Jouviance, effective anti-aging skincare on a budget

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AHA BHA glycolic acid salicylic retinol aging resurfacing drugstore budget skincare affordable

When our skins start showing the first signs of aging and the inexorable passage of time suddenly hits us in the face, quite literally, it's easy to fall for the smoke and mirrors of high-end anti-aging skincare. If celebrities say it's great, if it's advertised in Vogue, if the jar is made of pure crystal, and if you have to sell your right kidney to pay for it, it must be the best remedy against the ravages of time, right? Actually, absolutely not, so save your credit score from taking a plunge and shop for effective anti-aging skincare at the drugstore!

Jouviance, a Montréal-based skincare brand (always rooting for les cousins de la Belle Province), is simply the most impressive budget skincare brand I've ever had a chance to try. They're not the cheapest you can find, but they're definitely the best value you can buy at the drugstore - at CVS to be more precise, since the brand is exclusive to the chain, available both at select stores and online.

Jouviance is a brand that makes dermo-cosmetics, in other words cosmetics that are formulated by dermatologists for maximum efficiency. No fancy scents or mysterious Amazonian mushroom root in these products (but of course there's maple sugar, there HAD to be), what you get are science-based formulas featuring ingredients with proven results, such as glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, retinol... This is pretty powerful stuff, and you actually need to start slowly if you have never used serious anti-aging skincare before.

I received a whole bunch of skincare products to test 2 months ago, and while I haven't yet been able to try them all (I only have one face!) I now have a firm opinion about the ones I have been using for almost 8 weeks. Let's take a look!

The Glyco|Laser range

Review: Jouviance Glyco|Laser and RestructivSRD anti-aging skincare line

This line of products is meant to "resurface" the skin, in other words smooth its texture by diminishing fine lines, pores and rough patches. Of course face creams can't resurface the skin the way laser treatments do, as the name would suggest, but these acid peels can really improve texture as well as discoloration. They're all based on glycolic acid, an AHA, a star ingredients in today's best skincare formulations: AHA exfoliates the top layers of the skin, and the small size of its molecules allows it to penetrate further to stimulate cell renewal. In order for AHA to be effective, products need to be acidic, and that's the case here with a pH of 3.6 for the whole line. The formulas are also made to minimize the risk of irritation from the low pH and acids with the inclusion of soothing ingredients such as allantoin and bisabolol. As with any product containing AHAs, you ABSOLUTELY need to apply sunscreen every day, even if you use the products at night only.

Review: Jouviance Glyco|Laser and RestructivSRD anti-aging skincare line

Soft Peel Night Creams

You can choose between two strengths: 5% glycolic acid for beginners or sensitive skins, or 10% for advanced users. The night creams contain moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter, glycerin, squalane, aloe, etc.

Here's the full ingredients list for the 5% Soft Peel Night Cream: Aqua, Glycolic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Propylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Arginine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bisabolol, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Steareth-2, Steareth-21, Xanthan Gum, Laureth-3, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Dicetyl Phosphate, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Parfum. (pH: 3.6)

They come in hefty, if rather small, frosted glass jars that are really quite luxurious for the $35 price tag. As I said in the introduction, you can find a cheaper night cream. But can you find one with a similarly impressive formula? I doubt it!

Soft Peel Lotion 10% AHA + BHA

I've been using AHA and BHA for years now, and yet this lotion managed to take me by surprise. Packaged in a more basic plastic bottle, it's a rather heavy fluid that leaves a bit of a film on top of my skin, so it's best applied at night. It tingles quite a bit for about a minute, however I've never felt any irritation after that.

This is strong stuff though, I can't use it every single day or my combination skin starts getting dry. I've been using it every other day for about two month now, and I have seen really great results. The fastest, most visible effect was on my acne scars: I've had frequent breakouts of cystic acne in the past year and a half, and the red or purple scars were a big problem for me. Within a week of starting this Lotion the most recent scars were already fading, and now even the older ones are a lot less pronounced. I had never, ever, had such good results on my acne scars with any product, and I tried a lot!

I also haven't had a single major acne cyst since I started using the Lotion regularly, probably thanks to the BHA it contains. BHA, or salicylic acid, penetrates the pores to exfoliate them so it's very helpful to clear blackheads and avoid zits. What's interesting is that before being introduced to Jouviance I had been using BHA products by Paula's Choice for more than a year with zero effect on my acne...

The result on fine lines or wrinkles is harder for me to evaluate as I don't have too many of those. I will say that the line across my forehead and my smile lines are really not very visible these days. I'm also not too concerned about dark spots, as they're an issue that my previous AHA products had already addressed. The couple stubborn ones I have just under my left eye are still there, but I'll update you if they start to disappear with time!

Can you find such a potent and effective formula for less than $35, the price of the Soft Peel Lotion? Honestly I don't think so. And don't say Paula's Choice. I tried it, and no...

Here is the full list of ingredients for the Soft Peel Lotion: Aqua, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Glycolic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Pentylene Glycol, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit/Leaf Extract, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, PEG-100 Stearate, Salicylic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bisabolol, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Dehydroacetic Acid, Parfum. (pH: 3.6)

Soft Peel Mask

The Mask contains 5% glycolic acid and it's meant to increase radiance and minimize texture, such as pores and fine lines. I was a bit worried to try this mask since it's clay based, with kaolin as the second ingredient, and my skin has been drying out a lot when I use clay or mud masks lately. I was very glad to notice that this one didn't leave my skin dry at all!

It also tingles a bit during the first minute or so, but not as much as the Lotion. The sensation disappeared pretty quickly so I was able to keep the mask on for 15 minutes as directed. Tip: do not let your clay masks dry completely on your face, especially if you have dryer skin! Read why and how to keep them wet.

The mask washed off easily and it left my skin feeling very soft and deeply cleansed, but not irritated. The most impressive effect was only visible the next day: my foundation applied better than ever before! So yes, it really kept its promise of improving texture, I think it minimized my pores and removed surface dead skin cells so well that my foundation had a perfectly smooth surface to adhere to. This mask is basically a dupe for the overhyped Glamglow Supermud, but for half the price and without the irritating essential oils!

Here is the full list of ingredients for the Soft Peel Mask - you'll note that it contains quite a few plant and fruit extracts: Aqua, Kaolin, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Montmorillonite, Glycolic Acid, Squalane PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit/Leaf Extract, Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Allantoin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Parfum. (pH: 3.6)

Review: Jouviance Glyco|Laser and RestructivSRD anti-aging skincare line

RestructivSRD Coactive Anti-Aging Formula

We're done with the Glyco|Laser line, this Coactive is Jouviance's retinol cream. I haven't had a chance to try it yet - I don't want to use both a strong AHA/BHA AND a retinol product at the same time - but it looks quite promising. The bottle is really pretty, with an inner silver container encased in a thick clear plastic bottle. You can use it morning and night, including around the eyes.

Besides retinol, this anti-aging treatment contains Matrixyl 3000, a peptide complex you've probably heard of if you're into skincare, ceramides, omega-3 and 6, etc. It looks like a pretty comprehensive formula, so I'll switch to it soon and I'll update you on its results. The price is a little higher than for the products of the Glyco|Laser line at $49, but it still looks like a good value to me.

Here's the full ingredients list for the Coactive Anti-aging Formula: Aqua, Glycerin, Decyl Isostearate, Coco-Caprylate/ Caprate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isostearyl Isostearate, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetyl Palmitate, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Zinc Oxide, Retinol, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Butylene Glycol, Steareth-21, Citric Acid, Carbomer, Ceramide NG, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 20, Acrylate/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7.

RestructivSRD Collagen Boost

Okay, Jouviance is exaggerating a bit here by calling this product a Needle-Free Filler Serum. Obviously, nothing you apply on top of your skin can have the same effect as products that are injected under the first layers. Despite the overstated claims, I found it to be a really good product that plumps and softens lines. And did you see that pink bottle?

I mostly used it on my neck and decolleté, where I need a lot of help. I sleep on my side, so I've always had lines on the decolleté area when I wake up in the morning, they're simply caused by the skin being folded as my shoulders fall forward in my sleep. Before, they would go away within a few minutes after getting up. No more! If I don't do anything, they barely fade and remain visible all day... That's a pretty bad sign that my skin has lost its youthful elasticity so it doesn't come back into place as it did before!

That's why I thought that the Collagen Boost would be a good treatment for this problem area, and it works pretty well. I've used it a least once a day after showering, and the lines disappear during the day when I apply it in the morning. Keep in mind that they're not true wrinkles (yet), but it shows that the product is plumping the skin nicely. It's not surprising, since the formula contains ingredients to stimulate the production of both collagen and hyaluronic acid. I hope it can prevent these lines from forming in the long term!

Here's the full ingredients list for the Collagen Boost: Aqua, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Hydrolyzed Soybean Fiber, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Ethylexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Lecithin, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Yeast Extract, Cetyl Palmitate, Ceteareth-12, Benzoic acid, Methyl glucoside phosphate proline lysine copper complex, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Phosphate, Polysorbate 20, Alcohol, Retinol.


I admit that I can be a snob when it comes to skincare, so I was really impressed by Jouviance Glyco|Laser and RestructivSRD product lines. I didn't think that you could get serious, well formulated, effective anti-aging and resurfacing skincare at the drugstore. I was wrong! If you're looking for good, potent, reliable products at a fraction of the price you'd pay at the department store, go for it!

Where to buy?

At CVS drugstores and online at

The products mentioned in this post were sent by the brand's PR for consideration. I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

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