Holy Grails, is going to be a new beauty section in which I am going to be reviewing those products that have become an absolute must in my routine. Those which have proved to be worth every penny, being able to target real concerns and bringing great results overtime.
I want to start by explaining that I can be an extremely picky person when it comes to certain things. I do not mean by character, coming from a pretty big family and being quite easy-going, I tend to be good with most things, but when talking about the things I choose to buy, that changes, I have to admit that I am a pretty exigent consumer.
I was “blessed” with very difficult skin, super sensitive, with dermatitis, eczema, acne prone and extremely dehydrated. Skin that is super reactive to external and internal facts like pollution, hormones, products, stress and so on, which makes my skin´s state change by a lot, on daily basis. We can also add photosensitivity to the list, aka sun allergy, which being from Spain, the land of the sun, seems like a joke and does not help the cause in any way. Because of my difficult skin, I have had to investigate and become savvy to treat it as best as I could, but by now, I have a pretty set idea on what products should be achieving, which does not make me the easiest consumer to impress.
As a customer I value my time, money and trust, so if I decide to buy a product, giving those three to a company, even if the product is 2 dollars, I expect it to be worth it and do what it is supposed to. Money is hard to earn, time is limited and therefore I do not like to waste any of them. I also want to add that quality is not always linked with price, having many times, a lot of the most expensive brands, very low quality products in terms of ingredients or even performance, to justify such a cost with so many other better options out there, at least in my humble opinion. Reason why you might see a lot of mismatched items in this section, because I search for good products, made out of good ingredients, delivering the function they claim, independently of their brand.
Here you will find products that have proved to deserve the attention, maybe products that you might not have given a second look before, but you might want to reconsider investing in. I want to add that most products (with the exception of some ingredients that can be reactive to certain elements, conditions or skin types), can be played around to make them work in a way or another, because in skin care, the order of the factors does alter the product, by a lot, so do quantities and application methods. Talking already about very good products to begin with, most people can expect very good results following a correct application, which I will of course guide you through.
Today I am reviewing one of those products that have become a must have item for me, one that has helped tremendously with my skin texture, not only in how it looks but also in how it feels to the touch. A product that has made my skin significantly brighter, less congested, softer and my texture, which is probably one of my biggest concerns, improve a lot, by showing off less bumpiness, smaller pores and more evenness.
The product I am talking about is [By Wishtrend] Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. Wishtrend, the brand making this product, is a Korean company that started by bringing Korean skin care into the global market, at this point they have also developed their own brands and products that they sell among their other K-brands of choice.
In general Wishtrend, is a brand that I like, due to their range of products, they were the platform through which I first started buying some of my favorite Korean cosmetics from brands like COSRX and from their own brands like Klairs and By Wishtrend. I do not swear by any brand 100%, because I like to value products individually based on their traits, but in general the products they sell tend to have good quality and decent ingredient lists. Of course as in every other brand, there are hits and misses, but in general they tend to stay close to the claims they make. So as always lets start with those claims, to see if they were in this case true to reality. Let’s get right into it:
Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water is a hydrating and nonirritating exfoliant that can be used daily. Formulated with Mandelic Acid, which can be used without any irritation even on sensitive skin, the Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water is an exfoliating treatment that improves the skin tone and texture while boosting the effectiveness of other products.
What it promises and how to use:
Helps with pigmentation to improve the skin tone and texture. As a mild exfoliator that works on the surface of the skin, safe to use even for sensitive skin to avoid the use of harsh chemical exfoliation. Effective for acne due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties.
1) Before the toner, gently wipe and pat the product on your face using a cotton pad.
2) Limit the use of this product depending on your skin type. (For sensitive skin, we recommend 2-3 times a week)
3) For morning use, please make sure to apply sun-lotion after using the product.
4) We recommend not to use this product with other facial scrubs, AHA/BHA, and Vitamin C products.
Formulation and Key ingredients:
Mandelic acid: As one of the AHA ingredients, it has a large molecular size which causes very little irritation to the skin. It helps to improve pigmentation as well as to restore aged skin. It also has antibacterial properties that are effective for inflammatory acne.
Beta-Glucan: Moisturizing, redness reduction, anti-inflammatory and soothing effects.
Panthenol: Also known as vitamin B5, it acts as a humectant and moisturizer, improving the skin’s abilities to regenerate and to maintain hydration. It is also used to prevent inflammation and to prevent itching.
Centella Asiatica Extract: Helps regenerate damaged skin.
Sodium Hyaluronate: As a natural moisturizing factor, it attracts moisture and helps retain moisture within the skin, preventing dryness after exfoliation.
Until here, were all the claims made by the brand, now lets start with the review.
First I will go through one of the most important things, at least in my opinion, when it comes to products, the ingredients. Ingredient lists, are one of the things that help me make decisions about products, so here you have a full list, of all the ingredients contained in [By Wishtrend] Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water, for you to judge by yourself. I have marked in bold letters, the ones listed by the brand as active ingredients:
Water, Mandelic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Beta-Glucan, Panthenol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Sorbitol, Dimethyl Sulfone, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Citrate, Arginine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Natto Gum, Carbomer
As you can see, the key ingredients listed, rank high on the list, being the last one mid through, which is a very positive aspect, being ingredients list written out from the components present in higher quantity, to those in the least amount. Meaning the higher the ingredient is on the list, the bigger of a percentage is contained on the product. Reason why you want to go for products where good ingredients rank high and not so good ones like raw alcohols, fragrances and others are either non-existent or present in very low quantities, aka towards the very end of the list.
Another positive thing to say about the product´s ingredient list, is the fact that all the key ingredients have very good qualities for the skin´s barrier, moisture levels and overall skin health. Mandelic acid, is in fact a pretty stable AHA, well-known for its antimicrobial and exfoliating properties, Beta-Glucan, Panthenol and Hyaluronic acid, are well appreciated moisturizing, soothing and humectant agents and Centella Asiatica Extract an ingredient that actively helps regenerate and condition the skin. Not only that but the hazard of all the ingredients on this product have a rank of 1, all but one, Chlorphenesin, the one underlined, which ranks a 2. Meaning all ingredients are not only pretty good, being most of them humectants, skin conditioning ingredients, moisturizing agents and antimicrobials, but they are also pretty safe with our health.
Does Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water really work?
Hands down yes, lets start going through the specifics one by one, starting with how the product itself feels. The consistency of this product is pretty liquid even though it is an exfoliator, it is a tinny bit tacky compared to water itself, but non sticky. The absorption rate is also pretty quick, it stays on top of the skin for a couple of seconds before penetrating completely, which will present no major disruption of your skin care routine time frames, an important fact if you plan to use it in the morning. Even when it absorbs pretty quickly I will suggest you to let it work for a couple of minutes before applying anything else, to let it work to its full potential, you can brush your teeth or eat something, while it works its magic.
Even though it is a great product, you will not see the result right after using it, you might see small improvements, or on the contrary you might even experiment some redness at first, specially if it is the first time using it, or your skin barrier is a bit weak, but I can guarantee you the results you will achieve when incorporating it in your routine, will be worth the couple of days.
This K-beauty item does not leave your skin dry or tight, of course you will still need to use serums or moisturizers as with any other products, but it will not leave an uncomfortable sensation on your skin when using it. As with any other product I do not recommend over using it, since over exfoliating could compromise your skin barrier. For its usage as any other time I recommend, to always listen to your skins needs, I know my skin pretty well and the way it reacts towards what I am applying, so I have even been able to use twice a day for a couple of days in a row and even do a follow-up with a second cotton pad in certain areas of the face on a same routine.
For an average user, I will suggest to start slow, do a couple of gentle swipes with a saturated cotton pad (5 times should be enough) to go through your whole face. Avoid the eye area and do it once a day, preferably at night-time, every couple of days. Once your skin has gotten used to the product, you can slowly increase its use depending on your skin condition and necessities, our skin is not always the same, and therefore we do not need or can tolerate the same amount of product or products every single time, so be aware of how your skin is feeling and act accordingly.
Do not get worried excessively if your skin is a bit reactive at first, this product is an acid so to certain extent, it is normal for your skin to react a bit more dramatically than with other products. As long as you do not feel extreme burning or itching for long periods of time and you incorporate it slowly, you should be good to go. Your skin might be a bit red or uncomfortable for a couple of minutes, but it will soon be back to normal, also the other way around, just because you do not get red or you can not feel anything it does not mean it is not working and that you should be applying more.
Even if your skin slightly reacts to the product, it is among a normal application, just make sure to hydrate your skin well afterwards, preferably with a regenerative and light, non oclusive, moisturizer, if your skin reacts against the product, for long periods of time, wash the product off and wait for a couple of days before you decide if giving it another try, I am giving directions for every possible scenario, but the last one is very unlikely to happen due to the stability and mildness of the product. Do not forget to use sunscreen, you should be using sunscreen every day anyway, but when using acids, even if used at night, sunscreen is even more important.
Lastly the smell of this product, is in my opinion nor pleasant nor unpleasant, I do not have any particular thoughts about it, but it does not contain any fragrances which is always a plus, being fragrances highly irritant to the skin most of the times.
To sum it up [By Wishtrend] Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water, is a light exfoliator that has similar consistency to a toner. It is a mild product that you will be able to use almost daily and that will work well with any skin type. A product to help unclog your skin and get rid of the extra layer of build up and bacteria, which will minimize any possible breakouts. Keeping the outer layer of your skin sharp and ready with this product, will make it easier for all your skin care to absorb well, maximizing its effects. Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water, will help with all that, while also improving your skin´s texture, existing acne, blackheads and so on… while reducing old scaring an pigmentation, making your complexion more even and glowing.
Even though it is a mild product, is still an acid, so be careful not to use it in conjunction with other acids, actives and highly reactive ingredients or vitamins. You can still use those, but in different time frames for them not to work against each other.
It fulfilled most of the claims advertised. It did in fact help with pigmentation, improving skin tone and skin texture, as well as carrying a mild exfoliation.
It lasted quite a while, even when using it daily, night and day it lasted for about 3-4 months, since you will probably not be using it that much, it will last you even longer.
It is non drying, it makes your skin extra glowy.
The texture is quite pleasing, liquid, fresh and easy to apply.
It has a very upscale and clean ingredient list, filled with good actives, regenerators and humectants, as well as no fragrances nor irritants.
It is affordable, good for all skin types, it has multiple benefits to the skin and over all it is a great product.
The only thing I have to dislike about this product if any, would be how long the name was, every time, I had to write it on this review. Or maybe not having any at home, when I finish it.
The smell or the packaging could be something that potentially, some people might not love, but for me they do not pose a problem once however. The smell is pretty soft, compared to other products and not unpleasant. Packaging even when not being the prettiest, it is hygienic and light to travel with.
One thing I do want to advise though, is for you to close it properly or else the product can crystallize.
I give it a 4.6/5 stars in overall performance, price vs quality, and product in general. There is nothing wrong with the product and I could easily give it a 5, but I have yet to find that product that I consider absolute perfection.
Would I repurchase?
Yes, yes and yes. Not only would I repurchase, but if missing my routine feels somehow incomplete.
It is a great product, that I am extremely happy to have tried. A product that will help anyone, no mater their skin type, to get even nicer looking, glass like skin, help with product absorption, skin texture and skin tone.
Where to buy?
If you live outside of Korea you can get the product here:
If you live in Korea, you can buy it through Gmarket, which is where I get it from. It is sold in Won and great news is that it also comes with a pack of one of my all time favourite sheet masks, which I will have a review for very soon, if you want to tune in.
That was all for today, I hope you found it helpful, you can tune in any time if you want to read or see more fashion or beauty content and please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions,
have a lovely day,