An honest review of Syrene products by a first time user
Lately I have had an acute case of skincare fatigue: I’ve run out of shelf space in the bathroom, and there is no shortage of brands lobbying to tell us that their scientists discovered a spot-erasing, wrinkle-smoothing particle on the tentacle of a rare French jellyfish that they have patented into a serum. That’s why, when Syrene came across my radar, I wasn’t immediately convinced they would have something that would tempt me away from my current routine. I was sceptical to say the least, and then I thought - who better than a true sceptic to give an honest, unfiltered review of the range?
Established in 2016 and proudly made in New Zealand, Syrene has been led by a team of women who understand skincare with ingredients from our very own backyard as well as and cruelty free – two upticks straight off the bat.
Their ingredient list is a mix of familiar ingredients like Kawakawa extract (anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory) to soothe, and Pohutukawa to tone and soften. There are also a few new or unfamiliar faces like Ephemer – “an extract taken from sea algae during the ephemeral stage of the life-cycle” or Maricol S “ a natural soluble collagen with a skin identical structure derived from fish skin”.
OK let’s dive into my single product review of the range. My skin is acne prone to dry and I am in my early 20s (to give you some context).
I wanted to hate this product, I really did.
I thought I had already found my perfect moisturiser match and was not keen to open my relationship up when I had a good thing going. Usually, I like my moisturisers thick, buttery and rich (I frequently mix in face-oils to make them even more slather-y.) I have always considered gel lotions to be the limp-lettuce of skincare. Despite trying very very hard not to enjoy this moisturiser, I’m officially a convert.
Have I been missing out this whole time?! Are all gels this smooth and silky? This cream feels amazing. Like working liquid satin into your pores. Definitely the star of the range for me, and one that I wouldn’t hesitate to repurchase again and again. Added bonus – it works incredibly well under makeup, and makes primer virtually unnecessary.
As above but less intense – I think all my normal-to-combo-to-oily skin friends will like this. Also: great packaging, and super silky texture. This was one thing that impressed me the most about the Syrene products: somehow the silky- quick absorbing texture lasts quite well and doesn’t leave you dry in an hour. Voodoo magic is going on here, because I have never met a gel that can adequately hydrate my skin (let alone in winter), till now.
Toners have always been a ho-hum part of my skincare routine. Usually I find that they are just really-nice smelling water, that is fun to apply between steps. The Aquagel Toner was another surprise – I loved the texture, and while it seems to have the dual-purpose of a make-up remover, I used it post-cleanser. I usually use cotton pads when applying toners, more for the ritual than anything. But I don’t really want to let a single drop of this be wasted on a cotton round. The gel consistency made my skin noticeably plumper after application. I usually have to apply moisturiser directly after toner, or else my skin shrivels up and immediately starts to tighten and dry. This was not the case with this product at all, and made my skin feel like it was soaking up all the subsequent goodness (serums and mistoruisers) even more than usual. Highly recommend.
I can always get behind an oil cleanser in winter. There is something so therapeutic and luxurious about it. The packaging is neat, dispenses the right amount with a single pump. The cleanser itself is a light oil which I’m told you should work into dry skin. It can be massaged into a really light lather – not quite a foam - and then rinsed off.
The verdict: Smells divine. Sweet but in a light, freshly cut rock-melon kinda way. I liked this product a lot, and oil cleansers are an instant win for my dry, thirsty, Winter skin. As an avid collecter of oil cleansers, it is on par with some of my favourite, but hasn’t quite knocked off my top spot. (Aesop Parsely seed oil cleanser, if anyone is asking). If you have more combo -oily skin, Syrene may be a better pick for you, it’s much lighter and not greasy.
Another big surprise: a masque that I liked. I’m always sceptical of whether something that has a mere 15-20-minute time frame to get to work really can perform miracles on my skin.
I put this on, didn’t get the chance to let it sink in for the full time before having to wash it off and dash off to meet friends. In my haste, I didn’t bother to admire the effects in the mirror before scramming. It didn’t seem to matter, because I got at least three immediate compliments on my make-up free glowiness and another two later in the day – that mask must have done something right!
This is not a reflection on the quality of Syrene’s eye cream, but rather a commentary on my own haphazard regard for my under-eye health, and wanton indifference to the benefits of eye cream. I find them fiddly, and patting in a rice sized dollop of eye cream irks me. That said- the texture is nice and sinks in well, I just don’t think it worked for me.
syrene is available in new zealand online here, smith & caugheys, life pharmacy, Ballantynes and mym.co,nz.
REVIEW BY RACHAEL MACHADO
IMAGES SHOT BY WONO KIM