AHA! Skin Cleanser*
The Skin Cleanser is a thick, creamy cleansing lotion that's recommended for use without water. Similar to old school cold cream cleansing, Nonie of Beverly Hills recommends applying the cleanser to the skin on dry cotton pads. I've been enjoying this product, although with a slightly modified method. Rather than using cotton pads, I prefer to massage the cleanser onto a dry face using just my fingers. It's great for breaking down makeup, even mascara and eyeliner. Once the product is thoroughly massaged in, I wipe it off with a warm, wet washcloth. Sometimes I find it can leave behind a slight coating or film on the skin, so I've been using this more as a makeup remover than a full-on cleanser and opting to follow with a different cleanser afterwards. Used this way - as the first part of a double cleanse - I really like it. The Skin Cleanser doesn't contain any added AHA's and is quite gentle, even around the eyes. It also has a nice sweet lemon scent that reminds me of lemon ice.
AHA! Skin Tonic*
Toners often leave me underwhelmed, but I've actually been quite impressed with this one. The main ingredient is witch hazel - naturally high in skin toning tannins that are both anti-inflammatory and can help tighten the pores - and since it's alcohol free, the Skin Tonic is also non-drying. This was the first product I started using from the line and I really saw my pores become visibly cleaner - and thereby slightly less noticeable - within just three or four days of use. It has a similar lemon scent to the cleanser - perhaps with a hint of something fresher like celery. Again, the Skin Tonic doesn't contain any added AHA's.
AHA! Brilliant Moisturizer*
The moisturizers are where the line's namesake AHA's come into play. With 5% AHA from natural fruit sources, Brilliant is recommended for normal and combination skin and acts as both a moisturizer and a gentle daily exfoliant. The first few times I used it, I experienced some minor tingling from the acids - though nothing overwhelming - and even that gradually dissipated within the first week or two of use.
Nonie of Beverly Hills suggests working up to twice daily use, but because my skin leans a little more sensitive and I haven't wanted to overdo it with the acids, I've mainly stuck to using Brilliant at night, with another oil or moisturizer in the mornings, and I've still seen good results. It's a medium-weight moisturizer with the same sweet lemon scent as the cleanser and hydrates well, absorbs quickly, and isn't the least bit sticky or tacky.
Almost from the very first use, I noticed how soft my skin became. I usually use manual exfoliants and I've always thought were doing the job, but I don't think my face has ever been this smooth and soft before. The AHA's really work to resurface and improve skin texture, leaving behind baby soft skin. I haven't noticed any reduction in my few fine lines, but since AHA's are known to smooth lines, increase cell renewal, and improve collagen production, I'm hoping that will come next!
Brilliant does contain coconut oil, but it hasn't caused any of the usual problems I experience with coconut oil on my face. Perhaps the acids work to counteract the comedogenic properties of the coconut oil? Whatever the reason, Brilliant has worked brilliantly (I couldn't resist!) for my skin.
I also tried a sample of the SPF 15 Sunblock Moisturizer, which takes a little more effort to work into the skin, but has a similar feel and leaves virtually no whitecast behind once you do rub it in fully. If you prefer your moisturizer with SPF, that's another good option to consider.
The Bottom Line
I really like this line! The two definite standouts were the Skin Tonic and the Brilliant Moisturizer. I've seen a noticeable improvement in my skin from both these products. I'm not as crazy about the Skin Cleanser by itself as a cleanser, but it's great as a first cleanse to remove makeup.
I like the sweet lemon scent across the line and that the scent is light, fresh, and not overpowering. It's something I notice as I use the products, but I don't smell it on my skin throughout the day, which is just how I like these things. There's a good selection of different moisturizers to suit various skin types and the price point, across the entire line, is also very reasonable, particularly once you factor in the larger-than-average product sizes (7 ounce cleanser and tonic, 1.75/3.5 ounce moisturizers) of the AHA! products.
Ingredients Note: Many of the product ingredients include a vague "coconut emulsifier." When I inquired, the company confirmed that this is non-GMO coconut and vegetable sourced glyceryl stearate and not an ethoxylated polysorbate emulsifier.