Product Review: VICHY NORMADERM Skin Balance Anti-Oiliness Hydrating Aquagel

I mean could you have a longer name…

Welcome to my first product review!

I chose this product because I started using it around the time I started my research on hydroxy acids. Of course because I have oily skin, salicylic acid was the one that caught my fancy. Its been just over a month of using the product and, according to dermatologists I follow online, that’s a good period of time to assess the effect of a product on your skin. Let me also say that this is not a sponsored review and I have no affiliate links set-up. Here’s just the plain, simple, honest truth of what I think – which it would be even with free samples or affiliate links.

Ingredients overview

So the main actives are salicylic acid and something written as LHA. LHA apparently stands for lipo-hydroxy acid and appears as Capryloyl Salicylic Acid on the label. You can go see how salicylic acid works in my post about it here. It works great for oily skin since its oil soluble and can target pores. LHA is a derivative of salicylic acid. The long chain addition makes it bigger and more lipid soluble than salicylic acid – polarity is a scale system. (LHA is a derivative of salicylic acid where the long chain addition makes it bigger and more lipid soluble than salicylic acid. Often, in Chemistry, we can’t work with absolutes so we like to compare things and their functions to each other.) It has very similar effects to salicylic acid but because of its size, tends to works a bit slower and causes less irritation. A nice combo then.

Top: Capryloyl salicylic acid (LHA)
Bottom: Salicylic acid

Look and feel

I love a good clean look and Vichy has always had that chic French look about it. The gel is super smooth and light and disappears into your skin. No stickiness at all! It also feels pretty hydrating, I haven’t had any drying out from it which can happen with “anti-oiliness” products. I think this can be tightening, so I made sure I did some hydrating masks every now and then.

It smells really fresh, a little like cucumber which I have mixed feelings about because I don’t think skincare should be over-fragranced. Then again, us consumers are so hard to please. No fragrance – we’ll complain of the funny smell of the ingredients. Too much – we’ll say it feels artificial and could cause irritation. Overall I think they found a good balance.

How I feel about the company as a whole

Vichy is owned by L’Oreal so we’re indirectly assessing them.

In terms of their animal testing/cruelty free status. They do not test on animals unless the regulatory boards require it, like in China where the boards carry it out themselves. Now what does that mean in South Africa: I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. See future post about regulatory boards in SA since it seems to be quite a big topic that I need to research, at an undecided date (I have commitment issues).

They, L’Oreal, seem to be pioneers on sustainability – they have a whole section on their website describing all the endeavours. You can check it out here. I say “seem to be” because I’m always skeptical about self-proclaimed sustainability because its so fashionable at the moment. Deeper research needed.

Did it work for me?

Yes! I have always struggled with my oily skin making its presence known halfway through the day, ruining my foundation and making me super self-conscious. My nose is an especially troublesome area. Granted, I have only recently started trying to be consistent with my skincare and started experimenting with/researching products that are more than R60. Guys, I was a student for so long, don’t judge.

This gel is so great because you really don’t need to use a lot and it feels like it covers your whole face. At lunchtime, I see considerably less shine. I will be sticking to this product for a while, loving it.

What I’m not entirely sure about is if it can be used as a moisturiser or if its more of a serum. It does say aquagel on it so it gives the impression of hydrating ingredients but I haven’t gotten to researching moisturising ingredients yet.

I haven’t found an affordable one that I like for every day use. Anyone have any suggestions?


Its a little pricey at R170/190 depending where you buy, considering its only 40 mL. However, I use about two pea-size blobs every morning and it has lasted more than a month so far. I foresee that it will last 2 months in fact, here’s hoping!

Anyone else tried this product? Let me know in the comments or go send me some messages on your preferred socials (I’m an Insta lover myself ).


This product did in fact last another 2 months and I use it as a moisturiser by itself during the day and this seems to be enough for my oily skin.

References and links

  1. LHA against acne
  2. L’oreal – ingredients
  3. LHA CIR report – safety
  4. LHA – compared to glycolic acid in peels
  5. Image: Canva – Photo by Image Team

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top