I don’t write about my real personal life on the blog often, other than regarding games I’m playing or movies I’m watching, but a month or so ago I got a new job. It’s a significant step forward in my career, and as such I thought it merited a reward of sorts. One of the things I chose to do for myself as a little “congratulations!” was to treat myself to something from Sephora.
One of the brands that Sephora has recently added to its shelves is May Coop. May Coop is a Korean skincare line that focuses specifically on the beneficial properties of maple tree sap. I know, it sounds totally weird, but hey, I put snail on my face every day. It’s not like I’m in any position to judge, and it’s not like maple trees are endangered. In any case, they only have one product available at Sephora right now, and it happens to be one I’ve heard good things about: the May Coop Raw Sauce.
I enjoy the packaging of this product. It comes in a box, but also in a bag that is reusable. It’s a narrow but tall cylinder, with a top that I think is supposed to look like maple wood (it actually kind of looks like cheap veneer, but whatever).
The bottle itself is decently heavy with a really interesting stylized woodgrain pattern along the bottle, with information about the product placed between the rings.
Here, have some science! Tree sap from the painted maple (Latin name acer mono) contains a compound called eriodictyol. A group of scientists published a paper in 2013 stating that they gave a bunch of mice atopic dermatitis lesions (ew) and then also treated those lesions with eriodictyol. Once treated, the mice stopped scratching their skin so much and their skin condition improved. This study indicates that eriodictyol may be helpful for treatment of dermatitis-related conditions, including eczema. Now this is just one study, so obviously it’s not a 100% guarantee or anything, but it’s nice to know that one of the main ingredients has at least a little bit of science to back it up, right?
Here is a list of the product ingredients, as found on the box from Sephora.
Acer Mono Sap, Alcohol, Glycerin, PEG-8, Sea Water Maris Aqua (Sea Water), Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Water, Betula Alba Bark/Leaf Extract, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Bark Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Extract, Pinus Sylvestris Bark Extract, Ribes Nigrum (Blackcurrant) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Zea Mays (Corn) Germ Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Methylparaben, Carbomer, Arginine, Panthenol, Creatine, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Fructan Powder, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Parfum, Sodium Hyaluranate, CI 15510.
I really wish they hadn’t put the ‘parfum’ in there – this product really doesn’t need it. It doesn’t have an awful scent, but it is very much a “THIS IS MADE FROM TREES” smell. It’s not readily apparent if you just sniff the top of the bottle, but put it on your face and you’ll definitely notice it, although it doesn’t stay very long and doesn’t travel very far from the skin. I would much rather have had a product that was closer to odorless, or even smelled more naturally like its extracts. Alcohol is also pretty high up there on the list, so if you have an alcohol sensitivity I would avoid this product.
This essence is a lot more watery than I expected from a product that contains sap. I mean, I’ve trimmed the trunks on Christmas trees with my family for years now, and so I’ve encountered tree sap. It’s sticky, and viscous, and man you never get it off your hands. That isn’t the case here. It’s not completely free-flowing, but it’s pretty darn close. It didn’t absorb completely right away, like my extremely watery products do – rather, I applied it to my face, waited a moment, and then had to pat in what didn’t absorb.
Guys, it’s been a while since I’ve had a skincare product to review that I was legitimately so excited about. Since I’ve started a prescription with tretinoin in it, I’ve had some issues with dry patches, and while I was able to mitigate the effects of the cold I had weeks ago the extra dryness from the tretinoin didn’t do me any favors. I had a patch on the underside of my jaw – I don’t understand how it got there, it just appeared – that was really dry and flaky and just itchy and gross. The regular products I was putting on it, including ceramide cream and cream with argan oil, were helping but not really resolving the issue. I started using the Raw Sauce and it stung like nobody’s business when I put it on the dry area, but within a couple days my skin had stopped itching and flaking completely. A day or two later, and the dry spots were back to their normal state.
I use about two drops of this product now that my dry spots are gone, and it’s enough for my whole face and the underside of my jawline. Adding a third drop means I can cover my neck and some of my decolletage as well. If I use too much product, my forehead will show signs of oiliness at midday, so I am careful never to overdo it.
I think that this product will be great for folks with a compromised moisture barrier, for folks with dry skin, and for folks with normal-to-combo skin who are living in an area where the weather is going to be rough on their skin (like my winters in the northern midwest USA). Folks who are purely oily may not find this to be as beneficial; it might just be too much for you.