When I agreed to test Mukti Antioxidant Facial Serum ($44.72), I wasn't expecting much. The ingredients were all botanical and organic, which I liked, but it boasted none of the cutting-edge anti-agers found in other serums--no peptides, spin trap, stem cells, growth factors, or other high-tech innovations from the lab. I figured the Mukti serum would provide some plumping and hydration, but no dramatic anti-aging boost. What a pleasant surprise to be proved so wrong.
Let's talk first about the healing effects, which were immediate and dramatic. I received the sample as the weather was rapidly changing from cold to hot, which always wreaks merry hell on my sensitive 40-something skin. My face had flared up in breakouts some weeks earlier and was covered with stubborn acne scars that simply refused to heal. Within days of starting the Mukti serum, those scars had faded to nothing. My skin tone was healthy-looking and the breakouts haven't recurred since I started the serum.
The calming and balancing effects are what I noticed next. As the weather got hotter, I waited for my face to enter its summer mode: oily, large-pored, and irritated/crinkly from the sun. It didn't happen. My pores are small, I haven't had to blot oil from my chin and nose, and my skin feels evenly soft, even when traveling. These improvements seem to be due to the Mukti serum because when I've accidentally skipped a day, my chin has reverted to its inflamed, shiny, pre-breakout mode.
Most surprising of all were the firming effects I started to notice after several weeks of using Mukti Antioxidant Facial Serum morning and night. Sagging skin around my mouth and jawline has really started to make me look my age in the past year or so, despite help from AQ Active Serum and Your Best Face Control (both of which I really like). My skin now looks noticeably lifted and my jawline less droopy. At dinner the other night, friends whom I see rarely told me I looked younger than I had in years. I have been layering the Mukti serum over another serum (usually YBF Control), and the combination seems to be a winner for me.
Time to look into these ingredients and see what makes this little organic Australian potion such a powerhouse. First of all, there's no water or alcohol or other fillers; the initial ingredient is aloe, which I've always found great for speedy healing of burns and wounds. The second is sweet almond oleosomes. Oleosomes are tiny spheres 1-3 microns in diameter found naturally in plant seeds. In cosmetics they are used as emulsifiers and as a delivery system for ingredients like antioxidants, emollients and vitamins. There is a long list of botanical ingredients, some of them exotic and unfamiliar, others well known. I have selected a few to mention here:
Bioactive native extracts:
- Kakadu plum: An Australian fruit rich in vitamin C. "It's been shown to fight off cancer cells and may be helpful for UV-damaged skin," according to Joshua Zeichner, assistant professor of dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC (source)
- Mountain Pepper Leaf: Another native Australian plant. According to Mukti's ingredient glossary, it's a "super anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that neutralises the enzymes that destroy connective tissue. Strengthens capillaries and reduces free radical damage, protecting the skin from breakdown and aging."
- Wild Roselia (Hibiscus) extract: anti-oxidant, said to inhibit elastin degradation, protects skin elasticity.
- Pomegranate: skin repairer, anti-inflammatory, free-radical scavenger, collagen-stimulator, and more.
- Rosehip: Contains vitamins A and C, calms and rejuvenates skin, aids in moisture retention.
- Kukui Nut: Another acne-fighter. Kukui is the official tree of Hawaii. Contains high levels of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid.
- Buckthorn berry: Vitamin C for firm skin, Omega 3's for anti-inflammation, Vitamin E for healing.
- Tamanu and Carrot seed oils: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, promotes formation of new tissue.
- Essential oils including rose (anti-acne, improves skin permeability) and pettigrain (antiseptic, toning, balancing, oil reducing)
So I guess if I had researched the ingredients, I would not have been surprised by the dramatic healing, balancing, acne-fighting, and skin-tightening effects, which are precisely the benefits these botanicals are reputed to deliver.
As mentioned above, the serum is concentrated and contains no water to thin it, so it goes on a bit sticky. It's easier to spread when your face is damp from washing or from another product. The stickiness disappears quickly as the product is fully absorbed. The color is light yellow and the fragrance is subdued and deliciously herbal. I use one pump to cover my whole face, slightly more if I include my neck. I have not needed any other moisturizer on top of it, and I don't experience any drying-out of my skin throughout the day. (The label says "for all skin types," which is fortunate because "all skin types" is what my face has: dry, oily, mature, acne-prone, sensitive. It's rare to find a product that balances out all these warring zones.)
For anyone who struggles with acne, this serum is definitely worth a try. The long list of anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory ingredients seem to be a far more potent weapon against breakouts than the salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide I was relying on. I was worried that the presence of so many essential oils might be irritating, but so far no problem. The skin-tightening effects have been a welcome bonus, and I look forward to seeing whether the firming will continue.
The ultimate verdict on a product is "Will I buy it again?" Yes. At once, before this bottle runs out