Review: Dior One Essential Skin Boosting Serum

The use of plant extracts, especially among luxury brands, is a mainstay within the skincare industry. Products that are marketed as anti-pollution are on the rise at all levels, drugstore to luxury. Anything that says anti-pollution is going to have to contain antioxidants and they don’t have to be super powerful either just something fairly stable that doesn’t deactivate within an hour after application or has a shelf life of 1 month.

Dior - One Essential Skin boosting super serum 4
Photo Credit: Dior Skincare Marketing.

The claim:

Our skin is assaulted every day by stress and pollution. The One Essential face serum and its even more powerful formula targets 100% of identified toxins* of external** and, for the first time,*** internal origin.
With two daily applications,**** the skin is detoxified and boosted, its natural radiance restored. The complexion looks revitalized, as if purified of all particulate pollutants.

* In vitro test on ingredients.
** Microparticles, heavy metals.
*** Volatile Organic Compounds.
**** 1 application = 0.5 ml to be applied twice a day (3 pumps morning and night).

Can I prove this? No. I can’t. I a.) don’t have the lab equipment to do so and b.) I’m not really sure how to conduct such an examination considering they claim all toxins which would include pollution, UV exposure, and what Dior vaguely calls stress and preface as ‘volatile organic compounds’.

VOCs are literally everywhere. One common source of VOCs is our houses and where we work. Indoor areas can have 10x higher concentration of VOCs which isn’t a surprise considering sources of VOCs include cleaning products, cosmetics, fuels, plastics, glues, resins, paints, etc. Things that now make up what many consider modern, civilized life.

Key active ingredient is an extract from the calyx of the hibiscus flower which is high in antioxidants. If you haven’t heard of a calyx don’t worry, you are not alone. Everyone has seen one though.

Photo credit to Brian Johnson
The calyx for these hibiscus is the green envelope that surrounds and protects the bloom while it develops. We generally see green calyx although this is not always the case. The calyx appears to hold the bloom together at the base(although it doesn’t hold it together).
Related image
The hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle) used by Dior produces a brilliant red calyx.

It’s from the brilliant red calyx of the above variety of hibiscus (known as Roselle or Red Sorrel) that Dior extracted their toxin remover. With that color, you have to know that’s where they got their packaging idea from as well. This extract isn’t new either. It’s used in traditional Thai medicine. It’s so common you can buy it from open air markets. It’s been used in many formulations to treat everything from excess water (diuretic) to mental fatigue.

Extractions using methanol (which is an alcohol) have been shown to have the highest concentration of antioxidant activity between ethanol, water, and acetone. Water and acetone are two traditional solvents; however, antioxidants don’t extract well into either of those solvents. In the IG list, alcohol is the fifth ingredient and I’d be willing to bet it’s a result of the extraction process and nothing nefarious. They overcome a potential drying effect of the serum due to the alcohol by using a high amount of glycerin and include squalane. This is not a mattifying product at all. You’ll also see maltitol which is a sugar alcohol, not the nasty drying kind but the kind you find in chewing gum and ice cream. Maltitol is used as an emollient and humectant in skincare.

Dior - One Essential Skin boosting super serum 2
Kind of obvious right? The background even has a brighter look in their after picture (left). In an industry where reproducibility of lighting conditions can be exact this seems a bit far fetched.

I’ve used this for over a month. It’s hard to quantify or even qualify these anti-pollution style products. The serum does go on really well and offers a little moisture but won’t replace your moisture routine in general. In general, my face feels really good after I use it; it feels plump, hydrated, and bouncier. I don’t know if it really feels that much better though, especially compared to some of their marketing side by sides which honestly look doctored or improved lighting was used. My skin has not seen that much of an improvement. Skin tone changes, lip color tone changes, general brighter look which can easily be achieved with so called beauty lights and photoshop. This type of product isn’t something you will necessarily see a benefit from after 10, 20, or 30 days. This is like sunscreen, you will potentially see a difference in 10, 20, or 30 years.

Want to look amazing for your 30 year high school reunion, protect yourself from free radicals and wear sunscreen. Want to have that I aged gracefully look at 60 beloved in Hollywood? Free radical protection, sunscreen, and a few hits of Botox along the way. We all know they use Botox. These anti-pollution products can go a long way in the long run to help protect your skin as you age, but it’s important to know you’re looking at years not days before you might see a difference.

The Dior One Essential Skin Boosting Serum is pricy at $125 per 1.7 ounce bottle, it’s Dior so not entirely unexpected. And this isn’t even a true serum, it’s like a prep since it’s designed to be the absolutely first thing you put on after washing and drying your face in order to ensure optimal contact with the skin. It also preps the skin and helps absorption of remaining products in your skincare routine.

Dior calls this product a gel, which I completely disagree with. Gels generally have some kind of a silicone or silicone-like base in the first five ingredients. Water, glycol, glycerin, triglyceride, alcohol: the first five ingredients which generally makes up 80% of the bulk of your product. The consistency is wonderful; it’s light, absorbs well into the skin, isn’t sticky, has a great glide and feel across the skin.

If you’re looking for something new and something special to add to your routine and have the money to spare, this isn’t a bad option and one to consider. But I wouldn’t call this a necessary product at all.

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