Thursday, 14 May 2015

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum

What is it?
A hydrating serum.

Who is it for?
A serum for 'women with sensitive skin looking for deep and lasting hydration'.
(Dear Vichy, Seems a tad sexist no? What about the boys?)

What’s in it?

Ingredients listed on website?
Not one of the retailers that sell this in the UK lists the ingredients. Not Boots, Feel Unique, Look Fantastic, Escentual or Vichy's own website. They are not even listed on L'Oreal's fancy new Derma Center store, it just says 'main ingredients'. What a wasted opportunity. 
I had to track them down via the USA.
Were it not a much-requested review I seriously would not have bothered. 
Personally, I don't think I'm being over the top to ask a retailer to take responsibility and LIST THE INGREDIENTS. We want to give you our money, we would like to know what is in the bloody thing.

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?

Tested on animals during production/sells in markets that require animal testing i.e. China?

What's not in it?
mineral oil

How do you use it?
Apply onto dry fingertips, spread onto fingertips of the other hand, apply directly to skin.

Where to use in your routine?
Serum, post-toning, pre-moisturiser.

What’s good about it?
This gives immediate relief for a dry, dehydrated skin, It's 'wet', which sounds strange but basically means it's a water formula, whereas Hydraluron for example, is a gel texture. I would still use this the same way, under a moisturiser, and I would still avoid a heavy silicone-led moisturiser/product and go for wet moisturisers on top of this. 
It will make sense if you've been reading the blog for a long time but:
Clinique Moisture Surge is wet.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair is silicone.
It won't be enough if you're dry, you'd still have to use a good oil-based moisturiser on top, but if dehydration is your main concern, and with the price point, I would definitely recommend that you check this out.
Sali Hughes is obsessed and synonymous with it.

What’s not so good about it?
This serum should not work. But it does.
It contains glycols, silicones and fragrance. I don't mind them, but it's the kind of product that would give Beautypedia a hernia. 
Therein lies the mantra of one size most definitely does not fit all. If you don't like those ingredients, avoid. If you're dehydrated, and of the thinking 'whatever works', go for it.

Similar products?
Hydraquench - Clarins 
(are we seeing a pattern here) :)

Exchange rate – does it punish the UK?
Not really. We're close enough to France. I imagine the Americans and the Australians are screwed though.

Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Serum is available in a lot of retailers in the UK priced anything from £17.00 - £22.00. 
However, none of them list their ingredients so they can jog on for a link.

Step forward


  1. After reading about the benefit of serums via Sali H I did indeed go out and buy this very one. It's eased the dehydrated areas and hasnt aggravated my hormonal chin acne. Bonus. It's light and easy to use. Will I repurchase? Hmmm not sure as I feel a serum should pack more of a punch than this BUT at £17 it's worth every penny. Love seeing reviews on something I have purchased! It's been fabulous finding you Caroline...can't believe I'm so far behind all your other followers but delighted I have discovered your geniousness in all thinks skin. I've now realised at 36 its time to spend more on my skin than on I tell my husband "folk look at your face and not your feet when you're talking to them"....loving the YouTube vids and this blog. It's all fab & brightens my day. Xx

  2. I just started using this a few weeks ago and like it so far. Thanks to you, I've learned that my skin is actually dehydrated, not dry, so I'm finally getting products that target that.
    Thank you for being my go-to-wealth-of-knowledge-on-all-things-skin Caroline!


  3. Hi, Caroline!

    Not related to this post, but I'm very curious about the Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex you reviewed a little ago.

    Is it safe during pregnancy? My skin is normal / combination, but lately it is been so dull, and I would like to boost my skin care - without any harm to the little peanut.

    Thank you!

  4. Thank you Caroline! A serum that I can get where I live!! Vichy it is then.


  5. I absolutely love this stuff. After not getting much joy out of Hydraluron, I tried this after reading Sally's recommendation and it works a treat on my dehydrated skin. I follow up with the light moisturiser from the same range and it sorts my skin out pre makeup application. After finishing my first bottle I tried Clarins Hydraquench out of interest but found that it didn't do anything more than Vichy, which is half the price. So I'm sticking with this :-)

  6. Just FYI to US readers, I've seen this product at Target in their "Prestige Skincare" section. I believe Ulta also carries the Vichy line, although I'm not sure about this particular product. Worth a check though.

    1. I work at Ulta and we do carry this serum. :)

  7. Hi caroline. Iv used hydraluron on your recommendation, and it worked really well on my dehydrated skin. I love reading your reviews. And when it came to your last sentence, "none of them list their ingredients so they can jog on for a link" just made me lol. Its why I love you so much. Xxx

  8. I have to admit I'm a bit on the fence about this one. I really really wanted to try it and I do like it but I don't love it as much as I thought I would. I like that it's wet but it does leave something of a residue which I guess is the silicone - I couldn't find ingredients either so didn't realise it was there. I think I prefer Caudalie's vinosource, even if it is quite a lot more expensive, but I'll happily use my bottle of this up before repurchasing the Caudalie one,

  9. Caroline,
    I just saw that Sephora is now carrying a new Sunday Riley oil called Flora. Its all roses. Can you please review it.

    1. Hi Lera. Flora is simply Isis renamed (for obvious reasons) x

    2. Oh! Thanks Lindsey. I'd wondered myself, too.

  10. I love this! On my 4th bottle! I have however put it to one side while I trial hylamide!

  11. they can jog on for a link..OMG hilarious :)))) the silicones though..not sure they sometimes trigger my acne..tempted though..thanks !

  12. I just can't be doing with Vichy. I got this and when I put it on it was like burying my face in my granny's handbag. What's with the perfume? I should have known better. I have never met a Vichy product that didn't REEK of perfume. For a hydration boost I love Hada Labo's moisture lotions, or Hydraluron, though it doesn't half pill on the face.

  13. Another one who is liking this so far, bought as a change from Hydraluron, will probably switch between the two depending which is on special offer. Do hope that you are feeling better Caroline.

  14. The boys will have to do with something from Vichy hommes line. God forbid if they accidentally use this one. Their skin will turn gay. Possibly acne/allergy/gay triggering ingredients?

  15. I tried this when you wrote about it a couple of months ago, but sadly it gave me spots. Probably the silicones... So I would advise people with similar sensitivities to ask for a sample first!
    And yes, I HATE it when you can't find the INCI list easily!!!

  16. Hi Caroline. I've been reading your blog for a long time but have never commented before. I love your candour...I always check ingredients and have had many comical conversations with department store beauty advisors on the subject. Once I was told that a new overnight treatment contained hydrochloric acid...yea wake up the next morning to find all those pesky skin problems gone...along with your face if course. I didn't go for that & I won't be going for this either as glycols and silicones aren't my thing either. This is approximately my fourth attempt at posting a comment who knew it was going to be so tedious. If it doesn't work this time I am giving up. Fingers crossed...

  17. Hi Caroline
    I have just read a post on Hello Natural (.co) about which ingredients, in makeup and skincare, you should avoid. I'm in doubt whether it's a reliable post, so I was wondering if you could take it under the bullshit-radar?

    1. That's a horribly ill-informed, scaremongering article. On par with most natural-only pushing websites who don't understand science.


    It's funny because I had an argument on twitter with L'oreal about not listing their ingredients recently 😂😂

    #carolinetaughtmewell 😏😘

  19. I disagree that PC's Beautypedia would have a problem with the ingredients aside from the fragrance. They only really hate ethanol, essential oils and fragrance. I'm guessing they'd find the formula non-spectacular but not bad. I'm not bothered by fragrance but this doesn't quite tickle my fancy.

  20. Australians are always screwed when it comes to beauty prices!

  21. Oh my goodness! Mine has just been delivered less than 24 hours after ordering. Thanks Caroline and Cult Beauty x

  22. Ignore last post - wrong product! Blushes x

  23. I am currently using the Aqualia Thermal moisturiser and finding it pretty good - would you recommend using the two together or just one instead of the other?

  24. Target sells it here in the US for $36, which isn't too bad.

  25. Hi Caroline, as a relative newcomer to the world of actually looking after my skin properly, can I ask what might be an obvious question (I'm not bothered about appearing clueless, at 40 I'm past caring :-D). What exactly do I want a serum to be doing for me, and do I need one with lots of 'chemical' ingredients to get the best results? I currently use Antonia Burrell's Forest Dew Skin Conditioner under moisturiser and I really rate the results it gives (it seems to have magical spot-blasting powers!), but I wonder if I should be mixing things up a bit? If I felt confident about what to expect from a good serum I might know where to start looking for something to add to my - now rather large thanks to you :-) - selection of products...Thankyou, and keep up the great work! X

  26. Dammit, I just typed out that whole question on the wrong post! It was for the serum q&a in case you hadn't already worked it out *old lady brain* x

  27. I'm so glad to see this serum as one of your recommendations as I have a bottle ready for when I've used up my Soap and Glory, also recommended by yourself Caroline. I do agree with you on the lack of ingredients for Vichy though, highly annoying as I kind fancied trying some of their other products, but unless I can check the inci for nasties it's not going in my basket. I hope the arm is healing nicely x

  28. I too loked at this but thankfully read the ingredients before buying. Chondrus crispus is highly comedogenic and the version I saw in Boots has denatured alcohol as one of the main ingredients. I think the formulation available in the USA might be different from the one in the UK. I would approach this one with care if you are acne prone or have sensitive skin....

    I agree that every retailer should have the list of ingredients but what is even more frustrating is that not even the brand itself makes the ingredients accessible!

  29. Re-visited the Vichy section at Shoppers Drugmart to try out the Aqualia Thermal Power Serum. Stung me right in the store upon immediate contact with my skin (combo/eczema/acne/sensitive). Ended up taking home the Aqualia Thermal Night Spa instead. Love it except for the stink (floral-ish smell most French products seem to have).

    P.S. I have the Canadian formulations.

  30. Hi, Caroline! I live in Ukraine and bought an old version of this product it totally has as one of the main ingredients but I still use it and it works fine on my combinative oily skin. But I still think that hydratyng serum from Avene is a little bit better - it has not so string smell and is more hydrating in general for me.

  31. Haha "the Australians are screwed though" - this is generally always the case!

  32. I'm a third of a way through a bottle, and I'm afraid I have to give it up - it's sensitising my skin something awful. It actually stings when I put it on now - most odd! Maybe it's the fragrance?

  33. Oh I am just about to finish my first bottle of this and I have to admit I have loved it. Although I am strongly tempted to repurchase it, can you please recommend a serum for dehydration (around the same price point) that doesn't include silicone. Many thanks, Susie :)

  34. Love this stuff. I've been usig it since Sali Huges recomended it. Sooths my 76 year old skin. I then use a moisturizer over it. But this serum seems to hold the mositurizer in like no other. I've on my 5th or 6th bottle. Today they have a 30% discount. So storing up on it.