If you’re like us, you’re always on the hunt for new skincare brands to add to your routine. If you only pay close attention to products housed in chic or colorful packaging, however, you may have overlooked Alchimie Forever, a highly-reviewed, dermatologist-formulated skincare brand that’s particularly beneficial for folks with sensitive skin. Don’t worry though—we’re here to introduce you.
Although Alchimie Forever didn’t officially launch until CEO Ada Polla brought her family’s skincare line from Switzerland to the U.S. in 2004, she says the cornerstone of the brand really began nearly 25 years prior.
Founded: Luigi L. Polla, MD, 2004
Based In: Switzerland
Best Known For: Calming, “clean-ical” (clean and clinical), dermatologist-formulated products that blend the safest botanicals and synthetics
Most Popular Product: Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask, Kantic Calming Cream, Firming Gel for Neck and Bust
Fun Fact: It’s a family affair: Luigi L. Polla, MD, Switzerland’s leading dermatologist, is behind the formulations and his daughter Ada Polla (the current CEO) runs the business, while her three sisters are owners and shareholders.
Other Brands You’ll Love: Zo Skin Health, Murad, Sobel Skin Rx
“Alchimie Forever really traces its start back to the 1980s, when my father Luigi Polla, MD, was looking for a calming product to heal the skin of the children with port-wine stains and hemangiomas that he was treating using laser technology,” she shares. “Not being able to find the right product, he worked with a compounding pharmacy to create a product (now known as our Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask) and gave his patients little drammed lab samples of this magic cream. The parents of my father’s patients would apply the mask to their own skin to encourage their children to try it, and they (the parents) absolutely loved the texture, the soothing factor, and, most importantly, the results.”
Soon thereafter, they began requesting more samples and, ultimately, more efficacious products with the same impressive results. “That was the true start of Alchimie Forever,” Ada Polla says. Fast forward to 2022 and Alchimie Forever now has 17 skincare SKUs for the face and body, and is sold on Amazon, Dermstore, Pharmaca, and at Walgreens, as well as at select spas (like Heyday).
What sets Alchimie Forever apart isn’t the packaging, but the high-quality formulas within it. “We love style as much as the next person, but we pride ourselves on the actual product within the jars and tubes and focus our attention—and spend—on that versus fancy dispensers or custom componentry,” Ada Polla says.
As for the formulas, they conform to EU standards of clean and are vegan and cruelty-free. “But at the heart of it all, we’re a clinical, dermatologist-formulated brand, and that means we embrace synthetics,” Ada Polla says. “After all, a big part of what my father does with his patients is injectables, for example, and these injectables are synthetic molecules. We are very transparent about our ingredient strategy and clearly communicate the power of blending the safest botanicals and the safest synthetics.”
Read on for our favorite Alchimie Forever products.
Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask
This is the product that started it all. “It does all the things—if there was enough space on the jar, we’d call it the brightening, moisturizing, reparative, soothing mask,” Ada Polla says. “The texture is incredible, it gives you an immediate glow, it can be used as a 15-minute rinse-off mask or left on overnight as a sleeping mask. No wonder it’s consistently a top seller and a favorite of editors, celebrity makeup artists, and influencers.”
Kantic Calming Cream
With how wildly popular the Kantic Mask was, Alchimie Forever debuted its Kantic Calming Cream as a daily solution for those looking for immediately soothed skin.
“This midweight moisturizer brings your skin back to its happy place, and calms redness and sensitivity,” Ada Polla says, noting that it’s been called a miracle worker. And, as someone with highly reactive, redness-prone skin, I can attest. The gel-cream consistency makes for a lovely application, given it’s always slightly cool on contact. (That said, due to its hybrid consistency, it does take a touch longer to massage into skin, and it leaves a white residue with the first few circles before eventually sinking in.)
Once it sinks into skin, rather than leaving a greasy finish the way some gel products do, this formula leaves skin looking hydrated and supple but not at all shiny. Best of all, it immediately made my skin look noticeably less flushed. Needless to say, this antioxidant-rich wonder-worker has earned a permanent place in my skincare cabinet. (One more thing: While this cream does have a slight scent, it's clinical and not at all overwhelming.)
Firming Gel for Neck and Bust
Ever since this neck and chest gel made its way into a TikTok video, it's flown off the shelves and become an extremely difficult product to nail down—and we can see why. Made with green tea extract, rosemary extract, and a host of other botanicals and synthetics, this oil-free gel makes for an immediately more snatched neck and dec while also lending to longer-term results. “[The popularity of this product] serves as a reminder to take care of your neck and decollete—AKA the forgotten zone,” Ada Polla says.
Advanced Retinol Serum
Another popular anti-aging skincare product from Alchimie Forever is this Retinol Serum, which is made with a 0.75 percent pure retinol concentration to target fine lines and wrinkles. While that concentration may not seem ideal for folks with sensitive skin, the formulators at Alchimie Forever ensure that is by boosting the formula with hydrating hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory jojoba oil, both of which help to ward off irritation.
Beyond the non-irritating formula, my favorite thing about this serum is its texture. Rather than being a wet, lightweight consistency, this retinol pumps out of the tube thick and white, and actually feels like it's nourishing the skin while being rubbed in. Needless to say this, too, has earned a spot in my regular routine.
Pigment Perfecting Serum
Here we have a serum that's much more in line with what you'd think of for the product category. Straight out of the tube, the milky Pigment Perfecting Serum looks wet and lightweight; but when you rub it in, it feels bouncy before drying down to what feels (and smells) like a powder finish.
With that in mind, although it's marketed as a solution for hyperpigmentation, I found that it also worked to even the appearance of my skin by slightly minimizing the appearance of pores and lending to a semi-filtered appearance. Of course, when I looked at the ingredients list it made sense, given it's formulated with hydrating and plumping hyaluronic acid, alpha arbutin to help even the skin's tone, and calming green tea. Most notably, unlike other serums with similar consistencies, this one doesn't pill at all when layered overtop or underneath other skincare products, making it even more admirable in my book.
Rejuvenating Eye Balm
When it comes to eye-specific products, shelves are filled with serums and creams. And that's precisely what makes this Rejuvenating Eye Balm, which is made with a combination of jojoba oil, cocoa butter, and antioxidant-rich blueberries, so intriguing. Formulated with a thicker consistency, this cream sinks into the delicate under-eye skin while delivering an immediately plumped effect that makes it feel cozy and cushioned (and makes crow's feet and under-eye bags a lot less noticeable).
Tightening Eye Gel
If sunken under-eyes are less of a concern and loose bags are more prominent, it's time to turn your attention toward Alchimie Forever's Tightening Eye Gel. Immediately upon application, you can feel the lightweight, fast-drying, caffeine-infused formula working to tighten skin. “Like a shot of espresso for your eye contour, this product provides an immediate lifting effect, opens up the eyes, and reduces the look of fatigue,” Ada Polla says, noting that the gel texture is ideal for use under makeup.
Kantic Light Clarifying Cream
Like a drink of water for your skin, the Alchimie Forever Kantic Light Clarifying Cream soaks in to deliver cool relief (which helps diminish the appearance of redness associated with breakouts and general irritation), while the ingredients within the formula—namely, oil-balancing jojoba oil, anti-inflammatory rosemary extract, and acne-banishing salicylic acid—get to work to actually nix pimples on the spot and prevent future zits from popping up.
Gentle Cream Cleanser
Rinsing away makeup and any dirt that made its way onto your face throughout the day can sometimes feel more like a chore than a special self-care moment. Not with this soft cream cleanser, though. The non-foaming formula is packed with antioxidant-rich blueberries as well as soothing rose, cucumber, and mallow. Because of the incredible (and incredibly calming) ingredient line-up, rather than leaving my freshly-washed skin looking flushed, this cleanser delivered a clean, clear, bright visage that left me in such awe that I immediately cleared a space for it in my shower.
Dry Skin Balm
Whether your skin is always dry or it gets particularly parched during the more extreme seasons of the year, Alchimie Forever's Dry Skin Balm can help. In addition to being made with hydrating jojoba oil and shea butter, it's also infused with willow bark, a known source of salicylic acid. As such, this balm not only works to hydrate skin but also to help slough away dead skin cells that are getting in the way of your skin staying hydrated. In short, it's a game-changer. I like to apply it to my hands, elbows, and feet. (Sadly, though, it's not recommended for facial application. Otherwise, I'd be slugging with this comfort-inducing balm each and every night.)
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