As ReadHead readers and friends will know, I am pretty upfront about the struggles of my skin both as an early teen and continues in adulthood. While I’ve thankfully never struggled with the extremes of the worst, I’ve experienced, and continue to experience, the bits of bad things that add up to being detractors of beautiful skin.
One of the hardest products for me to find is a suitable moisturizer. I am guessing there are a lot of you out there like me, the Goldie Locks of moisturizers – too oily, not enough moisture, ingredients break me out, causes skin irritation, not enough skin-beneficial ingredients….on and on. I definitely don’t turn my nose up to drugstore finds which have some excellent products with good technology for the money (I’ll review a few of those) but I’m also willing to drop some coin on the thing that will work for me because most just do not.
I ran into the JC Penny Sephora since it was closer to where I was running errands to pick up what I was currently using that I used up the last drop. They don’t offer all the same products as a true Sephora store and didn’t have the Drunk Elephant La La Retro I was currently using, so I went on the hunt to see if there was a new relationship to be made. La La Retro is pretty good, but we were transitioning from winter to spring which changes my skin, and it wasn’t HG (holy grail) status for performance or price.
I was also doing some research for a client looking at packaging and in a sea of overdone sameness this one caught my eye as a Korean brand and therefore worthy of a closer look. It has about ten lines of ingredients ranging from every botanical and antioxidant you could think of on the box, so I pulled out my phone to look up reviews on my trusted sites and into my bin it went.
THIS, the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb from belif, IS my holy grail. For a skincare expert to say HG status, well, that’s a league all in its own and its also a Certified ReadHead best. Read on!
What it is:
Belif is a Korean skincare brand that touts itself as the most truthful skincare company that focuses on superior botanical ingredients, safety, honesty and efficacy originating from Europe hundreds of years ago. They are definitely on the natural and botanical side and approach skincare as a natural benefit vs. the scientific cutting-edge new innovation to hit the interwebs.
I’m typically the science-buyer focused around results and clinical studies, so this one is a bit off the radar for me. Truthfully their brand positioning pangs me in a way that my day-job background just won’t let me let go, but their product is so good that I’ll give them a pass. ::Belif – call me!:: This one definitely got consideration due to reviews and ingredients.
There are two belif products that have entered cult status – the Aqua Bomb and the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb. The Aqua Bomb is a lighter formulation geared towards those with oily skin and may be a better option for some in the summer and in humid climates. The True Cream is for those who are on the dryer side. I use a lot of anti-acne and aging ingredients which can dry my skin, so while I’m oily/combo by nature, I went for the option that would help keep my skin barrier in tact and hydrated.
Remember me mentioning the ten lines of ingredients on the package? They are impressive. There’s no fillers in there. Where I will say that it’s not always the case that more is better, if your skin likes natural products it will love this. It does have traces of alcohol and ‘cones in it as well as a slight fragrance that occurs naturally, which could be problematic if you’re very sensitive to these ingredients.
In happy excess are hydrators like glycerin and traces of oils (traces being the optimal word here to someone who gets clogged pores), and botanicals/extracts. Noticeably absent is SPF and targeted anti-aging ingredients like retinoids or AHA/BHA acids. This means you’ll need to apply them separately.
Derivatives of vitamin C like L-ascorbic acid that you’re typically used to seeing will not be listed. You’ll have to do more digging into the benefits of botanicals to really understand what they’re bringing to the table and quite honestly is one of the frustrations I have with natural products over the more straightforward scientific approach.
belif – and other natural brands that fall into this camp – should better educate their consumer about why they are choosing what they are and the benefits of those ingredients.
From Sephora’s website:
-Comfrey Leaf: Detoxifies skin, leaving it smooth, soft, and clear.
Water, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Dipropylene Glycol, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Triethylhexanoin, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, PEG-40 Stearate, Saccharomyces/Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Saccharomyces/Imperata Cylindrica Root Ferment Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteayl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sorbitan Stearate, Stearic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Poncirus Trifoliata Fruit Extract, Panthenol, *Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, *Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, *Nepeta Cataria Extract, *Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, *Baptisia Tinctoria Root Extract, *Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract, **Alchemilla Vulgaris Leaf Extract, **Viola Tricolor Extract, **Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, **Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract, **Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Achillea Millefolium Flower Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Thuja Occidentalis Leaf Extract, Menyanthes Trifoliata Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Chelidonium Majus Extract, Urea, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium EDTA, Tromethamine, ***Fragrance, Citronnellol, Limonene. *Napiers Original Formula. **Napiers Moisture Formula. ***Fragrances of Natural Origin.
The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb comes in an understated box with a texturized cardboard feel, light blues, black and white. It’s appropriate for it’s earthy vibe and it’s price tag. The jar itself is a sturdy and white plastic jar with a black plastic top. It feels sleek, does the job, but I always prefer a pump for sanitary and product stability reasons.
Application & Consistency:
I opened the jar to find an opaque white cream that was heading more towards a typical moisturizer with a bit of a gel-like consistency and some slip, rather than anything super heavy or whipped. It had a very slight clean, citrus smell to it which didn’t scream chemical, and wasn’t overpoweringly flowery or earthy as some botanicals can be. These are both deal-breakers for those with very sensitive skin (or noses).
I use a Q-tip to apply my moisturizers from a jar to save any contamination from my fingers. I scooped some up, dabbed it across my face, and here’s where the magic comes in – smoothed it on.
This spread on like a dream. Thin yet substantial, moisturizing but not oily, calming but not tingling. It sank right in to my skin and left a matte yet hydrated look in impressively appropriate timing – meaning not instantly which means watery and alcohol-filled, and not forever and risking too heavy or emollient. I didn’t glow like a disco ball, but when I touched my skin you felt that moisture was there. Wow! Did I just stumble upon the 8th Wonder of the World? This porridge was JUST. RIGHT.
As we all know with skin care and skin like ours that is finicky and reactive, the true test is the days afterwards. This stuff continued to power through and provide me unparalleled moisture and if anything, helped to clear up some of my pimples likely caused by the stress of products on my skin. I’ve been around the block and don’t overhype products for that reason, but my skin has never – even after peels and scrubs – felt so soft.
I’ve noticed my skin elasticity on my neck getting a little firmer because it’s being more properly hydrated and bouncy (and not breaking out praise the Lord) and my decollete, which is prone to wrinkling due to being blasted by the sun over the years mixed with how I sleep and that I have to wear substantial over the shoulder boulder holders to function everyday, is soft and hydrated more than it ever has been.
I actually look forward to and enjoy putting this on each time. I haven’t said that about a moisturizer in well…maybe ever.
I went into this purchase with no expectation given it was a brand I had never heard of, and was in a category which has let me down in the past. This is absolutely, hands down the best moisturizer that I have ever purchased. And, the fact that it has out-performed and cut my cost in half to replace my other go-to, puts a smile on my face and some dough in my pocket.
For you to love this you’ll need to really understand it’s purpose because it’s going to do only that – hydrate and calm your skin so that it functions in an optimal way. It’s not a super anti-ager, nor is it a multi-tasker to get you out the door in one step. This is designed for the no-frills simple-yet-effective type of person who is ingredient-conscious, or those like me that already have targeted products to take care of the heavy lifting.
For $38 for 1.68 oz, it’s not outrageously priced, either, and is approachable for the average skin-conscious consumer. I’ve had it for about two months and use it twice a day. I see it lasting for another month or so. As I mentioned I’m using the heavier/more moisturizing option and that seems to be OK for me in the summer, albeit right at the line on the most humid days.
Anytime a product does what it says, is affordable, improves my skin complexion and function AND doesn’t break me out in pimples or a rash, it’s miracle-status.
This is one I highly suggest you run out and try (or get a sample of) yourself. I’m looking forward to using this for years to come.
*Certified ReadHead Best
Have you tried the belif brand? Drop us a line in the comments.