I’m excited to be writing this review because Aromatica was actually the brand that first introduced me to Korean beauty products. I was pregnant at the time, and pregnancy hormones had given me a pretty bad breakout. I wandered into a brick and mortar Kbeauty store (Palace Beauty in Irvine CA) and asked them whether they had anything that would make my skin better, but it had to be gentle, because I wasn’t able to use acids or any harsh chemicals during my pregnancy.
The sales representative immediately gave me the Aromatica Vitamin C serum, and despite its hefty price, I caved and bought it. A month later, my face was smooth and breakout-free.
This review isn’t about the Vitamin C serum though (that’ll be for another day) because at $110 per ounce, it’s not super affordable. However, it turned me onto the brand, and I later went back and bought the Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum, and the Rose Absolute Vital Fluid.
I think they are amazing quality for the price, considering that they are sold in Korean department stores but are priced very reasonably. If you can’t find them in an import store, the exclusive US distributor is online site Peach and Lily where they are priced for $39 for the First Serum, and $45 for the Vital Fluid. This is very close to what I purchased them for at the import store, so the P&L prices are not inflated.
Aromatica is also an ethical brand. They do not test on animals, and in fact, in 2013, decided not to expand their product line to China because China’s regulations require animal testing. Given how huge the Chinese market is, I think this is a true mark of integrity.
On top of that, Aromatica uses natural ingredients from organic sources, and avoids the use of synthetic fragrances, harsh chemicals, and animal products. They are ECOCERT certified (a European organic certification organization) and have EWG Skindeep Champion Status (this info via Peach and Lily).
All in all, Aromatica’s products are a great choice if you are sensitive to certain chemicals, fragrances, and want an ethical, cruelty-free brand. So, on to the review!
Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum
So first of all, if you like the smell of roses, you will LOVE this serum. It smells exactly like fresh rose petals.
As you can see, I’ve already used up quite a bit of the 130ml bottle (some of that was decanted for a friend). The packaging is very nice. A simple apothecary-style glass bottle with a twist-off cap. I think the packaging reflects Aromatica’s products: simple, effective, but classy and enjoyable.
It’s important to note that Aromatica reformulated this product recently. The new version of the product includes niacinamide and is also a slightly smaller bottle (100ml instead of 130ml). This review is for the old formulation only.
ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE,GLYCERIN,ARBUTIN,BETAINE,POLYSORBATE 80,SODIUM CARBOMER,CAPRYLYL GLYCOL,PANTHENOL,ALLANTOIN,MALVA SYLVESTRIS (MALLOW) EXTRACT,MENTHA PIPERITA (PEPPERMINT) LEAF EXTRACT, PRIMULA VERIS EXTRACT,ALCHEMILLA VULGARIS EXTRACT,VERONICA OFFICINALIS EXTRACT, MELISSA OFFICINALIS LEAF EXTRACT,ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM EXTRACT,ROSA DAMASCENA FLOWER OIL,PHENETHYL ALCOHOL,ADENOSINE (via EWG)
The old formulation has arbutin, a melanin-inhibiting compound found in wild plants. The new formulation includes niacinamide, which is a very nice active that is both brightening (melanin-inhibiting), and has also been shown to induce collagen production and improve skin barrier function.
Other than that, the ingredient list for both formulations is quite similar. Aloe is the first ingredient, which is very nice — aloe is super soothing and moisturizing, and it’s always good when the first ingredient isn’t water.
Cosdna didn’t return any irritants, but some people are sensitive or allergic to botanical extracts. Personally, I found that after a couple months of use, I started getting a bit of itching. I stopped using it for 2 months, and when I started using it again, it was fine.
The light yellow serum is dispensed through a stopper cap with a hole in it. It’s very easy to shake a few drops into your palm.
The sales rep told me that because this brand is organic, the ingredients can oxidize if exposed to the sun for a while, so keep it in a dark place. That said, I haven’t experienced any noticeable oxidization in the 5 months I’ve had it (I just keep it in the bathroom, which is windowless).
It’s a first serum, so I use it in place of both toner and serum. I love that it allows me to abbreviate my routine, especially on busy mornings.
It takes a little while to sink in, so pat, pat, pat! No stinging or irritation when applying.
Once absorbed, skin is soft and hydrated with no residue or oiliness. The wonderful smell of roses lingers for a little while but is not bothersome.
The Bottom Line
Pros: Honestly, I love this serum! It’s hydrating and so pleasant to put on. My skin is very soft and smells of roses. It’s hydrating enough that I can do my toner and serum steps in one.
Cons: Lots of botanicals, which may cause allergies in some. Fragrance lingers.
I will definitely repurchase, at least as long as my skin continues to love it.
Buy it at:
Peach and Lily, $39
Aromatica Rose Absolute Vital Fluid
On to the second half of this monster post! I’ve only been using the Vital Fluid for a couple weeks, but I’ve been definitely enjoying it.
The Vital Fluid is an emulsion with lots of great oils, so it’s perfect for dry skin (Rosehip oil? Check. Shea butter? Check. Rose oil? Check. Jojoba oil? Check!). Like the First Serum, it smells of roses, but I think the Serum has a more “pure” rose scent. The Vital Fluid’s rose scent is mingled with the smell of shea butter and other oils.
The fluid has a tendency to separate (this is normal), so you may need to shake it up when you first use it.
Aloe barbadensis leaf extract, Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Glycerin, Betaine, Propanediol, Cetearyl olivate, Sorbitan olivate, Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, Niacinamide, Cetyl palmitate, Sorbitan palmitate, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, Rosa canina (rose hip) fruit oil, Panthenol, Tocopherol, Glyceryl caprylate, Allantoin, Sodium phytate, P-anisic acid, Levulinic acid, Sodium levulinate, Xanthan gum, Rosa damascene (rose) flower oil, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, Adenosine, Malva sylvestris (mallow) extract, Mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf extract, Primula veris extract, Alchemilla vulgaris extract, Veronica officinalis extract, Melissa officinalis leaf extract, Achillea millefolium extract (via Peach and Lily)
Like the serum, the first ingredient is aloe, and there are lots of very moisturizing oils as well as the star brightening ingredient niacinamide (this is for the current formulation).
The Cosdna analysis returned a couple of acne triggers: tocopherol (vitamin E), which can be irritating to some people, and jojoba seed oil, which can be comedogenic (both of these are beneficial if you’re not sensitive to them). Again, lots of botanicals, so if you’re prone to allergies, you may want to avoid.
The Rose Absolute Vital Fluid is a creamy liquid. It’s a little more runny than other emulsions, possibly because there are no silicones. Very rare.
It spreads out easily with plenty of slip. It does feel a bit oily as you rub it in, probably because there are a lot of moisturizing oils in the formula. Because of this, it takes a while to absorb.
Immediately after rubbing it in, there is a slight sheen on the skin (but not shine). The oils take a while to fully absorb, so give it about 10 minutes after applying before applying your sunscreen/makeup.
Once fully absorbed though, your skin is just super soft, and the only word I can think of to describe it, is “conditioned”. Like how when you rub leather conditioner into a leather chair, it becomes so much softer (not that my skin is like leather…thankfully!). There is little residue (it doesn’t feel oily at all once absorbed), however, if you sweat a lot, the oils in combination with sweat may make you feel greasy.
Edit: I want to clarify, that despite all these great moisturizing oils, the Vital Fluid doesn’t feel heavy or greasy, UNLESS you’re heavily sweating. So if you sit in an air conditioned office all day, it will be fine.
This is definitely a moisturizer for dry skin. If you’re on the more oily side, you might want to save it for the cooler months. I avoid using it on the T-zone and just keep it to my dry cheeks, where it does a great job of smoothing dry flakes. Unless you have very dry skin, you probably won’t need an additional moisturizer on top of this in the daytime.
The Bottom Line
Pros: Lots of moisturizing oils, very moisturizing, no silicones, softens skin, smells like roses, light feeling
Cons: A couple of acne triggers, may be too rich for summer or for oily skin, takes a while to fully absorb
Update: I have really been loving the Vital Fluid lately. My skin texture has visibly smoothed out even more and my skin seems to be loving the oils in this moisturizer. The Vital Fluid is so emollient and softens my skin better than any other moisturizer I’ve tried, while remaining remarkably light. If you have dry skin at all, or even combo-dry or normal skin, you’ll love it.
Buy it at:
Please note: I purchased all these items myself from a brick and mortar imported cosmetics store. Aromatica and Peach and Lily did not provide any products nor am I receiving any compensation from them. They just happen to be the only place to get Aromatica products in the US, for the most part.