Instytutum Skincare is one of those skincare brands that seem to have garnered quite a cult following on social media. Their PR team (Blue Wheel Media) is super sweet and contacted me a few months ago to send me some products. The package then got lost in transit (it was apparently delivered to the wrong house…I hope whoever got it has glowing skin now), and they patiently sent me another package! I’ve been using their line for several weeks but the craziness of the holidays hit and I’m only now posting my review of them (thank you guys for your patience!).
Instytutum is a skincare brand that originates in Switzerland and their claim to fame is their super-purified water. They use the latest skincare technology to create products that are elegant and effective. They certainly have a ton of gorgeous Instagram reviews, but I was curious to see if they were all they were chalked up to be.
I received these products free to review. As always, being honest with my opinion is the most important thing to me.
Instytutum Skincare Review
I received the Instytutum Serum, Triple-Effect Peel, and Flawless Skin Masks to try out. When I looked up how much they cost I was kind of wowed — this is definitely a luxury skincare line. The Triple Effect Peel is $79, the Serum is $180 (!!!), and the Flawless Skin Mask is $69 for 5 masks. I’ve definitely had experiences with luxury skincare lines with sub-par performance, so I was eager to find out if these were worth the money.
Instytutum Triple Effect Peel
I’ll start with the Triple Effect Peel since it was the product they asked me to review. This is a gentle exfoliating scrub that contains THREE modes of exfoliation:
- micro-exfoliation particles
- papaya enzymes
- salicylic acid
You massage it gently onto your skin and then leave it to do its work for up to five minutes before rinsing off. If your skin is sensitive, don’t rub, but just use it as a mask as the enzymes and salicylic acid will still have an exfoliating effect.
So generally speaking I like the ingredients in the Triple Effect Peel. The exfoliating ingredients are there in what seem to be effective amounts (they’re not at the very bottom of the list). There are some synthetic thickeners (such as polyethylene) in there, but Instytutum doesn’t claim to be a natural beauty brand so I’m willing to give them a pass this time round (though I’d love to see them reformulate with greener ingredients!).
Enzyme exfoliators are a great choice for those who are new to exfoliating as they’re very gentle in general (I’ve reviewed a few of them, the Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel and the Ole Henriksen Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask). But be aware that some people are sensitive to papaya, so be sure to patch test.
I LOVE how this peel feels on my skin. It may be my favorite physical scrub to date. It is very gentle but scrubby enough that it feel like it’s actually effective in smoothing and brightening my skin. It’s the perfect consistency for massaging over the skin without tugging. I’m not sure if the enzymes and the salicylic acid are doing all that much as I use more potent acids on a regular basis, such as my Vitamin C serum, but they are certainly gentle and don’t cause irritation. If you’re new to exfoliating and you’re not sure how your skin will handle it, I would recommend trying the Instytutum scrub before moving on to the strong stuff.
Although I don’t tend to use physical scrubs all that much, I do find myself reaching for the Instytutum peel on a regular basis, which says a lot in its favor.
And now onto the Instytutum Serum! So I was a little afraid that the serum would end up being mostly silicones and thickeners as many high-end products do, but happily it has some great anti-aging and brightening ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin C (a stable form), peptides, and squalane. It does feel like it has a small amount of silicones, as it has a very smooth and slick texture, but it feels very refreshing instead of overly plasticky like some products do and I have no problem with pilling or layering it over products.
Well, kudos to Instytutum’s formulation team because so far, their formulations feel exquisitely elegant on the skin. The serum has a lovely refreshing watery gel consistency that layers very well with my myriad other products (very important) and absorbs quickly. The finish after it absorbs is moisturizing but breathable and non-sticky, and I’m able to layer a cream on top without greasiness or heaviness.
As for long-term results, it’s hard to say. My skin has definitely gotten brighter in the last couple months but I’ve also been using a potent acidic Vitamin C serum regularly which is more likely to have dramatic effects (albeit with more potential for irritation). However, I do like the ingredients in the Instytutum serum and I think they are great supportive players for my stronger acids. This is a really great moisturizing serum with a wonderful texture that contains solid anti-aging ingredients. I guess you have to decide for yourself how much that’s worth to you =p.
Instytutum Flawless Skin Mask
This is where you get to see a rare and embarrassing sheet mask selfie of me, ugh. Ok, the Instytutum Flawless Skin Mask is a two-piece hydrogel mask that is sandwiched in sheets of plastic. Place them gently over your skin and center them over your face. I like to put the lower piece on first and then the top piece overlapping it, as I feel like it’s more secure that way (though I didn’t do it that way for the pic above).
These masks contain peptides and collagen and are meant to firm and moisturize the skin while increasing the skin’s radiance.
I generally don’t like hydrogel masks. They’re slippery, and they’re often stiff, making them difficult to conform to the face. They sometimes feel like they’re suffocating my skin. The Instytutum masks, however, are very, very nice. Yes they’re still slippery and you might have to lie down for the first few minutes until enough of the essence absorbs and the mask sticks better to your face. But they are very soft and fit very well to the contours of your face. They feel incredibly refreshing and cooling while they’re on (these will be heaven in the heat of summer) without any of the itching and suffocating feeling that I sometimes get from hydrogel masks. And after the essence had absorbed a bit, they adhered so well to my face I totally forgot they were even on.
I found that these were really refreshing, hydrating masks that gave my skin a boost of moisture without feeling sticky. I didn’t really feel like they did anything for brightening and I didn’t notice an immediate firming effect other than slight plumping of the skin from hydration. But as this is a one-use mask you can’t really expect instant results for anti-aging ingredients like peptides that are meant to work more long term. Using them regularly (like 2x a week maybe) would probably deliver more visible results. These masks were definitely a luxurious and pampering experience though.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I think that Instytutum has made a solid — nay…a stellar line of products that combine effective ingredients with really lovely, elegant formulations that feel wonderful on the skin. These are very good products and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Are they worth the price? Well, there are definitely high-end skincare brands I’ve tried at a similar price point (that shall remain unnamed) that did not deliver the ingredients + formulations that Instytutum does. Everyone has to decide how much to spend on skincare and the rest is up to you.
A few details — in general it seems their products do contain fragrance. They’re pleasant scents to me, but if you’re particularly sensitive, you may want to consider that. Also, although the products are paraben and sulfate-free, they’re not completely natural and do use some synthetic ingredients, so if going 100% natural is your priority, these probably won’t be a good fit.
You might have noticed that I didn’t provide full ingredient lists — the full story is that I threw away the packaging in a fit of Marie Kondo-esque purging, and when I asked the brand for the full ingredients they actually requested that I not put them on the review. This isn’t uncommon, as some brands are concerned about copycats replicating their products. If you are sensitive to a particular ingredient, I’d recommend contacting them to check first.
Buy It At
Instytutum products can be purchased at Instytutum.com.