An all-around superior face moisturizer is an elusive creature. There are just so many ways to mess up this one particular product, probably the most essential component in any skincare regime. Among the scores of face moisturizers I have tested for Truth in Aging, very few have passed muster and even fewer have ultimately been inducted into my standing repertoire. If I am going to put something on my face every single day, it better be high quality stuff. I consider it a rare feat to find a daily face lotion that meets the following criteria:

  1. It doesn't make my face feel oily or look shiny.

  2. On the flip side, it doesn't weigh my face down with a layer of residue.

  3. It doesn't spawn dormant blemishes or mysterious rashes.

  4. Likewise, it doesn't contain yucky chemicals or irritants.

  5. It moisturizes deeply enough to keep my skin hydrated and flake-free throughout the day.

  6. It creates a smooth, unobtrusive base for makeup.

  7. It has some sort of SPF AND doesn't smell like sunscreen.


Seeing as I have come across very few specimens that measure up to these standards, I was pleasantly impressed by Dermophisiologique's Polivalente Hydraviso Face Cream. This Italian lotion checks off all seven points, with the added bonus of being nearly 100% organic. Carefully formulated without alcohol, allergenic perfume additives, mineral oils, synthetic colorants, and parabens, Hydraviso cream mostly sticks to benevolent botanicals, harmless additives that contribute to its consistency, and active ingredients that deliver precise benefits to the skin.

The first two actives provide SPF 8 sun filters. Octyl methoxycinnamate is a chemical sunblocking agent that absorbs ultraviolet radiation in UVB range. To supply full-spectrum protection, it is combined with butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (otherwise known as avobenzone), one of the few compounds capable of protecting skin from UVA rays. Another sun protectant, red grape extract, has been shown to reduce the DNA damage that occurs after UV exposure. Not only does grape extract protect the blood vessels against rosacea and erythrosis (redness), but it also contains high doses of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-proliferative agent.

Free radical-fighters are scattered throughout the formula. Long used in Japan to protect and moisturize the skin, rice bran oil has a high level of the antioxidants gammaoryzanol and tocotrienols (vitamin E), as well as phytosterols, which can help reduce inflammation and soothe discomfort. It is a nice botanical substitute for lanolin. Grapefruit extract, a natural preservative, is also rich in antioxidants, particularly ascorbic acid (vitamin C), flavonoids, beta carotene, and lycopene. These nourishing elements can help brighten the complexion, boost suppleness, and relieve even the thinnest and most delicate of skin.

Though the lotion has a light texture, it uses excellent emollients that penetrate deep-down to provide immediate and long-lasting moisture. Following the common humectant glycerin, ceratonia siliqua gum (aka carob), the ground seed of locust bean, has moisturizing and emulsion-stabilizing effects. Additional emulsifiers are obtained from squalane and olive oil (one of our Five Best botanical oils in skin care), which boasts the powerful antioxidant hydroxytyrosol (a polyphenol). Dicaprylyl carbonate is a plant-derived fat that contributes skin-conditioning properties without an oily film. The addition of saccaride isomerate, a highly effective moisture-regulator that binds to the free amino groups of lysine in the stratum corneum, guarantees long-lasting hydration even in dry air under relatively low humidities.

Dermophisiologique's fillers are for the most part benign. Capryloyl glycine, a combination of capric acids from coconut or palm oils and the amino acid glycine, helps with consistency and emulsification. Hydroxyethyl acetate is a harmless stabilizing and viscosity-controlling agent, not to be confused with 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate, a toxic chemical used to form plastics and resins. The preservative and stabilizer disodium EDTA enhances the penetration of other actives in the formula. Though it has shown to be mutagenic in clinical studies, the concentration here is likely to be far too low to cause harm.

Hydraviso cream has become my latest daily standby. After using it for a full month, I have not had one complaint about texture, duration, or sensitivity, and I have been able to feel secure facing a modicum of sunlight throughout the day. It absorbs quickly and leaves an immediate sensation of freshness. My skin appears more balanced, brighter, and softer. Besides being a perfect makeup foundation for women, its innocuous fragrance and non-greasy consistency also make it great for men as an after-shave lotion.

All of Dermophisiologique's products are clinically tested, proven, and certified by the University of Pavia. Though Hydraviso touts some notable antioxidants and emollients, it doesn't have much to offer in terms of anti-aging elements. I think that it's best suited for skin that doesn't require serious wrinkle warriors or fine line foes. But for 20-something skin in search of a versatile daily face lotion, Hydraviso can't be beat.

Ingredients:

Aqua (Water), Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Glycerin, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Capryloyl Glycine, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Olea Europea (Olive Extract), Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran Oil), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit Extract), Vitis Vinifera (Grape Leaf Extract), Saccharide Isomerate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Citric Acid, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Glucamine, Profumo (Fragrance).