“It’s ok because it’s good for you.”
Ever told yourself you should tough something out because the ultimate benefits were worth whatever it was you were enduring? It’s probably what your mother told you when she was touting the benefits of eating liver or, in my case, eating bell peppers.
I bring this up because, after you’re done ooh-ing and aahh-ing at the distinctively pretty pink and white packaging of this toner, the first thing you notice—upon switching out the screwcap for the handy pump included with the bottle—is the smell. As long as you’re expecting it, though, you won’t be as taken aback. So, just so you know, this smells like cantaloupes gone bad. Not excessively foul, but not heavenly pleasant either. (We’re talking about cantaloupes that are overripe by say, 24 hours, and not much more.)
“If this product works,” I told myself, “I can deal with the smell.” (In all honesty, I could deal with the smell even if the product didn’t work. But it’s so much more fun to hold hostage what you think is your sought-after satisfaction.)
The 4-1-1, from Amazon where I got a 4 oz. bottle for $22.00.
What it is:
A supercharged liquid toner that exfoliates, saturates, and activates the complexion.
What it is formulated to do:
A supercharged liquid treatment, this activator preps your skin while exfoliating and saturating antioxidants and actives into every pore. While regular toners simply strip skin’s top layer, this product’s active ingredients exfoliate, hydrate, and penetrate simultaneously, prepping the skin to receive further treatment. This product is for anyone who is concerned with uneven skintone, dullness, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation.
The product contains melon carotenoids, which are, according to the Super by Dr. Perricone website, “a class of antioxidants that protect the skin from environmental stressors.” It’s also chockfull of exfoliants like glycolic acid and lactic acid, with a finishing touch of brightening vitamin C to boot (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate)*. I sought this product precisely for what it said it did: combatting dullness, uneven skin tone, and hyperpigmentation. I always feel like my skin could use a pick-me-up. Plus, I have this patch of hyperpigmentation on one of my cheeks. I’m not sure what caused it; I remember getting it fairly early–in my early teens at the latest. Mayhaps it was sun damage. [Sidebar: Kiddos, wear SPF. all. the. time. No if’s or but’s. Just do it.] Regardless, if this could help, that $22 would be worth it.
After cleansing my face at night, I would take one pump of the product and swipe it across my face. (I didn’t even bother using a cotton pad since I thoroughly cleanse my skin and am not looking to this product to pick up my cleanser’s slack. Plus, you use up much less product that way. Just pump it in the palm of your hand, dab your fingers into the little puddle, and pat across your face.) I then carried on with my ordinary serum + moisturizer routine a few minutes later. The toner was not drying at all. On some days, it might sting and tingle a little—but in a good way. Like it’s telling you, “Hey! I’m actually doing something!” I like to think it’s the exfoliating mini-ninjas at work. It absorbed quickly into my skin and left my skin feeling soothed (after the initial tingling, that is). It didn’t feel “refreshing,” but I felt zero tightness and irritation. Quite on the contrary, I noticed that my skin was instantly smoother and lightly hydrated. (The level of smoothness actually reminds me of the feel my skin has right after I apply a serum like the Lancôme Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate, albeit to a lesser degree. Still, pretty impressive for just a toning step!)
That’s all nice and well, but did it even out my skin tone? Did it brighten my complexion?
Yes. Subtly so, but yes nonetheless. It lightened my hyperpigmentation spot and accelerated the fading of a blemish courtesy of a healed zit on my forehead. Even more impressive was the exfoliating effect of the product. My skin is prone to milia if I don’t exfoliate properly and this toner definitely helped in terms of increasing my skin turnover rate. It kept new milia at bay and helped increase the disappearance of existing ones. You won’t see drastic brightening results from one day to the next, but over time, this definitely has additive, though subtle, benefits. I’m more thank ok with subtle. I expect more drastic effects from true skincare products like serums and moisturizers. Subtle but effective results from just a toner, though? Pretty awesome.
I unfortunately believe Dr. Perricone has since discontinued this toner (judging by its absence on the Super+ By Dr. Perricone website). But, I spotted a bottle at my local Nordstrom Rack ($18.00 + tax!)—and subsequently pounced on it—so I still wanted to put this up in case one of you were close to a Nordstrom Rack and wanted to pick this toner up. There also some online retailers that still seem to offer it like skinstore.com and some Amazon sellers.
*You can read this tidbit on magnesium ascorbyl phosphate on Truth In Aging, which, incidentally, is a great resource for anti-aging products in general.