I volunteered to try the Astara Radiance Renewal Intense Moisturizer ($54) because I had had a good experience with Astara Golden Flame Hydration Mask ($46). I tried the mask because it came in one of my subscription skincare packages and my skin was dry and dull. At that time, the mask was effective – not revolutionary, but effective – and it felt good.
The Radiance Renewal Intense Moisturizer has the same effect on me: it is a pleasant, effectively moisturizing product which, for the most part, feels good. I used it on my face and the back of my hands for almost a month. Each time I used it, I noticed it filling in fine lines and giving my hands a youthful plumpness. However, there were some disadvantages to the product, especially since Astara uses some controversial ingredients. Because of those ingredients, I have to qualify my recommendation of this product as “effective, if you are not sensitive.”
For example, I could not use it anywhere near my eyes. In applying the cream, I had to avoid my eye area as if I were applying a mask product. If I got it any closer to my eyes, they watered and burned. At first, I blamed it on the fragrance, although the fragrance is light and dissipates quickly, but, after researching the ingredients, I found that Astara uses phenoyxethanol as a preservative. If you access the Truth in Aging database, you will find that this ingredient carries an FDA warning as a potential irritant (see here). The Environmental Working Group gives the ingredient a score of 4 for moderate hazard.
As I delved deeper into the ingredient list, I found a couple of other substances which are not among my favorites: retinyl palmitate may make you more susceptible to sun damage and cholecalcerifol is banned in Canada. Both cyclopentasiloxane and steareth-2 are listed as low hazards by the Environmental Working Group.
All of these potentially disagreeable ingredients are listed after an impressive list of natural and plant-based oils so the relative volumes of each are small. Agreeably, aloe is the first ingredient listed after water, which is a pleasant surprise.
All in all, I find the ingredient list to be too potentially harmful for my taste, especially given the issue I had with irritated eyes, but I want to emphasize that I am trying hard to reduce my personal exposure to such chemicals. If you are not worried about these particular ingredients, then I would recommend this as a medium-priced, effective, lush cream. In one month, I have used about one-third of the jar; at $54 per jar, this means the monthly cost would be about $18 per month, which I think is reasonable for such a rich cream. On the other hand, if you are sensitive to some of the ingredients, as I seem to be, there are other creams with less controversial ingredients out there.