Earlier this year I fell in love again. With a doctor. This time the love affair is still going strong.
Dear readers, let me introduce my new prince charming - Dr Wu.
Our meeting was purely accidental.
While visiting Taiwan earlier this year, I was on the hunt for the ceramide series from For My Beloved - a well-known Taiwanese skincare brand.
For My Beloved was running a major promo, where if you bought two items, they showered you with additional goodness (while quantities last). I was trekking across Taipei for days looking for the still lasting quantities. They were sold out everywhere.
Finally, at some random store, the sales woman took pity on me and made a few phone calls. Turned out there was still stock at the For My Beloved counter at Taipei 101 Mall. Before she could complete the sentence I was hopping on the subway.
I made it to the mall in record time. I raced to the For My Beloved counter. And yes... you guessed it right. It just got sold out. The quantities didn't last long enough. That was the last day of the promo. And the next day I was flying back to Japan.
In utter disbelief and frustration I looked around for an alternate place to spend my hard earned cash. Sure as hell I wasn't gonna give any to For My Beloved now.
Right next door there was a Dr Wu counter. I resolutely walked over and said "give me your best stuff!".
Yes, I actually said that.
I knew nothing about Dr Wu. All I had researched before was For My Beloved.
The sales woman didn't speak a word of English and I used a pen and paper to write "number 1" in three different languages. Surrounded by a flock of hearts and smiley faces.
She made a smiley face of her own, poked at MY face with her finger (yes, she actually did that!) and selected some stuff. She said the magic words "duty free".
And the rest is history...
The Wu woman selected for me these:
- Dr Wu Ageversal Youth Repairing Set
- Dr Wu Repairing System Intensive Repairing Serum with Squalane - 35ml
- Dr Wu Repairing System Advanced AntiWrinkle Eye Cream with Botolift™ - 15ml
Dr Wu Ageversal Youth Repairing Set contained:
- 5 ml of Dr Wu Repairing System Intensive Repairing Serum with Squalane
- 15 ml of Dr Wu Repairing System Extreme Micro-Lifting Cream With Ageversal
- 50 ml of Dr Wu Repairing System Intensive Firming Essence With Ageversal
- 30 pieces of facial cotton pads.
And don't you just LOVE the fact that Dr Wu has a website in English? And an online store?
This doctor just keeps getting better and better!
As you can see, the sales lady chose an anti-ageing series for me. And she chose wisely.
I didn't know it at the time, but the squalane serum is considered one of Dr Wu's legendary products.
And let me tell you, I completely understand now why.
But first things first.
Dr Wu is a Taiwanese brand of dermo-cosmetics founded by a real-life dermatologist - one doctor Ying-Chin Wu (Yes! there's a real Dr Wu behind the brand but sadly, he's not handsome) in 1996. Or 2003, depending on who you ask.
You can read about the history of Dr Wu brand on their website.
To make a long story short, Dr Wu is now Taiwan's number 1 clinical skincare brand, has won numerous beauty awards and is endorsed by many Taiwanese celebrities.
One reason for its success is this way of formulating products:
The principle? It's really simple:
"No Additives, No Alcohol, High Concentration of High Grade Actives that are safe and effective, even for use on sensitive skin."
So, let's take a closer look at these Taiwanese cosmeceutical wonders.
First up is Dr Wu Repairing System Intensive Firming Essence With Ageversal.
This is the starter size of 50ml. It's a simple, plastic bottle. There is no pump in this size.
The instructions say this is to be used as the first step after cleansing.
It has a pleasant consistency and while initially may appear somewhat greasy, it dries completely very fast. In the time it takes me to floss my teeth, it's completely dry on my face.
I don't use a cotton pad, as too much of the product goes to waste that way. I pour some into my hand and then gently pat my face until all liquid is fully absorbed.
And like this:
But what the heck is this mysterious "Ageversal"?
To be honest, even after reading everything on Dr Wu's website, I'm still not sure.
But this handy graphic aims to explain the "Ageversal" concept:
So, basically, an anti-ageing skin soup.
I liked this essence a lot. It was very basic but did exactly what it was supposed to do. It got my face ready for the next step in this Dr Wu routine.
Ingredients of Dr Wu Repairing System Intensive Firming Essence With Ageversal:
The disappointing part is that out of the three main ingredients in "Ageversal", the first one - Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide - 7 is the second to last item on the product's ingredient list.
Sodium Hyaluronate is number 11. And maybe I'm blind, but I couldn't find any algae extract.
The confusing ingredient on this list is Chlorphenesin, which is NOT the muscle relaxant drug Chlorphenesin carbamate. Chlorphenesin carbamate, confusingly also known as "chlorphenesin" is NOT a cosmetic ingredient.
This Chlorphenesin here is something different entirely and functions as a mild preservative. And yes, it is approved for use in the EU. No worries.
And if you are interested, here's this:
There is no discernible scent, the texture is light, the application is problem-free.
Nothing to complain about here.
Step 2 in this routine is Dr Wu Repairing System Intensive Repairing Serum With Squalane
There was a 5ml sample in the starter set, but the Wu lady, very wisely, decided to sell me a full size bottle as well. Smart woman.
This is the star of the show, no doubt about it.
Let me just say that much - all the hype is true. This serum is gold.
It's an oil based formula that is surprisingly light. It takes more than a few minutes to absorb, so normally, I put it on and then clean the cat litter boxes, change the water for my babies, water the plants, that sort of stuff. When I come back to the bathroom to wash my hands, the serum has been magically absorbed leaving my skin feeling so velvety soft it's ridiculous.
Dr Wu loves the airless pump system! Yay and hurray!
The bottle is all shiny plastic. Simple and functional. Zero embellishments, bells and whistles.
The shiny caps are a pain to keep clean, but otherwise the design is very practical.
And it's an airless pump - I just love saying that. Makes most Japanese brands look like relics from the 20th century with their squeeze tubes and screw-on caps.
While this serum is oil based, it's not greasy greasy, if you know what I mean.
It's deliciously soft and instead of feeling oily on the skin, it feels hydrating.
Just pat it in and let your thirsty skin absorb it all. And trust me, it will.
There is no noticeable scent or fragrance.
I have used squalane products before, amongst others - from HABA. But none felt as light and fluffy as this one.
Squalane is the one beauty oil that rules them all. Squalane is a hydrogenated form of squalene, but unlike squalene, which is sourced from shark liver oil, no sharks are hurt in the production of squalane. Squalane is a plant-based oil (yep, save the sharks!), and the experts say this about it:
"Squalane occurs naturally in the lipidic layers of the skin and prevents moisture loss while restoring the skin's suppleness and flexibility. Squalane is highly resistant to oxidation and has a high affinity to skin cells due to its skin-identical structure."The blurb on the package tells us this:
I am almost done with the bottle, and yes, I can definitely agree. It gave me softer and smoother skin.
And despite having a pile of other skincare products, I am seriously considering ditching them, and reordering this serum ASAP.
Here's the ingredient list of Dr Wu Repairing System Intensive Repairing Serum With Squalane:
Interestingly enough, as you can see, this serum contains both squalane (from plants) and squalene (poor sharks). But while squalane is number 2 on the list, squalene is number 12.
The directions for use suggest to use it twice daily, however with our current temperatures I've been using it at night only. It's still managing to work its magic.
And if you're interested, here's this:
The next step, according to the helpful graphics on Dr Wu website, should be an eye cream.
And yes, here it is!
Step 3 is Dr Wu Repairing System Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream With Botolift™.
Again, we have the same functional silver bottle. And as before, because it's Dr Wu's style, we have an airless pump.
OK, just for that alone I love this doctor.
This eye cream was a bit of a surprise. It's a lot lighter than a typical anti-wrinkle eye cream. Next to it, my favorite su:m37º Flawless Regenerating Eye Cream feels like a tub of margarine.
Due to the lighter texture, I was quite skeptical whether this cream was going to work at all. It took time to get into the swing of things, but once it did - it really keeps the under eye area in check.
This is what they say:
I have used Lirikos Marine Botoxin cream before, but it did absolutely nothing for me. So it was a pleasant surprise that Dr Wu actually delivered, and for a lot less money.
The droopy eyelid bit interested me the most.
My left eyelid is definitely past its prime. It needed some lift. Not sure whether this cream took care of it (as the peptides are at the very end of the ingredient list), but the eyelid is now noticeably less droopy.
It absorbs fast! Unlike the essence (so so fast) and the serum (not fast at all), this one is gone in a flash.
See? It even looks very fluffy.
Again, there is no noticeable smell. Kudos to the doctor for realizing that many people are sensitive to and dislike perfumed skincare.
While this cream might not be sufficient for night time use in winter (especially if used alone, without the serum), it's perfect for the summer.
Here are the ingredients of Dr Wu Repairing System Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream With Botolift™:
According to the ingredient list, the famed Botolift™ seems to be nothing more than a marketing gimmick. So maybe the positive results after using this cream are nothing more than a placebo effect?
Anything is possible...
And if you are interested, here it is:
The final step, according to Dr Wu, should be a face cream.
And here it is!
Step 4 is Dr Wu Repairing System Extreme Micro-Lifting Cream With Ageversal.
As my version came with the set, it has only half of the standard volume of 30ml. It's still less than the traditional 50 g we came to expect from Western brands.
The cream is very similar in texture to the eye cream. It doesn't smell.
It absorbs fast. Doesn't leave a greasy layer. Feels comfortable and light on the face, especially considering this is the fourth layer.
I usually use it at night. However lately, despite the ridiculous temperatures during the day, I started to use it in the morning. I suppose, because Taiwan is also a hot and humid country, this cream had been tested in such conditions. Let's just say, it works like a charm. It moisturizes without stickiness and greasiness.
Where I am ambivalent are its anti-wrinkle properties. I honestly have not noticed any. Maybe it's my wrinkles, or maybe I have to use it much longer to see noticeable results. Or maybe this cream simply doesn't work. The jury is still out.
Here are the ingredients of Dr Wu Repairing System Extreme Micro-Lifting Cream With Ageversal:
And if you are interested, here is this:
Are you still with me? Or did you fall asleep 15 paragraphs back?
This is a very effective anti-ageing / repairing line that while not exactly cheap, doesn't cost an arm and a leg and a firstborn. I don't remember how much I paid for all the items, but it wasn't heart attack inducing.
This is solid skincare that, for the most part, delivers good results.
It's worth mentioning that with my sensitive skin, nothing, and let me repeat it once again - nothing in today's lineup broke me out. That in itself is already a huge accomplishment and a reason enough to try other products by Dr Wu.
(Now... if he were only more handsome, I'd have my skincare knight in a shining airless pump container).
Speaking of airless pumps, what I also liked was that all relevant info was printed (in two languages!) on the packaging. There were no extra leaflets inside. Yay for saving paper!
What I also liked was that individual boxes were sealed in foil. Yay for security!
What I also liked was that every product had its expiration date printed on the bottom of the container:
Again, how come Japanese companies are unwilling (or unable) to do it?
So, will I buy again?