BRAND REVIEW: Stubborn Cosmetics

People, if you love Krave Beauty, Dr. Sam, you absolutely must check out this brand, especially if you live in the U.S. of A!

Stubborn Cosmetics is an indie American brand that is literally a one-woman show providing products with my favourite combo: scientifically proven ingredients paired with beneficial ingredients from nature.

The founder Annalisa, runs the show and here are the many hats she wears:

  • Lead Cosmetic Scientist
  • Production Engineer
  • Procurement Agent
  • Graphic Designer
  • Lab Technician
  • Operations Manager
  • Cleaner
  • the first Customer
  • the “We”

Stubborn Cosmetics currently is focused on creating moisturizers for all skin-types, and she goes so far as to offer a customized moisturizer, based on your quiz results. Recently she formulated an anti-oxidant face mist and it’s been a hot minute since I’ve used one!

Here’s the site’s blurb that sums up what they’re about perfectly, and something I appreciate:

“We’re an indie skincare company with the mission of creating cosmetics that bring together the best of the natural world with the best of scientifically studied ingredients. Our aim is to share skincare that is effective, fun, and positive by nature. We’re not going to scare you with buzz words like “toxin- and chemical-free”. That wouldn’t be in line with our ethics. Instead, we curated a selection of naturally derived ingredients and scientifically proven synthetic actives (like peptides and vitamins) because they are just too good to be given up.

We believe in nature and science. We believe they can coexist in harmony. We believe in community, we believe in hugs, we believe in kindness, we believe in well-formulated products as well as in a personal approach to skin care. These beliefs are the essence of our creations. Others call it skincare – we call it personal skin love.”

Here are the products I’ll be reviewing, all purchased myself.

  • Custom Moisturizer for Normal to Dry Combination Skin, $40 USD
  • Face Hug – for Dry Skin, $25 USD
  • Face Cuddle – for Normal Skin, $25 USD
  • Skin Mercy Anti-Oxidant Face Mist, $22 USD

QUICK FACTS:

  • Every moisturizer has 4% Niacinamide
  • Cruelty-free
  • Made in the U.S.
  • Custom Moisturizers are made-to-order based on a mandatory Skin Quiz, and get PIN for repurchase
  • Shelf life ~6 months after opening
  • Products are only scented from aromatic plant extracts
  • Most products are vegan; Face Hug only moisturizer not vegan because it contains silk amino acids (sourced from vacant cocoons)
  • International shipping
  • pH levels are 4.5-5.5 (based on blog post “How to Use Moisturizers“)

CUSTOM MOISTURIZER

sc-custom-moisturizer-1

This was my first purchase as I was curious how Annalisa would formulate a product for my all-over-the-place skin. I’ve mentioned it before, but right now I’m normal to dry, get easily sensitized from dry environments, but I still get pretty oily by the end of the day, and I still have acne! I was sent a card with my Skin Quiz results, Product PIN for re-ordering, and the ingredients list. Unfortunately, I cannot find the card ;_;

PACKAGING: 30 ml plastic bottle with airless pump. Love that there are 2 pumps – teal for normal areas, white for dry.

USAGE: 1 pump of each.

TEXTURE: A thin, thick cream (if that makes sense).

FRAGRANCE: Custom Moisturizer has the option to add fragrance in via phyto-scents (plant extracts); I chose raspberry, tangy and zesty! It’s not too strong.

APPLICATION: Green pump on my T-Zone, White for my C-Zone; Sometimes I like to mix the two.

FINISH: She may be thin, but she feels very moisturizing. I do have a glow and it doesn’t make me look super matte (which I like).

INSTANT RESULTS: Moisturized skin.

LONG-TERM RESULTS: Skin hasn’t been experiencing congestion and my sebaceous filaments haven’t been looking awful. Sometimes I feel a bit dry near the end of the day, but my work environment is pretty freaking dry, as is my country’s climate (Canada). I also lack in water-drinking skills :3  Overall it performed well in the colder months here in Canada (haven’t tried it in snow mode yet).


FACE HUG & FACE CUDDLE

PACKAGING: 30 ml plastic bottle with an airless pump.

IMG_20191007_184639.jpg

USAGE: 2 pumps to cover face and neck comfortably in the morning before SPF.

TEXTURE: Face Cuddle – gel cream, Face Hug – more emollient version of a gel cream.

FRAGRANCE: I’m not sure how to describe it, but there is no added scent and it’s just the smell of the formula.

APPLICATION: Massage into face.

FINISH: If you don’t apply the moisturizer properly, it looks like there is a film on your face. If you take your time, it leaves a nice moisturized, not overly glowy look.

IMG_20191003_191850.jpg
Top: Face Cuddle, Bottom: Face Hug

INSTANT RESULTS: Moisturized!

LONG TERM RESULTS: Skin hasn’t been experiencing congestion and my sebaceous filaments haven’t been looking awful. Moisturized feeling lasted better in summer months here in Canada. Sometimes these both sting my face.


SKIN MERCY

PACKAGING: 4oz, glass bottle with a spray top.

USAGE: I typically use this in the mornings, because that’s when I like using antioxidant based products the most (like Vitamin C).

TEXTURE: Watery.

IMG_20191004_181355.jpg

FRAGRANCE: Smells like pine – the cinnamon peppercorn type of smell!

APPLICATION: Spray spray spray.

INGREDIENTS:

sc-skin-mercy-3

FINISH: The watery consistency is quite deceiving, for I find this moisturizes my skin pretty well on it’s own and it leaves a moisturized film on my skin.

INSTANT RESULTS: Skin feels moisturized, tingly and bright.

LONG TERM RESULTS: Currently, this in rotation with my Jordan Samuel Hydrate the Mist. I usually reach for Skin Mercy when I feel like I need more of an oomph for my skin.


FINAL THOUGHTS

stubborn-cosmetics-review-michxmash

PROS:

  • INCI list is out of this world. I’ve never seen a list where I have all the major ingredients I want – Niacinamide, Ceramides, antioxidants, peptides, Beta-Glucan, Hyaluronic Acid…
  • Offers customization. Especially handy if you’re super sensitive, and I can’t help but wonder if this would be a great moisturizer for those with fungal acne!
  • No bullshit. Love the marketing and they’re not about fear-mongering, but educating consumers on awesome ingredients despite their chemical name!
  • Prompt shipping. I’m pretty sure all of us had a moment (or multiple moments) when we’re ready to drop $100 and then the shipping fee just cuts that shopping joy in half! Well despite a charge for international shipping, it’s speedy, and you can expect your moisturizer within a week (obviously depends where you are in the world and weekends not included).

CONS:

  • Both Face Hug and Cuddle occasionally sting my face and pill on me.
  • As much as I love the INCI list, it’s a bit daunting to figure out what’s causing the moisturizers to sting my face (at first I thought it was from using a chemical exfoliator beforehand, but sometimes it still stings even with a basic routine).
  • Skin Mercy’s pump stopped working for me after a few uses. It almost feels as if it’s stuck :\

IN-BETWEEN FEELS:

  • Price / size. Another classic “stupid Canadian dollar” type thing. WHY CONVERSION, WHY!? Aside from this, I can see this as a pretty fairly priced moisturizer to Americans and anywhere else in the world that doesn’t have a shitty dollar.

Overall, a lot of love and effort goes into Stubborn Cosmetics and Annalisa is making it available internationally. On top of that, she does not do any BS marketing whatsoever and tries to accommodate all skin types and needs.

I’d personally repurchase the Custom Moisturizer because it is suited for my skin needs, but I’d still like to try out any new items that SC comes out with!

WHERE TO BUY:
Official site: https://stubborncosmetics.com/

Hope this review helped you out!

xo, M

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