"Perfect" is a subjective word. What I call perfect weather (cloudy with a cool breeze by day, thunderstorm at night) would make a summer beachgoer curse the sky. But a perfect complexion - now that's something where we can all find some common ground...in the form of flawless, glowing, youthful skin. Is one product capable of delivering complexion perfection for all skin tones and types?
Pure Skin Formulations makes no bones about it. By its name alone, the brand's Perfecting Day Lotion promises nothing short of perfection. Its bottle, meanwhile, makes no mention of how it will improve the skin beyond a straightforward list of ingredients. Is the formula a perfect 10, or does it play dirty? More on that later. The equal - if not more - pressing question is, how perfect are its results?After a three-week trial of the Perfecting Day Lotion ($25), it would be an understatement to say my complexion is content. Rather, it is glowing with praise. Despite the lightweight, almost runny, consistency, I need no more than a single layer of the lotion to feel thoroughly sated throughout the day. It seems to refine pores and fine lines, and it instantly smooths over rough spots that sometimes cluster around my mouth (which crop up from a bad reaction to toothpaste spillover...at least that's my theory). My hypersensitive skin has not once suffered a breakout since introducing the Perfecting Day Lotion into my morning routine.The day lotion does not contain sun protection, apart from green tea extract, but it plays nicely with sunscreens. What it lacks in SPF, it makes up for in antioxidants, herbal extracts, and super-moisturizers. The formula starts out strong, with organic aloe juice making up the base - a position more commonly occupied by water. Unlike a filler solvent, aloe vera is believed to have anti-aging benefits by stimulating collagen production, reducing inflammation, and soothing skin inflictions. Considering its dynamic composition (18 amino acids, polysaccharides, enzymes, minerals, most of the main vitamins), the skin can't get much better from the plant world than this humble succulent.

What follows is a cluster of herbal distillates from lavender, chamomile, and rose. Distillates (also known as essential waters or hydrosols), which are produced from steaming aromatic plants, contain diluted essential oil compounds and skin-friendly acids. Because they have the same properties as the essential oils that result from the distillation process, they are believed to be like "lite" versions of their essential oil counterparts. Lavender, chamomile, and rose are commonly used in distillates for their fragrance, and then added to household products like facial toners and room sprays. So while they may be better than plain old water, their benefits are probably not strong enough to affect the skin, beyond lending a nice scent. Strangely, the Perfecting Day Lotion is free of any fragrance I could detect.Organic coconut oil is the formula's first emollient. The Ayurvedic medicinal system considers coconut oil to be one of the world's healthiest oils thanks to its high concentration (over 90%) of essential fatty acids including lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. Not only does this oil tout a number of nutrients (polyphenols, iron, vitamins E and K to name a few), but it also has antioxidant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Next in the moisturizing line-up is hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring chemical that functions to hydrate and plump the skin. By attracting water to fill in the spaces between connective fibers like collagen and elastin, this mini super soaker zaps dull, dehydrated skin and boosts suppleness.As for the rest of the face lotion's formula, there are surprisingly few emollients...but they are some of the best. In addition to the gentle vegetable glycerin and the softening sweet almond oil, hempseed oil contains 81% of the hard-to-find polyunsaturated EFAs, which are capable of penetrating the lipid layers of dry skin cells and replenishing lost oils. The majority of the ingredients are botanical actives.  From green tea and blue-green algae extracts to vitamin E, antioxidants abound to protect and detoxify skin. Witch hazel, black willow bark, and neem extracts deliver anti-acne benefits.  Lacto-ceramide 3, an anti-aging liposome-encapsulated ingredient, nourishes skin with milk lipids and replenishes the loss of naturally-produced ceramides, thus improving the barrier function and locking in moisture on a cellular level. The organics-loaded list goes on and on, incorporating nettle leaf, chickweed, milk thistle, slippery elm, marshmallow root, and oat. It all sounds more like a dessert recipe than a cosmetic.

The only rotten egg is phenoxyethanol, which is surrounded by so much goodness that it's hard to really scold. Overall, the formula dishes out delicious extracts and powerful actives with the best of them. As a carbon-neutral company committed to merging modern science with beneficial botanicals, Pure Skin Formulations succeeds in finding what's best for the face.  "Perfect" may be pushing it, but the Perfecting Day Lotion definitely delivers.

Aloe barbadensis (organic aloe) juice, Lavendula angustifolia (organic lavender) distillate, Anthemis nobilis (organic chamomile) distillate, Rosa damascena (rose) distillate, Cocos nucifera (organic coconut) oil, Hyaluronic acid, Vegetable glycerin, Sorbitan monostearate, Palm stearic acid, Prunus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, Hammamelis virginiana (witch hazel), Camellia sinesis (organic green tea) extract, Lacto-ceramide 3, Urtica dioica (organic nettle leaf) extract, Stellaria media (organic chickweed) extract, Ulmus fulva (organic slippery elm) extract, Silybum marianum (organic milk thistle) extract, Althea officinalis (organic marshmallow root) extract, Avena sativa (organic oat) extract, Aphanizomenon flos-aqua (blue-green algae), Tocopherol (vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan gum, Cannabis sativa (hempseed) oil, Salix nigra (organic black willow) bark extract, Amorphophallus konjac (konnyaku) root, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oleoresin, Azadirachta indica (neem) oil, citric acid.