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Ghost Democracy 30-day Review: Is It Worth It?

Updated January 18, 2020

2019 was a year of building foundations, especially when it came to my skin care routine. It’s the year I got more serious about the products I was using, and become much more invested in creating a sustainable routine.

So when I’m reading The Hustle and they start raving about this new clean skincare line, I got excited. That’s how I found Ghost Democracy.

I’m a skeptic when it comes to products that seem too good to be true. Clean skin care at an affordable price? Is this real life? That’s why I decided to purchase the starter kit and see for myself. I used these products for 30-days straight, both morning and night, with little to no other products included.

Jump Ahead:
> Who is Ghost Democracy?
> Packaging
> The Products
> Full Ingredient List
> First Impressions
> Skin Check-Ins
> How I’m Feeling After 30 Days
> Final Thoughts

Who is Ghost Democracy?

Ghost Democracy is a skincare brand that launched August 2019. They’re a clean skincare brand that touts transparency, both in their ingredients and in their pricing. They sell direct-to-consumer through their website which cuts out the middle man and helps keeps the price point down.

Being clean means they don’t formulate any of their products with sulfates, silicones, essential oils, and a whole lot more. The founder, Rex Chou, had worked in the industry for over 12 years, and felt there was a gap in quality, clean skincare with a focus on transparency. That’s how Ghost Democracy was born. They put an emphasis on spending more on formulas, rather than marketing which helps keep their price points low for these types of products.

The name comes from Rex’s mission to democratize skincare, and the cute little ghost helps represent transparency.

Packaging

The purchasing process is pretty easy and I got my order timely on a Monday night. It comes in a branded Ghost Democracy box. Inside, my products came wrapped with branded tissue paper. The packaging is A+ – it’s consistent and thoughtful.

There’s a little note inside from the company. Each product comes in their own paper packaging, with each box being recyclable. One thing I particularly like is that both the moisturizer and the Vitamin C serum come in glass bottles.

The Products

I bought the starter pack which consists of the cleanser, a serum of your choice, and moisturizer. The kit retails at $66, which actually gives you a discount instead of buying all three products separately.

Transparent Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser

The Transparent Gentle Exfoliating Daily Cleanser is a gel cleanser that’s made for all skin types. You get 5oz of product for $24.

In their efforts to be transparent, Ghost Democracy prints the concentrations of select ingredients on the product packaging. For the cleanser, you have 4.1% Glycolic Acid, 1.8% Mandelic Acid, 1.6% Willow Bark Extract, and 1.3% Niacinamide.

Lightbulb Vitamin C Serum

For the serum, I chose the Lightbulb Vitamin C Serum. I’ve heard great things about Vitamin C and thought it would be the perfect time to try and incorporate it into my routine.

What’s special about this serum is that it boasts an 18% concentration of Vitamin C (in the form of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, if you’re into the specifics). Apparently, this is a lot. The ingredients printed on the bottle are 1.9% Vitamin E, and 0.5% Bakuchoil and Bisabolol. You get 1 fl oz of product for $34.

Clean Lightweight Daily Face Moisturizer

The Clean Lightweight Daily Face Moisturizer is free of fragrance and comes nicely packed in a glass jar. You get 1.7 oz of product for $28. Some of the ingredients in this product include 12% Probiotics, 1% Niacinamide, 1% Oat Seed Extract, and .5% of Panthenol.

For the samples, I picked the Boomerang Firming Eye Concentrate and the Floodgate Hyaluronic Acid Serum. I haven’t touched these yet but I’m excited about testing out the other serum.

Full Ingredient List

I’m nowhere near a skincare expert, so when it comes to ingredients, I definitely have my fair share of struggling to understand exactly what some of them are.

But I came across Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary and OMG. It makes understanding those complex ingredients so much easier!

Below, I listed every single ingredient in each product, in order, and what I found from the dictionary.

All information is sourced from the PC Dictionary, unless otherwise stated.

Transparent Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser:

Ingredient NameIngredient CategoryIngredient Quality
WaterMisc.Good
Decyl GlucosideSkin-ReplenishingGood
Sodium Methyl Cocoyl TaurateCleansing AgentsGood
Glycolic AcidThickeners/Emulsifiers
Emollients
Skin-Replenishing
Best
Coco-GlucosideCleansing AgentsGood
Glyceryl OleateThickeners/Emulsifiers
Emollients
Skin-Replenishing
Good
GlycerinSkin-Replenishing
Skin-Restoring
Best
Mandelic AcidExfoliantGood
Xanthan GumThickeners/Emulsifiers
Texture Enhancer
Good
Salix Alba (White Willow) Bark ExtractSkin-Soothing
Plant Extracts
Good
Sodium HydroxideCleansing Agents
Sensitising
Average
Schizophyllan**Humectant
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)Skin-Soothing
Skin-Restoring
Antioxidants
Vitamins
Best
Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem ExtractPlant Extracts
Sensitizing
Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plan Extracts
Poor
Camellia Sinensis Leaf ExtractAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract*
Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit ExtractSkin-Restoring
Plant Extracts
Texture Enhancer
Best
Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit ExtractAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf ExtractPlant Extracts
Thickeners/Emulsifiers
Cleansing Agents
Poor
Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf ExtractAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plant Extracts
Good
Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit ExtractAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit ExtractSkin-Soothing
Antioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Lauryl GlucosideCleansing AgentGood
Citric AcidMisc.Good
Triethyl Citrate*
EthylhexylglycerinMisc.
Preservatives
Good
PhenoxyethanolPreservativesGood

**Not listed in Dictionary. Alternative sourced linked.
*Not listed in Dictionary.

Lightbulb Vitamin C Serum:

Ingredient NameIngredient CategoryIngredient Quality
C12-15 Alkyl BenzoateTexture Enhancer
Emollients
Good
Isopropyl PalmitateTexture Enhancer
Emollients
Good
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C)Antioxidants
Vitamins
Best
Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)Antioxidants
Vitamins
Best
BisabololSkin-Soothing
Plant Extracts
Best
BakuchiolAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Ferulic AcidAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Tocopherol (Vitamin E)Antioxidants
Vitamins
Best

Clean Lightweight Daily Face Moisturizer:

Ingredient Name Ingredient Category Ingredient Quality
WaterMisc.Good
Lactobacillus FermentHydrationBest
Dicaprylyl Ether*
GlycerinSkin-Replenishing
Skin-Restoring
Best
C9-12 Alkane*
Lactococcus Ferment Lysate*
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)Skin-Soothing
Skin-Restoring
Antioxidants
Vitamins
Best
Saccharide IsomerateEmollients
Skin-Replenishing
Good
Panthenol (Vitamin B5)VitaminsBest
Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)Antioxidants
Vitamins
Best
Avena Sativa (Oat) Seed ExtractSkin-Soothing
Plant Extracts
Best
Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo) Leaf ExtractSkin-Soothing
Antioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem ExtractPlant Extracts
Sensitizing
Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plan Extracts
Poor
Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf ExtractAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice PowderPlant ExtractsGood
Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract*
Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit ExtractSkin-Restoring
Plant Extracts
Texture Enhancer
Best
Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit ExtractAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf ExtractPlant Extracts
Thickeners/Emulsifiers
Cleansing Agents
Poor
Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf ExtractAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plant Extracts
Good
Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit ExtractAntioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit ExtractSkin-Soothing
Antioxidants
Plant Extracts
Best
Cetearyl AlcoholTexture Enhancer
Emollients
Good
Cetearyl GlucosideTexture EnhancerGood
Cetearyl OlivateSlip Agents
Emulsifiers
Texture Enhancers
Good
Sorbitan OlivateCleansing Agents
Emulsifiers
Good
CocoglyceridesTexture Enhancer
Emollients
Good
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/ Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate CopolymerThickeners/Emulsifiers
Texture Enhancer
Good
Decyl GlucosideCleansing AgentsGood
Lauryl GlucosideCleansing AgentsGood
Triethyl Citrate*
Citric AcidMisc.Good
EthylhexylglycerinMisc.
Preservatives
Good
Sodium CitrateAntioxidants
Preservatives
Good
PhenoxyethanolPreservativesGood
Xanthan GumThickeners/Emulsifiers
Texture Enhancer
Good

*Not listed in Dictionary.

First Impressions

My skincare routine before using these products consisted of Larouche Posay’s cleanser, Pixi Glow Tonic toner, and Olay moisturizer. I wasn’t set on any holy grail products so I was ready with open arms to welcome new skin care products into my life.

My skin is oily and acne prone so I tend to look for cleansers that cater to my skin type. The cleanser from Ghost Democracy is formulated for all skin types. It creates a light foam when you use it, and thankfully it didn’t irritate my skin. It’s fragrance free but there is some sort of smell – it has that no smell-smell.

The serum was also something to get used to. If I used too many drops, it felt like it wouldn’t absorb into my skin as well (truthfully I probably started off using 6-7 drops). You’re also supposed to “pat, pat, pat” it into your skin per the directions but how do I pat, pat, pat?? I just rubbed it into my skin.

Skin Check-Ins

To keep track of how my skin fared over 30-days, I took a couple of pictures. Here’s my skin the night I started using the products:

No makeup, no edits to photo

And this was my skin a week later:

No makeup, no edits to photo

There’s little to no difference between week one and week two, but I guess that’s better than it getting worse.

I’ll be honest, with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I wasn’t consistent capturing my skin each week. But here’s my skin a couple days after the 30-day mark:

No makeup, no edit to photo, and before I washed my face for the night

How I’m Feeling After 30 Days

There’s some risk of irritating your skin when you completely switch skincare products. What I’m happy about is that using these products daily didn’t irritate my skin. I didn’t find myself with more breakouts outside of normal blemishes that popped up certain parts of the month.

The serum and moisturizer were products I didn’t know I needed. After 30 days, I feel like the serum alone helped contribute to a brighter complexion. While my skin still has a long way to go, incorporating a serum was a foundational first step for me and I can’t wait to keep using it.

The moisturizer is super creamy and nourishing on the skin, and it feels like a mini luxurious treat every time I used it. Plus, it forced me to upgrade to start using a separate SPF (which was loooonnnnggg overdue).

However…the cleanser was a no go. Here’s the thing. The cleanser didn’t irritate my skin or break me out, but it did dry my skin out in a way that cleansers before it didn’t do. I’m oily, and I typically use products catered to that. This cleanser is formulated for all skin types, which I feel is too much for my skin. No cleanser should leave you dry and tight. I’ve since switched back to my original cleanser, and am looking for others to try.

Final Thoughts

I’m excited to try more products from this line! A brand that’s clean and makes an effort to create products that are good for customers is a-ok in my book.

While I’m not sure of what new products are on the horizon, in a Q&A with founder Rex, it sounds like there might be an SPF dropping this year. Hurray!


Would you try Ghost Democracy? Let me know what you think in the comments below!


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