Budget Skincare: Elf Hydrating Water Essence

So there I was on Ulta.com, 9 dollars short for free shipping.

I had everything that I wanted from Ulta, so now what ?  Luckily I had been on the hunt for a simple hydrating toner for a while. Something that would be a hydrating essence as such without the un-necessarily hyped up price tag.

While searching the site my top two affordable contenders for hydrating toners (without witch hazel, citrus or alcohol) were;Toner Ulta.001Mario Badescu was $15 and the ELF was $10. I popped the Elf into my cart and clicked through to ‘checkout’.

Yes I know ! I should have checked the ingredient list, instead of blindly filling my cart.

Because if I had I would have put the Mario Badescu Aloe toner, with its teeny tiny ingredient list, in my cart.  Aqua (Water, Eau), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Chloride, Methylparaben, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 42090 (Blue 1).

However Elf cosmetics is one of my most favourite makeup brands (cruelty free and vegan too) so I wasn’t kicking myself that much.

We all know that when Elf get it right they really hit it out of the ballpark. Their fabulous lip exfoliator for example. (Read about that here.)

And when I read the ingredient list on the Elf  Hydrating Water essence I was damned thrilled with myself. However please note the two PEGs lower down the ingredient list.Elf Water Essence (1)

PEGs are Polyethylene Glycols.  Not to be confused with ethylene glycol, the notorious antifreeze ingredient, and a favourite with would-be murderers, as Forensic Files will tell you.

As far as PEGs are concerned I belong to the Beautypedia/Paula Begoun camp which means I am not that bothered (PEGs).

I do not think the type (and molecular weight ) of PEGs in my skincare, by well established companies, are a cause for concern as far as I am concerned for me personally.

PEGS and Glycols are basically fatty acids and fatty alcohols that function as surfactants, emollients, binding agents, stabilizers, emulsifiers and cleansing agents.

However trying to decipher the difference between the various glycols turned my brain to mush.

Once you decide that PEGs and Glycols are not the Anti-Christ one is left to wonder if all glycols created the same. What is the verdict when you pit them against each other ? PEGs v/s Butylene Glycol v/s Pentylene Glycol v/s Dipropylene Glycol v/s Caprylyl Glycol.

Damn I wish I was a chemist!

Also I wanted to compare the ingredient list with those of more popular essences in the market.  Namely SKII Facial Treatment Essence, Missha First Treament Essence, Estee Lauder Micro Essence and the Pixi Rose Tonic.

Now all the of them contain PEGs and glycols in some form or the other, sprinkled across the list, top, middle and bottom.

So in conclusion am I thrilled with my $10 purchase ? Heck yea! My primary concern is hydration I think Elf can deliver as well as this lot.

It has a light glycerine like texture and spreads easily. 20180223_102749

I like the Elf texture way better than Missha First Treatment or the Estee Lauder Micro Essence. Both those essences are basically water and I don’t like that.

The light emollient texture of the Elf makes me feel more comforted  It’s a texture thing.

This is when I use it; After cleansing

  1. I run my Simple non-alcoholic toner over my face with a cotton ball.
  2. Then I apply my Vitamin C serum (am) Or my CeraVe Retinol cream (pm).
  3. Then I pat about 2 drops of the Elf Hydrating Water essence all over my face and neck. And I do this twice.
  4. Lastly follow up with a moisturiser (am) or facial oil (pm).

I skip steps 1 and 2 the days I exfoliate with my Pixi Glow glycolic toner (pm).

And now  for the most important hydrating step  of them all…..to actually drink some water !