Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Arcona Review

The Basic Five for problem skin

Here are some details from the Arcona website:
Arcona’s Basic Five skin care regimen begins with products chosen to address your particular skin concerns. The purpose of the Basic Five is to help speed up, strengthen and enhance the skin’s own renewal process. The products you use in the morning nourish, strengthen and protect your skin by day. The products you use at night heal, repair and regenerate your skin as you rest. You’re likely to see an immediate difference in the way your skin looks and feels, and with faithful continuous use, the Basic Five will bring your skin into balance for cumulative long-term change.

I purchased the Basic Five for problem skin which includes:
  • Raspberry Clarifying Bar [Scrub]
  • Cranberry Gommage [Cleanser]
  • AM Acne Lotion [Daytime treatment]
  • Tabula Rasa [Spot treatment]
  • The Solution [Night treatment]
The Regenerate - Purify Kit which includes:
  • Vitamin A Complex [Anytime treatment]
  • Night Breeze [Night treatment]
  • Youth Serum [Daytime treatment]
  • Magic White Ice [Hydrator]
  • Tea Tree Mask [Mask]
  • Desert Mist [Daytime protective treatment/Hydrator]
  • Hydrating Serum [Hydrator]

Let me just say upfront that within two weeks Arcona transformed my skin. It brightened my complexion and cleared the rash-like allergic reaction I got from using an at-home TCA peel. Here is my individual product breakdown [this is long, so your best bet is to scroll down to the products you're interested in. Or else, just read on!]:

The Raspberry Clarifying Soap is a hockey puck shaped piece of soap that smells like a cheap cherry lollipop. The smell doesn't linger, and as I lather I try not to think about it. The first time I used it, it dried my face out so bad that I almost chucked the soap in the garbage. But I committed to using it for at least two weeks, and I stuck with it. For the whole first week my face felt tight, and as a somewhat oily-skinned girl I wasn't used to that. By the second week, my skin started feeling more comfortable. I used the soap every morning and night, and after realizing that it could completely remove a full face of makeup in one fell swoop, I was a convert. Definite repurchase.

The Cranberry Gommage has the texture of wet sand [although it's far less grainy than that] and smells like a combination of fruit punch and blueberries [by far the best smelling product of the basic five set]. It is to be used during the day, ideally the morning after using The Solution [the night prior]. It does a pretty good job of buffing away the dullness and flakes, and it rinses clean, but at $42 for 3oz, and $75 for 6oz, I'll stick with my $10 C. Booth Microdermabrasion Scrub [which smells like granny smith apples and does one helluva job]. No use spending that kind of money on something that isn't a huge skin enhancer and is literally washing down the drain.

The AM Acne Lotion has the consistency of honey, and smells like a Long Island Iced Tea [most of these products really do smell delicious]. It's a product you use five mornings a week, right after the soap/gommage. I love this product! You have to apply it quickly [damp skin is best] because it's sticky at first, but give it a minute, it will sink it nicely. This is a definite repurchase as I feel it does a great job of fighting blemishes and keeping my skin semi-hydrated throughout the day.

Tabula Rasa is a green liquid that smells like aloe and acetone. Yep... *sniffs it again* nailed it. It's a spot treatment that is applied daily after the AM Acne Lotion dries. This is a product I'm still on the fence about. You're instructed to use a Q-tip to help spot treat, but in order to avoid unnecessary product waste, I pump it into my palm and use my other finger to apply it. I haven't seen much of a difference, so I'm going to begin using it as a toner all over my problem spots before the AM Acne Lotion. If I don't see any positive effects before this bottle is through, there will be no repurchase.

The Solution is pale yellow liquid that smells like witch hazel and oregano. Yes. It's to be used 2-4 times a week at bedtime, and it's supposed to be this crazy powerful almighty treatment. I used to spray it in my palm and then press it on my face a la Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, but now find that it's just easier [and probably more effective] to use a cotton pad. I'm not sure this product is doing anything for me, but maybe it's because I don't feel anything as I'm applying it. Either way, I have a sneaky suspicion that it's this and the AM Acne Lotion keeping my zits at bay, so it's a repurchase, but next time I'm getting the pads.

Night Breeze is a sheer white serum-like consistency and it smells like stale cotton [seriously, I need a job doing this people!] It's a night treatment, and it's to be used 1-2 times a week [since you can only use The Solution a few nights a week, I got Night Breeze to use on the other nights]. I like Night Breeze. I'm not sure why because I'm not really sure what it's doing for me, but it delivers oxygen to the skin, helps kills bacteria and it's anti-inflammatory. Plus, it's a cheaper version of the Natura Bisse Oxygen Serum [a product I'd been lusting over for weeks now], and all the benefits sound like a good bet to me. 

Magic White Ice is a multipurpose hydrating serum with a milky white color and a wonderfully elegant fruit punch scent. It was the product I was most excited to try, and the only one that really didn't work out for me. [It was a mismatch for my skin type.] After a few days of waiting for my skin to acclimate to the new routine, I started using a dab of this to hydrate. I was hoping that the coconut derivatives in the product wouldn't break me out, but after a few mornings of waking up to blistery bumps, I had to give it up. It was all very unfortunate really, since it had such an awesome name and smelled like a delicious fruit drink. But when I really think about it, it didn't do such a good job hydrating my skin – my face still felt tight after application. I'd recommend the product for non acne-prone, oily skinned types.

Youth Serum is an orange liquid that smells a little like soy sauce. It's full of vitamin C and claims to defend against free radicals [what are those anyway?] You're supposed to use it everyday before your hydrator, but seeing as though I'm 23 and don't really need this, I just use it on Sunday mornings. I'm not really seeing any notable changes, but frankly it doesn't matter since due to my aforementioned age, this isn't a repurchase anyway. 

Vitamin A Complex is a yellow liquid with the consistency of the contents of a vitamin E capsule and a serum. Basically, it feels oily in your hand but sinks in without a greasy after-feel. This has lots of good stuff in it, and you're supposed to use it 2-3 times a week but I just use on the nights after I've done my mask. I'm not sure about repurchasing this product; one because I can't tell if my skin is reaping the benefits of it, and two because I think it's quite pricy at $68 for 1 oz.

I bought the Tea Tree Mask due to all the raves I saw online. It is a pale yellow color with the consistency of yogurt and smells faintly of tea tree, menthol and sulfur – at least initially. I think it's neat that it never dries [I hate that tight my-face-will-crack-if-I-smile feeling you get from most clay masks] and it actually does a great job of calming skin down but what I couldn't stand was the strong sulfur smell that lingered on my skin way after I'd rinsed the mask off. Do you know what sulfur smells like?! A boiled egg. The first time I used this mask, the smell lingered for a whole day [until I showered next]. And on top of that, I smelled it on my towel, my pillow and anything else that might've touched my face during or after the 20 minute application time. I was irritated. The second time I used the mask, I washed it off with the raspberry soap thinking I'd kill the stank sulfur smell for good this time [even though washing off the mask with soap might have diluted its effects, I really couldn't handle smelling like ass for a whole 48 hour period after]. The smell seemed to be gone... but every time I turned my head, there it was again! Grrr! I decided to only use the mask right before hopping in the shower, until I use it up.

Desert Mist is in liquid form, and smells exactly like soy sauce [which was a recurring complaint in the reviews for this product]. With that being said, I don't really mind it. It dissipates quickly and gives my skin a luxurious feeling after I pat it on in the mornings [after my AM Acne Lotion and Tabula Rasa]. It is an AM treatment that is supposed to "defend against environmental damage and free radicals" and "reinforce daily hydration" which I love for two reasons: I live in New York City where the air of full of yuck, and my skin sometimes suffers from dehydration. Although I don't think I've seen a difference using this, I think I feel a difference, so this is a re-buy for me.

Hydrating Serum has a light gel-like texture, one girl described it as having a waxy-pineappleish smell. To me it smells more like... brand new plastic. Blegh. I don't know, maybe I got a bad batch. Anyway, the hydrating serum can be used anytime and it's smooth and light, so light that I barely feel it on my skin. That's a good thing and a bad thing. Sometimes it seems to quench my skin's insatiable thirst, and other times I bypass it and reach for my argan oil instead. I am thinking it will be a great summer moisturizer, but I'm on the fence about whether I would repurchase.

Arcona has many more fabulous products in their arsenal, so check them out! The products are pricy, but they're effective - and as seen in my case - mostly worth it!


  1. Which would you say is more hydrating? The hydrating serum or the magic white ice?

  2. Magic White Ice left my skin feeling more supple.

  3. Ok thanks! I ended up purchasing the hydrating serum earlier today online, whoops! I used the magic white ice, and maybe it was because I was being stingy and used only one pump, but I just felt like my skin was still needing moisture. My face became oily throughout the day so I think that's proof enough that my skin is trying to compensate and produce more oil from the lack of moisture I got with Magic White Ice. Thank you for the reply and you are the first that I've seen to actually provide a thorough review on each product on a blog!

  4. You're welcome! Stay tuned as I will be doing reviews on other natural skincare lines in the coming weeks!


Be succinct and keep it classy :)