The thing about skin care is that once you’ve got a good routine in place, it’s difficult to justify experimentation and variety for variety’s sake (apart from masks, of course). Why should I seek out something new if I don’t feel the need for it in my routine? That’s why I’m always grateful when something new falls into my lap. I came across the DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum this way. A friend of mine gifted it to me out of her Little Mermaid Memebox, and based on some preliminary Googling, I decided that the star ingredients justified an extended trial.
(I love having swap buddies. You never know what cool stuff you’ll end up with, and it’s fun to send them things, too! Plus, it keeps the stash from getting out of hand.)
On to the review!
Purpose: DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum is marketed as an intensive brightening and anti-aging product for all ages and skin types.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to alcohol, silicones, sulfates, fragrance, or anything else in the ingredients list.
When and how to use: After cleansing, toning, and any acids or light essences in your routine, apply to face and neck. Follow up with your usual moisturizer.
Ingredients list (with thanks to Redditor /u/lostinpretty for providing a translation!): Galactomyces ferment filtrate, bifida ferment lysate, amorphophallus konjac root extract, caulerpa lentillifera extract, himanthalia elongata (brown algae) extract, niacinamide, adenosine, purified water, glycerin, alcohol denat., dipropylene glycol, methyl gluceth-20, PEG-32, glycereth-26, pentylene glycol, divinyldimethicone/dimethicone copolymer, cyclopentasiloxane, sorbitol, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, trimethylolpropane tricaprylate/tricaprate, pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate, polymethylsilsesquioxane, cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone, polysorbate 80, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, cyclomethicone, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, arginine, hydrogenated lecithin, polysilicone-11, dimethiconol, panthenol, C12-13 Pareth-3, C12-13 Pareth-23, glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer, lecithin, sodium laureth sulfate, 1,2-hexanediol, hydroxyethylcellulose, C12-14 Pareth-12, ethylhexylglycerin, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, fragrance
Notable ingredients: As I mentioned in my first impression of the DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum, the star ingredients of this product are yeast ferment filtrates, algae extracts, and niacinamide. We already know I love niacinamide for its proven brightening, anti-aging, oil-controlling, and barrier-strengthening properties. Algae extracts are effective against melanin synthesis, photoaging, and inflammation. And ferment ingredients are quite popular in Asian skin care and said to have a host of skin benefits, depending on the exact ferment filtrate used. In fact, I think it’s worth it to take a little tangent down the ferment path.
When applied to food, the fermentation process not only preserves it–as is the case with kimchi, or with the pickled vegetables of my people (Chinese and Taiwanese)–but can also increase its nutritional value by breaking down the components of food into smaller and more bioavailable units. The belief is that the same holds true for the yeast ferments used in skin care products like the famous Shiseido SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence (although that story about the ferment ingredient being discovered when someone noticed the freakishly youthful hands of the sake brewers is most likely total bullpoopoo). Yeast ferment extracts are said to have hydrating, calming, and anti-aging benefits for skin.
The rest of the ingredients list is a cocktail of moisturizing, emollient, and penetration-enhancing ingredients. My CosDNA analysis turned up a couple of flags: Denatured alcohol scores a 5 as a potential irritant, dimethicone scores a 1 as a potential acne trigger, and sodium laureth sulfate scores a 3 as an acne trigger and a 2 as an irritant. As always, patch test and take your time introducing this product.
I’ve been using DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum morning and night for about three weeks now, long enough for me to feel comfortable giving a review.
The serum is a milky, slippy liquid with a clean, pleasant, and fairly neutral soap-and-flowers fragrance. It spreads easily over skin and absorbs relatively quickly, even with a bunch of products already layered on underneath; I experienced no irritation or breakouts from it, though YMMV. Unfortunately, getting it out of the bottle and onto your face may prove irritating in itself, thanks to the dropper design. Unlike most other dropper-style serum dispensers, which have a squeezie thing at the top of the dropper that you squeeze and release to suck serum into the pipette, DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum uses a push button dropper. You press the little silver button on top of the cap to suck serum into the pipette. Maybe I got a dud bottle, but I have to say: the button thing does not work very well.
See the picture above? That’s not enough serum for my face. I don’t have a tiny little pixie face. It might be enough for my Sam Winchester pop, but toys don’t need skin care products. Sammy’s face is fine just the way it is. I’m the one who’s using the serum, and I need way more than that at each use. So what happens is that I have to suck out a bit of product, dispense it into my palm, then juggle bottle and dropper with one hand in order to suck up and dispense one or two more squirts without accidentally losing whatever I’ve already squeezed out onto my other palm. Or tip the entire bottle over to pour it into my hand, which takes way too long and usually ends up giving me too much product and therefore being wasteful.
It’s annoying. I don’t like that.
As far as results go, I haven’t seen any notable changes in my skin since I began using the DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum, except for a nice increase in hydration. Yeast ferments and algae extracts are interesting ingredients, but as far as anti-aging goes, I believe you can only expect a visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles from the proven heavy hitters: vitamin C, AHAs, and retinoids. I’d class a product like this as preventative rather than reparative.
Conclusion: I don’t have any problems with the DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum besides the raging hatred I feel for the dropper, but I’m not overly impressed with it, either. The one benefit I got from it, hydration, is not one that you have to look very far or very long to find–hydration is pretty much a key requirement of most Korean skin care products. There are other products in the market with equivalent or better ingredients lists. I’ll keep using this bottle until it runs out, and maybe after that happens, I’ll find myself missing it more than I expect, but I don’t plan to repurchase this.
Where can I buy DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum?
If after all that, you still want to try this product out for yourself, well…good luck. I was unable to find it on TesterKorea, Wishtrend, RoseRoseShop, Memebox, or Amazon, and while it is available on eBay, I’m a little wary of buying skin care products from there. You could always use a Korean shopping service like Avecko to get it from Korea, but–eh, is it really worth it? A product like Missha’s Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule will get you fermenty goodness and the added anti-aging benefits of retinol without all that hassle, and Missha Long Name Ampoule is easy to find and frequently on sale on one webshop or another.