko Express a note during checkout requesting Small Packet or SAL shipping.
Comes in a gold colored plastic jar.
Smells like oranges!
Color and texture
This is pale yellow in color, looks almost like a light custard, but feels like a gel.
What’s in it?
117 ingredients, including a bunch of extracts, peptide, amino acids, αla, coq10, a vit C derivative, 5 types of ceramides, cholesterol, and some oils. Sounds cool right? But not so fast:
- This product contains 50 ml of gel, which is roughly 50g in weight, and costs about $31 in Japan
- Gold is the 8th ingredient on the list (platinum is 9th). As far as I know, Japanese labels require ingredients to be listed in order. This means that the 109 ingredients listed after gold are in smaller concentrations than gold
- In a 50g product, 1 gram of product = 2% concentration. The current market price of gold is $39 per gram. This means 1 gram of gold (again, 2% concentration) as a raw ingredient would cost MORE than what the whole jar costs in Japan (btw platinum, which is listed right after gold, is $32 a gram). There’s probably very, very, very, very little gold in this, much less than 2%. This also means there is even less of all of the enticing sounding extracts, antioxidants, amino acids, ceramides, and other ingredients that come after gold
And so, this is another one of those products where we cross our fingers and hope that the teeny tiny amounts of the individual ingredients are collectively doing something.
The ingredients that are in higher concentrations are water, glycerin, butylene glycol, squalane, pentylene glycol, betaine, and glycosyl trehalose. There’s some good stuff in there – I’m happy to see squalane and have no opposition to water or glycerin- but these are pretty much just your normal gel-cream ingredients.
Acne Triggers & Irritants
Cosdna identifies butylene glycol (1), squalane (1), tocopherol (2), jojoba seed oil (2), algin (4), and sorbitan laurate as acne triggers and tocopherol (2), jojoba seed oil (0-2), algin (4), carbomer (1), and sorbitan laurate (1) as irritants.
Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, squalane, pentylene glycol, betaine, glycosyl trehalose, gold, platinum, hydrolyzed collagen, hydrolyzed elastin, methyl carboxymethylphenyl Aminocarboxypropylphosphonate, procollagen, porphyrridium cloudentum extract, acetyl dipeptide -1 cetyl ester, quercus suber bark extract, dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline, cyathea cumingii leaf extract, plankton extract, porphyridium polysaccharide, soybean extract, rosa hybrid flower extract, prunus mume fruit extract, passionflower (passiflora edulis) fruit extract, α-lipoic acid, ubiquinone, resveratrol, soy isoflavone, pueraria mirifica root extract, pomegranate extract, soluble proteoglycan, placenta extract, cucumis melo (melon) phytoplacenta extract, trifluoroacetyl tripeptide-2, soluble collagen, succinyl allerocollagen, hydrolyzed keratin PG-propyl methylsilanediol, isostearoyl hydrolyzed collagen, sodium hyaluronic acid, hydroxypropyltrimonium hyaluronate, hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, sodium acetyl hyaluronate, C12-13 alkyl glyceryl hydrolyzed hyaluronate, ceramide 1, ceramide 2, ceramide 3, ceramide 5, ceramide 6 II, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, taurine, lysine HCI, glutamic acid, glycine, leucine, histidine HCI, serine, valine, sodium aspartate, threonine, alanine, isoleucine, allantoin, phenylalanine, arginine, proline, tyrosine, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, sodium riboflavin phosphate, pyridoxine HCI, trisodium ascorbyl palmitate phosphate, tocopherol, pueraria lobata extract, polygonum cuspidatum root extract, cimicifuga racemosa root extract, angelica root extract, aloe vera leaf extract, hibiscus esculentus fruit extract, red clover flower extract , cypress oil, pelargonium graveolens oil, lavandula angustifolia oil, Mthymus mastichina oil, cymbopogon martini oil, peppermint oil, vetiveria zizanoides root oil, citrus grandis peel oil, hydrolyzed starch hydrolysate, diglycerin, dipropylene glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, capri glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, phytosteryl macadamiate, jojoba seed oil, cholesterol, phytosphingosine, glycine soja, octyldodecanol, algin, xanthan gum, carbomer, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium lauroyl lactylate, dextran, pullulan, isostearic acid , hydrogenated lecithin, sorbitan laurate, PEG-12 dimethicone, sodium bicarbonate, potassium hydroxide, pentasodium pentetoate, caramel, phenoxyethanol
I like this gel better than some other ones I’ve used. It’s a little heftier, probably due to the squalane, and I like the scent. However, at the end of the day, gels are never moisturizing enough for my dry skin and for me to use them, I need to be able to layer another moisturizer over this one. Unfortunately, this is intended as an all-in-one, which means it’s not designed to layer very well.
This gel doesn’t really absorb into my skin. It just kind of dries down and takes a really, really long time to do so. Even after this gel dries down, it leaves my skin extremely sticky, like hair stuck in lip gloss sticky. After having had this for 5 months, the only way I can now tolerate using it is as a wash off mask. I put on a quarter-sized amount after cleansing, let it sit on my skin for 10-15 minutes, and then wash it off. On days when my skin is super dehydrated, this helps rehydrate a bit (although not as much as a normal sheet mask or lotion mask), but it doesn’t seem to have any noticeable anti-aging or elasticity-boosting effects, as advertised. It does indeed increase gloss by leaving my skin extremely shiny, but that’s one effect I’d rather not have.
This is a really overpriced gel product. It includes a TON of ingredients, many that sound beneficial and promising, but they’re in laughably small concentrations. If you have dehydrated skin, you might notice an improvement from this gel, but IMO you’re better off buying a cheaper gel (here are some popular ones) and investing the $ amount you save in a good serum or essence that actually does something.
Overall Rating: 2/5
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