A Probiotics-Rich Routine with MARY & MAY

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As winter approaches, it’s time to start switching up your skin care routine, if you haven’t already done so yet. Like many of you, I’m more than ready to swap lightweight gel creams for more potent moisturizers. Committing to a more nourishing routine, however, doesn’t necessarily mean indulging in more skin care steps. Sometimes, you can get all the nourishment you need from a few powerhouse products.

This is where MARY & MAY comes in. A clean beauty brand famed for its serums (which we’ve previously reviewed), this K-Beauty gem possesses a range of products that work well in pared-down routines. Attracted by its “less is more” brand philosophy and its use of natural ingredients, I decided to try MARY & MAY’s skin-strengthening duo for sensitive skin: the Vitamin B5 + Bifida Toner and the Vitamin C + Bifida Lotion. Both feature superstar ingredient bifida ferment lysate on top of vitamins, and they’re designed to amp up skin’s resilience while adding a brightening boost.

Having neglected my skin health for most of my twenties, I’ve learnt the hard way what happens when you don’t implement a proper skin care routine early on as my skin has become fundamentally weakened. As a result, it goes through periods of rejuvenation, only to end up rough, red and dehydrated after a few late nights and snacking sessions. With MARY & MAY products’ emphasis on skin-strengthening rather than temporary boosts, this routine promises to get to the root of the problem.

Let’s see how my skin fared after two weeks of dedicated usage!

1. Vitamin B5 + Bifida Toner

In a nutshell: This soothing, hydrating and skin-strengthening toner formulated without alcohol features some true hero ingredients, including 30,000ppm of bifida ferment lysate, 1000ppm of Vitamin B5 and niacinamide. Vitamin B5 hydrates and calms skin, niacinamide promotes a smoother, brighter complexion, while bifida ferment lysate (a type of probiotic) fortifies the skin barrier and gently removes dead skin cells. The brown glass bottle packaging, which helps to keep active ingredients from oxidizing, is as aesthetic as it’s functional.

All the deets: Coming in a texture that’s neither too runny nor viscous, this lightly scented toner quickly absorbed into my skin, bringing subtle yet significant improvements. First off, my skin felt soothed and refreshed upon application. It also quickly achieved a plumped-up look, which points to the toner’s hydrating powers. Although the plumped-up effect gradually faded, I noticed my skin becoming softer, smoother and less prone to maskne as the two weeks progressed. In short, my often temperamental skin is finally settling down.

While I can’t attest to the toner’s long-term skin-strengthening and anti-aging capabilities at this stage, especially when used with products other than the Vitamin C + Bifida Lotion, I believe that my suppler and healthier-looking skin indicates that things are heading in a positive direction. Eventually, I hope that I won’t have to curb breakouts when they occur; rather, my resilient skin would be capable of fending off environmental aggressors to prevent such issues.

2. Vitamin C + Bifida Lotion

In a nutshell: Packed with 30,000ppm of bifida ferment lysate to create a stronger skin barrier and 1,000ppm of Vitamin C to brighten dull skin, this all-purpose facial lotion comes with the benefits of a Vitamin C serum and the hydrating power of a daytime moisturizer. It also helps to promote skin cell regeneration, revealing more youthful-looking skin.

All the deets: All in all, the lotion helped my skin reset itself. Although the persistent dry patches on my skin didn’t disappear entirely, they mostly receded, which is an encouraging sign. I experienced some itchiness a couple of times that quickly faded, but I believe the itchiness was due to the dry weather rather than a reaction to the product. And while I’m some way off from attaining a holiday glow, my skin looked less dull and ashen as the days went by.

I do have one quibble − I’m not sure the formula is nourishing enough for very dry skin and for use during winter. But as a daytime moisturizer that could easily be paired with hydrating toners and serums for an amped-up effect, the Vitamin C + Bifida Lotion did the job superbly. Its brightening abilities gave my skin an extra kick. In time, I’ll see whether its superstar ingredients can truly work in strengthening my skin, but for now, I’m happy with the way my complexion is perking up./p>

My Final Verdict:

Both the Vitamin B5 + Bifida Toner and the Vitamin C + Bifida Lotion come with plenty of exciting benefits. I love how both products are gentle on skin without sacrificing on potency. When used together, they managed to reset my skin in a healthier direction, rather than giving it a short-lived hydrating boost. By the end of my two-week trial, my skin was visibly smoother, brighter and less red. These products work best together, so I’m not sure the results would be as encouraging if I had used them individually, especially since the lotion was slightly less moisturizing than I’d hoped. That said, I’m happy to welcome them into my skin care rotation, and eventually pair them with a MARY & MAY serum.

In the past few years, I’ve tried moisturizing products harnessing all sorts of effects, such as creams infused with betula alba juice to fight free radicals, as well as serums packed with peptide ingredients to provide anti-aging care. Many of them were great at soothing and hydrating my skin for a while, but only a handful truly provided long-term benefits to rescue my skin from its weakened state. Given MARY & MAY’s expertise at building up skin resilience, and how much I’m enjoying the Vitamin B5 + Bifida Toner and the Vitamin C + Bifida Lotion so far, I’m confident that this skin-strengthening duo will deliver long-lasting results!

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