Founded by licensed esthetician Laura Cooksey, Face Reality is an acne-focused skincare line that offers products for both treating breakouts and preventing new ones. The collection also consists of anti-aging products, sun care products, and even supplements to help you attain clear skin.
But how well do Face Reality skincare products really work? To answer that question, we’ll discuss the formulation details, including the key ingredients in Face Reality skincare products and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare.
We’ll also share some Face Reality skincare reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.
What’s Inside Face Reality Skincare?
Face Reality focuses on using evidence-based ingredients in their products, such as Vitamin C, retinol, and peptides. These ingredients should all be part of your skincare routine. Here’s why:
We’ve been hearing for years that Vitamin C is the best anti-aging ingredient. It’s a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
Vitamin C also helps fade dark spots, evens out skin tone, and increases radiance. As if that wasn’t enough, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis.
It’s in Face Reality Brighten-C Mask.
But our favorite Vitamin C serum is Carrot & Stick The Defence Serum. It contains 3 distinct types of Vitamin C that work together to help fight free radical damage. We recommend using it every morning.
As you age, your body’s production of collagen and elastin slows down. These two proteins are responsible for your skin’s structural support. As a result, the skin loses its natural plumpness and smoothness.
While collagen is necessary for maintaining youthful-looking skin, the collagen protein is too large to absorb into the skin topically. That’s why applying skin care products that contain collagen won’t provide the anti-aging benefits you’re looking for.
This is where peptides come into action. Peptides are the building blocks of protein, and they are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of skin due to their smaller size.
Face Reality Antioxidant Peptide Face Serum contains Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38.
If you’re looking for a peptide serum, we recommend Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum. It contains 7 plant-based peptides to promote plumper and smoother-looking skin. It also has skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.
Retinol is the go-to anti-aging ingredient recommended by dermatologists and skin experts. It’s clinically proven to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores.
The only downside? Retinol can often lead to side effects like skin dryness, peeling, and irritation.
It’s in Face Reality Vitamin A Corrective Serum.
Use retinoids at night. We recommend this retinoid oil serum. It contains Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, an ingredient that provides similar benefits with less irritation.
The brand combines these ingredients with plenty of soothing botanicals, such as aloe vera and honeysuckle, as well as safe synthetics, such as silicones and humectants.
Furthermore, many of the Face Reality skincare products are formulated with innovative ingredients, such as Matrixyl Synthe’6, Metabiotics Resveratrol, Neodermyl, Nonapeptide-1, Brightenyl, and Sepiwhite, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, we noticed that several Face Reality skincare products are formulated with high concentrations of denatured alcohol.
Denatured alcohol offers some benefits, for instance, it dries up excess oil, it provides a temporary tightening effect, and it helps other ingredients penetrate the skin better. But these short term benefits are not worth the consequences of using alcohol-based products long term.
Alcohol can cause excessive skin dryness, which in turn causes the skin to compensate by producing more oil. Over time, this can lead to oily skin and breakouts.
Furthermore, alcohol disrupts the lipids that make up the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin), according to a publication in the journal BBA Biomembranes.
What Are The Top 10 Best Face Reality Skincare Products?
Face Reality offers everything that you would need to create a complete skincare routine, including cleansers, toners, moisturizers, serums, masks, sunscreens, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best Face Reality skincare products.
Face Reality Mandelic Serum
You’ll find a combination of the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) mandelic and lactic acid in Face Reality’s most popular serum. These alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) exfoliate the skin by enhancing the breakdown of dead skin cells and increase the rate of cell turnover, leading to smoother, more radiant skin.
Unfortunately, the brand uses denatured alcohol as a penetration enhancer in this product. While this does help the AHAs penetrate deeper into the skin, it also damages the skin barrier and causes skin dryness.
Bottom Line: Face Reality Mandelic Serum uses mandelic and lactic acid to exfoliate the skin, but keep in mind the formula includes a high concentration of denatured alcohol.
Face Reality Sulfur Spot Treatment
Sulfur Spot Treatment is a gentle yet potent combination of 6% sulfur and an innovative peptide that provides an instant fix for red and inflamed acne lesions. Unlike most spot treatments, Face Reality Sulfur Spot Treatment is effective without harsh ingredients and will help reduce the appearance of redness and sensitivity.
Sulfur works well to reduce acne because it’s a keratolytic, aka an ingredient that loosens dead skin cells, aids in exfoliation, and prevents pore blockages. Sulfur also helps to reduce skin oiliness and has antimicrobial properties.
The spot treatment also includes Neutrazen, a peptide with calming and soothing properties that reduces the appearance of redness and sensitivity.
Bottom Line: Sulfur and Neutrazen are combined in this acne spot treatment in order to help reduce the appearance of red, inflamed acne lesions.
Face Reality Sunscreen Daily SPF 30 Lotion
This Face Reality sunscreen glides onto the skin, creating a weightless velvety finish that’s invisible; no white cast or greasy mess to worry about!
That’s because the brand uses four chemical sunscreen ingredients in this product, including avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene. Together, these ingredients provide broad spectrum SPF 30 protection.
The silky feel of this sunscreen is due to a combination of emollients like kukui nut oil with silicones like dimethicone and cyclopentasiloxane. These ingredients provide a light skin feel and improve the slip of the formula without leaving a sticky residue behind.
Bottom Line: A broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen lotion with a weightless, invisible finish that moisturizes and protects skin from UV damage.
Face Reality Brighten-C Mask
Brighten-C Mask is packed with innovative ingredients that brighten the look of the skin, help improve the appearance of discoloration, and offer antioxidant support.
Just as the name suggests, the mask includes the potent antioxidant vitamin C to help combat free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
Furthermore, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis.
And just when you thought vitamin C couldn’t get any better, it can. Vitamin C helps to promote a brighter complexion with fewer dark spots and a more even skin tone by inhibiting melanin synthesis.
The skin-brightening, collagen-boosting benefits of vitamin C are combined with ingredients like Nonapeptide-1, Brightenyl, Sepiwhite, and Rumex Occidentalis extract. The result? A brighter, firmer complexion with a more even skin tone.
Bottom Line: The potent antioxidant vitamin C is combined with a blend of skin-brightening ingredients to help fade dark spots and promote a more even skin tone.
Face Reality Antioxidant Peptide Face Serum
Antioxidant Peptide Face Serum contains a blend of antioxidants and peptides that work together to increase skin firmness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The water-based serum includes key ingredients like Matrixyl Synthe’6, Metabiotics Resveratrol, and Neodermyl.
One unique ingredient in this serum is phenyl t-butylnitrone, also known as “Spin Trap”, an antioxidant that catches free radicals and stops them before they do any damage. This is different from other antioxidants that react with the free radicals and convert them into water after they have begun the damage.
Bottom Line: Antioxidants, peptides, and Spin Trap work together to help increase skin firmness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Face Reality Ultra Gentle Cleanser
Ultra Gentle Cleanser is a sulfate-free gel cleanser that’s appropriate for all skin types, including sensitive skin, dry skin, or mature skin. The key ingredients in this cleanser are naturally-derived surfactants, such as cocamidopropyl betaine and decyl glucoside.
A surfactant molecule contains one end that is hydrophilic (attracted to water) and one end that is lipophilic (attracted to oil). This allows surfactants to attract and suspend oils, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away, leaving the skin clean.
The cleanser also includes antioxidant support with ingredients like green tea, licorice root, and mushroom extract. These soothing ingredients help to reduce redness, irritation, and other signs of skin sensitivity.
Bottom Line: A sulfate-free gel cleanser that uses surfactants to remove impurities while antioxidant-rich extracts like green tea and licorice help to soothe the skin.
Face Reality Sal-C Toner
This alcohol-based toner promises to exfoliate the skin with salicylic acid and white willow bark while providing antioxidant protection with vitamin C, beta carotene, and niacinamide.
While these are all excellent skincare ingredients, we can’t ignore the fact that denatured alcohol is the highest concentration ingredient in this toner (after water). We’ll explain more about the problems with this type of alcohol in the Key Ingredients section below.
Bottom Line: An alcohol-based toner that will help to reduce excess oil, minimize pores, and tighten skin — but not in a healthy way!
Face Reality Hydrabalance
Hydrabalance is a water-based hydrating gel that contains antioxidant properties and can help reduce the appearance of oily shine.
Lilac cells and Phenyl-N-Butyl Nitrone (Spin Trap) help to rejuvenate skin while sodium hyaluronate adds plenty of hydration. In case you aren’t aware, sodium hyaluronate is the salt form of hyaluronic acid.
Once applied to the skin, sodium hyaluronate provides the same benefits of hyaluronic acid. Those benefits include improved skin hydration, as well as a more plump complexion with fewer lines and wrinkles.
This serum is great to add extra hydration for all skin types, although if you have dry skin you may want to follow with a thicker moisturizer to help lock in moisture.
Bottom Line: Face Reality Hydrabalance is a hydrating serum that helps to draw moisture into the skin thanks to sodium hyaluronate while providing rejuvenation with lilac cells and Spin Trap.
Face Reality Soothing Clay Mask
The natural clays kaolin, bentonite, and illite form the base of Face Reality Soothing Clay Mask. These clays have excellent absorption properties, which means they can absorb excess oil from the pores and help to reduce shine. And there’s even research to back up the oil-absorbing and detoxifying effects of these clays.
According to a publication in the journal International Geology Review, “The high adsorption and absorption capacities, cation exchange capacity, as well as the extremely fine particle size of certain clays, e.g. smectites (expandable clay minerals) and kaolin group minerals are important reasons why these minerals are used to remove oils, secretions, toxins, and contaminants from the skin.”
Furthermore, these clays can help to exfoliate the skin because they do not completely dissolve in water, but instead form a paste with very fine particles. These particles serve as a gentle abrasive that can exfoliate the top layers of skin, removing dead skin cells, makeup, excess oil, dirt, and other impurities that may have accumulated during the day.
Bottom Line: A clay mask that absorbs excess oil and exfoliates, helping to promote a bright, clear complexion.
Face Reality HydraCalm Mask
HydraCalm Mask features a blend of naturally-derived ingredients that help to reduce redness and leave the skin feeling replenished, such as blue agave extract, honeysuckle flower extract, and bisabolol.
The formula also includes allantoin, a very gentle and effective moisturizing ingredient. Allantoin is also a keratolytic, which means it has the ability to smooth skin through exfoliation of the top layer of dead skin cells. It can help to increase skin smoothness and promote cell proliferation and longevity
This gentle, rinse-off mask is appropriate for all skin types, especially dry and dehydrated skin.
Bottom Line: Naturally-derived ingredients like blue agave, honeysuckle, bisabolol, and allantoin help restore moisture and calm the skin.
How Much Do Face Reality Skincare Products Cost?
Face Reality skincare products are mid-range in terms of cost; they aren’t cheap but they are ridiculously expensive. For example, the Antioxidant Peptide Face Serum costs $42 USD while the Soothing Clay Mask costs $36 USD.
Where to Buy Face Reality Skincare Products?
Face Reality skincare products are sold on the brand’s website (facerealityskincare.com), as well as through estheticians.
What is The Face Reality Return Policy?
The Face Reality return policy states, “Face Reality products may be returned within 30 days for a full refund, provided no more than 50% of the product has been used. Bundles and kits must be returned with all original components – individual products within the bundle/kit cannot be returned.”
Is Face Reality Cruelty Free?
Face Reality is certified cruelty-free by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies Program. They do not test on animals during product development or production — or allow any third parties to do so with their products.
Is Face Reality Vegan?
Face Reality may offer some products that are suitable for vegans, but this is not a 100% vegan brand.
Face Reality Skincare Reviews
Face Reality skincare reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive, although there aren’t very many reviews, so we went to ArtofSkinCare.com to get a better idea of what customers think of these products.
One product that has received plenty of positive feedback is the Face Reality Mandelic Serum, which has earned an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars after nearly 200 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for the Face Reality Mandelic Serum mention how well it works for a variety of issues, such as enlarged pores, blackheads, hyperpigmentation, and even milia.
For example, one review says, “I don’t think I can go without this product… it just works so much magic on my face! It reduces my pore size, helps keep my blackheads under control, keeps my milia at bay, and on top of all that it’s such a refreshing product to have on.”
And another 5-star review says, “If there was only one product I could use for the test if my life..this is it. This has done more for me than any other product I’ve tried, and I’ve tried plenty. This has completely cleared my face without any harsh side effects and has greatly improved hyperpigmentation. This also has dramatically reduced my oil production to where I’m not an oil slick by noon.”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Face Reality Mandelic Serum, mostly from customers who were disappointed that they didn’t see the results they were hoping for.
For example, one review says, “I have non-inflammatory acne all over my face. I was suggested this product to help with it. After using it for two weeks, it made my face feel more oily and slick, and I didn’t see much improvement.”
Other Face Reality reviews mention skin dryness after using the Mandelic Serum, as one review says, “Just started using it. It’s drying out my face, but I think that’s what it is supposed to do to shed off the dead skin cells.”
Overall, we think that most Face Reality skincare products are formulated well, although we’d recommend avoiding the products with high concentrations of denatured alcohol.
- Products contain evidence-based ingredients (salicylic acid, AHAs, niacinamide, peptides, etc.)
- Many positive Face Reality reviews
- Face Reality is cruelty free
- Several Face Reality skincare products contain high concentrations of denatured alcohol
What Are Some Alternatives to Face Reality Skincare Products?
If you’re looking for skincare products for breakout-prone skin, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin. We recommend this acne serum.