This review contains PR samples° and affiliate links* The kind people at Credithink sent me two the Lab by Blanc Doux products – their Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Ampoule and Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Calming+ Cream, and given how much I have come to love both of these K-beauty treasures, a review is long overdue!
I think the Blanc Doux the lab Oligo Hyaluronic Acid 5000 Toner* was one of the first “craves” that I mentioned on my podcast – after seeing Director Pi sing its praises in one of her excellent (and now, yay, even translated and subtitled!) videos, I was instantly intrigued. Korean skincare brand Blanc Doux is still a relatively new kid on the block, but has already made quite the noticeable waves in the Korean beauty world. Founded in 2015, the brand started out with a variety of different products and a somewhat all over the place branding style, but has since made the smart choice to focus mostly on developing their popular Oligo Hyaluronic Acid skincare line.
Ranked consistently high on the popular Hwahae skincare app due to its mild formulations and high quality ingredients – notably the name-giving, low molecular hyaluronic acid – the Blanc Doux the lab products became the clear breakout stars from the brand.
When Korea-based online shop Credithink* (currently closed for shipping due to COVID-19, but hopefully back in business soon!) reached out to me to sent me a few goodies from their selection of Korean indie brands, I instantly knew I wanted to try something from the Blanc Doux the lab range. Although I had been wanting to get my hands on the famous Oligo Hyaluronic Acid 5000 Toner, I decided against it for now, primarily because a wave of influencers had just received exactly this toner. So, I felt there were enough reviews and opinions out there already about the toner.
Instead I settled for the – equally exciting! – the lab by Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Ampoule and the Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Calming+ Cream. Director Pi had crowned both of these among her “Top of 2019” products, an elusive list which truly features the best in K-beauty every year. Let me first tell you a little bit more about the Blanc Doux the lab skincare range, and then of course share all the details about both products. If you have sensitive skin, you will definitely want to read on – trust me!
The Lab by Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Skincare Range: But, Isn’t Hyaluronic Acid, like…Bad?
When Director Pi first talked about the Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid 5000 Toner, I instantly perked up in my chair, fascinated. Basically, what distinguishes the toner – and the entire the lab by Blanc Doux range – from many other products featuring hyaluronic acid is the use of high quality, low molecular-sized HA.
Now, lately there has been a somewhat strange trend especially in the Youtube skinfluencer community to claim that all smaller-sized HA in skincare is bad, because it can supposedly cause irritation to the skin, and that all forms of hyaluronic acid will dehydrate skin because “it sucks moisture from the skin.” A couple of dermatologists and reputable skincare researchers have tackled these weird HA myths and thoroughly debunked them, so I don’t feel a science amateur like me needs to add much more to the discussion – this Instagram post is an excellent summary of the debate!
Basically, hyaluronic acid, like absolutely any skincare ingredient, can break out and irritate people who have a particular sensitivity to it. This, however, is an individual problem and not an inherent flaw in HA. Since lower molecular HA can penetrate deeper into skin, it does have a higher potential to irritate if you have a sensitivity to it. Some skin types also tend to be more likely to experience “over-hydration” of the skin, which is an actual phenomenon called skin maceration, which can lead to the stratum corneum, that outer, protective layer of hardened skin cells, to soften too much and thus lead to a weakened skin barrier. So, some people who pile on layers upon layers of hyaluronic acid containing toners daily may suddenly feel like their skin is out of sorts. They may in turn blame it solely on the hyaluronic acid, while it could just be a general over-hydration from a bunch of humectants.
As with all skincare ingredients, your individual experience may vastly differ. For me, glycolic acid has never really led to the exciting results many others have reported and has often severely irritated my skin, so I’ve started to mostly cut it out of my routine and instead gone for gentler acids. Does that mean I will now proclaim glycolic acid is harmful to skin? Of course not – plenty of people have seen vast improvements in skin texture and smoothness, and there is plenty of research on its benefits.
I guess I am somewhat defensive when it comes to hyaluronic acid because I just love its effect on my skin so much! It helps keep my skin looking juicy and plump, and lessens my year-round dehydration issues. Not all hyaluronic acid is created equal, however, and I’ve noticed that some serums and toners feel more like the skincare version of “flavoured water”, meaning they are mostly water with a bit of HA powder thrown in there to justify the name tag.
Most of the lab by Blanc Doux products (the ampoule being one of the exceptions) contain three types of hyaluronic acid: sodium hyaluronate (which has medium sized molecules), sodium acetylated hyaluronate (also known as “super hyaluronic acid” due to its ability to absorb especially high amounts of moisture), and hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, which is that low molecular weight HA Blanc Doux likes to use as their main selling point. Japanese skincare brand Hada Labo also uses hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid in combination with other forms of HA in their super popular (and excellent) Gokujyun Lotion Premium.*
The Lab by Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Ampoule: Makes Thirsty Skin Happy!
If cheaper hyaluronic acid serums are like flavoured water, the Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Ampoule is like a concentrated syrup, packed full with delightful, skin-plumping goodies in high concentrations. Like all the lab by Blanc Doux products, this hydrating ampoule is fragrance- and alcohol-free, formulated with sensitive skin in mind.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Blanc Doux the lab Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Ampoule:
“Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Glucoside, Glycereth-26, Sodium Hyaluronate (10,000ppm), Thamnolia Vermicularis Leaf Extract, Sparassis Crispa Extract, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Glucose, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Allantoin, Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin.”
I was surprised when I studied the ingredient list, since it only features one form of HA, sodium hyaluronate, albeit in a high concentration. Usually sodium hyaluronate for me can feel somewhat sticky and take a long time to sink in, but not so with this ampoule, which my skin seems to just drink up thirstily.
Apart from the sodium hyaluronate, the Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Ampoule also features hydrating glycerin, caulifower mushroom (which works similar to beta glucan, another super effective “water-grabbing” humectant), plus the antioxidants boswellia serrata resin and lichen extract.
The texture of this ampoule is thick, but not sticky – it spreads well when applied, and I only need about 3 drops for my face. This is just a super hydrating, pleasant ampoule to use, perfect for dehydrated skin with the first signs of ageing. Since it is so gently formulated, it works for a variety of skin types and can be easily incorporated into someone’s routine. My skin feels so smooth and plump when I use the ampoule, and it has been a wonderful companion on skin freakout days, providing reliably gentle, pure hydration.
I love mixing this with a few drops of the Geek & Gorgeous B-Bomb Serum with 10% niacinamide, which is equally gentle and is currently blowing me away with how effectively its combatting my redness and inflammation issues. Both serums are highly concentrated and absolutely fragrance-free, not even a whiff of anything chemical, just basically devoid of scent. Another really great ampoule/serum to mix or use in conjunction with the Blanc Doux Boosting Ampoule is the Be Plain Cicaful Ampoule, which features soothing centella asiatica extract.
If the lab by Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Ampoule has caught your eye after this glowing review, you can purchase this at Yesstyle* for usually around 16$ for the 30ml bottle – currently it’s only 13ish$ thanks to a sale! Even though I personally don’t like to buy from them at the moment due to terrible customer service, the ampoule is also available at Jolse* for around 21$.
The Lab by Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Calming Cream+: A Perfectly Balanced Moisturiser
As someone with skin that doesn’t deal well with richness, I often struggle to find a moisturiser that addresses my increasingly more dehyrated, ageing skin while also not aggravating its more “teenagey” tendency towards oiliness and breakouts. Have you ever had to deal with pimples on top of wrinkles? Welcome to oily combo skin beyond the age of 35!
So, I’m always on the hunt for the rare unicorn moisturiser that is both richly hydrating, yet also light enough to not cause my skin to turn into a tempestuously moody teenager. I get somewhat nervous when trying cream textures, since they often contain richer oils and butters, which can trigger breakouts. Thus, I was holding my breath the first times I used the Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Calming Cream+, unsure how my skin would react.
But, well – my skin is in love, basically. This is another sensitive skincare gem, so gentle and simple in a good way. The cream contains no harsh ingredients and plenty of intense hydrators and of course: no fragrance, no alcohol, and no essential oils.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Blanc Doux the lab Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Calming+ Cream:
“Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Tryglycerides, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Sorbitan Olivate, Vincetoxicum Atratum Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate (3010ppm), Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, Beta-Glucan, Jojoba Seed Oil, Betaine, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid (5ppm), Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate(0.5ppm), Isododecane, Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Xanthan Gum, Trideceth-10, Candelilla Wax, Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethicone.”
This features three types of hyaluronic acid – among them the before-mentioned hydrolysed hyaluronic acid – and hydrating glycerin, beta glucan and tryglycerides. Richer, more occlusive ingredients include mango seed butter, jojoba oil, meadowfoam oil and candelilla wax. Green tea leaf extract and boswellia serrata resin extract add antioxidants to the mix!
The texture of the cream is thicker, but not greasy or too waxy. It glides onto skin and melts nicely into its surface, without any leftovers or the need to rub in the cream forever. The feel is very pleasant, and I think this would actually be a great cream for skincare beginners, as well as men who feel (for whatever reason) resistant to starting a proper skincare routine, or anyone who doesn’t like “frilly” beauty products. It’s a lovely, minimalist, unisex moisturiser that doesn’t aggravate skin and provides moisture and protection from dehydration. I also love that it comes in a hygienic tube and not a container, so you don’t need to scoop out the cream with your fingers or a spatula, which can cause contamination.
I love using the Blanc Doux Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Calming Cream+ in the evenings, especially now that I’ve started using a retinal cream and need extra gentle support for my skin. The combination of the Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Ampoule and the Calming Cream+ is so great for anyone dealing with a compromised skin barrier, or anyone like me embarking on a new journey with potentially harsh actives. I’m very pleased indeed with this cream!
Now, I do have to say that I don’t find the Blanc Doux Calming+ Cream intensely moisturising and honestly believe that dry to very dry skin types might not be satisfied with the level of moisture it provides. I would say it works best for normal to combo skin, or if your dryness level isn’t too extreme. If you have very dry or cracked skin, I think it may just not be enough.
I’m really impressed with both the ampoule and cream and hope to soon try more from Blanc Doux and their wonderful the lab product range. Currently I’m eyeing the Oligo Hyaluronic Acid Foam Cleanser* and the Oligo Hyaluronic Acid 7 Multi-Formula Pad*.
Let me know in the comments: Is the lab by Blanc Doux skincare range something for you? What’s your go to skincare routine for sensitive skin days?
Take care guys, and stay safe!
°PR Sample, kindly provided by a brand or shop – I am not obligated to write this blog article, was not paid for the article, and my opinions are entirely my own.
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