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 ($166) 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.
Alright then, let’s look at the ingredients!
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:
|Substantiated||Claims||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.
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.
But as we mentioned earlier, there IS a difference based on ingredients that preclude Maelove The Glow Maker from being TOO similar to SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum.
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)
Maelove The Glow Maker ($27.95)
DO I NEED THIS?
If SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic price point is out of your budget ($166) and you are looking for a fairly similar 15% L-ascorbic acid serum to test, then Maelove The Glow Maker may be for you.
I purchased this little serum and I have to say that the results did show an improvement to some hyperpigmentation and pesky sunspots.
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.
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!
Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster
Drunk Elephant C-Firma™ Vitamin C Day Serum
Marie Veronique Vitamins C+E+Ferulic Serum
DERMAdoctor Kakadu C 20 Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid Vitamin E
La Bella Figura Modern Radiance Concentrate
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic® with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid (Reviewed here)
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.
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.
Until my next review!
Thank you for analyzing and reviewing this product! I have used a few Skinceuticals products in the past and love them, but they are not affordable for me on a consistent basis currently. I may try the Maelove serum until it becomes more feasible for me. I appreciate your writing this up and sharing it. Thanks so much.
Hi Caroline – Thank you for the love!
I switched to Maelove and I have maintained the results I had achieved wih SkinCeuticals.
I have been using Maelove The Glow Maker for a month now and I’ve been quite happy with it. At the low price point, I slather it on a little heavier also, including down my neck. I will definitely repurchase. As for their other products (cleansers, scrubs, etc.), I wasn’t too impressed. The do have a glycolic acid night cream that I am really enjoying though.
Hi AstorMama – Maelove seems to be continually expanding their product range – which might be worth more reviews!
Great review and I like how you compared this to skinceutical. I was wondering if you can do a review on drmtlgy ce ferulic? Their ingredients are really similar to skinceuticals as well and I think maybe that could be another dupe?
Hi Vanessa – I’ll certainly put DRMTLGY Advanced CE Ferulic on the list. Since I posted this review, there have been so many new dupes. Hard to keep up! But happy folks have more options! 🙂
Wondering if you can clarify if the serum turns orangish brown has it lost its efficacy? Thank you
Hi Kir – Well it depends on your serum, so I can’t really speak specifically to any discoloration. But generally, if you see a change in color in your product, it’s usually a sign of oxidation. It’s a good rule of thumb to observe the brand’s expiry recommendation after a product has been opened/seal broken.
I tried so many vitamin c serums on my dry skin like drunk elephant, olehenriksen, paulas choice but honestly maelove is the one which has not irritated my skin, no skin purged/ acne/ redness nothing. Its water based, light weight, super hydrating. Good option for those who wants to incorporate vitamin c serum in the skin regimen.
Hi Sherry – That’s great to hear that folks who are sensitive to vitamin C-based serums have an option. 🙂
So which vitamin C serum is your hands down #1 recommended serum ?
Thanks from Dallas !
Hi Deb – I always try to stray away from labeling one particular favorite or #1 recommended. I’m usually trying different serums (vitamin C especially). And my product loves tend to change depending on my skin condition, environment, hormones, and skin needs. But I do have favorites that I regularly fall back to in the middle of testing; so for vitamin C products The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% and The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% are two I always have in my cabinet.
Thank you! I was amazed at your thorough review and read through all the comments to get even more feedback. This entire article was so helpful
I actually emailed Maelove to ask about the pH, the rep told me it is “in the 3 to 3.5 range.” I’m not sure if this being so vague is to protect their product or they don’t know… any thoughts? Thanks, Emily! I just found your website and am so happy I did.