Maelove: Brand Overview & Product Reviews
I first heard about Maelove when I heard that MIT grads had created a L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) serum, with vitamin E, Ferulic Acid and hyaluronic acid, which sounded like a dupe for some of the top vitamin C serums. What makes the combo so special is that it is the most researched, and proven to be extremely effective at antioxidant protection, brightening, reducing pigmentation, etc. in the skin. But Maelove created it for $27.95 where most other brands charge $80-$170 for this formula. I was super excited when Jackie offered to send over some other products along with Glow Maker, given that I had also heard amazing things about the mineral spf.
Maelove’s mission is to create elite skincare that is accessible to everyone, doing so through a direct-to-consumer model that eliminates markups, and keeping marketing costs low. Maelove partners with three of the most respected cosmetic labs in the world— all US based, FDA-registered and GMP-certified, but also manufacture products for some of the most prestigious brands in the world.
Founder Jackie Kim’s partners Brad and Rishi analyzed over 3 million online skincare product reviews to better understand customer satisfaction. They then grew their team from their network, mostly from MIT to start the formulation research and testing. Maelove utilizes clinical research in peer-reviewed journals and collaborates with chemists, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and medical researchers to create the products.
A refreshing face wash that uses three AHA’s - Lactic, Tartaric, and Malic acid to clean and revitalize the skin. It helps to balance your natural moisture barrier instead of stripping away the sebum that can cause dryness. It is gentle, and designed to be able to use up to a few times a day without stripping the skin.
My thoughts: This has a really minty scent and feel that makes it really refreshing, which is from the inclusion of spearmint and peppermint oils. Because of this, if you’re sensitive to these oils this may not work for you. I really enjoy the minty feeling, but I cannot use this to remove makeup without it burning my eyes. It’s great as a second cleanse though! I am combo, and have not experienced any irritation, dryness, or dehydration when using this 1x a day, every day. With that being said, I probably wouldn’t repurchase myself. I prefer the is Clinical cleansing complex which also contains some actives, but does a better job at removing makeup. However, this cleanser is a much more affordable option.
Vitamins C (15% L-ascorbic acid aka LAA), E and Ferulic Acid for antioxidant protection. Hyaluronic Acid for long-lasting hydration. It also contains a proprietary botanical blend (Vitis Vinifera, Aloe, Aurantium Dulcis and Magnolia) for extra nourishment and easy makeup application.
My thoughts: I have to start by saying that leading up to this trial, I had been using Drunk Elephant C-Firma exclusively for months. It has been my go-to Vitamin C serum and the one that I attributed to helping eliminate all of my pigmentation when I first got into skincare. However, my skin has been going through it in pregnancy, and I had a lot of pigmentation, and C-firma wasn’t doing the trick like normal. C-firma is great at overall brightening, but for some reason, it just couldn’t stand up to my pregnancy hyperpigmentation. I started using the Glow Maker, and in three weeks of using it every morning, I saw a drastic improvement, especially on the right side of my face where I was getting a ton of congestion/breakouts— the pigmentation left over was completely gone, except for a stubborn dark spot at the corner of my mouth. If you also remember, I had some extractions done by my derm, and in combination with acids, these marks went away immediately!
This serum worked better for me than the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, Paula’s Choice C15, and Drunk Elephant C-Firma at brightening my skin, and eliminating hyperpigmentation. However, these will all provide antioxidant protection against free radicals, and aid in firming your skin, and helping the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In comparing it to these three serums, I will say this:
Paula’s Choice C15 - more watery than the Glow Maker, not as hydrating and not as effective at brightening and reducing pigmentation. ($49)
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic- I would saw that this serum is most similar to the Glow Maker. Great at hydrating, brightening, and reducing pigmentation. However, the price of this is outrageous given that the formula is almost identical to the Glow Maker. ($166)
Drunk Elephant C-Firma - The Glow Maker is much lighter in weight than C-Firma, which is almost like a water-oil emulsion. C-firma has been my go-to serum, but it just hasn’t been able to eliminate my pregnancy hyperpigmentation. This is fantastic at brightening, and I find that many people who are normally sensitive to LAA formulas, don’t usually have an issue with this one. If however, you felt this one made you too oily, I highly recommend trying the Glow Maker.
I had heard rave reviews about the Glow Maker, but I was truly blown away. I used this serum for four months, and it had oxidized slightly, but did not have a significant change in color, meaning that I felt it’s efficacy did not change throughout the time I was using it. I have recommended this now to countless people. And can we talk about the price point??? Amazing.
An everyday moisturize that contains a triple-blend of squalane, coconut extracts and glycerin to form a nourishing barrier over your skin to maintain hydration and seal in active ingredients in your serums. It’s also infused with prebiotics (fructooligosaccharides) to support the community of good bacteria on your skin. This moisturizer is designed to layer under makeup or wear alone.
My thoughts: This cream is quite thick, but blends quite easily into the skin. For my combination skin, this is too heavy for day time. I can see more oily skin types saving this for night/winter only. If you’re dry, I think this cream would be right up your alley. I really enjoy using this at night time. Overall, this wasn’t a stand out product to me, although its completely lovely, just because it’s use is really limited for me to night time. If I still lived in Boston, I could wear this during day time in the winter. However, nothing about this cream is pore clogging or sensitizing so that is great. If you are dry, acne prone, live in a colder climate (or have a proper winter), and prone to sensitivity, this is perfect for you.
A high performance glycolic acid cream that is suitable for even the most sensitive. Containing 10% medical-grade Glycolic Acid to improves your skin texture, fade dark spots and diminish the appearance of lines, wrinkles and pores. It also contains a proprietary blend of soothing ingredients (Vitamin E, Squalane, Shea Butter, Arnica Flower and Aloe) that will calm your skin while Hyaluronic Acid helps maintains proper hydration in your skin. It’s goal is to deliver the effectiveness of chemical peels but without the harsh side effects.
My thoughts: This is a really interesting product, as I have only ever really used acids in a toner, serum, or in a wash off mask. It’s important not to over-exfoliate, so I eliminated other acids in my routine while testing this. Maelove recommends to start using this 3x a week to get adjusted, but I actually recommend starting with 1x a week, and gradually increasing from there. I am used to using acids, and didn’t experience any sensitivity with this, and felt like building up to about 3x a week was perfect for my combo skin. You should use this on nights where you’re not using any other actives or retinoids. (I would alternate nights). Depending on your skin type, you may only needs this 1x a week as a treatment. For me, I missed using an acid mix like what is in my P50 toner, so I preferred using this 1x a week as an extra boost, but using my P50 toner other nights. If you are dry, you’d probably want to add another moisturizer or oil on top of this at night, especially if acids dry you out. This will plump your skin, and give you a gorgeous glow.
Broad Spectrum SPF 30 fortified with Vitamins C and E. Naturally formulated without avobenzone, oxybenzone, parabens, dyes and fragrances. This sunscreen contains 18.6% non-nano zinc oxide which provides broad spectrum coverage of both UVA and UVB rays. It also doubles as a makeup primer.
My thoughts: Another major win from Maelove, and a repurchase for sure. It’s really rare to find a 100% mineral spf that wears as well as this does, for combo/leaning oily skin in the summer-- I live in Texas if you didn’t already know! But, to find one that wears well but doesn’t leave a white cast; even better. FYI- I’ve heard from a few POC that it does leave a slight white cast on them, so beware if you have a darker skin tone. This has no scent, nothing irritating, feels like a lightweight moisturizer that wears well over all my skincare steps, and wears really well underneath makeup. Again— the price per oz on this is incredible. 2019 is the year of the mineral sunscreen!!
This 100% organic, ultra-lightweight, pure Marula oil is sustainably sourced, wild harvested, and cold pressed to retain its integrity. It is packed with beneficial phyto-nutrients for better skin health. Pure Marula Oil is well suited for dry skin, and for frizzy and curly hair.
My thoughts: this oil is a bit heavier than the Drunk Elephant Marula oil (but clearly at a much better price), but would be awesome for dry skin. For me, it’s fine at night with a few drops into my moisturizer, but is too heavy for day time. I can typically wear the DE Marula oil during daytime as it does feel drier (but even then, I typically only do this in the winter). I have been using it in my hair and rubbing it over my pregnant belly, and really loving it for that! Dry skin folks-- if you’ve been looking for an affordable Marula oil that is more eloquent than that of The Ordinary, but won’t break the bank, here it is!
This bottle of pure Argan oil is 100% organic and cold pressed to retain highest integrity possible. Argan Oil is packed with beneficial phyto-nutrients (fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins) for nourishing face, hair and body. It is best suited for combination and oily skin. It also works well for thin and straight hair.
My thoughts: this oil is drier than the Marula oil, which is why it is more beneficial for combo/oily skin types due to its fatty acid makeup. I feel like I could spend a lifetime talking about lineolic vs oleic acid and how their makeup in oils impacts various skin types. I will save it for another day. Again, I stick to wearing oils at night all year round, and can get away with using them day and night (if it’s an oil suitable to my skin type) in the winter. I love the benefits that Argan oil provides, and it’s one of my favorite oils to include in my routine along with evening primrose oil, rosehip seed oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil…ok I will stop there, I clearly have a lot of favorite oils. Anyways, just know that I love this oil and it’s price point!
Overall, I have been really impressed, and enjoyed everything that Maelove sent, although there were obviously some standouts for me. I have heard amazing things about their cleansing oil, and will definitely grab that next once I run out of my stash. I also saw that they just launched a new exfoliating scrub with BHA’s and clay, which sounds like it could be super harsh, but I am intrigued because Maelove just gets it and I bet it’s amazing.