Banila Co V-V Review & How It Fits Into My Ideal Morning Skincare Routine
In which Fiddy discovers how the Banila Co V-V Vitalizing “skincare for makeup” line executes on its promises. (Because we all know nothing ruins a morning like a bad skin or makeup day.)
Personal question. What’s the most annoying thing about skincare for you?
For me, it’s trying to fit proper skincare into a super quick morning skincare routine. Unless I want to start getting up even earlier than I already have to (not something I want to do, just to be clear), then I need skincare that doesn’t slow me down. It also has to work well with my skin. And my sunscreen. And my makeup. No pilling, residue, or excess shine allowed.
Finding the right combination of products isn’t always easy. At night, I can throw on whatever and wait as long as I want to in between steps. In the morning, however, one wayward product can wreck everything, leaving me furiously brushing off flakes of product or grumbling my way through a bad makeup or lackluster skin day. My nighttime routine is the long and elaborate one, but my morning routine is the one I’m most exacting about.
So when I saw Banila Co’s V-V Vitalizing skincare line marketed as “skincare for makeup,” I knew I had to try it. Makeup-optimized skincare? I’m down.
Even better, the V-V Vitalizing line is said to be “volumizing” and “vitalizing.” In K-beauty terms, “volumizing” generally refers to plumping, which can smooth out surface fine lines and provide temporarily increased firmness. “Vitalizing,” meanwhile, suggests increased resilience and glow. For my skin, locked in a battle to the death with time, volumizing and vitalizing are very good things.
I wrote about the business side of the selection process recently. Here is the personal side: my experiences with the products and how they fit into my perilously balanced morning skincare routine. Unlike other more typical reviews, where I get excited about extracts and actives, these reviews are an ode to humectants and film formers used for peak effect.
Banila Co V-V Vitalizing Toner
It’s probably not a good marketing move to admit this, since the V-V Vitalizing Toner is the most inexpensive of the three products I’ll be reviewing, but this is my favorite of the trio and the one I lean on most heavily.
A long time ago, there was a toner I loved deeply. That toner was Dear by Enprani Moistfull Booskin, which I raved about on my blog for its incredible absorption-boosting capabilities. Like so many other beloved K-beauty products, Moistfull Booskin appears to have gone the way of the dodo. I moved on, thinking I’d never find another toner quite like it — until I started using the V-V Vitalizing Toner.
In many ways, the V-V Vitalizing Toner reminds me of my dearly departed Moistfull Booskin. Thicker than water but thinner than many heavier hydrating toners, V-V Vitalizing Toner has so much slip that just a couple of drops glides easily over my entire face. Once on, the V-V Vitalizing Toner sinks right in, leaving my skin replenished after cleansing, softer, smoother, and subtly plumper. Also, an application of this toner causes everything I put on top to absorb at a startling rate.
Banila Co claims that this toner and the rest of the line have V-line lifting effects. For anyone who hasn’t spent time pondering South Korean beauty standards, “V-line” refers to one’s jawline. The current ideal is a narrow and pointed jaw and chin, shaped like the letter “V.”
Many cosmetics claim to help achieve the coveted narrow V-line, from chin strap masks to casting masks to daily use skincare products like this one. The general idea behind any topical V-line treatment is that tightening and firming the skin in the jaw area will create a slimmer silhouette.
Personally, I don’t notice a difference in the shape of my jaw after regular use of the V-V Vitalizing products. I do notice an overall firming effect that remains until I wash my face at night, though. Good enough for me.
My main complaint about this toner, and the key difference between it and Moistfull Booskin, is the scent. I don’t like the fragrance used in the V-V line. While not strong, it’s a flowery/powdery scent that strikes me as old-fashioned. I can deal, but it’s not ideal. This is not a product for people who are sensitive to scent in any way.
Banila Co V-V Vitalizing Toner ingredients: Water, propanediol, niacinamide, glycerin, 1,2-hexanediol, carrageenan extract, saccharum officinarum extract, tomato extract, pomegranate tree extract, hydrolyzed collagen, grape extract, tremella fuciformis, lactobacillus/soybean extract ferment filtrate, pentylene glycol, bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, sodium polyacrylate, adenosine, citric acid, butylene glycol, cyclohexasiloxane, dipropylene glycol, sorbitan laurate, ethyl hexanediol, hydrolyzed extensin, hydroxyethylcellulose, silk amino acids, acetyl dipeptide-1 cetyl ester, natto gum, polysorbate 20, palmitoyl tripeptide-1, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, ethylhexylglycerin, xanthan gum, carbomer, disodium EDTA, BHT, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin, fragrance
Banila Co V-V Vitalizing Essence
It’s also probably not a good marketing move to admit that in my morning skincare routine, I often skip my targeted treatment products, like serums and essences, but there you have it. My morning routine is geared more towards speed and immediate appearance than it is to long-term skin goals.
When I do use an essence/serum step in the morning, it’s because it provides instant improvement to the appearance of my skin. That makes the V-V Vitalizing Essence a better fit for mornings than most of my targeted serums.
The V-V Vitalizing Essence is a thick but watery gel that intensifies the plumping and insta-firming effects of the V-V Vitalizing Toner while adding dewy luster to skin. It’s not glittery — I hate glittery — but gives an illuminated effect, which works especially well under matte makeup. I’m not into the super glossy “glass skin” look; the balance between this essence’s finish and a slightly mattifying foundation or powder is more up my alley. Moist and alive but not drippy.
Like the V-V Vitalizing Toner, the essence is not a product for people who are sensitive to scents in any way. The essence uses the same fragrance as the toner but smells stronger, and with both layered together, the scent lingers longer than when I’m only using the toner. I also find that neither this essence nor the toner have additional effects for me beyond the plumping and firming. For me, they don’t calm redness or even skin tone out. That would be the ideal morning routine, obviously — totally eliminate the need for base makeup.
Banila Co V-V Vitalizing Essence ingredients: Water, butylene glycol, bifida ferment lysate, dipropylene glycol, glycereth-26, glycerin, niacinamide, 1,2-hexanediol, carrageenan extract, saccharum officinarum, tomato extract, pomegranate tree extract, cacao extract, grape extract, hydrolyzed collagen, lactobacillus/soybean extract ferment filtrate, tremella fuciformis, dimethicone, panthenol, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, carbomer, tromethamine, xanthan gum, lecithin, ethylhexylglycerin, polyquaternium-51, adenosine, biosaccharide gum-1, dextrin, hydrolyzed extensin, ethyl hexanediol, cyclohexasiloxane, lactic acid, acetic acid, natto gum, sorbitan laurate, hydroxyethylcellulose, silk amino acids, acetyl dipeptide-1 cetyl ester, polysorbate 20, palmitoyl tripeptide-1, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, chlorphenesin, fragrance
Banila Co V-V Vitalizing Intensive Cream
I seem to be reviewing these in descending order of preference. Of the three V-V Vitalizing products in my routine, the cream is the one I skip the most. Not due to any distaste for the product (I’ve gone through half the jar already despite not using it daily!), but because my usual A’Pieu sunscreens typically provide enough moisture for me over toner and essence, unless my skin is jacked up from over-exfoliation or something.
With that being said, I had a period recently where my skin was indeed jacked up, and this cream performed excellently at smoothing it out, holding in moisture, and helping my face feel normal all day.
The thing about creams is that at night, most of them are pretty much fine, as long as they aren’t the kind so light that they disappear without a trace or effect five minutes after application. By the harsh light of day, however, many creams are too heavy or greasy or don’t mesh well with sunscreen or makeup, causing product to slide around or flake off. This is why I appreciate this cream, which really feels as if it were formulated with makeup in mind.
The V-V Vitalizing Intensive Cream is a firm, dense moisturizer that dries to a soft matte finish if used on bare skin and a satiny but still manageable gloss if used over the rest of the products in the line. It’s not the most spreadable — I find myself using a big dollop at a time — but settles evenly over any irregularities in skin texture, finishing the job of creating a primer-smooth surface for cosmetics.
This cream provides medium moisture levels: more moisturizing than my other current day moisturizer, the Blanc & Eclare Serein Moisturizing Cream, but not too rich for day. The light occlusive layer it creates feels more waxy than oily and grips cosmetics well. The fragrance is milder to my nose than the essence’s, tempered with that bland “cream” scent that a lot of moisturizers get. Again, it has no V-line effects that I’ve seen, but it works well for locking in the overall firmness the line provides.
Banila Co V-V Vitalizing Intensive Cream ingredients: Water, glycerin, macadamia ternifolia seed oil, coconut oil, hydrogenated polydecene, dipropylene glycol, niacinamide, cetearyl alcohol, pentylene glycol, hydrolyzed collagen, tomato extract, pomegranate tree extract, grape extract, lactobacillus/soybean extract ferment filtrate, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, glyceryl stearate, PEG-100 stearate, caprylyl glycol, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, tromethamine, ethylhexylglycerin, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, adenosine, butylene glycol, cyclohexasiloxane, tocopherol, 1,2-hexanediol, ethyl hexanediol, hydrolyzed extensin, natto gum, sorbitan laurate, hydroxyethylcellulose, silk amino acids, acetyl dipeptide-1 cetyl ester, polysorbate 20, palmitoyl tripeptide-1, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, xanthan gum, carbomer, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin, fragrance
As I implied near the beginning of this review, I don’t think these products gain much (if anything) from the extracts or peptides padding their ingredients lists. Instead, I think the V-V Vitalizing line is a triumph of humectants, like the humble but mighty glycerin, and film formers, like hydrolyzed collagen. The humectant ingredients deliver that plumpness that fills in fine lines, while the film formers temporarily firm skin’s surface. Taken together (or as a routine of just two out of the three), the V-V Vitalizing skincare line provides some primer-like effects in a solid daytime skincare set.
Are you picky about anything in your morning skincare routine? Which of the three V-V Vitalizing products would you try first and why? Find them on our Banila Co page here!