Have you seen Mean Girls? Is it safe to assume that most of you have? That popular film came out when I was in my senior year of high school, and there was this scene where Lindsay Lohan and The Plastics were in a room enumerating what was wrong with their bodies. Found the clip here:
Basically, they just had to find something wrong with themselves, so it was a satirical picture of teen queen shallowness. However, if we’re going to look at things that way, I’d cop to huge pores and man shoulders. Luckily, that common complaint—large pores, not man shoulders—can easily be fixed by a good pore refiner or pore minimizer. I’ve been using StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner (USD 99) to address that specific concern. To read about my earlier review of StriVectin Repair & Protect Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30, click HERE.
Quick Specs: 50 ml / 1.7 fl. oz ; made in USA; SPF 30; non-comedogenic; paraben-free; sulfate-free
Ingredients: Aqua (Water, Eau), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Myristyl Nicotinate, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Mica, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Lecithin, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Seed Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Bisabolol, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Plankton Extract, Salicylic Acid, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Oryzanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbitan Oleate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/ Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Poloxamer 338, Polysorbate 80, Parfum (Fragrance), Disodium EDTA, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, BHT, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491/ CI 77492/ CI 77499 (Iron Oxides)
As far as presentations go, StriVectin has dressed to impress. The slender tube with pump and lid that serves as the packaging of the Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner is quite streamlined. The size and shape is good for travel, the pump is hygienic, and the snuggly-fitted lid of clear plastic (though prone to cracking) helps prevent accidental spills.
From my previous experience with blur creams, pore refiners, and pore minimizers, I developed the impression that the formulas were generally lightweight, densely packed, flat matte, somewhat drying, and possessing a cream-to-powder texture. StrVectin is quite different from anything I’ve experienced in the past. Yes, the formula is lightweight, but it has a satin finish. The texture is that of a runny moisturizer, so it spreads out. You don’t need a lot.
On the skin, the StriVectin Pore Refiner does a great job of visibly reducing the size and appearance of pores while maintaining a natural look. The satin finish keeps the skin looking mildly dewy, as if you have a thin layer of moisturizer on. Because this product also has SPF 30, I did get a slight white cast. However, when I applied it to the area around my nose, I noticed that the white cast unintentionally helped reduce redness, so yay!
Since this is still a pore refiner, this doesn’t have a formula that’s as moist as a dedicated moisturizer. (Again, it feels like a light, runny moisturizer that doesn’t get so dewy.) I have combination-dry skin, so I can use it all over on no-makeup days or use it just on my T-zone and top it with foundation. If I use it all over and layer foundation on, it tends to bring out my dry spots. If I have a separate moisturizer underneath the pore refiner and a foundation on top, it just ends up looking caked. It does hydrate skin, but foundation in itself is drying. If you have an oilier skin type, you might be able to use this all over and layer foundation on top without any issues.
In my first post about StriVectin, I looked up NIA–114™ and found out about its effects. Let’s recap what I posted before: I’ve since read up on their star ingredient, the patented NIA–114™ technology delivered from Niacin, and it’s not so hard to imagine why it’s a coveted feature of their products. Strengthening the skin barrier is said to improve the overall quality of skin, possibly covering ground on wrinkles. While I think I’d be able to judge those effects better when I’m in my 30’s or 40’s, it helps to know that that particular ingredient has garnered plenty of favorable mentions around the web. (To learn more about NIA–114™, see the information on the StriVectin site HERE and the ingredient definition on Paula’s Choice HERE.)
It has retinol but also has SPF 30, so at least there’s a bit of protection there. However, I wouldn’t take it as a cue to go out in the sun without any other form of sun protection. I think the SPF is there to help offset the skin sensitivity caused by retinol, but try to avoid sun exposure anyway.
Verdict: I was so surprised by how different the Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner was from pore minimizers I’ve tried. For those with drier skin types, you’ll appreciate how it doesn’t exacerbate dry spots as much as the conventional silicone-y pore refiner does. The unintended bonus of reducing redness on my nose was a major plus as well.
To learn more about StriVectin and their products, visit their website HERE.
* I received this product free-of-charge from StriVectin for editorial consideration. I was not paid or otherwise compensated for this review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.*