Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C: Avène A-Oxitive

Avene A-Oxitive

This post is sponsored by Avène. I’ve been really happy to see more vitamin C products hit the marketplace recently. Vitamin C is one of my favourite skincare ingredients – it’s a powerful antioxidant that’s fantastic for soaking up free radical damage, which makes it great for evening out skin tone and reducing fine lines. As someone who’s very prone to …

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Gentle Cleansers for Sensitive Skin: Review

Gentle Cleansers for Sensitive Skin: Review

Although my skin’s not sensitive, I’ve switched to gentle cleansers to avoid irritation, which can lead to oily, dehydrated skin that’s prone to acne. Here are some gentle cleansers I’ve tried out recently.

Gentle Cleansers for Sensitive Skin: Review

Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Milk

Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Milk is a watery lotion for makeup removal and cleansing, designed for sensitive skin. It works a bit like a cold cream: you apply it to a cotton pad, then wipe it over your face. If you’re removing heavy makeup, you can also massage it directly on skin then wipe it off afterwards. The key feature is that it’s surfactant-free but also cleanses very well, making it great for sensitive skin. (Surfactants are the cleansing ingredients you’ll find in most cleansing products like face washes and shampoos; although they’re great at removing dirt, they also tend to disrupt proteins in the skin and strip away too much oil.) It’s also fragrance-free and contains anti-irritant ingredients.

I was surprised by how much I liked this cleanser, since I’ve never had much luck with cleansing lotions in the past. Sensibio Cleansing Milk removes makeup effectively. It leaves your skin feeling soft and moisturised, not tight and dry, thanks to its long list of humectant ingredients. It also doesn’t sting your eyes like micellar waters can, and because it doesn’t contain any surfactants, I didn’t feel the need to do an extra wipe afterwards. The only issue I had is that it’s not amazing at taking off waterproof gel eyeliner, although the rest of my makeup was removed nicely.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Polypropylene Terephthalate, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/ VP Copolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Hydroxide

Avène Tolérance Extrême Cleansing Lotion

Avene Tolérance Extrême Cleansing Lotion incorporates their Sterile Cosmetics technology. Through the use of sterile manufacturing and a special self-sealing dispenser, it avoids the need for preservatives, which is fantastic if you’re allergic to them. Here’s what the self-sealing stopper looks like:

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Avène Cleansing Foam and Mattifying Toner Skincare Review

Avène Cleansing Foam and Mattifying Toner Skincare Review

Avène is a French skincare brand famous for its thermal water, which has a bunch of cool effects. Avene’s skincare products are based around their famous thermal water. There’s a focus on gentle skincare for sensitive skin that doesn’t overly irritate or strip the skin. I recently tested Avene’s Cleansing Foam and Cleanance Mat Mattifying Toner. Both products have Avene thermal water as the main ingredient.

Avène Cleansing Foam and Mattifying Toner Skincare Review
The Cleansing Foam is recommended for normal to combination sensitive skin. Its ingredients are:

Avene Thermal Spring Water (Avene Aqua), Water (Aqua), Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum), Glutamic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Chloride.

The Cleansing Foam contains the surfactants sodium cocoamphoacetate and sodium cocoyl glutamate. Sodium cocoamphoacetate is an amphoteric or zwitterionic surfactant, whereas sodium cocoyl glutamate is an anionic surfactant. Anionic surfactants are quite damaging to skin as they are very good at stripping oil and denaturing skin proteins, but they’re also great at getting you clean and foaming. However, in combination with an amphoteric surfactant, they cause a lot less damage, so this surfactant combination makes a lot of sense in this cleansing foam.

The foam also comes in a foaming pump, where the product is mixed with air before it comes out so you don’t have to lather it. I love these pumps because it means the product doesn’t have to contain as much damaging anionic surfactants to still get a foam that’s easy to use, plus I end up using a lot less product.

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What is thermal water and how does it work in skin care?


If you walk into a pharmacie in France, you’ll immediately bump into a giant display of thermal water spray cans. A whole host of French skin care brands like Avène, La Roche-Posay, Uriage and Vichy sell thermal water sprays. What is it, what’s in it, what does it do and how is it different from regular water?


What is thermal water?

Thermal water comes from hot springs. The water in these hot springs come from deep in the ground, where it’s heated by geothermal activity (the Earth’s natural heat which also causes lava to be molten).

What’s in thermal water?

It’s mostly water, of course, but it isn’t “just water in a can”! As the thermal water rises to reach the spring, it passes through rocks and soil which dissolve to add minerals to the water. The mineral content of a particular thermal water depends on where it comes from. The minerals include the ones found in your skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF), like chlorides, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Here are the compositions of the 4 most popular thermal waters (source: Bacle et al., Int J Dermatol 1999, brand marketing materials). There’s some variation between batches of course, since it’s a natural mixture.

Composition (mg/L or ppm)AvèneLa Roche-PosayVichyUriage
Total dry residue207444512011000
Nitrates1.4TraceTrace< 100
Silica (SiO2)10.630-42

As you can see, the composition varies a fair bit, with Uriage, the thermal water with the highest mineral content, being 55 times more concentrated than Avène, which has the lowest mineral content.

Residue remaining after room temperature evaporation of 10 mL of Uriage Thermal Water in a 250 mL beaker.

“-” in the table means no data, since different thermal water brands like to highlight different aspects of their water. La Roche-Posay talks a lot about the selenium content of their water, while Uriage emphasises the high calcium concentration. Avène talks a lot about the 2:1 ratio of calcium and magnesium in their water.

There’s also nitrogen gas inside the can that acts as a propellant, to push the water out as a spray. Paula’s Choice writes that the nitrogen “can generate free-radical damage and cause cell death”, which luckily isn’t true, since nitrogen gas (N2) make up 78% of the air we breathe! It’s actually very unreactive, so unreactive that it’s commonly used in laboratories to flush out more reactive things like oxygen and water. (The papers cited in the Beautypedia article actually involve chemicals that just contain nitrogen atoms, not nitrogen gas itself.)

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Project 100 Pan: Empties 51-60

The end of my project pan is slowly coming into sight! Here are my latest empties: 51. Garnier Clean Sensitive 2-in-1 Gentle Makeup Remover – This is my favorite 2-phase makeup remover. It gets rid of waterproof makeup without leaving behind an uncomfortable greasy residue. The bottle is also great, with a secure flip-top lid and a perfectly sized dispensing …

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