rationale skincare australia, essential six

Rationale Skincare Essential Six Night Kit – I’ve used it every night for just under 8 weeks* (7 weeks and 5 days to be precise) and I can’t stop using it!!!  It’s L-O-V-E!  Pure and simple.  I don’t actually want to stop using it but I’m going to have to because I have a shedload of products dying to be trialled and reviewed on the blog.  Anyway, let me tell you why I have fallen in love with Essential Six Night Kit from Rationale Skincare, the bestselling cosmoceutical company in Australia.


Cosmoceutical.  Cosmoceuticals ( = cosmetics + pharmaceuticals) are cosmetic products with biologically active ingredients purporting to have medical or drug-like benefits.  And that is basically what Rationale Skincare have achieved with their products.  They have created products with skin compatible active ingredients which are not watered down due to marketing ploys, i.e. celebrity endorsements (I’m looking at you SK-II Facial Treatment Essence!) and fancy packaging (I must admit that I am a sucker for that!) are expensive for brands, so in order to lower their prices to appeal to the mass market, they may have to reduce the active ingredients which reduces potency and weakens results.

What’s In The Essential Six Night Kit?

Rationale Skincare Australia, retinaldehyde serum

There are 3 products; not 6.  Yep, slightly confusing.  But the Essential Six refers to 3 products in the morning** and 3 products at night.  In the Night Kit, you will find :-

Preparatory Cleanser (200ml) : Gentle cleansing formula with antioxidant vitamins A, B, C and E plus soothing botanicals.
Skin Refining Serum (50ml) : Enhanced exfoliation formula with 18% alpha and beta hydroxy acids to refine skin tone and texture.
Retinaldehyde Serum (15ml) : Skin cells use vitamin A to repair DNA damage and retinaldehyde is a form of vitamin A.  This serum contains 0.1% retinaldehyde – the highest possible concentration for skin which helps revitalise skin tone and texture.

My Thoughts

Before I started using the products, I did my research on Rationale Skincare by checking out their website and I was impressed with their philosophy.  No BS – I like it!  Not so impressed with the website design with black background and white letters – it hurts my eyes after a while.  I’m just sayin’!

Nothing fancy here.  Plain and simple.  But the magic is in the ingredients!

Price & Availability
RRP $325 AUD and can be found in Australia, New Zealand and UK.  Sounds pricey but don’t forget you are getting 3 products in the kit and judging from my usage of 8 weeks, I still have more than half of the contents in each bottle.

Preparatory Cleanser
I use a separate make-up remover followed by a cream cleanser before using this.  Why?  Because I’m just following the instructions which reads “Avoid contact with eyes”.  The smooth creamy texture smells of oranges and leaves face with that squeaky clean and soft feeling.  Big bottle so it’s gonna last me a long time!

Skin Refining Serum
Ouch!  Be prepared!  It sinks into skin and can burn for a good 10 seconds.  It must be all the acid doing its work.  I have noticed that on occasions where I am lazy and skip the Preparatory Cleanser (because I have already used a cream cleanser before that), it doesn’t burn at all.  There’s probably something in the Preparatory Cleanser which works in synergy with the serums…??  Oh and it also smells like oranges too!

Retinaldehyde Serum
I usually slap this on pretty quickly after the Skin Refining Serum to help soothe the burn.  It can also be used around eyes.  And this one doesn’t smell like oranges.  It can be a bit weird not moisturising your face with a cream, but serums are the way to go and they feel very light especially in Summer.


  • Initially, my skin flaked a bit – but I was reassured that this was normal for cell turnover.  By the 2nd week, my skin started to settle and felt nice – smooth and hydrated.
  • I do still get the occasional flaky patches but that’s why exfoliation is important.  As for spots, I don’t get many usually but there have been a couple of stinkers (like the one currently residing on my left cheek).  And I still have blackheads on my nose which provides hours of entertainment as I try to squeeze them all!
  • I told you about my left nasolabial fold which wrinkled up when I stopped using BIOEFFECT EGF Serum – well, this line started dissipating and looked more lifted in the 4th week.  Result!  But it’s weird – some days it comes back to say “Hello” and then, some days it goes on holiday!  I wish it would just disappear altogether.
  • And come the 6th week and I have noticed brightening of my skin tone, a reduction in pore size (okay, pores cannot be reduced in size but they can appear smaller) and get this – this is what really impressed me the most – reduced pigmentation of sun spots!  I kid you not!  My sun spots are fading – slowly but surely!

Now you can see why I can’t stop using Rationale Skincare Essential Six Night Kit!!!


Forget the other 3-step skincare routine (cleanse, tone and moisturise) and I urge you to adopt Rationale Skincare Essential Six!  I’ve not had much experience with pharmaceutical skincare products (except for a few SkinCeuticals products in my tender years) but I am seriously in love with the results.  And best of all, I know it works because it is scientifically proven and not because Miss Hot Celebrity is paid to say so!

* BTW, if you’re wondering whether I lugged these bottles to Hong Kong, I didn’t.  But that’s because I had wee samples of these which lasted for 1.5 weeks.  Perfect!

** I did try out a sample of the Essential Six Morning Kit too but they lasted me for 1.5 weeks so I wasn’t able to do a full review on that.  But from that 1.5 week trial, my skin felt good!

Note : Oh and I almost forgot, products mentioned in this post were provided for consideration, but this, in no way, affects my opinions.

Ingredient List

Have you tried any of these products before?  Let me know your thoughts.

P.S.  I did promise to try and do a Chinese New Year related post today but I didn’t have time yesterday. Why?  Well, there was a Dragon in my toilet!!  No joke!  Check the dragon and my Hello Kitty glasses out here.

20 Comments on I Can’t Stop Using Rationale Skincare Essential Six Night Kit!!

  1. Dempeaux
    24/01/2012 at 10:39 am (6 years ago)

    My NL folds used to do that too! Try sleeping on your back at night with a pillow under your knees to avoid the creasing coming back, and try some facial exercises too 🙂

    I really like that this line has ingredients in it that work – nice to see someone has some integrity! Of course, you could DIY this stuff for a tiny fraction of the price, but you knew I was going to say that ;P

    • Ling
      24/01/2012 at 10:57 am (6 years ago)

      @Dempeaux, A-ha – so that’s why…??!!! I wasn’t sure if my NL folds were coming or going!! And for sure, I will be doing those facial exercises you recommend! The results on your are astonishing. I should actually photograph my skin more because the pictures speak for itself!

      Oooh and I also forgot to include that my right eyelid (usually hooded) has become less hooded now and more lifted!! Ahhhh!! So happy! Totally owe my new awesome skin regime to you!!

      P.S. Of course, I knew you would say that 😀

  2. Dempeaux
    24/01/2012 at 1:20 pm (6 years ago)

    That’s so great Ling! And yes, please do take some pics! I totally regret not taking more when I first started out.

    Yay for eyelids! 😉

    • Ling
      25/01/2012 at 1:02 am (6 years ago)

      @Dempeaux, My right eyelid has gone from hooded to double (for the last few days) to triple tonight! I must be tired!

      Anyway, Sarah…apart from facial exercise, do you think this skincare regime is adequate for me? The skin refining serum (with 18% hydroxy acids –13% AHA and 5% BHA) & 0.1% retinaldehyde serum are surprisingly hydrating… But is it enough??

      (Sorry to bother you with all these questions)

      • Dempeaux
        25/01/2012 at 10:43 am (6 years ago)


        Not at all Ling! I don’t use AHA and BHA much, but if they’re working for your skin, then keep going. The Vitamin A is always a good idea, whatever form it’s in, and to your routine I would also add a vitamin c serum. I regard vitamin c, vitamin a, and a good zinc oxide sunscreen as the backbone of any good skincare system. To that, you can add something from the small list of proven actives if you like, like Kinetin, Idebenone, CoQ10, K1, B3, B5, NAG, etc (depending on your particular concerns, obviously), and these will further boost your routine, but vit a, c, and ss are the minimum 🙂

        • Ling
          25/01/2012 at 11:53 am (6 years ago)

          @Dempeaux, Thanks Sarah. I already have my IZ sunscreen so that’s good 🙂

          And oh…okay, now I see…okay, so the morning kit of this Essential Six contains two serums – 1 is niacinimide and 1 is with vits A, C & E (0.05%, 20% and 0.1%) and they have a 20% zinc oxide to finish it off. So perhaps, this is my Essential 6!!!

          Wait – I can DIY and this would be much cheaper! LOL!!!

          Thanks again 🙂

          • Dempeaux
            25/01/2012 at 12:25 pm (6 years ago)


            Yes! B3 is just gorgeous for the skin. Love it! Of course, DIY would be *much* cheaper 😉

  3. Eden-Avalon
    24/01/2012 at 4:50 pm (6 years ago)

    Is this available in the states? Such a glowing review!

    • Ling
      24/01/2012 at 5:28 pm (6 years ago)

      @Eden-Avalon, Unfortunately, It’s only Australia, New Zealand and UK at the moment 😉

  4. Amy
    24/01/2012 at 4:51 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Ling, thanks for the review, been wanting to try this brand for a while! Where do you get the samples from, I’ve emailed Rationale but never heard back from them. 🙁

    • Ling
      24/01/2012 at 5:29 pm (6 years ago)

      @Amy, Why don’t you call their number and see if they can help you there? I’ve spoken to them a few times and they have been lovely on the phone.

      • Amy
        24/01/2012 at 9:57 pm (6 years ago)

        @Ling, I’ll do that thanks Ling! 🙂

        • Ling
          25/01/2012 at 1:02 am (6 years ago)

          @Amy, Good luck!

  5. Michelle chin
    14/02/2012 at 6:28 pm (6 years ago)

    Hello there, I’m a loyal fan of rationale too! I vouch for it because it helped me zapped my acne clean. Or at least, kept it at managable levels!

    • Ling
      15/02/2012 at 1:56 pm (6 years ago)

      @Michelle chin, OMG!!! You’re Michelle from Niche, the food blog! I am one of your biggest fans 🙂 A silent reader…

      And yeah…um…back to Rationale – yes, they are truly fantastic! I read about your skin dilemma and I am glad you have it under control 🙂

      • Michelle chin
        18/02/2012 at 7:43 pm (6 years ago)

        @Ling, Thanks for reading my blog. Hehe. I was searching high and low for rationale reviews last year but couldn’t find any. Glad that you wrote something!

  6. Jennifer Grey
    18/09/2013 at 8:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for being so detailed in your approach. This post is really very helpful for me, because I am very choosy in terms of using a good skin care product for my oily skin.

  7. Natasha Dudarz
    14/01/2014 at 3:45 am (4 years ago)

    I have been using Rationale now for 2.5 years for my rosacea and I have to say that I have never used anything like it. I went from a face constantly full of pustules and pimples to none what so ever. I can’t rave about it enough. Yes it is pricey but the most amazing product I have ever used and I have tried a few!!

    • Ling
      20/01/2014 at 9:13 pm (4 years ago)

      @Natasha Dudarz, That’s amazing. Which products are you using?