Every time you turn around, I feel like I’m being pitched a new natural and organic skincare line (or, alternatively, being asked to review one). So when I was recently asked about 302 Skincare, I decided to review it.
302 Skincare is a natural and organic skincare line designed to help reverse visible aging, acne and skin stress. The unique pull here is Avogen®, derived from avocado, which claims to works within the extra-cellular matrix (ECM) of the skin. Specifically, Avogen® claims to aid and support cells that have deteriorated and undergone excessive cross-linking, forming a “gristle like” formation of skin cells. You’d know if you have excessive cross-linking in your skin because your skin would lack fullness and elasticity.
I couldn’t find any studies validating the use of Avogen® as a topical skincare ingredient or as a supplement (302 Skincare sells it as both). The bottles also list patents are pending, but without a patent number, I couldn’t pull up the literature from that, either.
That said, here is a separate review of each of the products.
302 Purity Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin Review (Rating: 7/10)
302 Purity Cleanser for Acne/Breakout-Prone Skin is one of the first organic products to cross my desk with “green tea hydrosols” listed as the top ingredient. Hydrosols are “flower waters,” made by distilling fresh fruits, leaves, and flowers in a manner similar to how you would make essential oils, except hydrosols are a lot less concentrated.
Typically, hydrosols have a strong scent, but this product has ethanol as the second ingredient, which has that antiseptic smell that is both instantly recognizable and a bit overwhelming. Unlike many skincare experts, I’m not against the use of ethanol in skincare (read more here), but the concentration and resultant smell of it here is a little off-putting.
That said, I give the 302 Purity Cleanser for Acne/Breakout-Prone Skin a reasonable 7/10 rating. Does it have a high concentration of proven ingredients? Yes, green tea, which is proven in high concentrations to help with mild to moderate acne (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology). (+3/3). Does it have new technology? Sure, hydrosols, which are pretty new in skincare (3/3). Does it have proven ingredients for what it’s formulated for? Well, green tea and ethanol are fine for acne, but it also lacks ingredients I love in a cleanser for acne, like salicylic acid or oatmeal, so it’s (1/4) there.
So if you’ve tried everything for acne and it hasn’t worked, and are inclined to use a natural/organic product, 302 Purity Cleanser for Acne/Breakout-Prone Skin is fair and fine.
302 Clinical Formula Dry/Sensitive Cleanser Review (Rating: 8/10)
302 Clinical Formula Dry/Sensitive Cleanser fares better than its counterpart for acne/oily-prone skin. Why, do you ask? Well, first of all, it’s truly a cleanser that is suitable for both dry and sensitive skin types. To plump and hydrate, there is squalane derived from olives and kosher glycerin, and to keep the skin from being irritated, there is organic green tea, listed as the first ingredient.
To be honest, I don’t really care from a skin-based perspective if the squalane is derived from olives or not — squalane is a solid ingredient, no matter what. Your skin cells naturally produce squalane as a part of a molecule called squalene (that’s an “e” difference), with squalene comprising as much as 13% of your skin’s sebum composition (Advances in Food and Nutrition Research). However, the levels of squalene produced decrease significantly with age. And that’s a shame, because squalane keeps the skin feeling soft, firm, and supple. By topically supplementing with it, even in a cleanser (so long as you rub it in for long enough), it’s a solid addition to your skin care regimen.
So, here, I give the 302 Clinical Formula for Dry/Sensitive Skin a solid 8/10 rating. Does it have a high concentration of proven ingredients? Yes, squalane and green tea. Does it have new technology? Kind-of — squalane isn’t new, but it’s derivation from olives makes it somewhat novel for natural/organic skincare. (I will say, brands like Bioassance take it from sugar cane, but that’s a story for another day). So 2/3 there. Does it have proven ingredients for what it’s formulated for? Well, green tea and squalane are great for dry and sensitive skin, but it also lacks ingredients I love in a cleanser for those skin types, like oatmeal extract, vitamin E, and sweet almond oil (and more). That said, I do like it.
302 Revive for Breakout-Prone Skin, Itching, and Dryness (Rating: 4/10)
I’ll be honest: Natural and organic products are hard to formulate, and I know this firsthand from our FutureDerm manufacturing facility. There tends to be a lot of separation, without binding agents and stabilizers. There also tends to be a lot of…well, smells, for lack of a better term for it, without artificial fragrance available for use. And there simply aren’t as many ingredients in that arsenal yet at the cosmetic chemists’ disposal.
But, to be honest, this formulation still feels sloppy. It smells bad — the strongest whiffs of alcohol yet from any of the products in the line. And the product was quite separated when I opened it.
That said, there also really isn’t anything that impressive in 302 Revive for Breakout-Prone Skin, Itching, and Dryness. Yes, a high concentration of organic green tea (listed as the first ingredient) is here. And a few hydrators — glycerin, cetyl alcohol (a hydrating alcohol), and silicone oil. But nothing that merits me to encourage FutureDerm readers to buy it. Sorry, 302 Skincare — not impressed at all here.
302 Remedy for Soothing, Protecting, Calming (Best Product: 9/10)
Of all the 302 Skincare products in the Intro Kit, this is by far my favorite. It’s going to be used as my hand cream and final moisturizer, at least until the winter is over or the tube is done, whichever comes first. (I’ll let you know if I decide to reorder.)
This is a beautifully-formulated organic lotion, which feels more like a balm, but it absorbs well and drinks into the skin so beautifully, it almost brings a tear to the eye. (*Almost.*) It doesn’t have a scent, either, which is greatly appreciated, especially after reviewing the other products in the kit.
The secret here is the plethora of hydrators: Kosher glycerin, organic jojoba oil, glucose esters, silicone oil, and beeswax. Jojoba oil in particular gets me excited: One study shows that use of jojoba oil shows modest swelling, indicative of moisture retention, in the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of skin) after use (Journal of Dermatological Science, 2008). Jojoba oil can also help to increase the penetration of other ingredients into the skin, something that may be useful for anti-acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids (Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 1984).
In case anyone from 302 Skincare ever reads this review, here’s a tip: Add an SPF rating onto this cream, as it has 7% zinc oxide. Even though getting such a rating comes with a minimum $25K fee for companies, you’ve got a legendary product on your hands if this has an SPF of at least 30. I’m serious. If it’s an even higher SPF, all the better. I love, love, love this cream.
302 Clinical Formula Dry/Sensitive Moisturizer (Rating: 6/10)
Aaaand we’re back to the alcohol smell. This time, I think it’s mix of cetyl alcohol and camphor, but regardless, it’s baaaack.
And, we are back to a fair, reasonable 7/10 rating for the 302 Clinical Formula Dry/Sensitive Moisturizer. Does it have a high concentration of proven ingredients? Yes, green tea, which is proven in high concentrations to help with mild to moderate acne (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology). (+3/3). Does it have new technology? No, I’ve seen similar formulations before. (+1/3). Does it have proven ingredients for what it’s formulated for? Well, green tea for sensitive skin and squalane, glycerin, and silicone oil for dry skin, but it also lacks ingredients I love in a moisturizer for dry or sensitive skin, like vitamin E, oatmeal, cholesterol, sweet almond oil, and so many more, so it’s (1/4) there.
The 302 Skincare line is a fair skincare line for anyone who is looking for natural or organic skincare. To be bluntly honest, the 302 Remedy for Soothing, Protecting, and Calming is outstanding and sensational and I highly recommend it, but the rest of the line feels a bit sloppy and rushed. Too many outlandish in-your-face alcohol smells, too many of the formulations separate upon opening, and even the packaging feels like there wasn’t a lot of time or attention put in.
That said, I get that formulating a natural/organic skincare line can be a nightmare for a myriad of reasons, and I mean no offense to the parent company. I do highly recommend the 302 Remedy for Soothing, Protecting, and Calming, but everything else is either just OK or could use a little tweaking.