The Oxygen Network
Oxygen facials peaked on spa menus a few years back, promising to make skin dewy and plump with mists of the refreshing, pure molecule. Despite hype and devotion from celebs (read: Madonna), dermatologists were skeptical of the lasting benefits. Now it seems oxygen is poised for a comeback—this time in the form of elixirs, creams, and even makeup infused with that atmospheric element. But the question remains: Do these O2 fixes improve your skin’s health in the long run? We tested out the latest offerings, asked the pros for their opinion, and discovered some surprising results.—Kari Molvar
The Product: Philosophy Oxygen Boost Daily Energizing Oxygen Elixir, $50, www.philosophy.com.
The Claim: A companion product to the brand’s popular Oxygen Peel (which is meant to mimic the results of an oxygen facial at home), this lightweight lotion contains a veil of oxygen that aims to clarify, detoxify, and energize the skin.
The Expert’s Take: “Overall, I think the Philosophy oxygen collection is good, but I’m still skeptical of oxygen as an ingredient that does anything beneficial for the skin,” says Washington, D.C.-based dermatologist Elizabeth. “I don’t think it’s harmful in any way, just useless.”
The Experience: We can’t say for certain if it was the O2 or the blend of botanicals in this formula, but the lotion went on with a perfect velvety texture and gave our skin an amazingly moist, morning-dew-on-petals effect. Hard science aside, we’re sold.
The Product: Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Liquid Foundation SPF 25, $34, available February 2 at www.hsn.com.
The Claim: The foundation boosts cellular respiration, plumps the skin, and protects against the signs of aging with an oxygen hydrating complex plus vitamins C and E derivatives.
The Expert’s Take: “What I like about this foundation is that it minimizes flaws and conditions the skin at the same time,” says New York City-based makeup artist Tina Turnbow. “It’s great for sensitive skin, since it’s hydrating but also oil-free, and you can build your coverage, depending on if you want a full or sheer effect.”
The Experience: Obsessed! The oxygen formula covered up blotches and dark circles but still let our natural skin tone peek through. Using it daily, we noticed our pores looked smaller and our complexion had a well-rested glow about it.
The Product: Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment, $95, available January 27 at www.qvc.com.
The Claim: Inspired by Somerville’s DermalQuench spa facial, this spray-on liquid contains PFC-oxygen carriers to relax superficial facial muscles and rid the skin of impurities while also imparting moisture and brightening the complexion.
The Expert’s Take: “There have been no scientific studies to prove that oxygen carriers help the skin in any way,” reiterates Dr. Tanzi. “But this product has other ingredients, namely hyaluronic acid, that will deliver antiaging benefits.”
The Experience: The treatment did smooth our skin—almost on impact—but was a hassle to apply. The frothy liquid is meant to be dispensed from the spray nozzle in three bands across the face—a technique that proved challenging since it shoots out with a fair amount of force (note: shield your eyes and ears). According to Somerville, “Shaking the can allows for best evacuation and dispersion of the formula.” We found holding the tip close to the skin made the process easier, but it still took practice (and patience).
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