Amorepacific Time Response Skin Reserve Creme Review
High five to my Instagram fam that came here from my Insta story! For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram, yesterday I announced an unofficial “Amorepacific week” and my plans to share single product reviews – that have become exceedingly rare on the blog lately – featuring my experience with the brand. Although Amorepacific is a popular brand in the US and across Asia, their products are fairly pricey so I always struggle to find enough reviews in English to gain a good perspective. Which is why I decided to add a few of my own to the pool and hopefully help you guys, or future readers, make a decision.
In this review, I am featuring Amorepacific Time Response Skin Reserve Creme ($150), which is available in two sizes: 0.5 oz and 1.7 oz jars.
TIME RESPONSE COLLECTION:
According to Amorepacific, Time Response collection is designed for people experiencing the first signs of aging, traditionally someone in their 30s to early 40s. However, we know that the progression and appearance of skin aging are vastly individual, so I’m putting an age bracket here only as a rough estimate here. Think someone with maybe some sun pigmentation, mild loss of firmness, and faint contours of crow’s feet or little laugh lines. Time Response line vaguely promises to help improve the look of skin’s firmness, hydration, and overall skin tone to promote youthful-looking complexion, as well as potentially prevent some of the future free radical damage [one of the main causes of skin aging].
SKIN RESERVE CREME:
If there’s one thing I learned about Korean skincare approach it’s that they really don’t do aggressive actives, except maybe facial brushes or physical scrubs & powders. In the West, anyone who is serious about their skincare routine at least dabbled with actives, whether it’s benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid for acne, glycolic acid for texture, ascorbic acid for pigmentation, or retinol for fine lines and wrinkles. This kind of explains why you won’t see typical ingredients in Asian products dubbed here as ‘anti-aging’. Instead, they feature various botanicals and fermented extracts that promise to make the skin plumper, brighter and improve radiance and elasticity – the telltale signs of youth in the East.
Amorepacific Time Response Skin Reserve Creme has the consistency of a thick, rich, almost solid cream. Each package comes with a pretty plastic scoop, and in my opinion, that’s the best way to dig the product out of the jar, since the cream is somehow both thick and slippery at the same time. I normally use a pea-sized pearl for my entire face and neck. It sounds like a small amount to cover such a large area, but once you warm the cream between your fingers, it melts into a milky substance that is much easier to spread on the skin.
According to Sephora, Time Response Skin Reserve Creme is suitable for all skin types except sensitive, but I will disagree with them on that. This moisturizer is so rich, it would definitely suffocate oily skin. I have combination skin, and it was borderline too rich for me, so I could only use it at night. Now, if your skin is dry or in need of moisture retention, Skin Reserve Creme could work for you.
This formula will prove the most effective for fragile skin, which it was originally designed to treat. If you have that skin type you know the struggle: fragile skin is generally thin, dull, often dry or dehydrated, experiencing loss of firmness and elasticity. It simply doesn’t bounce back easily from everyday stressors like it used to.
The ingredient list is a mile long, and honestly, it took me quite a bit of time to go through it. Long ingredient lists are not necessarily bad, but it takes a lot of testing to make sure the ingredients work well together. I am much more likely to trust a brand with that if I believe they have the resources to ensure their formulation is perfectly balanced, which Amorepacific most certainly does. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to figure out the concentrations of each ingredient, so you only have a vague idea of how they compare in reference to each other. However, I remember reading somewhere that Phenoxyethanol is not supposed to exceed 1% in cosmetics, so at least there’s one point of reference here – we can confidently conclude that everything below it makes up less than 1% of the formula.
Noteworthy ingredients include brightening Niacinamide & Adenosine, and multiple preparations of highest grade green tea grown in-house at the brand’s own tea plantations: green tea water, stem cells, leaf extract, and tea-derived caffeine.
Ingredients of concern to me are BHT and Fragrance. Fragrance is pretty high up on the list, too high for comfort actually. This could be an issue for scent-sensitive individuals, and since ‘fragrance’ is guarded as a trade secret, you never really know what’s really in it and how it’s going to react with other products in your routine. Fragrance is also one of the main causes of skin irritations. And BHT translates to Butylated hydroxytoluene, a synthetic antioxidant that could be potentially harmful unless it’s used in concentrations not exceeding 0.01-0.1%, which is considered safe for topical use [source].
After using Amorepacific Time Response Skin Reserve Creme for a month, I noticed that my skin feels thicker, plumper, and more resilient, and can retain water more efficiently, which makes the facial contours look smoother, too. Now, whether that alone is worth $450 price tag for the full-sized jar, I’m not so sure. The antioxidant effect of the numerous botanical extracts is much more difficult to measure without special equipment, so this is really a matter of wishful thinking. Antioxidants offer compound benefits when used alongside SPF and actives, so you really don’t know which of them work the best, or if they even do. Do they help? I believe so, but I will probably never know for sure unless some new consumer-friendly technology comes along that will allow measuring this effect more tangibly.
You will LOVE it if:
- You have normal, fragile, dry or dehydrated skin type.
- You are looking for a potent antioxidant cream to complement the actives in your current routine.
- You appreciate the effort and dedication that goes into growing and harvesting the botanicals used for this product. Amorepacific has their own tea tree fields!
- You avoid parabens and colorants in skincare.
- You like rich, creamy moisturizers.
- You don’t mind paying more for luxury skincare.
- You are a diehard fan of k-beauty.
SKIP it if:
- You have oily or sensitive skin.
- You avoid fragrance in skincare.
- You avoid products in jar packaging.
- You are looking for strong resurfacing anti-aging actives in your moisturizer.
- You are on a budget. This is a pretty good moisturizer, but $450 for the full-sized jar is a lot to pay for what is essentially some antioxidants and humectants, no matter how well-formulated they are.
- You prefer all-natural skincare.
- You are allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients.
Is Amorepacific brand cruelty-free? As Ethical Elephant weighs in here, the situation is a little complicated. Amorepacific China is a separate entity from Amorepacific Korea, so products from the Korean branch could be considered cruelty-free because they do not test finished formulations and ingredients on animals or sell in Mainland China. All products for Amorepacific China are produced in China and only sold there.
Ingredients – CosDNA: Camellia Sinensis Leaf Water, Butylene Glycol, Water, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Olive Oil Lauryl Esters, Jojoba Esters, Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Betaine, Dipropylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14olefin), Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Diisostearyl Malate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propanediol,Peg-40 Stearate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Polysilicone-11, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Niacinamide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glyceryl Stearate, Arachidyl Alcohol, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Fragrance, Behenyl Alcohol, Peg-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Polyacrylate, Arachidyl Glucoside, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Caffeine,Glyceryl Caprylate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline ,Hydrogenated Polydecene, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Adenosine, Disodium Edta, Beta-Glucan, Ethylhexylglycerin, Palmitic Acid, Natto Gum, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract,Ppg-5-Laureth-5, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Dextrin, Tocopherol, Glucose, Poloxamer 235, Epigallocatechingallate, Ethoxydiglycol, Tocophersolan, Poloxamer 338, Phenoxyethanol, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Bht, Magnolia Obovata Bark Extract, Caprylyl Glycol.
My final thoughts on Amorepacific Time Response Skin Reserve Creme are a little conflicting. What does it do exactly? This thick cream seems to help fragile skin better retain moisture, boost radiance, and improve elasticity for a more defined skin contour. This is the effect you can feel and see in the mirror. From what you can’t see, the formula contains numerous potent antioxidants that in theory are helping the skin fight off free radicals that contribute to skin aging. I don’t believe this cream has the power to reverse the permanent damage that has already been done, but it may slow down further progression as long as you use other actives and don’t forget to wear SPF daily. However, the formula contains fragrance pretty high up on the ingredient list, which makes it a poor choice for sensitive skin. If you normally experience a bad reaction to synthetic fragrance in skincare, it’s best to avoid this moisturizer.
I want to address the price point separately, as the ‘worth’ of this – or any – product is purely subjective. Amorepacific Time Response Skin Reserve Creme seems like a lovely moisturizer that can help breathe life into dull, fragile skin, and if it cost around $50, I would confidently recommend it as a good option to use alongside other actives in your regimen. However, unless you are someone who routinely shops for luxurious skincare in this particular price range, I would say it’s not so miraculous to make it worth dropping the equivalent of half of your monthly mortgage on.
UPDATE 8/24/2020: I finished this jar a few months ago but wanted to update this review with my final thoughts. The cream is definitely better suited for people with normal to dry skin due to its superior emollient properties. It worked well as a moisturizer and I did notice skin plumping and slight lifting effect after finishing the last bits. Also, like the eye cream from the same line, it made my skin feel very comfortable – no tingling or irritation. Despite being loaded with fragrance, I didn’t experience any skin sensitivity, in fact, this cream gave me no troubles whatsoever. In a year since I wrote this review I learned a lot more about skincare formulations, and now believe that fragrance in beauty products is not always a bad thing – it all comes down to who formulated the product and how.