Bionic Face Cream : 10 PHA

Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream 12 Bionic/PHA

Neostrata’s Bionic Face Cream and sister product Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream have been new discoveries for me. PHA’s and Bionic Acids (Maltobionic Acid and Lactobionic Acid) are considered as the “new generation” of Fruit Acids and also as a very promising group of new “Anti-Ageing” ingredients.

Neostrata, famous for its AHA – “classic” Fruit Acids – products, featuring mostly Glycolic and Citric Acid, has turned the milder way with the introduction (not that they are new) of these products.

Fact is, that not everyone of us can tolerate the full force of AHA’s in, let us say, a still reasonable (effective) dosage. AHA’s can be quite irritating for some and are therefore best tolerated by persons with a non-sensitive skin type.

But what to do if you’re unfortunate and DO HAVE a SENSITIVE skin ? Well, the answer is right here ; just turn to the milder options containing PHA/Bionic Acids.

The Bionic Face Cream is a RICH, yet not greasy, very hydrating and nourishing formula, that is considered (by Neostrata) as the ideal “post-procedure” option. Meaning you can use it after and during a series of professional peels. Not everybody with a rather oily/combination skin type will appreciate its thicker texture, but I must say I personally LOVE it.


The Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream is a better option if you want something LIGHT, yet very HYDRATING without the comforting feel of extra NOURISHMENT. The texture is really nice and sinks in in seconds, which makes it the better option for anyone looking for a powerful, yet light-textured moisturizer with this type of mild acids.

The BENEFITS of both products can be compared to those of an AHA product, being :

  • Improvement of cell turnover, meaning :
  • Better skin texture
  • Better hydration
  • Improvement of skin tone (think : hyperpigmentation)
  • Improvement of skin firmness and elasticity
  • Diminishing of fine lines and wrinkles

So about anything a well formulated (i.e. acidic with low pH) AHA product would do, but with less risk of adverse reactions. Of course, it will take some more time to see real improvement, but normally you should begin to see the first results after approximately two months of regular use.

Although both products are being marketed as “very mild”, I would still advice you to introduce them to your routine in a step-by-step way, like 2/3 times (night) a week fort he first month, to see how well your skin tolerates them. They’re still acids, after all !

Neostrata products can be bought in private clinics (Netherlands) or through your local pharmacy (Belgium).

Neostrata products are fragrance free.



Bionic acids (Bionics) and PHA’s are considered by some skin care experts as the future of modern skin care. Compared to their “big brothers”, the AHA’s, Bionics and PHA’s are MORE GENTLE, less irritating and also more MOISTURIZING. They could very well be used by people with MORE SENSITIVE skin types that are not able to use the stronger AHA’s, like GLYCOLIC and LACTIC acid.

Products with PHA’s, in the form of GLUCONOLACTONE and BIONIC ACIDS, in the form of Lactobionic and Maltobionic acids, are still not widespread. The brand that has most of them combined and offers a FULL SERIES with this type of acids is NEOSTRATA and its daughter brand EXUVIANCE.

If you are curious to see, what PHA or Bionics can do for your skin, I suggest you try one of these brands’ products.


I am personally very fond of Neostrata Bionic Face Cream and Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream.If have been using them both of and on since a few months and can truly see they are effective at both hydrating and activating the skin at the same time.

One of the advantages of this type of acids is, that they present the benefit of stimulating cell turnover, something we would all want once we are over 30 (and especially when over 40!). They are, however, much softer on skin than, for example, a product with glycolic or lactic acid.

If you want to introduce one of these products into your routine, I would advice you to do it STEP by STEP, like you would with a “classic” acid. I made the mistake of being over-enthusiast with these products and thought they would be a wonderful match with my Exuviance Retinol, but how wrong I was. Using full strength Retinol and alternating it with even a gentle PHA or Bionic acid on a daily basis, is just NOT a good idea …..

If you’re not on Retinol, or use Retinol in a very low (0,1/0,2 percent), start using your product twice or three times a week and see how that goes for about a month. If all goes well, use it 5 times a week for another month, before making it a daily use product.

If you’re using a stronger Retinol, try and keep AT LEAST three days in between using a PHA/Bionic and your Retinol. Experiment (carefully), to see how long your skin stays sensitive after using Retinol.For me, this is AT LEAST three days after having used Retinol for two nights consecutively.

I recommend you use “simple” moisturizers and lots of HYALURONIC serums/essences to keep hydration levels up and soothe skin as well as you can.

Reviews on both products will follow in a few weeks.


Things are not complicated in fact. I mean, skin concerns can be many, but sometimes one has to go “back to basics”. This is just what I had to do in the past ten days.

After some “skin stress” caused by some “overdoing” Retinol and Acids, I took things more easy and started thinking about what I (my skin) really wants/needs.

The introduction of Retinol in a “full strength” (one percent) formulation was one of the best things I ever did. Visibly. So I should stick to that. Combining it with AHA and also PHA and Bionic Acid, however, did NOT work out very well for me. It caused a nasty rash. Unpleasant and not very nice to look at. Hmmmm….

So I decided to let the acids go (for now) and combine my Exuviance Retinol with gentle, hydrating and protective skincare. It fixed my skin IN DAYS. Just to tell you how great this feels. Back in control !


My routine now consists of gentle cleansing (like always) and mostly HYDRATING TONERS followed by ever so HYDRATING ESSENCES and SERUMS. A “simple” moisture cream will do, as long as I’m “doing” the Retinol and SUN PROTECTION is my all times friend.

Routine :

Morning :

  • Quick cleanse with CERAVE HYDRATING CLEANSER
  • LEEGEEHAAM GROW HYAL B5 TONER as an essence (this has an essence consistency)
  • HYDRALURON SERUM (Indeed Labs)

The Heliocare has the added benefit of “FERNBLOCK”, a very POWERFULL ANTIOXIDANT protection and acts as my anti-ageing day cream.

Evening :

  • EXUVIANCE SUPER RETINOL CONCENTRATE 2-3 times a week ; I mostly use it for two nights on a row, then follow with 3 nights of moisturizing/soothing.

As you can see, simple, but effective. Now I need to figure out, how I can have some acids back in my routine ….


See you next week !


Fundamental Nourishing Care

Restore & Reinforce

Tested on 100%  Sensitive Skin

Ingredients :Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Alcohol Denat., Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Myristyl Myristate, Niacinamide, PEG-100 Stearate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sodium Polyacrylate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Vitreoscilla Ferment, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Tocopherol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Fragrance.

Interresting (Active) Ingredients :

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter ; source of fatty acids, skin resplenishing, nourishing.

Niacinamide ; improves cell communication and cell turnover.

Vitreoscilla Ferment ; improves skin barrier, anti-oxidant, so cell protection.

Tocopherol ; Vitamin E, cell protector.

I’m not really sure what this “tested on 100% sensitive skin” really means…. Have they tested on people with (allegedly) sensitive skin and no-one else ? Or do they mean all candidates were a 100 percent sensitive ? And what would that really mean ?

Anyway, Biotherm Life Plankton Sensitive Balm is a truly NICE product, whether you have sensitive skin or not. I’m not particularly sensitive, but if you were – for example – sensitive for fragrance in cosmetics, be aware, because this product DOES contain (a bit of) perfume ! A quite lovely and quite LIGHT smell, by the way, but it definitely is there !

Texture is light, for a balm. I’m not sure why they call it a balm anyway, because it’s really nicely absorbed, even by my own (quite “combination”) skin. This is a GOOD thing, even if you tend to be dry/sensitive, because who wants a thick, sticky layer on her/his face nowadays anyway?


I personally like to use this product during my “dryer”, more dehydrated days (which are few at the moment ; please read my “skin moments” blogs).But whenever I feel I need a little extra help in the sense of moisture/bit of nourishing, I love this product on my skin. I usually use it at night, over a serum (Vitamin A, C, or something Korean with lots of moisture). It’s also good to keep a jar of this when you’re “on retinol”, because it will nicely compensate any dryness you might experience (especially when starting retinol).

Bottom Line: lovely product, personally love the smell (yes I know, this is not skincare). Nice texture.

Texture: melting, quite light for a “balm”, quickly absorbed.

Skin types: all, if you ask me. Biotherm offers other textures in the same line, if you feel you need something “lighter”, but it works great for my combination skin.

Age : no specific age group.

Day or Night ?Both, the product has no SPF, so please think of this if you use it at daytime.



Intense Smooth Radiant Complexion

Anti-fatigue &  anti-ageing

Mature skin

Tolerance dermatologically tested

Active Ingredients:

Avena Sativa (Oat Kernel) Extract : skin soothing

Hydrolized Lupine Protein : skin soothing

Sodium Hyaluronate : hydrating

Medico Sativa (Alfalfa) Sprout Extract : anti-oxidant, cell-protecting

The sky is the limit !At least, when I read the title/subtitles of this product. Must be something truly GREAT ! You all know, I DO love a nice FRENCH product. And, although science comes before anything in my book, we are ALL subject to marketing, nice packaging and looks.

So far so good… But feel where I’m getting at ? Hmmm this little gem wasn’t so much of a special thing to me. I must admit, I had VERY HIGH EXPECTATIONS; Radiant, Smooth, isn’t that what we ALL want to be? I’m not really sure if I’m in the “mature” skin category yet, I must admit, but that couldn’t keep me from wanting to try and find out for myself.


The product is a cross between a cream and a balm. It has a rather thick, balm-like texture that needs to “melt” into the skin, but is surprisingly well absorbed. So for texture, I must give all my compliments. The product, however, did NOT do much for my skin, if I compare it to, for example, a serious AHA or retinol cream, but maybe I just shouldn’t compare it to that.

The problem is, that when you read the label, you just expect a CHANGE in texture, or at least some visible difference in radiance. None of this happened, unfortunately …. And I honestly WANTED to LOVE this product, just because of my deep sympaty for smaller, less known brands.

Bottom line :if you are a typical “dry” skin type (I don’t mean just dehydrated), you might eventually love this product as a primer or pre-make-up product. If you’re looking for something quite spectacular in terms of pore texture/small acne scars/fine lines, don’t expect a lot from this product.

Skin types :the texture is definitely balm like, so I’d say dry skins. Oilier skins will not like its richness.

Age :mature, the brand says, and maybe that’s just what I’m not (yet J).

Texture :rich, balm-like.

Fragrance :very light, nothing too strong.

Note :as you will probably use this during day time, don’t forget to use an SPF also, as this product does not contain any UV filters and doesn’t protect you against harmful light.



Time for confessions, I’m affraid.There are a few things I didn’t tell you…. Well not ALL of it, so be prepared….

When we speak about Retinol, like I’ve been doing in the past few weeks/months (see previous articles) and about AHA’s / Fruit Acids, we should also speak about some drawbacks these product scan have. Or rather, about some things you SHOULD NOT DO when using them.

Here we go :

Retinol is meant to be used on your face and eventually other body parts (chest) if you have a reason to use it in that area. A reason could be – like in my case – acne scars. As Retinol does wonders on ageing skin, you will usually start using it when you start noticing changes in your skin. In my case :my acne scars started becoming more visible (chin area) and my periorbital wrinkles (meaning : around the eyes) became deeper. Times to change things, so meaning : time to do some “retinolling”.


HOWEVER :Retinol is not meant to be used in SENSITIVE AREAS like around your nose, on your neck and around your eyes. So what did this guy do ? Put it in all those areas where I shouldn’t have, especially around the eyes….

And it all went well for weeks and months, like I told you in my previous blogs. Until some irritation started (well, some “warm”, sunburned feeling in my face). And still I thought I should keep doing “active” skincare, so I introduced some “bionics” (see previous blog) to my skincare regimen. This went well, very well, as bionics are a “soft” form of fruit acids. But what I didn’t tell you, is that I wanted to treat my eye area the same way and started a bionic eye cream, which I truly loved !

But my skin didn’t agree with all this and responded in a very ANGRY way ….. So now I’m facing some serious under-eye irritation, probably due to the fact that I COMBINED Retinol and a powerful eye care product around my eyes. Which I, OBVIOUSLY, should NOT have done….

So please, if you are like me, and want your skincare to be working and give you REAL RESULTS, just keep in mind that TOO MUCH can really be too much. Especially in more sensitive zones, which would be the eye area (my neck is still prefectly ok).

As you see, this WAS indeed “confession time” J

See you soon !


Sorry guys ! Or girls ! It has been far more than a week since I put anything on paper about my skincare routine.  My excuses ? Well, it has been soooo busy, as usual, and I just didn’t have the right mood to be writing anything during these hectic past two weeks.

Anyhow, I’m back nowand ready to tell you what’s up and new in my skincare programme.

Last time – that is if you read the post – I wrote about how AMAZINGLY WELL my combination (alternation) of Retinol & AHA product went. Honestly, it went perfectly well for a while, but under stress (I mean I was under stress), my skin started to respond to treatment in a different way. Sometimes, my skin just felt “warm” and glowing, in an unpleasant way. Just as if one has been in the sun for too long. That wasn’t really a problem, but it made me think of the fact that I had probably reached my “retinol maximum”.

A warm, glowing sensation (even without redness) can be a sign that your skin has reached its tolerance level when it comes to the use of retinol. If you remember, I am on a “full-strength”, although non-prescription 1 percent (which is quite a lot) Retinol cream for about 5 nights out of 7. Plus, on the other nights I like to treat my skin with a 10 percent glycolic acid lotion.

So, to make a long story short, my skin told me “STOP”, and I had to reconsider my skincare regime.

What you usually do, in such a situation, is just to “skip” your retinol/AHA product for one or more days (well, nights, actually), and then re-introduce it back into your routine. As I didn’t really feel like giving up the active ingredients on my skin, and just go back to a basic hydration, I decided to give two NEW PRODUCTS a try. New to me, that is to say, not new on the market.


NEOSTRATA ULTRA MOISTURIZING FACE CREAM, with 10% PHA (Polyhydroxy acid) and BIONIC FACE CREAM ( 12% Bionic/Polyhydroxy acid), were completely new to me. What I DID, however, KNOW, is that POLYHYDROXY ACIDS, also (mostly) listed as “gluconolactone” and “bionic acids”, have the same ability as AHA’s  to stimulate CELL TURNOVER, without, however, having the same exfoliating (peeling) effect. For that reason, they are also a lot “softer” on skin.

Interresting fact when you’re looking for MAXIMUM improvement with minimal drawbacks !

At the moment, I’m experimenting with both products, and am trying to find out my optimal schedule, alternating between those two and my classic AHA product & retinol. So far, a 2/3 times a week application, on the nights I’m skipping the strong products, seems to be ideal. Skin feels great, looks great and is MAXIMALLY HYDRATED. I truly love these two new discoveries and will keep you posted on how I get on with them.

See you soon !


Having worked in the beauty industry for decades now :-), but hadn’t worked on a stand for so many years. It was frankly LOVELY & INSPIRING to be back, working on the Utrecht Beauty Trade 2019!

The EXUVIANCE/HELIOCARE team was great, the atmosphere was fantastic and the enthusiasm from (new) clients even greater ! It’s nice to be able to help and advice beauticians/skin therapists find and discover a new brand that may bring even more success in the future.

We’ve spoken to so many nice & interresting persons and I’ve met collegues I hadn’t seen in years.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped making this possible, especially father and daughter Filip and Charlotte Heylesonne from HDP Esthetic, who organised everything in the best possible way.

And thanks you for your interrest in the brands we represented & hope to see you in the future !

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SKII Essence has been a cult favorite for years now.Just see the amount of articles by collegue bloggers and how much it is appreciated.

I personally never tried this one, mainly because of the (very high) price tag, which definitely held me back.

Fortunately, both French, USA and Korean brands (especially them) offer a wide array of lovely essences and give us plenty to choose from. Their price tag is often just a fraction of the famous cult favorite and their INCI listings can only make us happy …..

Klairs, Missha, REP, SVR and Exuviance all offer lovely skin essences, so you can shop according to your personal preference. They all have their specificities and you can choose them depending upon your personal needs and skin care concerns.

Why should you use an essence ?

Like I wrote in a former blog post about “the difference between toners and essences”, an essence can be AN EXTRA STEP in your skincare routine.Normally – and especially in Korean/Asiatic skin care routines – an essence comes IN BETWEEN a toner and a serum. BUT, you could very well REPLACE your toner by an essence if you were looking for something more POWERFUL in the sense of HYDRATION and SPECIFIC ACTIVE INGREDIENTS.

Many essences contain fermented ingredients, which you can consider to be a type of probiotics for your skin. They will help restore and maintain a healthy skin balance and will also counteract environmental damage.

Especially when seansons change, or when you’re doing an intensive course of AHA’s (Fruit Acids) or Retinol (whether presciption strength or “over the counter full strength”, like I’m doing), an essence will give you that little “extra” that no toner can deliver. So whenever your skin is in need of precious moisture (not grease), is feeling more tight than usual, or presents fine dehydration lines, an essence is what you’re looking for!

Here’s a brief (and far from complete) list of essences that are in my bathroom cupboard now. Some of which I like, some of which I LOVE.

By the way, some (Korean) brands call their products toners instead of essences (see my article on them for definition), but these are definitely essences in my book !!


LEEGEEHAAM GROW HYAL B5 TONER :Hyaluronic  Acid & Bèta-Glucan, known for its soothing and skin calming properties : very good ingredients and I wanted to love it, but feels very STICKY on my skin (sorry guys). Good formula though, but I guess your skin needs to be really sensitive/dry to appreciate it.

COSRX HYALURONIC ACID HYDRA POWER ESSENCE :is just what its name says ; a super-charged moisturizing water/gel, which main ingredient is Hyppophae Rhamnoides water, so a plant destillate, which makes this a real “care” product. LUSH !

RE:P PHYTOCELL ALL-IN ONE ESSENCE : I’m not sure what the “all-in one” means …. Maybe it’s because of the very long, mainly plant-extracts based ingredient lists, that makes this one a real “allrounder”. Full of beneficial anti-oxidants (plant based) and also several essential oils. Although the latter are deep down on the ingredients list and pose no problem for me ; be careful if you have very reactive skin.

MISSHA TIME REVOLUTION THE FIRST TREATMENT ESSENCE: Guys, what can I say ? This is supposed to be the “dupe” (according to Korean Webshop LittleWonderland) for the famous SK II, but the INCI list is definitely more impressive to me. This is the type of product that is just a “must have”, even if you use it off-and-on. Based on fermented ingredients, which help restore skin balance and act as a probiotic for our skin. Strengthens skin barrier.  Also contains niacinamide which helps prevent impurities and improves hyperpigmentation.

KLAIRS SUPPLE PREPARATION UNSCENTED TONER :Hyaluronic Acid, botanical extracts & bèta-glucan make this essence a really soothing, deeply moisturizing and calming product. Unscented, which is great when you have sensitive skin and non sticky (unless you keep on layering). Great as an after shave (for men) too ! Feels absolutely lovely on skin and if in doubt, I would absolutely recommend you this one.

SVR HYDRALIANE ESSENCE :incredibly soft & gentle, mainly glycerin and hyaluronic acid and a lovely smell. Luxury feeling, super moisturizing. Nice if you like your product to be French J.

EXUVIANCE :probiotics combined with Exuviance’s unique PHA complex which make this a truly exceptional essence. Great if your skin needs the extra “kick” of very mild exfoliation combined with superior hydration. The PHA’s in this product also provide extra anti-oxidant (cell protecting) protection.  Light, non sticky texture. One of the more “active” essences on the market.


Moisturizing Skin Care Program


Balances pH Level

Deep Moisturizing

Cleanses & Soothes

“Supple Preparation Unscented Toner is an essential oil-free type toner. It is formulated with a base of various botanical extracts to balance the skin’s pH level and provide full nourishment to the skin”.

So far for the Klairs description/claims.

Interresting ingredients :

Sodium Hyaluronate : salt form of Hyaluronic Acid, moisturizing

Centella Asiatica Extract : stimulates collagen, improves scars

Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract : skin soothing

And a mix of various botanical ingredients like Aloe Vera, Althea Rosea and Amino-acids that all help soothe and moisturize skin. Also has a tiny amount of stabilized Vitamin C.

To begin with :this is NOT a Toner in my book, but an ESSENCE (see my definition in the blog post I wrote on this subject), mainly because it has a “richness” you won’t find in a toner.


Secondly ; this is a MARVELOUS product,that any of you can use without hesitation, whether you are looking for simple, uncomplicated moisturizing for your acne prone skin or for an extra boost (of moisture) for your dry and DEHYDRATED skin. Anyone can benefit from this lush product.

One of the good things is, that the product is totally UNSCENTED,  which makes this product a great option if you like your cosmetics to be fully fragrance free. This makes it ani deal partner in a Retinol or AHA skincare routine.  Furthermore, the price is almost ridiculously low for such a good formula, which is why I like to recommend this product so much.

Bottom line :

Skin type :all, especially oily (as a “stand alone”) or very dry & dehydrated with fine lines.

Age group :all

Texture :watery/gel consistency, sinks in well, does not leave any sticky residue.

I get my Korean products from LittleWonderland. (Korean webshop, based in The Netherlands).