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Kate's royal regimen- just hot air?

June 29, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 5 Comments

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has a $37,000 a year beauty regimen that includes Karin Herzog’s oxygen-based skincare products.  I am ever thankful for the Royal tip-off for the bee venom mask and so was hoping for another good lead. But they turned out to be little more than hot air (and paraffin).

Both of Kate’s choices Vita-A-Kombi ($62) and Oxygen Face Cream ($44) are formulated with 2% oxygen. Karin Herzog is a family-run cosmetic company in Switzerland, brandishing the slogan “If it’s not Karin Herzog, its not oxygen.” They fiercely guard the secret to stabilizing oxygen in cream, a process invented by hubby, Dr Paul Herzog.

Stable or not, oxygen’s cosmetic benefits are up in the air. Some even believe that oxygen facials are bad things as an excess of high-pressure oxygen applied to the skin's surface can theoretically generate high levels of free radicals and degrade oxidizable molecules. Oxygen in cream is much more benign, but it is unlikely that the gas would cross the stratum corneum (source).

Since you can’t see oxygen, it is tempting to fear emperor’s new clothes syndrome. Is it even in Vita-A-Kombi and Oxygen Face Cream? Well, there is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which is per Wikipedia “the simplest peroxide (a compound with an oxygen-oxygen single bond).” Living things turn H2O2 into oxygen. So there you have it. However, you might not want to slather hydrogen peroxide on your skin. Because it is a strong oxidizer, it is used as a bleaching agent for food and textiles and to oxygenate stains on teeth (it is in the whitener by Tanda that I recently tested). According to Cosmetics Info, it is an antimicrobial.

Both Vita-A-Kombi and Oxygen Face Cream have a base of water and paraffinum liquidum, otherwise known as paraffin or mineral oil. Mineral oil is an inexpensive petrochemical byproduct made from petroleum. Because of its ability to cut through grease and dirt, mineral oil is commonly used to remove makeup.

It is a very odd choice to use with oxygen since mineral oil forms an impenetrable film over skin that traps in toxins and hinders normal skin respiration. Mineral oil is eschewed by many modern formulators because is prevents in oxygen and release carbon dioxide in order to appear healthy, and mineral oil tends to interfere with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism.

I have to say Karin Herzog’s Vita-A Kombi and Oxygen Face Cream are amongst the most unconvincing that I have perused for a while. Kate must be placing a lot of faith in mineral oil and hydrogen peroxide since, part from retinol and vitamin B1 that’s all there is. Emperor’s clothes indeed.

See all our Five Best recommendations, including Five Best for sagging skin and Five Best with vitamin.C and Five Best eye creams.

Ingredients in Vita-A-Kombi: Aqua, Paraffinum Liquidum, Glycerin, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Hydrogen Peroxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinol, Parfum.

Oxygen Face Cream: Aqua, Paraffinum Liquidum, Glycerin, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Hydrogen Peroxide, Thiamine Nitrate.

  • January 9, 2016

    by Jenn

    The products are actually very nice and work well. I found them to be very healing and didn't break me out. While they aren't my favorite products, they aren't fairly represented in this particular review.

  • July 29, 2014

    by sam

    I'm disappointed with this review as it seems to me that the writer doesn't really understand how the products work and instead has just commented on the ingredients list. I have researched this range thoroughly and have used it for many years with really great improvements in my skin. The oxygen penetration can be felt and seen on the skin and has been scientifically proven to penetrate very deeply. Personally I have found that my breakouts have stopped completely and my skin always looks fresh and clear and so well balanced. Perhaps it would be a better piece if you try the products for a while before passing judgment on their benefits.

  • July 13, 2012

    by Victoria

    I suppose one could use honey and get a similar effect. Why anyone need bee venom in a beauty product?

  • July 6, 2012

    by Ann

    Ohh, thanks for the heads up! I formerly used Mario Bedescu products which I liked at the beginning. After a few months use my skin was a mess. I realized it was the mineral oil....which is present in some of their "oil free" products! It's an ingredient I definately avoid now. I guess you should send Kate some good samples!

  • July 3, 2012

    by Julie Kay

    This really is just sad. Paraffin and glycerin. At 30 her skin won't show the effects for a great while, but she's just clogging her pores- is my opinion. If she began now with (the oh-so-many) a good skincare line she, with her glorious bone structure, would keep her skin looking young well into her 60s or longer. I so wish an advisor of hers would find TIA or even care about such things for the Duchess. ~jk

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