Should You Place Your Trust In The New IT Cosmetics Confidence In A Cream?
If you watched The Sound of Music a lot as a kid — and had a dad who, for reasons unknown, owned both the soundtrack and a special CD with the Vienna Boys’ Choir singing “Edelweiss” and “The Hills Are Alive” (along with marching band music tapes he’d pop in as a mild torture device whenever we weren’t getting out of bed quickly enough!) — then you might just be my life twin but, aside from that, you probably have a treasure trove of songs that pop into your head at random intervals (and in Julie Andrews’ voice of course). So when I received a sample of the new IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream ($48 at ITCosmetics.com and Ulta.com), my mind instantly traveled to that scene when Maria is walking down a tree-lined path after leaving the nunnery, her suitcase in one hand, singing “I Have Confidence” gleefully. This, of course, is not necessarily the result of my upbringing with my Von Trapp-obsessed dad: the name of the facial cream seems to, in part, constitute a reference the musical number. After all, the song ends with Maria declaring, “I have confidence that they’ll put me to the test/But I’ll make them see I have confidence in me.” And just like Maria, this IT Cosmetics cream was designed to be put to the test — and to emerge with flying colors, all the while giving women their own confidence boost.
The IT Cosmetics Confidence In a Cream is billed as a “super cream” that can moisturize the complexion, boost the skin’s regenerative cycle (and kick collagen and elastin production into high gear), minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, battle hyperpigmentation for a more even skin tone, reduce the look of fine lines, make the skin appear more supple, and boost radiance. Does it deliver on these fronts? Yes. It’s not devoid of any limitations, of course, but this cream has plenty of reasons to strut its stuff with, well, confidence.
The paraben-free and hypoallergenic cream was developed alongside plastic surgeons, which is part of what makes it so novel. The key ingredients in the formula include: hyaluronic acid, which can absorb up to 1,000 times its weight in water, drawing moisture from the atmosphere and infusing it into the skin for long-lasting hydration; and hydrolyzed collagen, which imparts a softer texture on the skin and which research shows also boosts the skin’s own collagen production (and remember that collagen is what makes skin firm and taut). Other star ingredients touted include ceramides, which are lipids that form a vital part of the skin matrix, functioning as the cement that holds skin cells together, thereby keeping moisture and protein in and preventing any harmful free radicals from penetrating this protective barrier. Ceramides are a great addition to any anti-aging skin formulation since, as we age, our bodies produce less ceramides, making our skin more susceptible to damage, and replenishing them is key. Next, there’s colloidal oatmeal, which has long been used to tackle a wide range of skin inflammations — from chicken pox flare-ups to poison ivy rashes, insect bites, redness, sunburns, and dermatitis. Because colloidal oatmeal contains polysaccharides (long chain sugars) that attract and hold water, as well as hydrocolloids that then bind that moisture to the skin, it’s considered a genius emollient. Aside from softening, hydrating, and soothing the skin, it’s believed to help against photoaging, the process by which dark spots and wrinkles emerge due to UV exposure.
Now, there are a number of other ingredients in the formula that aren’t advertised quite as euphorically but which play a vital role in the cream’s overall efficiency. First, it contains fatty acid-rich shea butter, an excellent moisturizer that softens the skin, nourishes the dermis, and soothes inflammation. It also contains coconut oil, which also hydrates the skin and helps to give it an alluring glow. Next, it contains camellia extract, which boasts polyphenols that have impressive antioxidant abilities, reducing UV-based inflammation and preventing the breakdown of collagen associated with free radical exposure. Another antioxidant powerhouse is lavender oil, which counteracts the irritating effects of environmental aggressors like pollution and UV rays.
On the brightening front, it contains licorice root extract, which geishas used for centuries to lighten their skin and which is still used in many beauty formulations to obliterate dark spots and create a more uniform skin tone. Another brightening agent in the formula is turmeric root extract, which gives skin a radiance boost while also reducing the sebum glands’ oil secretion and preventing acne. Moving on to the citrus family, the cream contains grapefruit peel oil, a natural source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates the skin to reveal a luminous complexion and a more even skin tone. Orange peel oil, meanwhile, also contains vitamin C and helps to brighten the complexion, but it has the added benefit of also helping to prevent breakouts, functioning as a gentle astringent, removing dirt and bacteria from pores, and absorbing excess oil.
Speaking of astringents, the cream also includes sandalwood oil and tea tree oil, both of which are used to treat acne-prone skin.
Other anti-aging powerhouses include: niacinamide, a derivative of niacin or vitamin B3 that has been shown to reduce visible aging signs (fine lines, crow’s feet, hollow cheeks, loose skin, etc.) and which can also soothe inflammation resulting from acne or rosacea; yeast extract, which contains proteins that stimulate the production of collagen fibroblasts, thereby leading to enhanced skin elasticity; and soybean sterols, which some studies show improve the skin’s barrier function.
Phew! Quite a list, right?
Okay, so now that we’ve gotten the science part down, let’s talk about real-life results — specifically, my confidence in the Confidence in a Cream. First, I love the smell: it’s got a lemon-y zest to it that I find really pleasant and invigorating. Now, in terms of the texture, this is a thick cream — and I mean thick — so be forewarned that you should use a light hand when applying. I’m the type of person who loves slathering on a great cream and, the first few times I used this product, I went overboard so, in turn, my skin did not fully absorb the product — when I awoke at 2 am and 3 am to use the bathroom, I noticed my skin still felt balmy, a sensation I did not love. At first, I was alarmed and doubts about the cream were beginning to surface but, in the following days, I applied a much smaller amount and noticed my skin absorbed the product more readily. That said, my skin never completely drank up the cream — I still always felt a layer, however light, of product kind of sitting atop my visage. Also, I found the cream makes my skin look shiny — not glow-y, but shiny — which is not something I seek when choosing a moisturizer to face the day ahead.
Because of this, then, I’d suggest using the Confidence in a Cream at nighttime only since, when you awaken in the morning, you’ll have reaped the benefits of those active ingredients stimulating the skin’s own healing properties, but you won’t have to endure that sweaty sensation that comes from applying a heavier moisturizer for daytime use as these tend to feel like your face is covered in Vaseline. Even when used sparingly, I’d advise against using this cream during the day — especially in the humid summer months — unless you have extremely dry and mature skin. As a nighttime cream, however, it’s a delight. Over time, you will see significant improvement in your skin’s overall texture and radiance, plus fine lines will be less noticeable, but it takes about 4-5 weeks to truly gauge the results (and this, for the record, is the case for pretty much all skincare products).
So what’s the bottom line? When used sparingly and at nighttime only, this IT Cosmetics cream inspires a great deal of confidence in me. For daytime use, I’d suggest a more lightweight formulation — especially if you intend to wear makeup atop it. But as we all know, the skin regenerates itself more rapidly at night, which means the great actives in the cream will work in tandem with the skin’s own repair cycle, making it all the more effective.