With my deepest apologies to all my readers. My new job is the stuff that Japanese job horror stories are made of. And to add injury to this insult, my beloved laptop moved on to Laptop Heaven. I ordered a new one, but... Adobe Photoshop had me spitting nickles and pissing cement. Seriously, their cloud subscription system is beyond awful. Unfortunately, I don't have 2 thousand bucks just lying around to buy one of the few copies of CS6 still out there, so I'm kind of stuck right now.
But the good news is that I am back to blogging. And that is all that matters, right? Right!
Today's review is loooong overdue. The kind people that sent me these products have been incredibly patient. Thank you!
But the good news is that this long delay gave me enough time to try all the products and really get to know them very thoroughly. So thoroughly that I have already finished some of them. Which is the best news of all, because nothing is more annoying than a sponsored review after a week of using something. Or not using at all, because "it wasn't right for my skin..., blah blah blah".
So, let's get started, shall we?
SainTFengel. Spelled just like that.
Sorry, I am not a fan of this name. It claims to be the name of a holy Scottish prince who never aged (according to the company's blurb), but google results bring back nothing. So there you have it. An immortal Scottish prince, who eventually disappeared. Sounds familiar? It's been a while since I watched "Highlander"...
Here is what the company says - SainTFengel brand story.
The SainTFengel brand concept (printed in the pamphlet white on black, why??? why???) is the usual PR stuff. What caught my attention, however, is the fact that the company operates its own R&D department with in-house product research. Nice! So when SainTFengel contacted me for a review, that bit of information convinced me to say "yes".
Here you have the link to what it says about it on their website - SainTFengel brand concept.
You know that I am a big fan of Taiwanese skincare, especially skincare made by doctors (fun fact - I wrote about Dr Wu nearly exactly a year ago, plus minus 2 days). I was happy to see that there is also a real life doctor behind SainTFengel - Dr. Tsong-Ming Chang, who has a PhD in something. According to his bio, he is the Chief of R&D at HungKuang University in Taiwan.
Of course, I had to google it. This university has, among more mundane offerings such as nursing, something called "College of Human Ecology", where one of the departments is listed as Department of Applied Cosmetology. And that is, apparently, where Dr Chang is a "distinguished professor". And what about his Research and Development position? It checks out - he's the dean.
Not sure what the link is between SainTFengel and HungKuang University and I don't really have the time to dig deeper here. Most likely, SainTFengel is our doctor's side gig for some extra moolah.
But I'm glad that the story checks out (unlike in the case of some other brands, who lie through their teeth).
image source: SainTFengel website
There are seven products in the SainTFengel portfolio right now. I got to try all of them. They were sent to me for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
The brand rep actually read my blog and was very much aware of my outspoken, oftentimes rude and uncompromising style, yet she was absolutely confident that I would love SainTFengel skincare. It takes balls of monumental proportions to claim that and based on that alone, the brand won my respect.
So, did I love the products? Read on and find out.
SainTFengel - the airless pump and spray edition.
From left to right, you can see:
- SainTFengel Energizing Floral Spray Serum (100ml / 3.4 fl oz)
- SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum (30ml / 1 fl oz)
- SainTFengel Anti-Dark Circles Brightening Eye Cream (15ml / 0.5 fl oz)
Let's starts with the guy in blue.
SainTFengel Energizing Floral Spray Serum
(100ml / 3.4 fl oz)
Here you have the official info about SainTFengel Energizing Floral Spray Serum from the company's website - link. Watch the video, if you have a minute, it's worth it.
And if you are too lazy to click, this info comes directly from the pamphlet:
That mysterious PENTAVITIN® is none other than Saccharide Isomerate.
The claims set the bar very high. Maybe too high even.
I wanted to love this spray. I was in the market for a new hydrating mist. This seemed like a perfect product for me. Brightening! Hydrating! Soothing! Anti-inflammation!
Unfortunately, the smell killed it all.
This spray claims to have a floral scent. If you look at the ingredient list, you expect roses and daisies. I love roses. Rose fragrance is one of my most beloved scents.
But this thing here? It reeked. It smelled like an old grandma. The scent wasn't heavy, but nevertheless, it made me gag. The scent disappears about 2 minutes after the application (yes, I timed it!), but in those 2 minutes my eyes started to water, my nose started to drip and I was gasping for air.
The only way I could apply it onto my face was if I had a fan in my hand.
Still, the experience was not pleasant at all.
I gave this SainTFengel Energizing Floral Spray Serum to my friend, and she loves it. She has normal to dry skin of the aging variety and she says it became her favorite refreshing mist. She uses it not as a setting spray, but as a prep step before the makeup. She's asked me for more, because her mother absolutely adores the scent. Yep. Adores.
As you can see it dries to a slight sheen. It takes quite a while to fully absorb.
So there. Your mileage may vary by a couple thousands miles, apparently.
SainTFengel Energizing Floral Spray Serum ingredients:
And here is the CosDNA analysis - link.
Here is what it says about the SainTFengel Energizing Floral Spray Serum in the product leaflet that was included in the box:
I had high hopes. But the scent shattered them all. There are cheap rose fragrances, and there are classy rose fragrances. This one is cheap and not particularly rosey either. If the brand can change it to a classy rose scent, I'll be pouncing on this spray like a cougar on a young chicken.
Time for contestant number 2:
SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum
(30ml / 1 fl oz)
Here you have the link to the English language product page on the brand's website - SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum.
I watched the video and unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I was unable to replicate the hydration results presented there. I found it a bit misleading that the levels were very conveniently tested on one of the thinnest bits on the human body - the piece of skin between your thumb and forefinger.
Testing it on the back of my hand, or on my forearm, or on my face (the proper place to apply this serum) I have been unable to replicate their results.
If anything, I would say that this serum did not provide any substantial hydration for my dry skin. It had to be followed with heavy duty moisturizers. This was one of the reasons why I initially put it away and wasn't so keen on continuing my tests.
Then came our lovely Japanese summer. 99% humidity and ridiculous heat. The kind of weather that makes you question every skincare product you put on your face. The kind of weather that makes you pray for something non-sticky, something absorbing in record time, something that leaves your face feeling soft, but dry.
I reluctantly dug out this serum and gave it a second chance. Bingo!
SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum seems to be custom made for this dreadful weather.
I use it in the morning after my toner and followed with a light moisturizer (if needed) or directly with a moisturizing SPF.
Here is what it says about SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum in the official product pamphlet:
Yes, I know...
If you are launching a new brand, the least you could do was hire a proofreader to check your PR materials. Especially if your native language is not English.
So, let's see... After over a month of daily use did I notice any significant changes in my skin? Or even insignificant changes? Or any changes at all?
Nope. Not really.
The only thing I noticed is that SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum plays well with others. You can put stuff on top of it and nothing pills and nothing bunches up.
If it is doing something, it is doing it so stealthily that I can't really notice anything.
SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum dries matte, as you can see:
And it stays matte even in million degree weather.
Because of that I am suspecting it would work wonders for oily and combination skins.
For dry skin under normal conditions, unless one day I can reproduce their hydration results, not so much.
SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum ingredients:
The company provided me with an INCI listing and I entered it into CosDNA for your viewing pleasure - link.
Here's a blurb from the leaflet that came in the product box:
So there you have it.
Despite magical hydration claims, SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum does not hydrate my dry skin under normal conditions. In fact, if anything, it leaves it feeling slightly dry. Because of that, it works well in hot and humid weather. I did not notice any visible changes in my skin, nothing good, but nothing bad either.
It seems to me that SainTFengel STF Anti-Aging Serum is more suited for oily or combination skin, as it definitely (and let me repeat - definitely) controls sebum production. This fact has been confirmed by an oily skinned friend. She was quite pleased with how it behaved on her oil slick of a face and how it layered nicely with whatever makeup she put on top of it.
We shared this bottle and that's why it's practically empty now.
And, finally, last but not least, our contestant number 3.
Saving the best for last!
SainTFengel Anti-Dark Circles Brightening Eye Cream
(15ml / 0.5 fl oz)
This is what the company has to say about SainTFengel Anti-Dark Circles Brightening Eye Cream - link to the official product info.
I must admit, I was skeptical but I found myself really liking this eye cream. It's pretty rich, it takes time to absorb, and it seems to really nourish the eye area. I didn't expect any major fireworks, and there were none. Instead, I got a really solid, functional eye cream.
Here is the official product pamphlet spiel:
I can't really say if it does anything to dark panda circles, because I no longer have any. Getting Restylane fillers under my eyes took care not only of most of my deep undereye lines (the small lines are still there), but also magically eradicated my dark circles. Serious esthetic medicine voodoo.
The only issue I have with SainTFengel Anti-Dark Circles Brightening Eye Cream is that it's not moisturizing enough. Despite its richness, my dry skin needed more moisture. And then, the same old hot and humid weather story happened. Our lovely Japanese summer arrived in all its evil glory and suddenly it turned out that this cream was enough. More than enough.
It leads me to believe that it would work like a charm on oily, combo and normal skin under "normal" conditions. If your eye area needs some TLC, this cream is for you.
Honestly, there is nothing here that I can bitch about. I like this cream. I've been using it both morning and night and I am nearly done with the bottle.
The company says SainTFengel Anti-Dark Circles Brightening Eye Cream is fast absorbing. This has not been my experience. If anything, this cream takes its sweet time to sink in. But once it sets, you can pile other stuff on it. Again, it plays nicely with others. Actually, that seems to be true of all SainTFengel products.
I put SPF on it - no problems.
I put concealer on it - no problems.
I put foundation on it - no problems.
SainTFengel Anti-Dark Circles Brightening Eye Cream ingredients:
I'm not going to analyze them for you, because I am not a cosmetic chemist, and besides, you all can read. No need for me to rehash it again and feel self-important.
What I can do is enter them into CosDNA for you - link.
This is what the leaflet included in the box says:
As you can see this last entry is short and sweet, because SainTFengel Anti-Dark Circles Brightening Eye Cream gives me nothing to complain about.
I do have a few general complaints about SainTFengel overall product presentation.
You see, a well formulated cosmetic is truly successful only when people buy it and use it. To get people to buy your products, you need to appeal to them. And to appeal to your customers, you need to pay attention to details.
If you don't look too closely, it seems that SainTFengel is paying attention. There are pamphlets and bilingual leaflets and a detailed website. There are ingredient lists in English and in Chinese. There are hygienic airless pumps and spray bottles.
Things start getting a bit shoddy when you get closer.
The English language descriptions desperately need proofreading. The ingredient lists need to be presented in a proper INCI format. And how come they are not available on the brand's website?
The company logo looks cheap and tacky, and the graphic design on the packaging just screams "stuff for old ladies".
If you are trying to position yourself as a mid-range or premium brand, you need to look like a mid-range or premium brand. Not like something that can be found on the bottom shelf at a local Chinese market.
Cleaning up the visuals will go a long way towards the general appeal of the brand and this is something that SainTFengel should seriously consider if they want to sell to the western audience.
Anyway, that is just my opinion.
If you want to try any of SainTFengel products (the camellia cream, trust me, it's worth it, just wait for the review, it's coming soon), you can find them on Yesstyle - non-affiliated link.
That camellia cream, mark my words....
PS. I will add the moisture percentages (taken with my own skin analyzer) photos as soon as I find that memory card.