Contains gifted items from AXIS-Y – all opinions are my own.
Looking for cruelty free, vegan, skincare that also has no artificial colours, fragrances, essential oils, mineral oils, or parabens?? Then look no further than AXIS-Y. They very kindly gifted me a skincare set to help out during the very hot, very humid summer we had here this year in Korea. Three products that are climate inspired to help with oily, acne prone skin in humid locations, as the weather can really do a number on your pores.
This post has been a long time coming, but needs must when you’re suffering from damaged skin and you want to give a full and fair review of new products. One of the products contains an acid, and I felt it was unfair to do a partial review of the set when I was steering clear of using acids on my skin. I also like to take time to assess how my skin reacts to new skincare, passing potential purging hurdles before forming opinions or writing words on a platform where I aim to provide as much information as I can, which also takes time.
Disclaimers over – let’s have a look at the brand and these products.
My skin type:
My skin, for the most part, is combination sensitive. I get oily in the usual areas (t-zone) and am prone to breakouts along my jawline (hormonal) and blackheads or sebaceous filaments. My skin has proved to be incredibly sensitive in the past, mostly due to the fact I suffer from very reactive eczema and have done since birth. In summer, the oil production increases, in winter, I’m trying to cling on to moisture for dear life.
AXIS-Y: The Brand
First and foremost, it’s lovely to see more brands stepping up to be cruetly free and vegan. Not only that, but AXIS-Y ensures their products contain no irritants – like fragrances and artificial colours – and use ingredients that are low on the comedogenic scale, that are natural and effective at soothing skin concerns. The brand themselves are also very open to feedback and building a solid community surrounding their products, and fit the gap in the market for people who experience a hot and humid climate, and the way that climate affects our skin.
To create their products, AXIS-Y use something called the 6+1+1 (611) advanced formula: – 6 Nutrient-rich, natural ingredients, carefully selected for their benefits for skin in hot, humid weather – 1 Functional, goal-oriented agent. Instead of loading up a product to be multi-functional and try and target lots of different concerns, ending up with an ingredient list half a bottle long, AXIS-Y focus on one skin problem. They choose one (1) functional ingredient that will safely and effectively solve the targeted concern. – 1 Quality-producing technology. A focus on quality is really nice to see in a brand. So while AXIS-Y’s current collection may be small, it is produced to be effective, consistently.
Aesthetics first – I love the packaging of these products. Even though I wasn’t a dab hand at chemistry in school (only ever good at the practicals, never the theory) I still have an intense love for products that look like they should be on the shelves of an apothecary. The green bottles with their vintage-style labels look very pretty on any skincare shelf (show me your #shelfies!), and I’m a fan of pump action and pipette style dispensers. The smaller the chance of my hands contaminating the product, the better. The boxes are also recyclable, and each bottle should be, also.
Cleanser: Quinoa One-Step Balanced Gel Cleanser
Claims: removes bacteria from skin and pores, defends skin from UV damage and free radicals, gently clears makeup – even waterproof – and skin Ingredients: Centella Asiatica, Calendula, Green Tea, Sweet Almond Oil (comedogenic rating of 2), Humulus Lupulus, Holy Basil. Functional Ingredient: Quinoa. pH: 5.5
Centella Asiatica is an ingredient that is great for helping damaged skin rebuild (it’s one of the ingredients to look out for in moisturisors too), and sweet almond oil is packed full of vitamin E, so great at keeping your skin healthy. Humulus Lupulus has antimicrobal properties which are great for fighting off acne-causing bacterial, as well as skin conditioning and soothing properties. Calendula has antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are useful in wound healing and soothing eczema. Holy Basil, when used in skincare topically, can reduce inflammation, help clear up acne and brighten areas of hyper-pigmentation. Sweet almond oilcontains vitamin E to help keep skin cells healthy, protecting them from UV damage, whilst maintaining a smooth, soft, fine-line free appearance. The fatty acids promote the retention of moisture, and can help the healing process of skin that is irritated or chapped. Sweet Almond Oil also contains vitamin A, which can help fight acne. Green Tea is also very well known for its potent skin soothing and antioxidant properties due to polyphenols. It has also been shown to help improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin.
Quinoa as a functional ingredient supports the synthesis of collagen and elastin for smooth, supple skin; naturalises free radicals with Vitamin E; helps reduce dark spots and discolourations.
AXIS-Y says: A loving cleanser that clears makeup and pores in one step while delivering a gentle and hydrating wash at your skin’s natural pH. The combination of quinoa and healthy nutrients remove environmental toxins to reveal healthy, lively skin.
What do I think? This cleanser is definitely effective at removing makeup. It took even the toughest of eyeliner off with ease, and without having to rub. It also rinsed off cleanly, without leaving my skin feeling tight or squeaky, but still giving that fully cleansed feeling.
When I first started using this cleanser, I was very hopeful that it would help alleviate some of the eczema I was suffering from, as all the ingredients pointed towards doing exactly that, however I think my skin was a little too sensitive and a little too damaged for me to use this in a one-step way. When I combined it as a second step with an oil cleanser first, I really did notice the cleanser doing its job.
I’m not entirely sure why my skin was so picky (then again, it really didn’t like the cosRX honey ceramide cream at first and that is now a holy grail product), but I did see improvements in areas where I was prone to breaking out during those hot, sticky summer days, and so focused on using this cleanser in those areas rather than the rawer, more sensitive parts of my face. Even after letting my skin heal, using this cleanser on the parts where I produce more oil throughout the day tended to cause redness in the areas of previous problems when I tried as a one-step method. So I’m not sure if maybe I’m reacting to an ingredient – I have had a lot of problems in the past even with prescription medication for my eczema.
Despite my skin not enjoying this product as much as I’d like, I really think it’d be good for you guys if you have more oily, or combination-oily skin than I do. My skin type errs more towards combination dry for most of the year, with a mild-to-very oily t-zone, depending on the time of the month and the season. I think here it’s a case of me using the wrong products for the job, rather than the product itself, and that is thoroughly on me. Skincare is a very personal thing – a notion that AXIS-Y understand.
Toner: Daily Purifying Treatment Toner
Claims: Clears pollutants and bacteria deep in pores; has a light, refreshing feeling after application; contains a gentle concentration of BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) to cleanse acne and soothe irritation, leaving the skin ready for treatment. Ingredients: Centella Asiatica, Tea Tree, Sugar Cane, Lotus, Houttuynia, Narrowleaf Hawkweed. Functional Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 0.5%.
Again, we have Centella Asiatica which helps to boost your skins healing power, great if you’re wanting to minimise the appearance of things like acne scars. It also helps reduce fungal acne growth by boosting local antioxidants. Tea Tree is well known in the skincare world, it’s antibacterial properties make this a wonder product for treating acne, but it is also great for reducing inflammation and helping prevent your skin overproducing oils. Sugar Cane is an ingredient that is somewhat new to me, so I’ve been doing research. In its extract form, Sugar Cane is classed as an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) since it contains gylcolic acid, so it is effective at helping to gently exfoliate the skin. Sugar Cane may also be able to help reverse, or at least slow down the effects of sun damage on the skin. Lotus is an ingredient that can improve the overall appearance of your skin by purifying, exfoliating with natural AHAs, soothing by conditioning and hyrdrating, and firming and tightening due to the proteins contained. Houttuynia is a flowering plant eaten as a leaf vegetable with a long history of use in traditional medicine, especially in China, and it’s main active components are called flavonoids. Houttuynia contains quercetin, queritrin, hyperoside, and rutin, which all show anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. So great for oily, acne-prone skin. Quercitrin has also demonstrated an ability to decrease damage from UVB rays, which is good if you live in climates with a lot of hot weather. The amount and potency does depend on they type of extract used, though – whether from the root or leaves, whether it’s in water etc. Narrowleaf Hawkweed is an ingredient that I can’t find a vast amount on, but it seems to be used in herbal medicines for wound healing.
Salicylic Acid is a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid), which means that it is oil soluable, and can penetrate the lipid layer of the skin to gently exfoliate. AHA’s are good for removing dead skin cells, whilst BHA’s are good at going deeper to unclog pores. Salicylic acid is also particularly effective at fighting acne, as it dissolves debris that clogs pores, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and helps reduce the size of angry, inflamed pimples faster. Salicylic acid is also very effective on both blackheads and whiteheads. It can, however, irritate very sensitive, dry skin, and should be avoided if pregnant, or taking blood thinning medication.
AXIS-Y says: Clears out bacteria and pollution stuck deep in pores that cause persistent inflammation and acne. Nutrients from our natural ingredients then soothe skin and promote healing.
Specially formulated for oily rich skin.
What do I think? This was the product I had to wait until my eczema had cleared up completely to use. Acids and dry or damaged skin are not a good match, and I wasn’t about to give myself chemical burns for the sake of a speedy review.
Once my skin had healed, I starting applying this in the areas that I was prone to blackheads, breakouts and oiliness only, as that’s usually the recommended style of application for products containing Salicylic acid. For me, that’s around my nose (blackheads), chin, and some of my forehead, as those areas collect the most oil throughout the day, and are where I get breakouts. AXIS-Y says that this is formulated for oil rich skin, and as my skin hasn’t been its usual summer-self, I wanted to be very careful but still thorough.
I began using this toner twice a week, applying in the evening only, with a gap of 3 days in between applications so that my skin could get used to the acids. It’s important not to go to quickly with acid exfoliation, and increase the amount as your skin builds tolerance. Even though this AXIS-Y treatment toner is a Daily Purifying Treatment Toner, I would only recommend daily use from the get go if your skin is (as AXIS-Y say) oil rich. If you are acne-prone but not super oily, then use as I have been, only on the areas that are blemish prone, or oily.
Improvements in the areas I applied was very swift – my skin felt like it was cleaner from the first application, and I could see that there was a reduction in both blackheads and breakouts as I continued to use the toner. Acids work hard and quickly – especially salicylic acid as it has drying properties – though it’s around the 12 week mark that I’ll really start seeing more lasting results.
Pros of this products were that I never felt any tightness of the skin after application, and my face felt prepared for the next step
in my routine. It also absorbed really quickly. I was concerned about possible irritation (super sensitive skin), but was pleasantly surprised that this formulation didn’t irritate at all, and my skin probably could’ve handled less of a gap between applications. But being overly cautious is better, even when using a product that has a lower concentration of the functional ingredient. During those really hot and humid days in summer, it was really nice knowing that my skin was and felt clean and fresh after this step.
Ampoule: Artichoke Intensive Skin Barrier Ampoule
Claims: encourages hydration of skin cells that plump up cell walls, and reducing the appearance of pores. Nutrients boost enzymes that heal skin from UV rays, blemishes and aging. The Ampoule helps to control oil production, heal your skin and protect against future damage. Ingredients: Centella Asiatica, Tea Tree, Aloe Vera, Licorice, Okra, Burdock Root. Functional Ingredient: Artichoke
Threes the charm, Centella Asiatica is once again on the ingredient list, boosing skins healing to prevent acne scarring, calming irritations and inflammation, and clearing out the bacteria that causes fungal acne. Tea tree is there to soothe irritation (redness) using its anti-inflammatory properties, prevents the overproduction of oils, and eliminates the bacteria that goes on to cause acne. Aloe Vera is well known for its healing properties when used in skincare. It’s a powerhouse when it comes to any type of skin damage, as it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial properties, as well as being a strong humectant (agent that keeps the water IN), and keeping itchiness at bay with soothing properties. Licorice is great for anti-ageing, as it has demonstrated tightening and firming action on the skin. It is also often used in skincare due to its soothing properties from the component galbradin, which is also a potent antioxidant. It has also shown to be effective at lightening dark spots, and may have effectiveness in reducing the appearance of uneven skin tones. Okra has potent antioxidant properties, it contains quercetin, catechin, epicatechin, procyanidin, and rutin, so it’s great at helping protect the skin barrier from free radicals. Okra is also high in vitamin C, helping to promote skin healing as well as aiding in maintaining skin looking more youthful. It also has nutrients that also aid in evening out skin pigmentation. Burdock Root is another ingredient that has been used for centuries in holistic medicines. It is a popular choice of Tea in South Korea, so I’m not surprised at all that it has found its way into skincare. Burdock Root is another antioxidant powerhouse, containing quercetin, luteolin and pheonlic acids which attach to free radicals to prevent damage. Antioxidants also help reduce inflammation. Burdock Root has also been used in topical treatments for eczema, psoriasis, and acne because of antibacterial properties
Artichoke as a functional ingredient helps skin retain moisture, increasing the cell wall density to help reduce the appearance of pores. It nourishes the skin from the inside to help plump the skin to create a radiant, healthy glow by utilising the antioxidants and peptides in the artichoke. It also helps to reduce the damage cause by UV rays.
AXIS-Y says: An artichoke ampoule that delivers rich anti-oxidants, nutrients, and hydration that heals damaged, irritated skin barriers. In addition, phytonutrients defend against bacteria and pollutants to prevents future breakouts and irritation. Safe and effective for all skin types.
What do I think? Saving the best ’till last, this is my favourite product from the trio. I really saw a reduction in the redness I get on my face after after using the product, and I believe the texture of my skin improved too. It looked a lot more uniform across my cheeks and forehead, where I often feel it looks a little bumpy and uneven. I love how easy the application of this product is, there is no sticky feeling after the ampoule has sunk into the skin, and it absorbs really quickly. AXIS-Y suggest gently patting, not rubbing, the product into the face – and TBH you should be doing this with your skincare anyway – to make sure the serum can work effectively, as tapping ensures the product is completely absorbed without tugging or rubbing, even into the deeper layers. Having a product that absorbs quickly is definitely major plus points in my book, as I’m not one for waiting around for layers to sink in unless it’s a cream. I also really love how it almost immediately gives the skin a more plump, nourished appearance. There is a slight hint of tea tree in scent, so you really don’t notice that you have any product on your face once everything is absorbed. In regards to enhancing my skin’s natural barrier, I think it has – I have been dealing with fewer and fewer breakouts, the reduction in redness tells me that my skin is feeling less irritated and inflamed, and overall my skin appears brighter and as though it’s retaining more moisture.
pin for later
All in all, I think that AXIS-Y is a great brand, both in it’s trailblazing ways in the Korean market, and for its attention to detail to get it’s skincare on point for it’s target market. And even though all of these products didn’t work for me, they have an ever growing collection of products to try and protect your skin from an unforgiving climate.
Have you tried AXIS-Y products? If you have, which has been your favourite product? If you haven’t, which do you think you’d add to your skincare stash?