A brave new world of skincare exploded onto the internet sometime last year. Huxley, Korean cult favourite, is seemingly now everywhere when it comes to the K-beauty world. It’s popping up in shop after shop, these days. New brands spring up all the time though. New brands invade our screens for a while, then disappear, swept under the rug and forgotten about before the next big thing hits us. Is Huxley any different? Is it here to stay?
Huxley’s tagline, whilst a little arrogant-sounding, more or less states what the brand are about, and what they’re here for. (Taken from Huxley’s website)
Oooooh, get you. True beauty, you say?
Well, I suppose modesty never sold much in branding. So much shade though…WHO IS IRRELEVANT? I must know.
Huxley bases their branding and star ingredient around the beautiful, majestic cactus – or more specifically, prickly pear seed extract. They also focus on ‘anti-pollutant’ skincare, which I’ve talked about before on the blog (in my previous Huxley review, actually). Allow me to quote myself shamelessly.
Basically, these products use antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to help our skin protect against pollutants in the air, but it’s nothing new. Just a rebranding of existing skincare products, now that people are becoming more conscious of pollution and how it affects our skin.
Is this real? Is cactus power real? Well, of course, it’s skincare, so you never know. What works for one person might not for you. But in theory, yes.
Prickly pear seed extract is rich in antioxidants, and has moisturising properties. Antioxidants are important in polluted areas, where skin can become damaged more easily (and our bodies in general). Antioxidants help to protect and repair stressed skin. Prickly pear seed oil also has a high fatty acid content, which means it can help to plump the skin and help it to remain wrinkle-free, smoothing texture and making skin firmer.
And so, we get to the Grab Water Essence. Quite why it is called Grab Water is anybody’s guess, and mine is that it helps your skin…well, grab water. It plumps the skin with moisture, and gives deep hydration.
Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem Extract, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Seed Oil, Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Phyllostachis Bambusoides Juice, Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Menthapiperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide Np (Ceramide 3), Acorus Gramineus Root/Stem Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Perilla Frutescens Leaf Extract, Malachite Extract, Methyl Gluceth-20, Water, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polysorbate 80, Disodium EDTA, Tromethamine, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
It’s worth noting that Huxley use fragrance in their products, which gives them the divine Huxley scent. If you don’t like fragrance, then that’s fine, but I think if I could have one fragrance in my skincare…this would be it. It smells so fresh, so beautiful, and crisp. It’s honestly a dream. I even bought the cleansing water just because I was obsessed with the smell – a cleansing water is something that’s hard for me to get excited about, so with that beautiful smell I knew I’d look forward to using it.
Also note that Huxley contains alcohol and butylene glycol, which some choose to avoid.
Onto the nice stuff: along with the cactus seed extract/oil, which we already explained, and which accounts for 85% of the product make-up, we have some delicious extracts such as peppermint and perilla leaf extract. Perilla is also a member of the mint family, and it to me is synonymous with Korea, and wrapping up delicious hunks of meat or rice. Perilla leaves are often called sesame leaves in this context, despite them not even being from the same plant.
Perilla is also packed with antioxidants, and has soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also moisturising and is good for dry skin types…like me.
One of my biggest gripes with the Huxley Essence-like, Oil-like was the dropper. I lamented how it was useless – but now I believe the essence itself is not suitable for the bottle. The Grab Water dropper works like a dream and I have no problem dispensing the product. It sucks up easily and comes out with no issue. With the Essence-like, I had to often try several times to even get a small drop of product. Not so here.
I’ve been enjoying the dropper on the Grab Water, and I love the simplistic design of the product. It looks pretty, and the bottle is nice and sturdy. My gripe might be that you only get 30ml of product, although I suppose that’s relatively normal for essences. You don’t need a lot, so you can try stretch it out…but don’t expect this product to last a long time.
Now that different retailers are picking Huxley up, the price seems to vary a lot more than it once did. There was a time when Glow Recipe were the only company (outside Korea) with Huxley, and their price was $58 for the bottle (and still is). Yesstyle, however, have it for $36.90. Quite a difference – although Yesstyle, it must be noted, aren’t US-based. Still, shop around and compare prices, as they vary a bit. I paid €44 for mine at a European store, so somewhere in the middle. I’ve also been informed that SweetCorea are having a sale (at time of writing) and the product is currently priced at 21,500 won there, so if you’re hauling it might be worth it as you pay shipping, but not too much.
This essence is incredibly light-feeling when you dispense, but as you smooth it into your skin, it feels a little more substantial. There is a slight sticky residue, but it absorbs rapidly, and takes other products easily as a layer over it. I like to use a fair few products in my routine, but usually with this I use a light emulsion or moisturiser afterwards, partly to see if it lasts well, and partly because I have been kind of lazy with skincare recently.
I had already used samples of this product, which was what convinced me to spend my money – I was anticipating the hot, humid, disgusting Spanish summer, and knew my skin would need some lightweight moisture. It is certainly lightweight, but is it enough?
I like this essence fairly well. I certainly notice that it gives my skin a plumper feel, and moisture retention seems to last a while, but at the moment my redness, which usually surfaces when my skin isn’t hydrated enough, is at a moderate level. I enjoy it a lot, mostly because texturally it’s refreshing, and the scent is gorgeous – but I can’t rave about it. I was much more convinced that my $40 was well spent on the Essence-like, despite the terrible dropper. It’s funny what a difference a price hike makes, because I would say this product was quite nice for $36, but I would find it a stretch to pay almost $60 for it.
In short, yes, this is a decent, lightweight essence. It isn’t greasy and it gives my skin a nice amount of moisture. It layers well, it’s cooling, and it’s good for summer. I think it’d be good for those with oily skin.
Would I repurchase? Yes, if the price was right. It’s no wonder product for me, but I find myself missing it if it’s not in my routine. I went away for a few days and took this out, and did notice a difference – my skin felt less supple and felt drained. I’m glad that I tried it, and would recommend it as a refreshing summertime essence. I’ll just have to work my way through some other Huxley goodies before I allow myself a new treat!