MAELOVE: THE GLOW MAKER
To follow-up on our review of the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum, we thought it wouldn’t be prudent if we didn’t review Maelove The Glow Maker. Within the blogosphere, many folks have touted Maelove The Glow Maker as the lovingly “radically affordable” dupe of SkinCeuticals pricey ($$$) vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), ferulic acid, and vitamin E serum. So we figured what better way to confirm these rumors, then by actually verifying the validity of this ourselves with a good ol’ fashioned science-based review.
But before we delve into the product, let’s review the brand, Maelove.
At first glance on the Maelove website, not much can be unearthed regarding its history. Strangely enough – its founder, Jackie Kim, is pictured but unnamed on the Maelove About page. In fact, I had to do some stealth digging to uncover her actual name. Additionally, their business bio reads surprisingly simple as well:
“WHY WE DO IT: For years, women have been told to use an endless number of skincare products and have been overwhelmed with hyped marketing claims. This is when skincare becomes confusing and expensive.
At Maelove, we believe it doesn’t have to be that way. Skincare can be simple and effective. We’re out to prove that the best skincare doesn’t require you to sacrifice your precious time or money.
OBSESSIVE RESEARCH: We start by looking at proven clinical research in peer-reviewed journals and collaborate with brilliant chemists, dermatologists, plastic surgeons and medical researchers to create formula blue prints.
In addition, we collected and analyzed over 3 million online skincare product reviews to better understand what attributes correlate with customer satisfaction.
By combining the best knowledge from medical science with the insight gleaned from the most data, we’re able to create breakthrough formulas that not just work well, but work well for all skin types.
QUALITY WITHOUT COMPROMISE: As a young startup, we’re incredibly fortunate to partner with 3 of the most respected cosmetic laboratories in the world.
All 3 partners are US-based, FDA-registered, GMP-certified and manufacture products for some of the most luxurious skincare brands.
NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL: Our mission is to make elite skincare accessible to all women. That’s why our direct-to-consumer approach is focused on creating the best products while reducing needless markup and keeping marketing costs low.”
Then there is the strangely non-existent/existent claim circulating around the beautysphere that Maelove The Glow Maker was developed by MIT scientists. All of which is fine and dandy, but outside of a few review articles touting this statement, I was unable to find reputable sources to substantiate the identity of these MIT scientists or claim.
Ok, let’s review.
In our previous post, we determined (based on the SkinCeuticals patent, U.S. Patent No. 7,179,841) that optimum benefits of L-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, and vitamin E need to be at the following recommended % composition:
- 63.4%: Water
- 15%: L-ascorbic acid
- 10%: Di(ethylene glycol) ethyl ether
- 5%: 1.2-Propanediol
- 3%: Polyoxyethylene 23 lauryl ether
- 0.5%: Triethanolamine
- 0.5%: trans-Ferulic acid
- 1.0%: Tocopherol
- 1.0%: Phenoxyethanol
- 0.5%: Panthenol
- 0.1%: Sodium hyaluronate
- pH = 3.2
Here is what we know of the ingredients and composition:
List of ingredients for both products (in no particular order):
So as you can see, there are slight differences within ingredient lists.
There’s really no need to go into great detail about this very basic component. Oddly enough, applying massive amounts of water onto the skin surface doesn’t actually hydrate – contrary to popular belief. It is that magical balance when hydrating components seeps under the skin’s surface is when we start to see benefits.
The other important thing to note is – when a product’s main component tends to be water – there can be issues of bacterial contamination or growth. Unless there is some ingredient that may counter this within the formulation stability – such as a chelating agent.
And voila! This formulation does, in fact, have a chelating agent: disodium EDTA.
Bottom line: Water is neither here nor there. But if this mask is mainly JUST water with a tiny bit of ACTUAL ingredient – well then are we truly getting the most bang for our buck?
Also known as Diethylene Glycol Monoethyl Ether, ethoxydiglycol is often used as a solvent in skincare products in order to dilute a thick formulation.
Bottom line: Decreasing agent used to dilute the viscosity (or thickness) of a potential solution. Not useful in the overall effect toward its claims.
5% L-ascorbic acid
Ascorbic acid (or vitamin C) is the star of the serum. It’s what makes the science behind the benefits really resonate. It is the most plentiful antioxidant in human skin and has been known to form a group of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants; coexisting to protect the skin from reactive oxygen species (ROS).
This is what we know about vitamin C as a photoprotector:
- Water-soluble and functions in the aqueous compartments of the cell
- Protects the skin from oxidative stress by neutralizing the free radicals
- Its oxidized form is non-reactive
- Exposure to UV light reduces the availability of vitamin C in the skin.
In addition, it provides the following:
- Anti-aging effect: Essential for collagen biosynthesis
- Replenisher of vitamin E
- Anti-pigmentary effect
Vitamin C has many active forms, with L-ascorbic acid as the most biologically active. L-ascorbic acid is a hydrophilic (water-loving) and unstable molecule. As a result, this form incurs poor penetration into the skin because of the hydrophobic (water-repelling) character of the stratum corneum (skin layer).
Therefore, in a 2001 study concluded that by reducing the acidity of L-ascorbic acid to a pH below 3.5; it improved both the stability and permeability of the compound. And in 2005, a study concluded that the addition of ferulic acid helped in promoting the stabilization coupled with a pH below 3.5.
Let’s not forget the other active forms and derivatives:
- Ascorbyl-6-palmitate (stable at pH 6)
- Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP): Stable at pH 6. Most stable and easily absorbed into the skin
- Disodium isostearyl 2-0 L-ascorbyl phosphate
- Ascorbic acid sulphate
- Tetraisopalmitoyl ascorbic acid
We also know that in order for vitamin C to provide the most biologically significant change within the skin, it must be at 8% or higher, depending on the formulation. In fact, that same 2001 study determined that a concentration above 20 percent does not increase its biological significance; with data pointing to potential development of irritation.
Bottom line: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant; with L-ascorbic acid being its most biologically active form when combined with ferulic acid, stabilized at a pH above 3.5, and formulated at a concentration up to 20% (ideally 10-15%).
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
Aloe – well, that’s really simple. We all know that aloe is one of those historical ingredients that have long since been used to soothe and nourish the skin. Whether it be it from cuts or burns, from healing a nasty sunburn or just ingesting it for digestion issues – it’s used for just about everything! But what do we really know about aloe?
Aloe vera extracts are rich in nutrients and according to the World Health Organization, is considered to be the most biologically active of the Aloe species – with 75 active constituents (including vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins, and salicylic acids).
Ok, so it has a ton of important goodness! But what does that really mean to us?
Well, a study in 2006 decided to evaluate that exact question – where they examined the effect of cosmetic formulations containing different concentrations of freeze-dried Aloe vera extract on skin hydration. What they determined was that the aloe vera extract was a naturally effective means to improve skin hydration upon application and complemented any treatment against dry skin.
Bottom line: Aloe is shown to improve skin hydration and maintain moisture.
Glycerin (or glycerol) is one of the oldest humectant agent (water attracting) ingredients used to assist in hydrating and moisturizing the skin surface. The idea of moisturizers and emollients are not only used to smooth the skin but to provide a defined supple appearance after repeated use.
A 1993 study evaluated the influence of glycerin, water, and various other skin mechanics to clarify the effects of short-term influence. The study showed that utilization of these skin mechanics induced significant changes in the mechanical properties of human skin in vivo even AFTER 10 minutes of application.
However, a 2001 study evaluated the influence of a cream containing 20% glycerin and whether it affected the skin barrier function during repeat application. Yet, the study failed to show an influence of glycerin on human skin with respect to TEWL (transepidermal water loss) and skin sensitivity.
Yet, time and time again, glycerol has been evaluated for its role in skin hydration, cutaneous elasticity, and epidermal barrier repair. In fact, glycerol has a tendency to accumulate within the entire thickness of the stratum corneum. A review in 2008 concluded that glycerol’s three hydrophilic hydroxyl groups have the ability to bind and retain water, thus providing enhanced skin hydration.
Bottom line: Glycerin is a humectant agent. Historically used for over 50 years in cosmetics to provide hydration and moisture to the skin.
Lecithin is often the trade name for a mixture of phosphatides (or phospholipids) typically used in the food and cosmetic industry. Lecithin is the gummy material contained in crude vegetable oils and removed by degumming.
Most commonly seen such as “soybean lecithin or soy lecithin”. I’ve astutely become aware of this ingredient as it is generally a major component in most chocolates. Soybeans are the most commercially sourced in order to create the lecithin by-product.
Now back to why this is used…
In a study published in 2010, a lecithin nanoemulsion (or fancy term for small-scale formulated mixture) which consisted of snake oil (yikes!), soybean lecithin, glycerol, and water were evaluated for its topical delivery effectiveness. The study observed that the mixture improved skin hydration capacity significantly by 2.5 fold – inhibiting water evaporation from the skin. The study further attributed the increase in skin hydration due to the nanoemulsion (mixture) barrier.
However, it is important to note that according to an assessment by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel, clinical irritation studies were performed and 65% of the cosmetic formulations containing 0.3-3% lecithin were generally non-irritating.
Bottom line: Overall, lecithin often functions as skin and hair conditioning agents, emulsifiers and surfactants in cosmetics. It is effective in providing superior skin hydration and helpful for improving permeation effects.
Ah, hyaluronic acid (HA) or hyaluronan is the key molecule involved in skin moisture. In this case, sodium hyaluronate which is the sodium salt of hyaluronan. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in our biological makeup. More specifically, skin HA accounts for most of 50% of total body HA. That’s a lot! And so, it is a key molecule in the fight against aging. And in the last five years (or longer) has exploded in its use and marketing capacity.
Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG) with a unique capacity to bind and retain water molecules. Indeed, various studies suggest HA homeostasis exhibits a distinct profile in intrinsic (internal) skin aging, which is totally different from that in extrinsic (external) skin aging.
It’s important to note that a lot of cosmetic and beauty brands often state that hyaluronic acid is able to hold 1000 times its weight in water. And while I scanned all avenues of scientific publications for this very information, I found nothing that credibly links this exact number to a particular study or research-based calculation.
In fact, what I did find in my scientific hunt, was that researchers have determined that approximately one (1) gram of hyaluronic acid can hold up to six (6) liters of water.
Does size matter with hyaluronic acid?
HA exists as a high molecular weight (HMW) molecule (or HMW HA) with a large molecular volume and low molecular weight (LMW) molecule (or LMW HA) with a low molecular volume.
The average molecular weight of the HMW HA molecule is 1000–8000 kilodaltons (kDa). As the molecule increases in polysaccharide chain length, so does the volume and its overall weight. So when we look at the low end of the size range, LMW HA is fragmented (or broken down) hyaluronic acid and is often identified as sodium hyaluronate (or the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid). Of course, there are variations in names and descriptors from suppliers/vendors based on hyaluronic acid size. So keep that in mind.
Either way, if a product is formulated with hyaluronic acid, and you are looking for a power-packed hydrating ingredient – it’s generally a good thing that this guy is on the label. There are a myriad of studies that tout its skin-improving benefits:
- Topical application of HA has been seen in reducing wrinkles.
- A 2014 study, using nano (really, really, really small) hyaluronic acid demonstrated a significant benefit in decreasing the depth of wrinkles (up to 40%), and skin hydration (up to 96%) and skin firmness and elasticity were significantly enhanced (up to 55%) at the end of eight weeks.
Sold! You don’t have to tell me twice that this is an amazing ingredient to add to my skincare arsenal. There is definitely a positive synergy that occurs when incorporating HA. But, as with any ingredient, concentration levels and actual % amount to the overall formulation is always critical.
Bottom line: Skin conditioning and humectant ingredient with studies demonstrating an increase in skin hydration, wrinkle reduction, and overall skin firmness.
Ferulic acid (4-hydroxy-3-methoxy cinnamic acid) is a phytochemical commonly found in vegetables and fruits. It has been shown to have antioxidant properties and stabilizes vitamin C and E.
The structure is comprised of three areas that contribute to its free radical scavenging capabilities:
- The electron-donating group on the benzene ring: Gives the additional property of terminating free radical chain reactions.
- Carboxylic acid group: Provide additional attack sites for free radicals and thus prevent them from attacking the membrane.
- Carboxylic acid group: Acts as an anchor, providing some protection against lipid peroxidation.
There are a few things to note about ferulic acid:
- More bioavailable than other dietary flavonoids and monophenolics.
- Has anti-inflammatory effects
- Has anti-diabetic effects
- Has anti-cancer effects
- Has anti-aging effects
And the list literally goes on…
Bottom line: Ferulic acid exhibits a wide range of therapeutic properties: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-aging effects. It has been shown to stabilize solutions with vitamins C and E by doubling its photoprotection of skin.
Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Callus Culture Extract
Various studies have suggested that citrus aurantium used for aromatherapy purposes showed a decrease in anxiety and stress levels. So whether these citrus oils are simply added to calm your anxious senses and mind as part of the skincare treatment process – we will never know. But the fragrance and aroma offers such a relaxing component – don’t you think?
Bottom line: Used for its aroma and stress/anxiety reduction. Strong anti-inflammatory effect.
Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract
The magnolia bark extract is obtained from the bark of the Magnolia officinalis L. tree (or magnolia tree) and is used in Chinese medicine for the treatment of fever, pain and headaches; with its primary bioactive compounds of magnolol and honokiol possessing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer activities. More specifically, honokiol and magnolol were found to be free radical and lipid peroxidation inhibitors.
No wonder, cosmetic formulators are beginning to include this particular ingredient in their ingredients arsenal!
However, a 2015 study identified three case reports (between May 2014 and February 2015) which found magnolia officinalis as a contact allergen in ‘anti-aging’ cosmetics. But concluded that due to the short period in which these cases were observed, the magnolia officinalis might not be such a rare allergen after all.
For all those sensitive folks out there, just keep a close eye out for this one.
One interesting thing to note: On its own (separated from its distinct bioactive – magnolol and honokiol), not much distinct information relative to its cosmetic benefits could be found for magnolia officinalis. However, a formulated product (trade name: MAXnolia) manufactured by Mibelle Biochemistry is said to:
- Neutralize internal aging factors and reduce skin redness. Counteracts inflamm’aging in skin and by doing so helps to further extend the youthful appearance of skin.
- Recommended Use Level: 0.1-0.5%
- Containing: Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract (and) Vitis Vinifera/Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (and) Tocopherol (and) Lecithin (and) Maltodextrin (and) Aqua/Water
Conveniently enough, Maelove’s The Glow Maker happens to contain not only magnolia officinalis bark extract; but also vitis vinifera/vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract, tocopherol, lecithin, maltodextrin, and aqua/water.
If the folks at Maelove happen to use this specific compound mix, why didn’t they label or include the correct INCI name?
Bottom line: Magnolia officinalis possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial capabilities.
The grape seed hydroethanolic extract is rich in polyphenols (proanthocyanidins). The grape skin extract contains anthocyanins, tartaric acid (a form of alpha hydroxy acid), tannins, sugars, and minerals. And according to an assessment performed by the CIR panel, the amount of tartaric acid is roughly 15-20 ppm based on chemical constituents by plant part.
Vitis vinifera juice extract functions as an antioxidant, colorant, skin-conditioning agent, and flavoring agent. In an in vitro predictive model testing, a product containing 3% and 10% vitis vinifera fruit extract was a non-irritant in a dermal irritation test and non/minimally irritating in a viability assay, respectively.
To put it simply – it contains a strong amount of antioxidant capacity compared to Vitamin C and E – which is often a standard in the world of antioxidant-packed vitamins. In 2004, oral administration of a proanthocyanidin rich extract from grape seeds for one year showed to effectively reduce the hyperpigmentation of women with chloasma (a form of dark discoloration often occurring during pregnancy).
Bottom line: Strong antioxidant capacity, rich in polyphenols.
So what is this xanthan gum? It is essentially a microbial polysaccharide gum made of monosaccharide components (glucose, glucuronic acid, 6-acetulmannoe, and 4,6-pyruvylated mannose). It is often used as a skin-conditioning agent, emulsifying agent, and binder.
But the most interesting part of polysaccharides is their anti-oxidative capacity as potential lipid protectors for topical administration, which was examined in a 2005 study. What this means is this ingredient helps in the protection of human skin against UV-induced damage.
Who doesn’t love that?
Bottom line: It is a skin-conditioning agent, emulsifying agent, and binder – with strong antioxidative capacity to thwart UV damage to the skin.
Disodium EDTA is the sodium salt of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) which functions as a permeating agent, sensitizing agent, and chelating agent in cosmetic formulations. In fact, historically speaking, EDTA was often used as a chelating agent to treat patients who were poisoned with heavy metals (such as lead or zinc).
Chelating agents often play a role in stabilizing a product from metallic impurities. Metallic impurities can come from many different sources, primarily from the ingredients themselves. Often times, impurities are naturally derived, such as water in this case. Chelating agents prevent deterioration and overall oxidation by binding and inactivating metallic ions.
This specific chelating agent is biodegradable and is selective towards problematic transition metals such as copper and iron compared to calcium and magnesium.
In addition, EDTA has also been found to control microorganisms in combination with other actives such as citric acid and surfactants – which this product contains!
Bottom line: Disodium EDTA functions as a sensitizing agent and chelating agent with antimicrobial properties.
Sodium metabisulfite is an inorganic salt that functions as a reducing/decreasing agent and antioxidant in cosmetics. In hair products, sodium metabisulfite functions as a hair-waving/straightening agent. Overall sulfites have a certain connotation of exhibiting varying reactions such as a contact allergen or anaphylactic/asthmatic reactions.
A 1994 study performed a patch test with 2894 patients to sodium metabisulfite. Of those 2894 patients, 50 (1.7%) had positive reactions to sodium metabisulfite. Only 12 of the 50 positive reactions were considered relevant, of which 7 were from occupational exposure and 5 nonoccupational.
To follow up on the 1994 study, a 2012 article performed a retrospective study (between 1990 and 2010) on 2763 patients who were patch tested with sodium metabisulfite. The review found the following:
- 124 (4.5%) of 2763 patients patch tested positively to sodium metabisulfite.
- Sodium metabisulfite was the single allergen found in 76 cases (61.3%).
- The reactions were considered to be relevant in 80 cases (64.5%), of which 11 were occupational.
The review further concluded that allergic contact dermatitis caused by sulfites was frequent and often relevant. Patch testing with sodium metabisulfite was useful in cases of immediate reactions to sulfite-containing products.
This is something for those folks out there that suffer from sensitivities or are prone to contact allergens.
Overall, the CIR panel has assessed sodium metabisulfite as safe.
Bottom line: Sodium metabisulfite is an inorganic salt used as an antioxidant and reducing agent in cosmetics.
Triethanolamines (TEA) are used as wetting agents in shampoos, lotions, creams, and other cosmetics. TEA may often be used as a preservative in cosmetics as well. But most importantly, TEA functions as a surfactant or pH adjuster and often as a skin-conditioning agent.
However, as with most preservatives, there is always the likelihood of developing an allergic reaction. TEA is certainly one that isn’t removed from that category. In fact, in a 2012 study, a slew of ingredients known for allergic reactions was tested on 147 patients. Of those ingredients, it was concluded that TEA was one of the more frequently associated ingredients for allergic contact dermatitis.
Nerd note: During my days while working on the bench (lab) – I often used TEA in a buffer (solution) and then slowly adjusted the pH of that either with some sort of acid or base accordingly. The TEA was often varying concentrations but I remember it having a very strong smell.
Bottom line: Preservative that functions as a surfactant or pH adjuster and often as a skin-conditioning agent but offers the potential for allergic contact dermatitis.
Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used to inhibit the growth of microorganisms in cosmetic products. Generally, a product formulated with high water content (as in this situation) is prone to the growth of microorganisms unless certain precautions or ingredients are added to thwart such problems.
However, overuse of preservatives within a formulation has also been shown to lead to increased incidences of contact allergy. Therefore, adding these ingredients poses the question of whether it is truly worth it.
Current concentration use in cosmetics based on a CIR assessment has indicated that phenoxyethanol may be used at a range of ≤ 0.0002% to 1%.
Bottom line: A preservative used to thwart the growth of microorganisms in high water content formulated products. No real benefit to claims with potential for skin irritations.
Another preservative! However, ethylhexylglycerin (an alkyl glyceryl ether) has additional functionalities as a surfactant, emollient, and skin-conditioning agent – in addition to its antimicrobial properties.
Ethylhexylglycerin is a multifunctional additive for cosmetics and is used as a potentiating agent in combination with 2-phenoxyethanol (another preservative) to obtain better protection against microbial growth. A 2016 study investigated the mechanisms behind potentiation of the bactericidal effect of 2-phenoxyethanol, by ethylhexylglycerin. The study concluded that the synergy of ethylhexylglycerin and 2-phenoxyethanol led to rapid killing of E. coli – thereby providing microbial protection.
At the present moment, there have only been a few cases where contact allergy to ethylhexylglycerin have been published. In fact, a 2016 study evaluated 13 patients who reported allergic contact dermatitis caused by ethylhexylglycerin. The study was performed at two Belgian university patch test clinics during the period 1990–2015. The study identified ethylhexylglycerin as a cosmetic sensitizer even in those products advertised to be safe for consumers.
Bottom line: Ethylhexylglycerin is likely used as a preservative to thwart microbial issues within the formulation – but may also function as a surfactant, emollient, and skin-conditioning agent. As in many preservatives, ethylhexylglycerin may provide an allergic response to more sensitive consumers.
Maltodextrin are polysaccharide gums which function as a viscosity increasing agent, emulsifier, and skin-conditioning agent in cosmetic products. Maltodextrin is the saccharide material obtained by hydrolysis of corn starch, potato starch, or rice starch.
Overall, not much relevant scientific information was found other than vendor-specific products. However, the CIR panel has assessed maltodextrin as safe.
Bottom line: Maltodextrin functions as a viscosity increasing agent, emulsifier, and skin-conditioning agent in cosmetic products.
Tocopherol is the most prevalent form of vitamin E in plant seeds and products derived from corn, sesame seed, sunflower, olive oils, and a plethora of nuts.
Most of the tocopherols are reported to function in cosmetics as antioxidants or skin conditioning agents. In fact, a 2003 study, evaluated whether the combination of topical vitamin C and E was better for UV protection to the skin than an equivalent concentration of each – alone. The study concluded that each (in their own right) were significant antioxidants in the protection from skin damage. However, the combination of both C and E provided superior synergy against the likes of skin cancer and photo-aging. Further detailed information regarding tocopherol as a major lipid-soluble chain-breaking antioxidant of membranes and an important cellular protectant against oxidative damage was provided in a 2014 CIR safety assessment.
It is also interesting to note that in 1999, a study found that topical vitamin E applied on scars provided no benefit (in 90% of the cases) to the cosmetic outcome of scars after skin surgery. And it even noticed that 33% of the patients treated, developed contact dermatitis to the vitamin E.
Overall, tocopherol is the predominant form of vitamin E in human and animal tissues, and it has a high bioavailability. The CIR safety assessment recognized that tocopherol has some absorption in the UV range. However, it was noted that according to animal and clinical testing, tocopheryl acetate was not photo-allergenic or phototoxic.
Bottom line: Strong antioxidant capacity. Best if formulated with Vitamin C ingredients but may be a potential for dermatitis.
Ok, the claims as detailed on Maelove The Glow Maker website for the following:
“Vitamins C (15% L-ascorbic acid), E and Ferulic Acid for superb antioxidant protection. Hyaluronic Acid for long-lasting hydration.
And a proprietary botanical blend (Vitis Vinifera, Aloe, Aurantium Dulcis and Magnolia) for extra nourishment and easy makeup application.“
Ok, let’s parse this baby to its bare bones based on its ingredients:
|What's the Problem?
Vitamins C (15% L-ascorbic acid), E and Ferulic Acid for superb antioxidant protection.
Hyaluronic Acid for long-lasting hydration.
Proprietary botanical blend (Vitis Vinifera, Aloe, Aurantium Dulcis and Magnolia) for extra nourishment and easy makeup application.
SKIN TYPE & USE
According to Maelove The Glow Maker package and bottle, this serum was formulated and may be applied per the following:
- Package: In the morning after cleansing and toning, apply 3-5 drops to a dry face, neck, and chest before other anti-aging skincare products.
- Bottle: After cleansing, apply liberally on the face. neck and decollete. Can be used twice daily in the morning and at night.
THE GOOD & THE BAD
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid is often touted as the “gold standard” in vitamin C serums. As we mentioned before and in a previous post, the C E Ferulic serum was developed based off a patent, that is set to expire in 2025.
Now that’s quite a ways away!
This is why the folks at Maelove have covertly maintained the exact formulation of the Glow Maker (aside from the 15% L-ascorbic acid) under wraps with the addition of a few different ingredients – to avoid any risk of a patent breach.
It’s safe to say that Maelove The Glow Maker is similar but still very different.
- Yes, it has 15% L-ascorbic acid.
- Yes, it has both ferulic acid and vitamin E (tocopherol); albeit the % composition is unknown.
Based on the SkinCeuticals patent and available academic research; we know that the synergy of L-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, and vitamin E are mediated by a balanced % composition and target pH per the following:
- 10-20%: L-ascorbic acid
- 0.5-5.0%: Ferulic acid
- 1%: Tocopherol (vitamin E)
- pH: 2.0-3.5
However, the % composition (for ferulic acid and vitamin E) and pH for Maelove The Glow Maker remains a mystery. As a result, the benefits examined within the patent and applicable peer-reviewed research can’t be substantiated due to the unknown % composition and pH of Maelove’s product.
In fact, there seem to be other emollient, skin-conditioning, and humectants included:
- Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
- Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract
- Xanthan Gum
The Glow Maker also includes additional antioxidants:
- Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Extract
- Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract
- Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract
And of course, there are the usual preservatives and skeptical ingredients:
THE UGLY (PRICE)
DO I NEED THIS?
I purchased this little serum and I have to say that the results did show an improvement to some hyperpigmentation and pesky sunspots.
With vitamin C serums, consistency is key.
If you stop, those obvious improvements to your skin texture and clarity just return to its natural order. Choosing the right vitamin C serum may also take time. Therefore, the choice is yours to determine at what price point is comfortable.
But why are vitamin C serums so expensive?
The truth is, vitamin C is one of the most unstable ingredients to formulate in serums or solutions. As we mentioned in our review of ascorbic acid, there are multiple factors (such as pH and other synergistic ingredients) which are key to creating a truly stable vitamin C serum or product. So, it often takes multiple iterations before a final potent product that is stable is often released to the market.
So keep that in mind as well. Either way, the choice is always yours!
ARE THE CLAIMS BACKED BY SCIENCE?
Overall, the three claims for Maelove The Glow Maker were simple:
- Vitamins C (15% L-ascorbic acid), E and Ferulic Acid for superb antioxidant protection.
- Hyaluronic Acid for long-lasting hydration.
- Proprietary botanical blend (Vitis Vinifera, Aloe, Aurantium Dulcis and Magnolia) for extra nourishment and easy makeup application.
Nothing outlandish or absurd, and very straightforward.
So, if we look at whether this vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) serum really meets its defined claims, the answer is most definitely yes! If you were considering diving into the wonderful world of vitamin C serums, the Maelove The Glow Maker might be the most economical option to date. But be forewarned, not all vitamin C serums are all the same.