The Drugstore Cowgirl: Pure Skin Care Black Rice

Maybe a year ago, Walgreens introduced half a dozen exotic European skincare brands (Art Deco, Spa Aquatique, La Fleur Organique, Institut Arnaud, Oli, Skincode, Red Water). At the time, this seemed like a bad idea: I’d never heard of any of these companies, and I don’t crave brands I know nothing about (especially when the prices are at department store levels).

Now CVS is following suit — in partnership with the parent company of super-luxe brands Orlane and Perlier — with an exclusive line called Pure Skin Care Black Rice. Since the prices are more in line with my drugstore expectations, I decided to try it out.

The Good:
I think I found a new primer for my concealer! I mentioned in my “In Honor of the Basics” post that primer makes my concealer go on more smoothly, and that I’ve been happy with Fresh’s Lotus Eye Gel, but not that thrilled about the price. So far, Black Rice’s Line Reducing Eye Cream ($13.99) looks like a great substitute — though I don’t think it’s done any actual line-reducing. If my feeling about that changes, I’ll report back.

The other winner from the line has been the Dual Phase Night Cream ($14.99): it’s a great price for a good night moisturizer, and the two-pump system is fun.

The Bad:
Because the Black Rice Day Cream comes in a jar like my current (and almost empty) Laura Mercier Moisturizer — and because both are SPF 15 — I thought I might have found a $14.99 alternative. Unfortunately, the Black Rice version is much thicker and heavier, and it produced a weird taste in my mouth. Mr. Salt* thinks I’m crazy, but this has happened to me once before: when I bought the Target knock-off of Coppertone sunscreen some years ago. The active ingredients in the Black Rice Day Cream are Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, and Oxybenzone, and if you can shed any light on this medical mystery, I’d be most appreciative.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the cleanser ($9.99). It didn’t rinse off very well though, which left me scrubbing my face with a washcloth. Not a keeper.

The Ugly:
There are two basic variables that a company can tinker with when creating a scrub: size of granules and density of granules. The Black Rice Renovating Scrub ($12.99) contains granules that are far too large, and very low density. Because of the brand name, I found myself visualizing broken grains of rice mixed into a cream for me to scrub my face with.

But at least I’m happy with my new concealer primer.

* Who is Mr. Salt? Some months ago, I explained to my husband that in the language of the internet, his name would be Mr. Sugar. He didn’t like that — he said it was “too cute” — so I told him I’d call him Mr. Salt instead.

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4 Responses to “The Drugstore Cowgirl: Pure Skin Care Black Rice”

  • Av says:

    >Great review. Thank you. Like that Mr. Salt – have been calling my man Hubby online think I’ll have to come up with something else!! x

  • Valerie says:

    >Drugstore cowgirl! Awesome.

  • Alyson says:

    >hahaha I just refer to my SO as “Boyfriend”.

  • Debbie says:

    Institut Arnaud is one of the best lines. Unfortunately Wallgreens does not carry it any more, but you can still but it online at

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