Thursday, December 19, 2013

Alpha-H Discovery Set

A few months ago in the midst of my burgeoning interest in skin care, I ordered the Alpha-H Anti Ageing Discovery Collection from BeautyBay. I primarily was interested in it because of the inclusion of their much-hyped Liquid Gold in a 50ml size. The 5-piece kit was about $45 while a 100ml bottle of Liquid Gold alone is $49 on Adore Beauty, apparently a 15% discount off the retail price. The other items in the set weren't too stingy in size and the cost-effectiveness and convenience of being able to trial a variety of Alpha-H products at once appealed to me more than having twice the amount of their "star" product.


As currently described on BeautyBay, the Anti Ageing Discovery Collection contains:
  • Liquid Gold (50ml) – An overnight resurfacing and firming lotion.
  • Micro Cleanse (30ml) – A granulated exfoliator which smoothes and clears skin.
  • Balancing Cleanser (30ml) - A gentle, creamy cleanser suitable for all skin types which clears skin of impurities, oil and makeup.
  • Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+ (30ml) – A weightless, highly protective cream which locks in moisture and hydration.
  • Essential Hydration Cream (15ml) – An aromatic soothing cream which hydrates and restores vitality.

Instead of the Essential Hydration Cream, I actually received the Absoluté Eye Complex (15ml). When I notified BeautyBay, they asked me to send pictures to prove I'd been sent the wrong item which was way too much effort. It wasn't a huge deal that a eye cream was sent to me rather than a richer, more nighttime appropriate face cream (after all, they were the same size, and I'm guessing the eye cream is the pricier product), but it was just somewhat annoying I didn't get what I thought I'd ordered.


The Absoluté Eye Complex is a clear gel which has a cooling sensation once applied. It's very lightweight and almost watery, and you need only a very small amount for the whole eye area. I find that when it comes to eye treatments, I prefer more traditional creams than gels or serums (the Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture for Eyes is my favourite so far). They just feel more richly moisturising and comfortable on the skin than a gel, which is almost too liquid and not as hydrating. I've tested out a small number of eye creams but none of them have wowed me or done anything particularly noticeable. Then again, my under eye area isn't overly dry and I don't have lines or wrinkles yet (knock on wood). This Absoluté Eye Complex is just passable to me. Nothing remarkable about it but nothing prominently negative either.


The Daily Essential Moisturiser is Caroline Hirons approved ("really light, absorbs brilliantly and doesn't clog pores"), despite containing her most reviled ingredient, mineral oil. In her words, it's not too far up the ingredients listing so it doesn't stress her too much. It has SPF 50+ which provides necessary sun protection after using a product like Liquid Gold due to alpha hydroxy acids increasing the skin's sensitivity to the sun. Despite the high SPF, it leaves no white cast or chalky residue. I packed this 30ml tube to Europe with me in September and really enjoyed using it. It's not exactly what I'd describe as "really light" — it's more like a typical thicker cream which skins into the skin well and gives an immediate sense of comforting hydration, but at same time feels slightly greasy and heavy. It's an ideal base for tinted moisturiser or foundation (possibly due to the mineral oil component).


The Balancing Cleanser is a fairly straightforward product with an uncomplicated ingredients list. It reminds me quite a bit of a thicker version of Cetaphil with a faint chemical smell. It's like rubbing in a watered down moisturiser onto the skin. It doesn't foam but isn't rich enough to be a cream cleanser. The blurb on the back says it removes all traces of face and eye makeup, an ambitious claim at best. I don't see this taking off waterproof mascara and long-wearing eyeliner. I only use this to clean my face in the shower if I haven't worn any makeup for the day. Washed all off, the skin is left feeling nicely cleansed and not stripped or dried out.


Micro Cleanse is a supercharged exfoliator with a double whammy of AHAs and physical granules to really polish the skin. It smells like a mix between candy canes and mouthwash, and feels a bit like rubbing toothpaste loaded with slightly coarse granules onto the face. There's definitely a tingling sensation paired with mintiness from the peppermint oil. This is a product with immediate results. The skin is left scrubbed, fresh and radiant, and feels incredibly smooth and soft afterwards. It's just not something I'd use on a frequent basis due to how potent it seems. I normally reach for it only when my skin is in particular need of strong exfoliation, either due to congestion or flakiness/dryness.


Liquid Gold is one of those oft-raved about skin care products that I've been curious to try for a very long time. For a while, I didn't know exactly what it was. It's not what you'd normally characterise as a toner, moisturiser, exfoliator, serum or treatment, though I suppose it has elements of all of those things. I've been using it as instructed, at night before heading off to bed, poured onto a cotton pad until it's adequately moist (but not soaked) and smoothing it all over my face, and then placing nothing on top.

It took a good deal of trial and error to determine how much I should be using each time. The first time I used too little and couldn't feel anything. The second time, I used just enough to dampen the face a little bit. The third time, the cotton pad was 70% soaked and I had enough to cover the neck as well. My face started to radiate heat for about half a minute which was not a pleasant experience.

Liquid Gold has an almost overwhelming smell of alcohol, akin to subjecting the face to an antibacterial wipe. It leaves a slight sticky residue and a very slight feeling of tightness. Like Micro Cleanse, I am a bit paranoid of the strength of this product and am hesitant to use it on a regular basis. This is a product that delivers noticeable results. In the morning after I've applied this before bed, my skin appears smoother, softer and clearer, like a layer of dead skin cells and dullness has been polished off. Whenever I feel my skin is in need of extra overnight exfoliation and rejuvenation, Liquid Gold is my pick.

23 comments:

  1. Wow liquid gold sounds pretty intense. I think I'll stick with my Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner, that doesn't tingle at all but still makes my skin look very smooth and even. Then again, I'll probably end up trying it eventually, it always happens.

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  2. I've been wanting to try liquid gold for the longest time. I think I've managed to try most of the other popular exfoliating toners out there, but I know I really want to go for the heavy duty stuff! I'm kicking myself that I didn't pick some up when there was a two for one special on tvsn the other night!

    luluisloving.wordpress.com

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  3. wow I've never heard about this brand before, but the liquid gold sounds very intriguing! I have to be careful with anything exfoliating though because my skin has been getting so sensitive after I used hadalabo skin care set for few months. I thought I really liked them and they suited my skin condition but later I found out they were too harsh for my skin.. maybe once in awhile is okay but not every day..

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  4. I really want to give liquid gold a try at some point, although it sounds pretty intense. I'm thinking I might try the Clarins exfoliating toner first, it sounds a little more gentle like my beloved REN AHA concentrate.

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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  5. I've been really wanting to try this set as well! Micro cleanse and Liquid Gold sound like just what I need once in awhile to refresh my skin and get it looking great before an important day. The size of the products look pretty good for the price as well!

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  6. I was really underwhelmed by all the products until we got to the Micro Cleanse, then I started really paying attention! I love those kind of products that really give quick results, but doubt my skin could handle them for too long as well. I'm keen to try the Micro Cleanse and Liquid Gold now, thanks to you! Great review, very in-depth! xx

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  7. If it wasn't for the alcohol I would think about trying this. alcohol is something that my skin depply hates.
    But, I got interested on the Micro Cleanse. I might search for him :3
    Thank you very much for the amazing post. Take care**

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  8. I got this set for Christmas last year and while I don't particularly love the liquid gold, I do like the micro cleanse and balancing cleanser, like you said the cleanser isn't the best for removing make up but used in the shower it works really nicely :)
    http://wwwclairabelle.blogspot.co.uk/

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  9. You make the liquid gold sound so intense, haha!! I've always been curious about it but I get scared with certain products that have the ability to let the user go overboard… which is basically just me admitting to having no self control. Regardless, this looks like it was a fun little set to try out and experiment with but overall it was nothing super stellar? Also I had to laugh at the seller wanting photos and whatnot for you to prove yourself haha. Companies crack me up sometimes and, like you, sometimes I just can't be bothered dealing with them over something like that.

    ♥Cassie
    thriftthick.blogspot.com

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  10. Thanks for the review.
    I just took a glance at the ingredient list of Liquid Gold, and honestly I think it is basically glycolic acid based toner/exfoliator. The price can't be justified unless it really contains some real gold. Please be careful with this. While glycolic acid is very effective, it can sensitize your skin very quickly. I'm quite used to it but I made sure to take a break in between.

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    1. Thanks for the information and tips! I don't use Liquid Gold very much, maybe like once every 2 weeks or so? And sometimes I'll go through long breaks without even remembering I have it. I do use other exfoliants fairly regularly but they seem much gentler. I'm not sure what percentage of Liquid Gold is glycolic acid (or even what's considered "strong") but it does feel very potent when I apply it over the skin.

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  11. I just repurchased a duo of the Micro Cleanse with the Triple Action Cleanser as they were doing both for the price of one on Look Fantastic. I adore both products. Still havent tried liquid gold! that's next on my skincare list. I think packs like this are a great idea, I love trying out a brand in this way.

    Emma x

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  12. Never heard of Alpha H but I think I'll pass on them AND Beauty Bay based on their lack of attention and customer service courtesy. What the heck.

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    1. Alpha H, like alpha hydroxy, ho ho ho. So clever. Apparently it's an Australian brand - I would've never thought that. BeautyBay is okay - I've ordered from it the most times out of other comparable sites (e.g. HQHair, Look Fantastic, Feel Unique) but delivery is often slowish and yeah, wasn't too impressed with their response :p

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  13. what a customer service! >_<~ The company should have a tracker on what items they have dispatch rather than hasstling the customer to send a photo which should NOT be the case. They are the one who made the mistake so why bother to hasstle the customer! sheesh -__-"

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    1. I know, I expected they'd just apologise and send me the 15ml cream that was included in the pack on its own. But nope...

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  14. I've been browsing and putting lots of things in my basket on beautybay. I totally want a babyliss hair curler and some skincare bits, I saw a few weeks ago so many great skincare and hair care sets but I held back and I'm glad I did because now I need to buy a new camera! Thanks for sharing, sounds like some good picks in that bunch but definitely an overwhelming alcohol scent is quite a turn off!

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  15. I'm loving the Alpha-H Rejuv Cream- I've almost finished my tub and I'm trying to make it stretch by using it on alternating nights because it costs like $100. Liquid Gold sounds great, though the wide range of products that Alpha-H do is a bit overwhelming. The kit sounds like a great way to have dabbled- would you repurchase the Liquid Gold, or any other for that matter? Online shopping still isn't my thing- I just bought a REN cleanser today- I foresee many a REN purchase to come.

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    1. Ooohh, which REN product? I've only tried their Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask which I'm a bit meh about.

      I might repurchase either Micro Cleanse or Liquid Gold on their own when I finish these samples. It's not like overwhelming enthusiasm, but depending on how I go when they're done I might change my mind. Both seem to be good for quite a strong dose of exfoliation now and then.

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  16. They don't sound very good. Plus, they should've given you what you ordered. How rude! Excellent review doll.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  17. I bought a similar discovery kit. I really liked the cleanser and there was also a mask that was really nice too. I use the liquid gold when my skin is particularly stressed but not on a regular basis…. still it does a good job!

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  18. Really intriguing, I have small samples of some of these but am nervous about trying the Liquid Gold. I think I might give it a go in the new year, in case my face reacts to it and the party season will see me ducking for cover in every photo op ;)

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  19. I haven't tried Liquid Gold but many people rave about it. I was hoping I was going to get some in my Christmas stocking! I did get some gorgeous Murad products though which I am absolutely in love with!

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