Sana is a Japanese skincare company that reminds me a lot of Hada Labo: simple, affordable, fragrance-free products focused on ingredients and effectiveness. Sana Soy Milk Astaxanthin Lifting Gel is the first Sana product I’ve used (I also recently started testing their Nameraka Isoflavone Wrinkle Eye Cream), and so far, I’m impressed. I’ve been using this product twice a day for about three weeks.
What it’s supposed to do
This is a “watery and highly moisturizing gel” mean to firm and tighten skin while evening skin tone.
How to use it
You can apply it anytime after toners and before creams, but I’ve found it absorbs best when I use it immediately after toner, before any essences, serums, or ampoules.
Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, ethanol, PEG-240 / decyltetradeceth -20 / HDI copolymers, soy milk ferment, astaxanthin, cyanocobalamin, niacinamide, soy isoflavones, tocopherol, arginine, Coptis root extract, carbomer, phytosterols, Haematococcus pluvialis extract, polysorbate 80, lecithin, hydrogenated lecithin, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben
The active ingredients appear a little low on the ingredients list, but that doesn’t mean they’re not effective. Astaxanthin is an incredible antioxidant that can smooth wrinkles, fade sun spots, and improve skin’s elasticity and moisture content. (It’s also bright red, which is fun.) This product has straight astaxanthin as well as Haematococcus pluvialis, which is the algae that produces astaxanthin.
Niacinamide is a perennial anti-aging and brightening favorite, and I like to see it in everything except products with a very low pH. Soy has powerful antioxidant, anti-aging, and moisturizing effects; it’s present here twice, in soy milk ferment and soy isoflavones. Cyanocobalamin is a form of vitamin B12 and may reduce inflammation. Phytosterols are plant-based sterols, similar to cholesterol, that can help heal and strengthen our moisture barrier.
What it’s like in action
It comes with a tiny spatula you use to scoop it out of the jar.
I’ve seen this called a jelly instead of a gel, which is especially accurate, because it has THE MOST FUN TEXTURE I’VE EVER SEEN. It’s like a slightly lighter, waterier version of Jell-O and scooping it out is now the highlight of my routine.
I really cannot get over how much fun this is to use.
Once you’ve got a little glob on your fingers, it melts easily into a watery serum texture when you apply it.
It can be a little slow to sink in, although it helps a lot to apply it before any other serums or creams. And don’t worry, that bright red color disappears once it’s on your skin.
It’s completely unscented and I haven’t experienced any breakouts or negative reactions to it.
Did I mention how much I love using this product? My boyfriend has stopped asking what’s up when he hears me giggling from the bathroom, because he knows it’s Sana Lifting Gel time. This is skincaretainment to the Nth degree.
So it’s a blast to use, but how does it do as a skincare product? It’s pretty good. It is exactly Pretty Good. It’s surprisingly moisturizing without feeling the slightest bit heavy. For reference, I actually find this more deeply moisturizing than Scinic Honey All-In-One Ampoule; it’s also less sticky. I imagine it would be fantastic for people with oily skin. As for me and my dry skin, it’s a great addition to a hydrating routine, but I need to use several other products to make sure my skin has enough moisture.
As for all its anti-aging active ingredients, again, I think they’ve done Pretty Good. I have seen a slight but noticeable reduction in redness in my skin since I’ve been using it, and my skin is at its all-time firmest (I think that has more to do with Dr. Jart+ Premium Firming Sleeping Mask, but the Sana jelly probably plays a role too).
This product is a dream to use: supremely entertaining texture, highly moisturizing, and overall a delight to add to my routine. It hasn’t had much effect in terms of anti-aging, but I have noticed a slight decrease in my skin’s redness. This is more of a deeply moisturizing essence than a killer anti-aging product. I’ll use up the rest of the jar; if I repurchase it, it will probably be so that I can keep playing with it like the toddler I secretly am.