#FrenchFriday - Winter skin saviors: Institut Esthederm Intensif Hyaluronic Line

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Winter skin saviors: Institut Esthederm Intensif Hyaluronic Line - The Mask and the Serum

Winter, the season that doesn't exist where I live now, Southern California... We don't have snow or real cold down here, but the weather does get cooler, more windy and rainy. So even though my skin doesn't suffer as much in the absence of harsh weather, it gets significantly less oily and more dehydrated in the winter. Before, when I lived in France and the cold season could actually be freezing cold, it often even got very dry. 

One of these days, we'll discuss the difference between dry and dehydrated skin... but today I want to share a secret that has saved my skin from turning into a frozen Siberian desert in the past, and still helps me avoid cold weather related dehydration.

In the winter our skin faces multiple enemies, and the worst may not be the one you think. Cold weather and wind can make your skin more sensitive and take away some of the protective barrier that shields it, making it drier. But the worst offender is really the heater! Heated air can be extremely dry and suck the moisture out of your skin in no time. Add to that the temperature difference between the outside and inside of your house or workplace, causing a thermal shock, and your skin can turn into a red, dry, angry mess.

My secret weapon against winter dehydrated skin is Institut Esthederm's Intensif Hyaluronic skincare line. I've told you about Institut Esthederm a couple times before: it's a high-end skincare brand whose philosophy is to give your skin all it needs to heal and take care of itself. Their Intensif lines, sold in blue packaging rather than the white packaging used for their regular products, are highly concentrated professional treatments that target one specific skin concern. There's the Intensif Vitamin E line for hypersensitivity, the Intensif Propolis line targeting excess oil, the Intensif Vitamin A (aka retinol) line treating deep wrinkles and uneven surface, and among a few others, the Intensif Hyaluronic for severe dehydration.

Winter skin saviors: Institut Esthederm Intensif Hyaluronic Line - The Mask and the Serum
The Mask and Serum

If you have any interest in skincare at all, you must have heard of hyaluronic acid before. This molecule is naturally present in our skin, and it has the ability to hold many times its own weight in water: experiments have shown that one gram of hyaluronic acid can retain 6 liters of water! (source). So it's a star ingredient to moisturize skin, that is, help it retain water - which is exactly what dehydrated skin needs. By doing that, it makes skin look and feel more supple, plump and radiant, all you need for healthy-looking skin. Even better, hyaluronic acid is known to help repair the skin's protective barrier and to have an antioxidant effect against free radicals. These properties make it a great ingredient for all skin types, not just dry or dehydrated.

Institut Esthederm's Intensif Hyaluronic line contains a patented blend of 3 different forms of hyaluronic acid for optimal absorption by the skin, and the brand promises that it will act as a "water reservoir" that will "re-densify tissue by plumping it with water". The line is composed of the Cream, the Serum and the Mask. I've used all 3 in the past, but I currently only own the Serum and the Mask.

Winter skin saviors: Institut Esthederm Intensif Hyaluronic Line - The Cream and the Serum
Vintage pic from my French language blog:
The Cream and the Serum

In very few words: it works. Really, really well. 

The Serum is my absolute favorite in the line, it's like a glass of icy cold water after a hike through the desert for my skin. It erases all signs of dehydration and makes my skin look healthy and happy. I've tried a ton of other hyaluronic acid serums, and none of them even compare. The Intensif Hyaluronic Serum is non-greasy, lightweight, penetrates well, and has an immediate effect on dehydration. Dullness, fine lines and even dry flaky patches just disappear immediately. With regular use, they don't come back, and my skin does look denser and more toned.

The Cream and the Mask are also fantastic and work great in combination with the Serum. The Cream comes in a beautiful, heavy blue glass jar (gender neutral, I like that) and also boosts the skin moisture level without feeling oily at all. The Mask is perfect for instant relief if your skin is feeling tight and uncomfortable, and it has a nice radiance effect (that's the hyaluronic acid plumping the skin for you!).

Overall: if your skin gets dry, uncomfortable and difficult to manage in the winter, I strongly recommend Institut Esthederm Intensif Hyaluronic line, if you can get your hands on it. It's seriously efficient, and the price tags, around $70 for the Serum or Cream, are reasonable for professional treatments.

Where to buy: 
- if you live in Europe, check out your local retailer. The Intensif lines are usually sold by beautycians only, so they might be available at salons only rather than beauty stores. 
- Institut Esthederm is sold in a handful of salons in Québec: Escale Santé and Eqlib Medispa in Montréal, Beauté Santé Anne Belanger and Espace Marie Gagnon in Québec City. I'm not sure if they can ship to other provinces, but if you're somewhere else in Canada I would give them a call to ask.
- In the US, you're gonna have to order the products online from UK-based websites (a few salons are supposed to sell the brand on US territory but I don't have their details). Beauty Bay and feelunique both have the Intensif Hyaluronic Serum and Cream but not the Mask. They both have free shipping to the US with low minimum, and Beauty Bay is quite a bit cheaper.
- In any case, this line of products is something to put down on your list of beauty products to bring back from France, or to have friends bring back for you if you're not planning a trip soon!

The products featured in this review were provided by the brand for consideration. I received no compensation other than free samples to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post does not contain affiliate links.

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