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Ultraceuticals is an Australian cosmeceutical skincare brand with a strong focus on scientifically-backed, effective products. I was invited to take part in their RVR90 program where I had to commit to using their products and treatments for 3 months (fellow beauty bloggers will know how crazy this is). I’m excited to share my results with you today!
Ultraceuticals was founded in 1998 by Dr Geoffrey Heber, a cosmetic physician was the first to bring alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to Australia. As well as take-home products, they offer in-clinic treatments at a variety of spas and salons around Australia.
RVR90, which stands for Real Visible Results in 90 Days, involves 3 steps. First, you discuss your skin concerns with a skin technician and decide what you want to work on. Next, you receive an RVR90 starter pack for your skin type, containing cleanser, lotion and sunscreen, plus an appropriate serum ($199). Finally, you’re prescribed a treatment and homecare plan to address your specific concerns. Ultraceuticals believes that 70% of results are achieved through homecare while 30% is from in-clinic treatments, so if you don’t like in-clinic treatments you can still get most of the benefits.
I decided to target my hyperpigmentation, since I have some pigmentation happening on my cheeks (yay Asian genes), and the treatment would also help with congestion and acne as well. I was prescribed the Oily/Normal pack (surprise!), and was given the Ultra Brightening Serum to start with, then the Ultra A Skin Perfecting Serum a bit later on.
I was given three 30 minute Radiance Plus+ in-clinic treatments over the 90 days by Tracey Beeby, the Head of Global Training at Ultraceuticals. This consisted of:
- Double cleansing with the Ultra Balancing Gel Cleanser and Pre Peel Skin Preparation, using the UltraSonophoresis machine
- 15 min mask using the Ultra A Skin Perfecting Concentrate and Ultra Brightening Accelerator Mask, which contain 8 skin brightening agents that act on hyperpigmentation, dark spots and blotchiness
- After removal of the mask, application of Ultra Protective Antioxidant Complex and sunscreen
I was initially a bit skeptical that I’d see much of a difference in 90 days since my skin was already pretty good and the treatments were pretty painless (slight prickling and heat but nothing close to burning), but when I saw my before-and-after photos and skin analysis I was very impressed.
Here are the photos, with Day 0 on the left and Day 86 on the right (I couldn’t make it in on Day 90). I look a bit like I’m going into surgery with the hair net…
I was very impressed with the fading of pigment on my upper cheekbones and under my eyes. It’s a bit hard to see with the lighting, but my skin was also a lot more luminous and even. I also noticed that I had a lot less breakouts during the treatment, and any post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation I had after pimples resolved much faster than previously.
You can also see 3 very impressive sets of results from the RVR90 ambassadors on the Ultraceuticals site, who had their acne, pigmentation and wrinkles treated. The acne treatment was particularly stunning – Maddison looks like a whole different person!
Ultraceuticals Product Review
During the 90 days, I stuck exclusively to the actives in the RVR90 program (sometimes I did cheat with extra moisturising treatments, but I didn’t touch any acids or vitamins!). I was really impressed with the products, particularly the serums and sunscreen, which I’ve kept using religiously after the end of the program.
The Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF 30 Mattifying ($74 for 100 mL) is my holy grail sunscreen. It’s light enough that it’s very easy to apply 1/4 teaspoon, but it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t feel like it’s going to come off with sweat, plus it has zero white cast. Like with the vast majority of Australian sunscreens the full ingredients list isn’t available, but it contains shea butter, sodium hyaluronate, panthenol and niacinamide in addition to the actives octinoxate, avobenzone, octocrylene, Tinosorb S and ensulizole. I think this sunscreen is responsible for a LOT of my pigment fading – it has a lot more UVA filters than most of the other sunscreens I’ve been using, and the pleasant texture made it easy to apply more and get better protection even though it’s only SPF30 (I think I ended up getting better protection than with SPF50, thanks to the improved texture!).
Active ingredients: Octyl Methoxycinnamate 2.0% w/w, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane 5.0% w/w, Octocrylene 3.0% w/w, Bemotrizinol 2.0% w/w, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid 4.0% w/w. Inactive: Methylpropanediol, Caprylyl Glycol and Phenylpropanol.
The Ultra Brightening Serum ($149 for 30 mL) was the star treatment of my homecare regimen. It contains lactic and citric acids (AHAs), and salicylic acid (BHA) to exfoliate, plus niacinamide, bearberry and Artocarpus Lakoocha to fade pigment. It’s been found to be as effective at improving the appearance of hyperpigmentation as a prescription strength tretinoin and hydroquinone cream. It comes as a runny gel in a pump bottle and glides across the skin very easily.
Ingredients: Aqua, Alcohol Denat., Lactic Acid, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Citric Acid, Niacinamide, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi (Bearberry) Leaf Extract, Hydroxyresveratrol, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Sodium Sulfite, Resveratrol Dimethyl Ether, Sodium Metabisulfite, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Phenethyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol.
The Ultra A Skin Perfecting Serum ($132 for 30 mL) contains retinol and oil-soluble vitamin C (ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate). The retinol is microencapsulated in wax (ULTRA-Reti™) to improve stability and skin absorption, and acts to improve fine lines and wrinkles It also contains exfoliating bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple. This was a late addition to my homecare routine after I asked Tracey for something to reduce my pores. Retinol takes a while to work so I haven’t been able to see results yet.
Ingredients: Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Acrylates/ C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Bisabolol, Butyrospermum Parkii, Benzyl Alcohol, BHT, Bromelain, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 20, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Retinol, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Salicylic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Water (Aqua), Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil.
The final two products I used were the Ultra Hydrating Lotion ($76 for 75 mL) and the Ultra Balancing Gel Cleanser ($52 for 200 mL). The lotion is a very hydrating, non-oily moisturiser that I’ve found myself using more often than I thought I would. The cleanser is good, but I’m not raving about it, mostly because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to properly rave over a cleanser. For me, the sign of a good cleanser is when I have no complaints, and that’s certainly true here: it cleanses thoroughly, without stripping skin.
Lotion ingredients: Aqua/Water, Urea, Methylpropanediol, Glycerin, Decyl Oleate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dimethicone, Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide 3, Cholesterol, Oleic Acid, Squalene, Tocopherol, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Caprylyl Glycol, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Cetyl Palmitate, Decyl Oleate, Decyl Octadecadienoate, Decyl Octadecatrienoate, Decyl Octadecanoate, Decyl Hexadecanoate, Decyl Hexadecenoate, Decyl Eicosanoate, Decyl Eicosenoate, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Phenylpropanol, Sodium Hydroxide, Lactic Acid.
Cleanser ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Trioleate, Decyl Glucoside, Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Avena Sativa Kernel Flour, Propanediol, Lauryl Glucoside, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Xanthan Gum, Salicylic Acid, Stearyl Citrate, Sodium Chloride,Citrus Grandis Peel Oil, Disodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Sorbic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.
(Interestingly, Ultraceuticals products undergo in-house clinical testing on human volunteers, and if you can make it to Gladesville in Sydney during business hours, you can act as a volunteer in their trials.)
The main downside to the Ultraceuticals program is the price, which is understandable when you see how much effort goes into formulating their products and ensuring their effectiveness. If you have a skin issue and you’re willing to invest a bit to fix it, I’d recommend that you talk to an Ultraceuticals technician and see if they have a program that’s worked on a similar problem in the past. In my opinion it’s worth paying to fix an issue if it’s affecting your self-esteem.
If your budget doesn’t stretch this much but you still want to try Ultraceuticals, I’d recommend trying out an appropriate serum as your first point of call. Details on their entire range can be found on their website, and there’s stockist information as well.
These products and treatments were provided for editorial consideration, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.