Before starting the review, here is a quick refresher on my skin background. I like to call my skin type normal (because I lived in a warm and humid climate most of my life) but it's highly dependant on my surrounding... Since I now live in North Jersey, it means that my skin can get pretty dry and flaky for 70% of the year(then normal for the summer months). It's highly prone to hyperpigmentation, can't tolerate exfoliant and has been reactive to many actives ingredients (mainly chemical sunscreen).
If you are a frequent visitor of r/asianbeauty on Reddit, you might have heard of the indie skincare brand Stratia. I started noticing the brand when people mentioned their Rewind (a serum with niacinamide and DMAE) as a possible alternative for the highly hyped Holysnail Shark Sauce (no shark involved, will that review later).
As I was hopping around the web store, I also saw the brightly colored Liquid Gold, a barrier-repair moisturizer. On the product description, something clicked as I scrolled down the page. Flaky skin (check), dull/sallow (check), sensitive and acne prone (check)...Ding! Ding! Ding! As it turns out, I also have dehydrated skin.
So here is how I ended up with my own bottle. Stratia Liquid Gold is a moisturizer with niacinamide, ceramide, cholesterol and other oils to imitate and repair the moisture barrier. 60ml retails for 24 bucks, which is very reasonably priced for something claiming to be special. Spoiler alert: It is.
Ingredients of Liquid Gold. Beside the familiar niacinamide and ceramide. I also noticed Rose Hip and Sea Buckthorn oils (what gives it the bright yellow color), squalene and green tea extract. Dimenticone is half way through the list, which it ok since it help protecting my wind blown skin and is something my skin can take as long as it's not the first or second on the list.
I was expecting something stickier and more emollient but Liquid Gold actually has a gel to a thicker lotion texture. There is some smell from the combination of the oils, they are there but not bothersome to me.
Yes there is a slight yellow tint (will be more obvious the more light-skinned you are)
It leaves my skin lightly hydrated and moisturized but without any residue. It's easy to layer other product on top like padding on additional face oil or sunscreen (though Josie Maran does get quite greasy with a potent moisturizer like this underneath).
So, isn't it just a highly effective moisturizer? Yes and No.
I started using this toward the end of November and its magic started to shine through after the fourth week of daily use. Suddenly, the flakes disappeared and I noticed I was getting less and less irritation zits (smaller bumps between my cheeks and nose). I also felt that my skin became plump and even-toned. The effect was gradual but continuous as long as I use it at least once a day. I feel that it's so good at repair the barrier now I need less to maintain the effect.
Anyway, I am half way through my second bottle and have a third in my cabinet. I might not need it as much now I am slowly figuring out a routine but it's always nice to have it in an emergency.
While I was restocking, I also picked up a Velvet Cleansing Milk. Of course, two days after the order, they switched the packaging and lowered the price from 19 to 15 bucks. The volume dropped from 5 to 4oz so there is only a tiny drop in unit price, from 3.8 dollars per oz to the current 3.75 dollars per oz. Since cream is more likely to gather at the bottom or stuck inside the pump, the change in unit price is almost non-existent (or the other way around).
The Velvet Cleansing Milk a simple non-foaming cleanser that I intended to use in the morning, I ended up using it at night as well, as it's enough to wash away my sunscreen.
It cleanses really well, leaving skin moisturized but not icky. The feel on the skin is creamy and easy to spread. The formula is very pleasant to use since it's also free from any fragrance. While I enjoy it immensely, I don't see a burning desire to get another bottle, mainly due to the price.
For a cleansing milk, Andalous Meyer Lemon cream cleanser feels close enough (I got mine from Marshalls, 5.99 dollars for a 6oz bottle) but it's much cheaper, only one third to one fourth the cost of Stratia Velvet. I prefer the non-scented Stratia but it's not matter of life or death and certainly not amazing enough that I want to spend 15 a month to wash my face.
Even Shiseido cleansing foam are much more affordable because each tube lasts 6-8 months. I am not saying that Stratia is expensive or unreasonably-priced. The ingredients cost money and lots of (wo)manpower to make. I am just a customer who goes with most economical option on hand, while we do have many options.
Ingredients of Velvet Cleansing Milk