Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

Snowberry Bright Defence Face Serum- reviewed and recommended


Gentle enough for all skin-types


Texture is a bit dense
April 15, 2012 Reviewed by TIA Community Member 3 Comments
A perfect way to incorporate antioxidants into your regimen

I’ve previously mentioned that I’m a proponent of layering an antioxidant under sunscreen. I frequently find that it’s the one step that’s most often missing from beauty regimens and one of the most important steps when it comes to anti-aging. When I was given the Snowberry Bright Defence Face Serum ($69) from New Zealand, I only needed to glance at the cutesy packaging and note the words “natural beauty” on the box to write it off as a ho-hum antioxidant serum. I knew Max had been intrigued with Snowberry’s Remineralising Toner ($54), but I take my antioxidants very seriously. Yet, upon closer examination of the product’s ingredients list (and a bit of research), I found some fascinating and rare ingredients. I was surprised, and delighted, to find that Snowberry’s Bright Defence is much more than just a free-radical fighter and unlike any serum I’ve tried.

Despite the words “natural beauty” depicted on the product’s box, I wouldn’t exactly call Snowberry natural per se. Natural is quite different from organic, and Snowberry definitely is not organic nor does it aim to be. However, there is no denying that Snowberry’s philosophy and implementation is indeed environmentally conscious. The company does not include any ingredient in its formulations without assurance that the ingredient has been sustainably harvested without detriment to the environment. In fact, Snowberry is the first New Zealand beauty company to achieve the carboNZeroCert certification. This means the company’s activities are measured and managed to be carbon neutral. That’s quite commendable in my view. Snowberry aims to deliver skincare benefits via clinically proven bio-active ingredients, such as antioxidants, enzymes and peptide complexes, while avoiding petrochemicals, sulfates, artificial coloring, parabens, silicones and glycols. The company is also developing “Snowberry Gardens” in order to derive its own sources of bio-active ingredients. The good news is there’s plenty of garden space available in New Zealand.

Snowberry describes Bright Defence as a serious, rapid-delivery anti-glycation and anti-free-radical formulation. Well, the second ingredient is l-ascorbic acid, the purest form of Vitamin C. Clearly, they are serious. Vitamin C has been shown to help protect and repair skin cells and reduce hyperpigmentation. Still, vitamin C is notoriously unstable and such high concentrations of the vitamin can certainly cause irritation, especially when water is present in the formulation. Water happens to be the very first ingredient (albeit mineralized). Snowberry’s solution is to use an enzyme in order to stabilize the ascorbic acid. But this enzyme is very clever. The enzyme enables a gradual release of the vitamin, thereby preventing any irritation. This serum is extremely mild and even sensitive skin types won’t feel the slightest bit of a tingle. Moreover, this measured release of the vitamin prolongs its benefits for a longer period of time than ordinary vitamin C serums. Vitamin C in this form is known as ascorbic acidg2-glucoside or AA2G™. AA2G is also known to effectively reduce the amount of pre-existing melanin. The formulation also includes Chromabright and ODA White  to further reduce discoloration.

Besides wiping away free radicals and hyperpigmentation, Bright Defence also addresses glycation. In simple terms, glycation occurs when a protein bonds with a sugar molecule. This eventually stiffens the body’s tissue, increasing inflammation and producing free radicals, which in turn causes premature aging. It’s a vicious cycle. Kombuchka, a fermented black tea extract counters glycation and smoothes skin. In Chinese tradition, kombuchka stands for a long and healthy life and well-being even at an advanced age. How apropos! Though, in skincare, kombuchka is fermented a bit differently from the Chinese tradition; fermentation occurs via the symbiosis of two micro-organisms.

Unlike most serums, which are slippery and sometimes leave a slimy feel on your palms after application, this beige serum has a gel-like consistency that quickly evaporates within a few seconds. Notwithstanding its somewhat dense texture (for a serum), it rapidly absorbs into skin without leaving behind any residue. I usually wait about a minute - if that - and apply my sunscreen! Two pumps are really all you need. The scent has just a hint of fruitiness but even that quickly dissipates. Overall, I’d say the serum is fragrance neutral.

The formulation is teeming with skin-beneficial emollients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Despite the inclusion of a mild blend of fruit acids and a bit of retinyl palmitate, the product is well buffered and extremely gentle, formulated for all skin types. Besides scavenging for free radicals, this serum hydrates, brightens, evens skin tone and smoothes skin. The product is a true multitasking anti-aging potion. I’ve always loved wine from New Zealand; now I love its skincare too!

Ingredients: Aqua (Demineralised), L-Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Lactate, Saccharomyces/Xylinum Black Tea Ferment & Glycerin & Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glycerine (Coconut), Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Retinyl Palmitate/Carrot Polypeptide, Ascorbic Acid/Citrus Polypeptide, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Water & Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/leaf Extract & Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract & Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract & Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract & Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, Benzyl Alcohol & Glycerin & Benzoic Acid & Sorbic Acid, Sclerotium Gum, Xanthan Gum, Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed) Extract, Parfum, Dimethylmethoxychromanol Palmitate, Citrus Bioflavonoids (Grapefruit)

  • April 23, 2012

    by Annie

    Thanks Nisha for your very helpful reply

  • April 19, 2012

    by Nisha Buckingham

    Hi Annie,
    Ascorbic acid or Vit C is fine to use during the day. Fortunately, both of your questions are addressed in this review (& comments) on PCA SKIN C-Strength:

    Nevertheless, I should point out that the ingredient Snowberry actually uses is "Retinyl Palmitate/Carrot Polypeptide", aka "Vitazyme A Plus". This is a synthetic in which Vitamin A is paired with plant (carrot) polypeptides associated with naturally occurring carotenoids (which have been proven to protect against UV rays). This association makes the Vitamin A water dispersal, basically rendering the vitamin to the form in which it would occur in carrot juice. The water solubility not only increases the absorption rate, it completely eliminates the irritation potential of the Vitamin A (or retinyl palmitate). Vitaenzyme A Plus is quite different from retinyl palmitate.

    However, I can see how the words retinyl palmitate (regardless of the words succeeding them) would raise questions.
    I wish I could have listed the ingredient as 'Vitaenzyme A Plus, as it is listed on Snowberry's website. However, I'm required to post the ingredients as listed on the packaging I actually tested. The difference in terminology is due to FDA labeling requirements in the US.

  • April 15, 2012

    by annie

    Thanks for this review.

    Is it ok to use ascorbic acid on the face in daylight? Never that sure....

    Also, i notice it has retinyly palmitate in it, I thought I read somewhere on this website that retinyl palmitate cross reacts with UV light and so shouldn't be applied during daylight? have i got this wrong?

    Many thanks

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More