By Ann P.
As a woman approaching fifty, I pay a lot of attention to skin care products that help fight dryness, fine lines and sagging. My skin is in good condition, but I have spent my adult life dealing with chronic redness on my nose and cheeks, as well as an increasing number of thread veins as I get older.
I thought I was familiar with most of the brands on the market, but Ao Skincare was a new one for me. It’s a line developed by a clinical dermatologist, with bases in both New Zealand and the US. They offer only six products and their focus is on using natural ingredients in a scientific and responsible manner. I was given the opportunity to test the Ao Skincare Repair Night Cream ($89.95 in the shop).
One of the first things that caught my eye when looking at the ingredient list for this night cream was bakuchiol, an antioxidant derived from the Babchi plant. Studies have shown it to mimic many of the skincare effects of retinol without the sun sensitivity or skin irritation that some people encounter when using retinol products. Another ingredient that I was curious about was pichia resveratrol ferment, which is extracted using a yeast (pichia pastoris), with the result being a very small molecule that readily penetrates the skin to reduce inflammation and enhance collagen production.
These two headliners are where Ao is just getting started, though. This product also features vitamin C and exfoliating lactic acid. It contains soothing aloe as well as manuka honey, a nourishing antimicrobial that is found in many New Zealand skin care products. Rounding out the anti-inflammatories are licorice root and bisabolol, a chamomile derivative. An intriguing surprise in this cream is olive leaf extract, which is both anti-viral and anti-microbial. I take an olive leaf supplement daily, but had never considered putting it on my face.
The product comes in an airless pump for sanitation and to preserve the potency of the ingredients. It has minimal fragrance and shouldn’t be a problem for people with sensitivities. The instructions say to use two pumps once per day, and this was just the right amount for both my face and neck. I found the cream to absorb quickly with no residue.
In terms of hydration, it’s as good as many other products at a similar price point. What’s different and makes this a standout product is that it combines high quality moisturizing with anti-inflammatory properties and the retinol-mimicking bakuchiol. During the month I tested this night cream, I feel like I saw an improvement in my usual ruddiness. I also experienced no breakouts, which are common for me as my hormones change. After thirty days of use, I would say there is some softening of the lines around my eyes and in my forehead, in addition to the improved skin tone I mentioned.
Ao Skincare Repair Night Cream is a good option for anyone looking for a potent nighttime treatment under $100, and I would especially recommend it to anyone who would like the benefits of retinol but who has found their skin to be too sensitive.