One predictable aspect of air travel — save the inevitability of a screaming child parked a few rows ahead — is that your skin will become thirstier than it’s ever been on land. (It’s why #SelfCareInTheAir has become a thing, after all.) Admittedly, I often forget to pack anything remotely skin-quenching in my carry-on; and, by the time I’ve landed, my complexion looks so parched that my undereye area resembles cracked clay.
I’ve heard rumblings about the Dr. Brandt® Hyaluronic Acid Facial Cream ($72). Skincare legend says it’s the crème de la crème of hydrating face creams, and the brand claims that it imparts a whopping 72 hours of hydration. (When you do the math, that’s like paying a dollar per every hour of glowing skin.) So, I decided to give it a whirl before a recent seven-hour flight overseas. Admittedly, my testing conditions weren’t exactly fair . . . as you and I both know, flight-induced dryness is in a league of its own. Yet, despite the odds, my skin felt soft from takeoff in NYC ‘til touchdown in Marrakech.
This cream is spiked with some of the most powerful hydrators in the game. First, there’s hyaluronic acid (HA) — a molecule that draws moisture from the surrounding air and holds 1,000 times its weight in water. Better yet, the formula contains not one, but four different types of HA – each of which varies in molecular size. These differing molecular sizes allow for a multifaceted absorption spectrum (i.e. the largest molecules quench the skin near the surface, whereas the smaller ones penetrate deeper into the dermis for longer-lasting hydration).
The cream also contains two lipid-rich ingredients: olive oil and shea butter. Because they’re lipids, they have the ability to seal in moisture — including all that HA — to keep skin quenched. Olive oil also contains fatty acids, and shea butter boats antioxidant prowess thanks to its natural vitamin E content.
Microspheres and Peptides
In addition to satisfying thirsty skin, this moisturizer is specifically formulated to fade the appearance of fine lines. Frankly, I’m not usually a huge believer in these types of claims, but this one proved me wrong. Within moments of slathering it on, my (faint) smile lines seemed fainter than usual, and the hairline crevices under my eyes appeared even subtler.
As per the brand, these smoothing effects can be attributed to plumping microspheres — a delivery system that encapsulates the HA and snuggles it into fine lines and wrinkles. While this effect is fleeting (in my experience, it lasts a few hours) the cream contains peptides for a longer lasting — albeit much slower acting — line-reducing effect. (Read more about how peptides work.)
Texture and Wear
The formula is creamy and thick — almost like Greek yogurt. Given its richness, I was particularly impressed by its lightening-fast absorption speed. And somehow, despite the aforementioned lipids, the finish does not feel greasy or look shiny. Instead, it leaves a velvety sensation and a teddy-bear-soft glow behind. (Even my oil-phobic beau tolerates it!)
Incidentally, tolerability is a general strong suit for this moisturizer. Bone-dry faces like mine will love it as much as oilier types will. And, because it’s fragrance-free, it poses little irritation risk for sensitive skin types.
The Dr. Brandt Hyaluronic Cream has earned a spot in what my military father refers to as a go bag (“Always keep a dopp kit stocked with the essentials — you never know when you might need to hop on a flight.”) Plus, at 1.7 ounces, you needn’t decant it into a miscellaneous hotel shampoo bottle in order for it to comply with TSA regulations.
Personally, I can’t vouch for the 72-hour hydration claim. Yes, it quenched my skin throughout a flight (an impressive feat on its own), but it hasn’t allowed me to skip moisturizer for the two days following application. Honestly, though, does such a formula exist? (Please shoot me a message if you’ve discovered one.)
Ultimately, the Dr. Brandt Hyaluronic Cream seems to live up to most of its accolades. From one dry-skinned traveler to literally anyone reading this, I would advise snagging it before your next voyage. In the meantime, don’t miss these expert-approved skincare tips before your next departure.
Product was gifted to the author for the purpose of writing this article.
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