When Origins® launched its first ginseng-infused moisturizer a few years ago, I was skeptical. Dubbed the GinZingTM Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer ($30), the product likened itself to a cup of coffee for your face, asserting that its blend of ginseng and caffeine extracts could enliven tired skin. At the time, I dismissed the whole thing as clever marketing. I certainly didn’t predict that the oil-free GinZing Gel would become the brand’s top-selling moisturizer, garner a cult following, and/or inspire an entire GinZing spin-off collection. (It did, it has, and it did.)
In the time between its original debut and when I finally tested the Origins GinZing® Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer, it has been reinvented. The only difference, the brand says, is the addition of something called Hydra-Hug TechnologyTM — an undisclosed mechanism that maintains hydration for 72 hours. Otherwise, the oil-free formula maintains its original scent, feel, and titular hero ingredient.
Below, my exploration of the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer — including its sensorial elements, skincare benefits, and whether or not it actually “wakes up” skin.
How the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer Feels
Tactilely-speaking, the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer feels cool to the touch and melts when massaged. (My boyfriend, unprompted, referred to it as “luxurious, but not greasy.”) Not quite gel, not quite lotion, this semi-opaque hybrid will delight anyone who is a fan of water creams. If I were to compare its texture to another cult-classic cream, I’d liken it to Tidal® Cream from Sunday Riley® ($65) — perhaps a hair lighter.
In all my years, the GinZing Gel is truly one of the most lightweight moisturizers I’ve tried; it also absorbs freakishly fast. Most amazingingly — despite these qualities — it’s still mega-hydrating. I can’t attest to the purported 72-hour hydration, but I can say that my skin remains bouncy-looking over the course of the workday. (This is more than I can say for most oil-free moisturizers I’ve tried.) As a dry-skinned dame who usually prefers heavy, oil-rich creams, I’m pleasantly surprised; my skin feels not only quenched, but satin-like after application. Naturally, this silky finish functions as an impeccable base for foundation — and, because the formula is devoid of oil and silicone, there’s little to no risk of pilling. According to Sephora® reviews (of which there are over three thousand — most are glowing) the formula plays well with acne-prone skin, seemingly because it doesn’t contain (potentially comedogenic) oils.
How the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer Smells
While scent isn’t necessarily a deciding factor for many skincare products, it is noteworthy — even polarizing — in the case of Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer. This stuff smells like orange creamsicles, heavy on the orange. (If you, like me, spent summers lapping sherbert at the local scoop shop, brace yourself for sweet nostalgia.) This scent introduces itself as soon as you open the jar; a creamy citrus wave that is enough to perk you up on its own. I presume this aroma comes from orange peel essential oil, judging from the ingredients list. (Note: essential oils are different from fatty acid-rich oils like jojoba. Unlike a true oil, essential oils are extracted from plants and used for fragrancing purposes.) The list also mentions lemon peel, grapefruit peel, and spearmint leaf essential oils, though their respective aromas are faint — if not non-existent — in my opinion.
Once applied, the zesty aroma dissipates rather quickly (a saving grace for the creamsicle-averse). In other words, you needn’t worry about tangy whiffs clashing with your favorite floral fragrance.
Key Ingredients in the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer
Key Ingredient #1: Panax ginseng
Ginseng — a root that’s lauded for its energizing properties, particularly in Eastern medicine — takes center stage in the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer. As per the brand, the ingredient can boost skin’s “natural energy.” I personally can’t attest — frankly, I’m not sure I’m in touch with my skin’s energy levels. However, I did confirm that ginseng is lauded for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties; topically, as well as orally, ginseng fights inflammation and free radicals. In skin speak, this means less puffiness and prolonged plumpness. Better yet, studies have found that topical ginseng can also improve skin’s hydration levels.
Key Ingredient #2: Caffeine derived from coffee beans
Topical caffeine won’t snap you out of a slumber. It could, however, make you appear more well-rested by reducing puffiness. Caffeine has vasoconstricting effects, meaning that it narrows blood vessels; in doing so, it can temporarily debloat puffy areas. Combined with the gel’s inherent coolness and a bit of light facial massage, the caffeine does seem to diminish post-sleep pouchiness, particularly under my eyes.
Key Ingredient #3: Hydra-Hug Technology
While the specifics of this adorable-sounding technology are top secret, we do know its apparent function: according to Origins, Hydra-Hug “helps bridge the gap between skin cells, where water typically escapes.” This prevents moisture loss and locks hydration into the skin, ultimately leaving it healthier, brighter, and plumper-looking. And, when you really think about it, isn’t that exactly how you’d expect well-rested, enlivened skin to look?
Final Thoughts on the Origins Ginzing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturizer
If any given person were to ask me whether I would recommend the Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer, I’d say yes. Versatility — both in reference to skin type and seasonality — is one of the reasons this product has amassed a following, after all. Case in point: my oil-averse boyfriend loves this moisturizer as much as I, an oil-loving person, do. Ultimately, our shared appreciation boils down to the fact that the formula nourishes skin in a way that suits us both: it softens skin just like I’d previously believed only an oil-based formula could, and it absorbs without leaving any trace of greasiness behind.
This formula also plays well with others, so it’s ideal if you like to layer your skincare products (hello, seven skin method!). I discovered this layerability on a particularly dry winter night; my skin was craving a bit of heft, so I patted an oil over the moisturizer. This worked wonderfully to soften my skin by morning, and I anticipate that I’ll repeat the process a few more times this season. Come summertime humidity, though, I imagine I’ll need but a quick swipe of this stuff before heading out the door — followed by sunscreen, of course.
Complimentary product was provided to the author for the purpose of writing this article.
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