I do. Though despite living in Japan, I am not that crazy about green tea. My preferred kind of tea would be Earl Grey, hot. Bonus points if you recognize this reference ;-)
While I might be a picky tea drinker, when it comes to skincare, I don't discriminate. Tea is tea. Is tea. Or rather, is camellia.
Show me a cosmetic product with Camellia sinensis and chances are I will buy it. Or beg it. Or try to get my grabby hands on it in some other way. Because tea. Must have.
When SainTFengel, or Saint Fengel, or however you want to spell it (part 1 of my SainTFengel experience is here) initially contacted me with their product list, the first thing I saw was "camellia". And my brain immediately went "yeah!"
I wasn't interested in other SaintFengel products, all I wanted was this camellia thing in a big pink jar. Pink! My brain was like "just give it to me already!"
And that's how I met today's contestant.
But before I continue, let me make a cup of tea. It's bloody cold here, been raining for days, typhoon number whatever (they number them in Japan) and it seems the season of wearing parkas indoors is already here. In a few short weeks we'll be wearing those damn parkas to bed.
Some hot tea will do me good. Actually, it's my second cup today.
Hang on. I'll be right back.
So. This is it.
SainTFengel Camellia Quintessence Revitalizing Cream.
Yes, it's a sponsored product. It was sent to me by SainTFengel. The brand was sure that I was going to like it. It takes balls of monumental proportions to be so confident. But the brand did their homework. They read my blog and knew my skin concerns. And as it happened, this cream ticked all the boxes.
But let's talk about tea first.
You see, camellia sinensis, because that's what tea is, is an interesting plant. Green and black tea come from the same plant. The only difference is in how the leaves are processed.
The health benefits of drinking tea have been studied for nearly 5000 years. You'd think that in all this time we could agree on the results. But, as it turns out, it's not that simple.
While tea is loaded with compounds essential for our health, the actual studies of the benefits of drinking tea are to this day inconclusive. Any studies examining this tea-health relationship are careful to use words "likely" and "possibly" and "based on limited evidence". Why? Most of those studies were conducted in test tubes on tissue cultures.
Bottom line, it seems that most of the health benefits of drinking tea are actually linked to the fact that you need to boil the water first. Boiled water was (and still is!) safer to drink in most parts of the world. It is very possible that the stories about magical properties of tea started in ancient times when one person was drinking water and fell sick, and another was drinking tea and stayed healthy. That is just one reason why statistical models can be very misleading.
The truth is that we don't really know.
The other truth is that tea is loaded with lots of beneficial compounds. But it's also loaded with compounds that may make many health conditions worse.
So, that's all about drinking tea.
What do we know about skincare benefits of tea?
Here the situation looks a lot better.
There have been studies that showed that tea extracts help to heal sun damage, that green tea extracts are beneficial in treating inflammatory conditions, including in papulopustular rosacea, that tea extracts can slow down the development of some signs of aging (that might be due to the tea's power in healing and protecting from sun damage).
Now you have several reasons why, when I see a product featuring Camellia sinensis, I buy it, sight unseen.
This product I didn't buy. It was offered to me in exchange for a review.The company was perfectly straightforward in communicating that they wanted an honest review.
Personally, I don't give a flying f*ck through a rolling donut if a product is sponsored or not. It's going to get my usual treatment regardless.
So let' s get this party started, shall we?
What do we have here?
SainTFengel Camellia Quintessence Revitalizing Cream Day and Night
Country of origin: made in Taiwan
Volume: 56 ml / 1.9 fl oz
Packaging: a very pretty pink jar in a massive paper box. Came with a plastic spatula.
Active ingredients and claims to fame:
Consistency and texture: thick and luxurious but silky and light at the same time, soft, delicious, easily absorbed, yummy.
Feel on skin: absorbs to nothing, leaves zero film and zero residue, no pilling, plays nicely with others (actually, this was something the company emailed me about after my previous review to clarify that all of their products are formulated to work well with other skincare and/ or makeup products) - huge props for that!
Scent: none really.
How I used it: morning as my moisturizer, night as my cream.
And here is the point that makes me want to spit nickels and piss cement.
You see, the SainTFengel Camellia Quintessence Revitalizing Cream jar has a divider inside. One part is filled with the day formula, and the other - with the night formula. Great concept. In theory only.
C'mon people, if you're going for something like that, couldn't you mark the sides clearer??? Which is which??? Day??? Night??? For crying out loud, was it that hard to put happy suns and moons on the appropriate sides?
Yes, I know, the jar came with an inner plastic lid with day and night markings, but unfortunately, you could put that lid any way you wanted. Those markings meant nothing.
According to the video on the company's website, it may appear as if the sun and moon signs on the back of the jar might indicate which part is the day cream and which is night. But... when you look at the front of the jar, the words "Day & Night" don't match up with the signs in the back.
So, as a result I had no clue whether I was smearing day or night cream on my face. I could make an educated guess, but I was never 100% sure. Fortunately, I didn't notice any ill effects either way.
Swatches of SainTFengel Camellia Quintessence Revitalizing Cream:
Results: skin was soft, moisturized, even toned, irritations and angry red splotches were soothed and calmed. There was no adverse reaction at all. No breakouts, no zits, no nothing.
Actually, the results reminded me of a much more expensive Korean cream, cough... cough, with the name starting with "s" and ending with "7". But which was three times (if not more) as expensive.
This is what the company says:
Final verdict: I loved it.
Purchase again: Hell yeah!
SainTFengel Camellia Quintessence Revitalizing Cream ingredients are here:
As you can see, it isn't really clear which is the night version and which is the day version. Again! To figure it out ingredient-wise, I had to contact the company and ask for clarifications.
And here day version and night version entered into cosDNA: day and night.
Where to buy:
The biggest issue is where to buy this stuff.
Seems the only place that carries SainTFengel Camellia Quintessence Revitalizing Cream is YesStyle - link (not affiliated with me in any way).
This products contains a patented compound ALPAFLOR® GigaWhite developed by DSM, which is a Swiss company making cosmetic ingredients. I have been interested in Alpaflor ever since I heard about it last year through a special project I was participating in.
So, getting a chance to try this ALPAFLOR® GigaWhite in the wild, as part of a formulation of an Asian beauty product was the icing on the cake for me. Worth noting is that I had no idea SainTFengel Camellia Quintessence Revitalizing Cream contained this proprietary compound when I agreed to test it.