Whether you’re a fan of professional treatments like peels and lasers, or just tend to get too enthusiastic with your retinol and acids (it’s ok, I still do this too), angry red skin is probably something you’re all too familiar with.
Sure there are lots of soothing products out there, and they do help relieve the redness and restore your skin after a couple days. But if you hate the extended downtime and want something that works twice as fast, the Calecim Recovery Night Complex is it.
Table of Contents
What is it
Provides comfort, hydration and reparative benefits for skin in distress. Contains growth factors to encourage skin restoration and calming peptides to immediately soothe the skin.
Best suited for
All skin types, but especially combo and oily skin, that are dealing with inflamed and/or red skin as a result of strong actives, professional treatments, or micro needling.
Things to note
Alcohol-free and fragrance-free
A plastic tube with a pump dispenser.
Smells like yeast, similar to their Professional Serum. The scent is stronger, and you can still smell it initially when applied. Goes away after a few minutes.
A watery gel that spreads easily, but then starts feeling a little tacky as the film forms.
Natural but slightly tacky finish due to the film. You won’t feel it, and, and it’s totally normal as it’s meant to be an occlusive layer to lock moisture in.
Price & Size
$60 for 30g or $115 for 60g on the Calecim Official Website. Use code JENNY for 15% off!
As with their Professional Serum, you can find all the actives derived from stem cells, aka the PTT-6®️ (previously CALECIM® Rejuvenating Conditioned Media), here: glycoproteins, collagen, albumin, fibronectin, and hyaluronic acid.
It’s also got some great supporting ingredients to help with skin hydration and recovery:
- Sodium Hyaluronate and Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate: the larger SH acts as your typical humectant, while the smaller HSH can help with skin repair.1 The two can also work together in synergy to deliver better hydration to the skin.2
- Saccharide Isomerate is another humectant that can reduce skin dryness and sensitivity caused by actives like AHAs.3
- Niacinamide should need no introduction, but specifically in terms of helping skin recovery, it can increase the production of cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides, which are all important barrier building blocks.4 It’s also anti-inflammatory and can help with wound healing.
- Cucumber Fruit Extract is full of amino acids that are beneficial to maintaining our skin’s barrier, and it also contains the anti-inflammatory enzyme shikimate dehydrigenase. There’s a reason why we put cucumber and only carrot slices on our skin!
- Allantoin is a common soothing ingredient that can also help improve skin wound healing.
- Calmosensine is a dipeptide that basically signals our skin cells to relax, which can then decrease feelings of irritation.5
How stem cell based skincare helps with inflammation
When we talk about stem cells here, we’re actually referring to the active ingredients derived from stem cells, and they’re the ones that provide the skin restoring benefits. We can look at these benefits from 2 different approaches:
Hydrate – When our barrier is compromised, so is our skin’s ability to retain moisture. That’s why redness and dryness often go hand in hand. Obviously we know hyaluronic acid is excellent for this, but topical collagen is also great at attracting and keeping moisture on our skin!
Repair – The most obvious and important one. Glycoproteins work in synergy with hyaluronic acid to restore our moisture barrier, but they also contain growth factors, which then signal our skin cells to well, grow, and repair themselves! Growth cells also work in synergy with Fibronectin to enhance the skin healing effect.
The repair approach is what really sets stem cell based ingredients apart from your typical skin soothing ingredients like centella asiatica. Instead of just the ingredients themselves doing all the work, this triggers your skin cells to join in the healing process as well. So add that with your traditional healing ingredients, and you get this 1 + 1 > 2 effect!
- The Calecim Recovery Night Complex should only be used in the evening as it will form a protective film on the skin, making it hard to apply sunscreen and makeup smoothly.
- Cleanse your skin and proceed with your toner and serums.
- Apply 5 pumps of the product to your face and neck in an upward and outward motion. If I'm just using this on my face I'll use 2-3 pumps.
- Wait a few minutes before hitting the sheets so the film can form, this way you don't get the product all over your pillowcase instead!
- No moisturizer needed.
- Use a gentle cleanser to wash off the product the next morning.
Use together with the Calecim Professional Serum for best results!
Usage Experience & Results
My first impression was that this feels like a light hydrating serum, which isn’t surprising as it shares many similar ingredients to one. It also delivers a cooling sensation when applied, not a “I just rubbed Vaporub on my skin!” cool, but whatever heat and flushing I felt had subsided a bit.
And despite the light texture, my dry skin (more like extra dry skin at the time) didn’t feel like it was lacking in the moisturization department. Thanks to the film, my skin stay hydrated all night, and despite being a little sticky, very little (if any) product got on my pillow case.
Surprisingly it moisturized just as well as any of my favorite night creams, and I’m sure oily skin types will especially appreciate how light it feels!
Recovery Night Complex for over-exfoliation
My usual symptoms are dry peeling skin and increased sensitivities, very rarely does my skin get red.
In these situations I found the Recovery Night Complex helped decrease the sensitivities, but it didn’t do much for the dryness. Not that it made it worse, but it didn’t significantly improve it either.
Recovery Night Complex for post professional treatments
Ok so I haven’t gotten any in-office treatments in years now, but I do regularly use my Tripollar Stop Vx at home, which leaves my skin hot and red.
I did a full session one night, starting with my CurrentBody LED Mask then several ZIIP treatments then Tripollar until I was a nice shade of a ripe tomato. The things I do to test products for you all!
Now this is where the Calecim Recovery Night Complex shined in my opinion: it not only provided a lovely cooling effect immediately to my skin, but there was a minor (but noticeable) reduction in redness within a few minutes! Usually I have to use a sheet mask to get these results, and even then there may still be some residual redness.
With the Recovery Complex, I just apply it to my skin, go to bed, and my skin is 100% back to normal the next day. You’d never know I was zapping and roasting my skin the night before.
Obviously the healing results will take longer for professional treatments, but you should still notice a significant improvement!
What Others Say
These reviews were all sourced from Trustpilot, and while I always like to include a negative review to be fair, I actually couldn’t find one for the Recovery Night Complex.
At first, I layered it directly onto clean skin thinking that I did not want to waste the highest concentration of factors (besides the professional serum), but heard in an interview with Calecim to use it to “seal in” the rest. Wow, that made a difference. This product is very helpful in any irritation from tretinoin.Norma
I started using the products after I Had an RF treatment which left me burnt in my skin. The recovery is almost unbelievable.Lara
We had a trip out rafting on the colorado river. Tons of sunscreen and wind and water and I was not good to my skin. Every night I slathered this on and I woke up looking like I had been at a spa, not a tent in the desert.Annemarie
It gave me this protective and hydrating layer while I slept and still was very obviously on my face the next morning. It was great to know that my skin wasn’t drying out during the night. By the third day my skin was healed and I didn’t ever experience the dry/flakiness and or have any breakouts!Rachel
La Roche Posay Cicaplast Balm B5
My skin-saving holy grail. For the money, I still prefer La Roche Posay, but keep in mind it has a thicker cream texture (great for my dry skin, not so great if you’re oily), and it doesn’t work quite as fast in reducing redness as Calecim. I’d say LRP is more versatile and great if you’re just dealing with over-exfoliation, but if you get professional treatments a lot, Calecim is more effective.
Calecim Professional Serum
If your goal is just accelerated skin healing and regeneration, no hydration or other added benefits, then the Professional Serum is excellent. It has the most potent cord lining conditioned media %, and Calecim themselves have done clinical studies proving its effectiveness. It’s also much pricier.
I’m From Mugwort Essence
With 100% mugwort extract, this essence does one thing, and one thing really well: reducing redness, especially if you mask with it for a couple of minutes. While it’s soothing, it doesn’t do much else. No hydration, and my skin doesn’t feel healed, just less outwardly angry. It’s a big bottle though, so if redness is your main issue this could be an affordable pick.
Avene Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream
Similar to the LRP, this is a thicker cream texture, and uses a unique postbiotic to help repair the skin. I used this years ago in college when my skin got all red and irritated for no reason, and this didn’t do anything :( I probably should retest this again to be fair, but if you’re going to go with a cream, go with the LRP.
- Light and refreshing texture feels comfortable on inflamed skin for all skin types
- Really helps reduce redness and accelerate healing, especially post professional treatments or after using at-home beauty devices.
- Unique formula sets it apart from other skin healing products out there.
- Efficacy isn’t as pronounced for over-exfoliation or peeling skin.
- Works best when paired with the Calecim Professional Serum
- Might not feel nourishing enough for super dry skin types
Scores & Summary
While I don’t think the Calecim Recovery Night Complex is for everyone, I do think it does what it claims extremely well. So if you don’t get lasers, peels, or micro needling done frequently, you can definitely get by using one of the alternatives above for when your skin is acting up. But for those that love their regular professional treatments, this will make such a difference in your skin’s healing process!
To keep my content accurate and trustworthy, I rely on peer-reviewed studies, articles from reputable academic institutions, and quotes from certified healthcare professionals to back my claims.
Gariboldi, Silvia, et al. Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid Increases the Self-Defense of Skin Epithelium by Induction of β-Defensin 2 via TLR2 and TLR4. no. 3, July 2008, pp. 2103–10, https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.181.3.2103.
Farwick, Mike, et al. “Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid: Its Effects on Epidermal Gene Expression & Skin Ageing.” ResearchGate, unknown, 2008
Smith, W. Reduction of AHA Irritation Potential by Inclusion of a Saccharide Isomerate. , 2022, www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Reduction-of-AHA-irritation-potential-by-inclusion-Smith/6893b37ed74d682ba0c3e997963e3a4516757ef3.
Tanno, Okikazu, et al. Nicotinamide Increases Biosynthesis of Ceramides as Well as Other Stratum Corneum Lipids to Improve the Epidermal Permeability Barrier. no. 3, Sept. 2000, pp. 524–31, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2000.03705.x.
Schoelermann, Andrea M., et al. Comparison of Skin Calming Effects of Cosmetic Products Containing 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol or Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester on Capsaicin-Induced Facial Stinging in Volunteers with Sensitive Skin. Jan. 2016, pp. 18–20, https://doi.org/10.1111/jdv.13530.