I hope so!
There is a reason why I don't really like doing sponsored reviews. Actually, there are many reasons.
One, that usually I don't like the products I receive. I always have high hopes and well, high hopes is where it usually ends.
Two, if I do like the product and say so, then I'm usually accused of becoming a sponsored shill. And such reviews can't be trusted. Here I am guilty as charged, because I immediately discount any sponsored reviews that rave about a product. Even from "trusted" bloggers. But, wait! There are NO real trusted bloggers these days who honestly review sponsored products. If you are the one exception I know, you only prove the rule.
And three, brands want reviews right there and then.
Oh, ffs! I need to finish the product, compare it with other stuff, see if the results are real or imagined, and decide whether I like it or not. That's been my usual modus operandi.
That was exactly what I was planning to do when I received a package from MT Metatron last year.
And then I got sick.
And then I got better and I was hoping I would stay better.
And then I got sick again.
Now I am hopefully and finally getting better again. And I plan on staying that way. Being sick is a bitch. It makes your skin really bad.
During those months I had no energy for elaborate skincare. To be honest, I had no energy for anything. And when I was better, I had other, more pressing issues to deal with than skincare and blogging.
That's where MT Metatron came in.
You see, I was already familiar with the brand. I have used Metatron products before. My dermatologist used to sell them and would always hook me up with loads of samples. The MT Protect UV Base Cream, which in reality is just a fancy name for a CC cream, was my sensitive skin savior in the Maldives last year. And the loose powder was the ONLY powder ever that gave me the legendary "photoshop blur" effect. Until then I had only read about such miracles on other blogs. This powder showed me that such sorcery was indeed possible. I'll write about them another time.
That familiarity with the brand made me say "yes" to a sponsored package. I knew there were chances I might like whatever MT Metatron decided to send me.
But I wasn't prepared at all for what happened next.
At all, I'm telling you. At all.
Because THIS happened.
I've repurchased. TWICE already. Despite the fact that it costs an arm and a leg and a firstborn. And you're not taking this MT Essential Serum away from me. If I have to eat nothing but rice and nori for the rest of my life, I am going to keep using this serum for as long as Metatron makes it.
Yeah. Me too. This this the first time something like this has happened. A sponsored product became my holiest of holy grails.
But first things first.
What is MT Metatron and why is it named after an archangel? The Scribe of God, no less?
No, I have no idea, either.
That's Japan for you. If a name has a nice ring to it, that's the only qualifier most companies need. Nobody bothers to look up what it might mean in one of the most universal languages in the world. Because why? Right?
So yes, the Scribe of God...
MT Metatron is a Japanese clinical, functional, anti-aging skincare brand specializing in products for sensitive skin. It was founded in 2004, and is sold exclusively through dermatologists and beauty clinics. And it's hideously expensive. We are talking here about an SK-II price territory.
(SPOILER - I think MT Metatron is better than SK-II.)
According to the website, Metatron's star ingredients are:
- DMAE a.k.a. 2-dimethyl-amino-ethanol a.k.a. dimethylaminoethanol
- carnosine, and
- panthenol a.k.a. pro-vitamin B5.
DMAE is a controversial ingredient, with some studies claiming that it's harmful (it supposedly speeds up cell death) and other, more recent studies showing that when used along with amino acids it makes skin thicker with increased type l and type lll collagen. Go figure.
Carnosine is supposed to work as an anti-oxidant. And panthenol attracts and holds moisture.
With a few other added ingredients, it seems we get a winning (but controversial) combination.
I don't care if it's controversial. I'm old. Too old to be bothered by it.
I'm glad to be alive. And I'm not afraid of DMAE. That's my view on it.
Last year I wanted a simple, easy, no brainer routine that could be done in less than five minutes. Three minutes would be ideal. And MT Metatron delivered. Along with a one-step balm type cleanser and a facial oil (non-Metatron), the products from MT Metatron became my daily staples.
And then... something amazing happened.
The lotion and the cream were good. But the serum... hmmm... The serum did... What I want to say... Ahhh...
MT Metatron MT Essential Serum made me literally weep with joy.
My itching, red, dry, sore, broken out face (hormone treatments will do that to your skin) just drank it up. At first I thought it was just my imagination. But after a week, or so, I realized that my face no longer itched. That the bumps were healing. That my skin was calm and looked rested.
During the month and a half of twice daily applications of MT Essential Serum, the redness disappeared. The skin became smooth and silky to the touch. Patches of peeling, dry shrivels were gone. And the irritation and soreness vanished. The skin became plump and bouncy.
I started tweaking the routine a bit to see what made the biggest difference. Two weeks without the serum gave me my answer.
The results are most visible in the morning. I'm using a cheap-ass toner now, wait until it absorbs, which with my skin takes about 30 seconds or less, and then apply Metatron MT Essential Serum. About three minutes later my skin is visibly calmer. The redness recedes and I look like I've never had rosacea in my life.
The company touts the serum's anti-aging properties. And that's all fine and dandy. What makes it a winner for me is how MT Essential Serum soothes red, irritated, sensitive skin. It manages to do what countless other products tried at and failed. The thing is that I didn't know that they failed. I thought they worked, because I simply didn't know how dramatically my skin could be improved. I had no clear point of reference.
Now I do. And it worries me. I worry that I will never be satisfied with half-assed results again.
But what is responsible for this dramatic victory over rosacea?
Looking at the ingredients of MT Essential Serum nothing really jumped out at me.
MT Metatron - MT Essential Serum ingredients:
Yes, chamomile extract would be the usual suspect, but I've used plenty of products with chamomile, and none of them delivered such dramatic anti-rosacea results.
I turned my attention to thioctic acid a.k.a. alpha-lipoic acid. While it's an anti-oxidant and proven to work as an anti-aging nutrient, its anti-inflammatory properties are also recognized. So not only does it improve skin quality when it comes to wrinkles and smoothness, it also keeps it calm and healthy at the same time. It's a win-win situation.
And that is precisely why I am on my third bottle of MT Metatron MT Essential Serum.
When used twice daily, one bottle lasts me just under 2 months. I suppose I could stretch it to 2 and a half months, or start using it once a day only (in the morning) and clock in nearly 4 months per bottle.
One airless pump bottle contains 30 ml of product. Why am I fretting about the "mileage"? Next month I am going to be gloriously unemployed for the foreseeable future and I will have to budget carefully how much I can spend on skincare.
The list price for MT Metatron MT Essential Serum is a heart attack inducing 11 000 yen (tax not included). It can be found online for under 9000 yen.
And here is where things get dicey.
You see, Metatron products are not sold in stores. You have to go to a skin clinic to buy them. Or you have to search online. I got my replacements on Amazon. The company resolutely warns against buying from third party vendors, but what am I supposed to do? What are people around the world supposed to do?
If you are sending a review product to a blogger with readership primarily outside of Japan, at the very least make sure that your products are accessible to those readers. As it stands now, Amazon Japan might be the most reliable source. Personally, I am not worried about being sent a fake Metatron product by an Amazon Japan seller. The brand is so unknown and unpopular that fakers can't be bothered. And I hope it stays that way for a long time.
Distribution and access are Metatron's fails, not mine.
Fortunately, there are also things that the company does right.
For one, it has ingredient lists in both English and Japanese. The descriptions on the packaging are bilingual, too. And the leaflets in the packages are in Japanese, English, Chinese and Russian.
And for two, the formulations are ridiculously elegant.
This serum is a watery liquid, has no smell whatsoever, absorbs like a dream and works with whatever else you want to put on top of it.
In that price range, these cosmetic elegance factors should be a given, but for many brands they are not.
I am glad that Metatron pays such attention to formulations. That is true of all their products. At least of all the ones I tried.
MT Metatron MT Essential Serum swatches:
When absorbed, the serum leaves no shine, no sheen and no sticky residue. It just disappears INTO your skin. It does not make dry skin drier, but it's not a moisturizer on its own, either.
So yeah, there you have it - the story of how MT Metatron MT Essential Serum and I became BFF.
I was skeptical of the claims at first. A hard to source, very pricey water-like substance that does more than most high end skincare products combined?
Yep. It's all true. I'm a believer now.
Archangels and all.
The first bottle of MT Essential Serum was provided to me by Metatron for review purposes. The two bottles you can see in the last picture I bought with my own money.