Beauty Features

LET’S TALK GOOD SKINCARE PRACTICES – PART IV: SERUMS

The Serums Have it!

Ok, so now we are getting more serious into the treatments, and serums is really where you should make your bigger investment (not to say you have to spend a fortune or that all good serums need to be a budget breaker, that’s not the case at all). Serums are the formulas that will penetrate the upper layers of your skin a bit more deeply and actually deliver the treatments and ingredients your skin needs. So think more carefully about what your skin needs at any given time and invest in good serums to address those needs. I’d always highly recommend having in your arsenal a good hydrating serum, rich in Hyaluronic Acid that you can pair with or alternate with other treatment serums throughout your routine. From brightening serums for dull, tired or sun damaged/pigmented skin rich in Niacinamide and Vitamin C to the retinoids to help fight signs of ageing and acne, we’ll cover a wide range of choices.

The Devices

FOREO BEAR™, RRP £279.00

Loving this little device so much! Such a good investment to make for your skincare routine. The massage feels amazing and skin just looks plump, lifted and healthy after using it. It uses advanced microcurrent & T-Sonic™ pulsations to exercise the 65+ muscles in your face and neck. Taking facial fitness to a whole new level, this fierce little device tightens and firms the skin for a youthful, contoured complexion. The stimulating microcurrents tone the skin, while FOREO’s signature T-sonic™ pulsations relax the facial muscle tension points, smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. BEAR features their patented Anti-Shock System™ – making it the world’s safest microcurrent device. Advanced sensors measure your skin’s resistance to electricity then automatically adjust the intensity to eliminate any chance of shock, which is really innovative! It should be used after cleansing, toning and serum to firm, tone and lift the facial muscles, as when it’s used after/together with a serum you will feel better results as it will improve microcurrent conductivity thus enhancing the effects. Always use a serum or cream before using the microcurrent device, making sure it is fully absorbed before using the device and afterwards continue with your usual routine.

Available at foreo.com

Silk’n’ FaceTite, RRP £199.00

This is another device that will help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, whilst rejuvenating sun damaged skin. Using a combination of Bi-Polar RF Energy (fractionated bi-polar radio-frequency) which strengthens the deeper skin layer down to 4mm, Red LED light which balances the skin and ensures recovery and IR Heat Energy (infrared warmth) which improves the structure of the skin, it works to revitalise collagen and elastin fibres in the skin. While using it the exterior of the skin warms up to a maximum of 43°C while the inner layers reach a maximum of 50°C, which stimulates the contraction of fibres in the skin’s matrix. This is a totally painless process though, the skin just feels slightly warm and skin becomes visibly tighter, looks younger and feels renewed.

Available at Boots and www.currentbody.com 

RÉDUIT Uni, RRP £89.00

RÉDUIT Uni is RÉDUIT’s first universal skincare and haircare treatment device, fit for use across both Skinpods and Hairpods, suitable for all hair and skin types that provides weightless and precise treatment in the form of an ultra-fine mist leaving your hair and skin nourished and free from pore-clogging textures. This brand new tech for your skin, delivers the purest ingredients directly to your pores. Now, we’d seen the RÉDUIT device in action before, when they launched their haircare version, and we’ve seen the Spa device, which is strictly for skin, and now this works with both Hairpods and Skinpods. But for now we’re focusing strictly on the skincare side of it. This professional-grade hand-held device uses ultrasonic diffusion to mist the ingredients onto the skin, allowing it to perfectly absorb droplets which are 50 times smaller than a traditional spray. The result is beautiful, healthy-looking skin in seconds. This device debuts a never-before-seen skincare application system using ultrasonic magnetic misting, ultrasonic diffusion technology, as well as LED therapy, to target a range of skincare concerns from pollution, ageing and hydration to achieving a clear, dewy complexion. Features the Boost function, previously reserved for the luxe RÉDUIT Gold and Pro devices. It’s a brilliant device for anyone that wants a “hands-off” application, as you never have to touch your face when you use it. The Skinpods™ are easy to recycle and they will greatly reduce your plastic waste. You can use their own brand products and soon you’ll be able to use  products from partnering brands.  At only 5ml, RÉDUIT’s tiny Skinpods™ are the equivalent to a full-sized product and deliver up to 40 applications (on an estimated 25 seconds per pod application). The highly concentrated formulations contain only the most powerful ingredients for maximum results. Retail prices for the pods start at £28.90.

The serum range currently includes: 

  • Hydro BoostCreated especially for dehydrated skin, with active ingredients Betaine and Rosa Rugosa Flower provide gentle hydration and help skin to adapt to moisture losses and gains throughout the day to keep skin hydration levels balanced. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect and the addition of Allantoin and Glycerin makes skin silky to the touch.  
  • Ageless MistIdeal for mature skin, or anyone looking for ageing care, is a revolutionary treatment that boosts skin’s elasticity and effectively reduces the appearance of fine lines while preventing further signs of ageing. Featuring Hydrolyzed Collagen and Copper Tripeptides, this skin-renewing treatment boosts collagen production, skin elasticity, and hydration for smoother, more youthful-looking skin.
  • Pearl Diffusion Made with concentrated Niacinamide. Extensive research has shown Niacinamide works to protect skin from environmental damage and also helps skin make more collagen and hyaluronic acid. It improves hydration, reduces signs of ageing, diminishes enlarged pores, and significantly lessens skin discolouration. Ideal for dull, tired skin to help brighten and revive it.

Available from Reduit.com and Cult Beauty

Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar, RRP £185.00

This gorgeous little device created by celebrity Makeup Artist Jillian Dempsey, instantly makes your skin feel and appear more toned, contours feel tighter and more lifted. Ideal for both men and women, it uses a Japanese vibration technology that mimics the effects of a massage, instantly relaxing facial muscles to help release tension. It feels fantastic! Because the intense massage effect stimulates circulation, areas of puffiness, especially around the eyes and jawline, are quickly diminished and skin will look radiant. And because 24-carat gold is antibacterial, it is also beneficial to your skin, and it will not tarnish when in contact with your skincare. Ideally you should use every day for 3 minutes, on cleansed or moisturised skin, in gentle sweeping upwards motions across the areas you wish to address, such as the jawline, chin, neck and cheekbones. The device is charged with a single AA battery which will last for 3 months if used for 3 minutes a day. Do not use in the bath or shower. Apply a pea-sized amount of your serum or moisturiser on skin, then push bar in upwards motions according to the included guidelines.

Available at Revolve

Hydration 

As already stated, everyone should have a good hydration serum in their arsenal, regardless of skin type. Dehydrated skin is missing water, not oil, and that is usually caused by external factors such as extreme/constant weather changes (air con, heating, cold, etc), unbalanced diet or lack of proper water intake, medication, hormonal changes, too much caffeine or alcohol or even stress, among other things. Dehydrated skin will also feel tight and look dull and it can happen to anyone at any point in their lives. So just like we need to drink water to keep ourselves hydrated, we need to give our skin a drink to keep it in tip-top shape.

Katherine Daniels Rehydrating Concentrate, RRP £45.00 for 30ml

This intensely hydrating fluid with a moisturising complex of Glycerine, Serine, and Trehalose which brings long-term hydration, provides an immediate and long-term moisture burst to rehydrate parched skin. Powerhouse ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid which is a powerful hydrator, Seaweed Extract to oxygenate and aids hydration within the skin, Mushroom Extract to help prevent moisture loss and firm skin and Chamomile Extract to soothe and calm skin, work to hydrate, firm and oxygenate your skin, while forming an invisible shield to protect against pollution. Skin is left feeling supple and hydrated, while redness from environmental exposure will be instantly soothed and calmed.

Available at katherinedanielscosmetics.com

Shiro Kombu Moisturising Serum, RRP £68.00 for 60ml

Ideal for those with dry, dehydrated and lack-lustre skin. With their hero ingredient Gagome Kombu, to secure and lock in moisture, this is an ingredient found exclusively off the coast of Hakodate, Hokkaido, in Japan. By soaking gagome kombu in water, its thick and rich compounds are extracted to create a concentrated serum. The kombu’s high water-retaining properties protects the skin against dehydration to keep skin firm and supple. Shake well before each use as the natural kombu ingredients may partially separate over time. Once shaken, apply 2 pumps of serum onto clean skin. Gently massage onto face, neck and any dry skin areas.

Available at shiro-shiro.uk

Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Serum, RRP £24.99 for 30ml

This daily facial moisture boosting serum is the ideal way to start adding hydration to your skin. Containing the purest form of Hyaluronic Acid, it acts as a refreshing drink of water that ultimately rescues your skin and you can see the results when your skin looks and feels better hydrated, more radiant and plumped up. Hyaluronic Acid is an incredibly hydrating ingredient that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. With an added dose of nutrient-rich Red Marine Algae to encourage circulation, allowing the Hyaluronic Acid to penetrate into the skin’s deeper layers for maximum effect. Hyaluronic Acid is naturally found in the body, lying in the connective tissues like joints, cartilage and deeper layers of the skin. It absorbs water like a sponge to give skin fullness and plumpness, qualities we consistently strive to maintain as we age. I’m absolutely loving the gel like texture of this serum. Smooth a pea-sized amount of the serum over a cleansed and toned face and neck before applying other creams or lotions. Use morning and evening. It is perfect to layer with other serums as it absorbs so well and it’s just brilliant hydration, especially at this price point!

Available at Boots, Asos.com, Lookfantastic.com, Feelunique.com, and other selected retailers

Foreo Serum Serum Serum, RRP £48.00 for 30ml

Created with the most hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and Squalane which are micro-encapsulated to send all that skin nourishing goodness deep down where you need it most. This antioxidant-rich formula fights free radicals and is lightweight, rejuvenating, and ultra-hydrating. To get the most out of your serum, use it with the BEAR device to help enhance absorption of all the high-powered ingredients for a healthy glow in no time. The antioxidant power of Squalane gives your skin a healthy, fresh look and Hyaluronic Acid locks in moisture to give you softer, smoother and super-hydrated skin. Fights skin damaging free radicals. Another gorgeous, lightweight texture that I’m really liking and is quickly absorbed and leaves skin feeling soft, hydrated and plump.

Available at foreo.com

Jane Scrivner Bioluronic Buzz Smoothing Hyaluronic Hydrator, from RRP £32.00 for 50gr

An intensely hydrating and smoothing, natural hyaluronic gel designed to provide an instant mega-hit of hydration, thus smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and improving texture and skin tone clarity. Bio Fermented Hyaluronic Acid which is a 100% natural, non-synthetic Hyaluronic Acid that works to boost skin’s moisture levels by holding 1000x more water to the skin’s upper layers to fortify and maintain it’s texture and barrier function. Spilanthes Acmella, otherwise known as ‘Buzz Button’ or the ‘Toothache Plant’, reduces muscle tension and is a natural muscle relaxant, the Spilanthol is thought to have a ‘paralysing’ effect on facial muscles, penetrating the skin and inhibiting contractions in the subcutaneous muscles, much like a safe, natural alternative to Botox. And a blend of Organic Aloe Vera, White Willow (which works similarly to Salicylic Acid) and Organic Frankincense Essential Oil helps to calm, tone and clarify the skin, leaving smooth, plump and ready for the rest of your routine.

Available at janescrivner.com

Sensitive/Stressed Skin

Sensitivity isn’t a skin type per se, it’s more of a skin condition that can be triggered by lifestyle or it can be genetic. Sensitive skin is “defined” by a depleted protective layer (which is what gives skin it’s barrier function that protects skin from external aggressions). So if your skin usually reacts badly to products or harsh weather conditions and gets inflamed, red, blotchy and/or itchy (this is called dermatitis), then you need to treat it as sensitive skin as it is likely it will continually react that same way. (There are many other skin conditions out there, such as dehydration, acne, rosacea, etc. These are usually – hopefully – temporary and caused by external factors like lifestyle, but some, such as eczema or psoriasis, can be triggered by illness or genetic factors, and harder to tackle and usually require some medical attention.) All skin types can suffer from sensitivity, although drier skins are usually more prone to it due to the skin’s protective barrier being depleted. When it comes to stress, even though we don’t always think about it, it can sometimes manifest in our skin, since it’s the largest organ in our body. Stress can increase cortisol levels in the body which in turn can increase inflammation and affect blood flow to the skin and thus affect skin repair. Sometimes, it can be the case that products begin to irritate your skin during a time of extreme stress, and your skin will react poorly rather than the way it normally would.

The Organic Pharmacy Skin Rescue Serum, RRP £39.00 for 30ml

First-aid for seriously stressed skin. This 98.7% organic blend of cool, green oil with its anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients provides instant comfort for skin that is flaky, itchy, sunburnt or dull. Star soothers from the plant world include Tamanu Oil, known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties, coupled with nourishing Chickweed, calming Chamomile and cooling Rose Oils are all packed into this powerfully soothing serum. This rescue trio have been clinically proven to help dial down the negative effects of dryness, sensitivity and irritation and even to help soothe skin prone to rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.

Available at The Organic Pharmacy

BYBI Strawberry Booster, RRP £12.00 for 15ml

This is a 100% cold-pressed Strawberry Seed Oil that’s great for dry, flaky or irritated skin. Designed to boost your existing skincare products, it absorbs quickly to increase moisture levels and soften sensitive skin. It contains Omegas 6 & 3 fatty acids that deliver a potent hit of moisture whilst also strengthening and softening the skin’s surface, and are a great way of smoothing very irritated, dry or flaky skin. Also a rich source of Ellagic Acid, a powerhouse antioxidant that helps repair skin damaged by environmental stressors such as UV rays and pollution. This will help visibly reduce discolouration, hyperpigmentation and loss of firmness, leaving skin looking bright, soft and strong. Intensely nourishing but with a lightweight and fast spreading texture, meaning it doesn’t make your skin feel greasy or oily and is ideal for using both day and night, like a supplement for your skincare that can be added to existing products to enhance their performance or be used on it’s own, just apply to face and neck after cleansing and toning. Sustainable because it’s a by-product of the juicing industry, using the discarded seeds, it’s cold-pressed to order, so there’s no waste, and it’s a low carbon process too. 

Available at BYBI

SOS Serum, RRP £15.00 for 50ml

Designed specifically for sensitised skin, this is a soothing serum that contains anti-inflammatory Wasabi and calming Burdock Leaf Extracts and the refined extract of cooling Peppermint and Lauromacrogols which acts as an anaesthetic to soothe the skin. Together they deliver comfort, moisture, protection and rapid relief from a wide range of concerns, including those with really sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. You can even use it to treat and soothe cuts, bites, plant and insect stings and minor burns, soothe and hydrate wind chapped and sun damaged skin and quickly and effectively manage allergic flare-ups.

Available at sosserum.co.uk

Jane Scrivner Un Condition Calm Soothe Facial Oil, RRP £24.00 for 30ml

Whatever your skin condition, including acne, eczema, psoriasis or rosacea this oil will calm and soothe it. Crafted with 100% Organic cold pressed Wild Harvested Argan Fruit Oil together with Organic Essential Oil of Frankincense which is astringent, toning, lifting and tightening. High in Vitamin E and rich in hydrating, Essential Fatty Acids, Polyphenols, Squalene and Ferulic Acid and full of antioxidants. Apply a small amount to the pads of your fingers, warm by rubbing gently together and then press the oil into areas that need help. Use a daily, morning or evening.

Available at Jane Scrivner

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Dermallergo Serum, RRP £28.00 for 20ml

This is La Roche-Posay’s first concentrated serum enriched with 0.1% of Neurosensine, which is a dipeptide found naturally in the skin and it has been clinically proven to help reduce sensations of discomfort. It is an especially useful ingredient in products where the skin barrier function has been impaired and is in need of restoration. It acts as a daily drop of soothing power for ultra-sensitive skin. It immediately hydrates the skin for up to 48h and restores the skin barrier to help protect against future reactions. Clinically proven to reduce signs of sensitivity such as dryness, tightness and itchiness. Its light and refreshing texture immediately soothes and relieves sensitive skin, providing high efficacy with high tolerance. Combined with anti-irritation Thermal Spring Water from La Roche-Posay and Osmolyte, this formula intensely soothes the skin and restores the skin barrier. Specifically formulated for sensitive, reactive skin prone to dryness, tightness and itchiness. Also suitable for use on allergy-prone skin.

Available at Boots

Brightening/Radiance

Everyone wants healthy looking, dewy, glowing skin. Whether your skin is dry, combination or oily, anyone at any time can see and feel their skin going a bit dull and lifeless or tired looking.  We know hydration as well as exfoliation play a big part in keeping skin looking fresh and radiant (as do many other factors, such as diet, sleep pattern, lifestyle and a good cleansing routine), but so does the addition of certain star ingredients such as Vitamin C and Niacinamide into your skin care routine, as they will help combat environmental stressors that can cause skin damage making it look lifeless and dull.

Wild Science Labs Root + Fruit JUICE BOOST Brightening Serum, RRP £38.00 for 50ml

Love love loving this lightweight, easy to absorb serum which contains stabilised Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid, Betaine and soothing organic Aloe Vera and an uplifting blend of 6 essential oils that help regulate, soothe and tone, to recharge and energise skin tone, vitality and radiance. This is a daily reactivation solution to encourage a brighter, firmer and more hydrated complexion. Gently scented with a gorgeous, slightly citrusy fresh scent. Apply by gently pressing 2 or 3 drops on cleansed and toned skin morning and evening. 

Available at wildsciencelab.com

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Niacinamide Dark Spot Serum, RRP £38.00 for 30ml

This powerful yet incredibly gentle formula helps reduce the look of dark spots, sunspots, discoloration, hyperpigmentation, and post-acne marks without causing irritation. This lightweight serum is packed with star ingredients Niacinamide, (Vitamin B3) that restores healthy tone and texture and helps skin appear more bouncy, Licorice Root, a botanical extract with antioxidant properties that helps soothe and brighten skin and Golden Kiwifruit, a superfruit that boasts 3x more Vitamin C than an orange and helps protect skin from free radical damage, which work together to promote a more uniform, healthy looking and radiant complexion. With added Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine, a hydroquinone alternative that helps to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and promotes a more uniform, even toned and radiant complexion. Use twice daily in the AM and PM after cleansing and toning by applying 3 to 4 drops to fingertips and apply to problem areas or the entire face, following with moisturiser. When using in the AM always follow with SPF.

Available online at LookFantastic, ASOS and FeelUnique

Wo Skincare Power TonIQ Instant Radiance Boosting Essence, from RRP £15.00 for a 2 week supply

For those suffering from dull and dry skin, this instantly brightens thanks to its blend of Light Reflecting Optical Diffusers which instantly give skin radiance, with carefully selected brightening actives, including Chinese Cabbage Plant Peptide which has been scientifically extracted to produce a peptide sugar complex rich in bioactive molecules proven to help lighten skin tone whilst helping to firm, smooth and plump the skin and Alpha Arbutin which is a well renowned naturally active skin brightening agent extracted from bearberries that helps to support natural healthy skin and help reduce pigmentation and improve skin tone and radiance and Argan Oil which is rich in Vitamin E and hydrates and softens the skin. And they’re individually packaged for precise and hygienic dosage, which I love! Great texture also, quickly absorbed and does deliver that instant shot of brightness to the skin.

Available at wearewo.com

MONAT C. Radiance™ Illuminating Serum, RRP £89.00 for 30ml

A supercharged, 15% Vitamin C serum, featuring powerful antioxidants to help brighten and enhance the complexion. The daily multivitamin, gorgeously silky serum glides onto skin and absorbs quickly, going to work to create a healthy, healthy-looking glow. Powered by a Kakadu Plum Complex, which combines three superhero skin stabilising antioxidants, Kakadu Plum, a sustainably-sourced, Australian multitasking superfruit containing one of the most concentrated, natural sources of Vitamin C on earth, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a stable water-soluble form of vitamin C, and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, an oil-soluble ester of vitamin C, to allow for better product penetration and overall performance, since our skin is made up of both lipid and watery layers. With Hyaluronic Acid, which is a moisture magnet, Ferulic Acid, to enhance and strengthen, Liquorice Root Extract, which brightens and tones and Niacinamide, to soothe, brighten and refine. 

Available at MONAT

Kat Burki Power Trio Radiance Oil, RRP £125.00 for 30ml

A luxurious face oil that conditions the skin with a potent, yet gentle, blend of biocompatible, cold processed oils of Tamanu, Kukui Nut and Raspberry Seed. This high-powered formula treats multiple skin concerns due to Raspberry Seed Oil having some of the highest levels of Alpha-Linoleic Acids of any oils, and has added Salicylic Acid to help clear skin. This dry oil instantly absorbs into skin, to help heal, nourish and balance, helps prevent and reduce inflammation and helps to unclog pores. 

Available at katburki.com, net-a-porter.com, SpaceNK, FeelUnique and OxygenBoutique

Oily/Blemish Prone Skin

Usually more prone to breakouts and blackheads, this skin type usually presents with an excessive sebum production, with skin looking shiny, slightly thicker and with enlarged pores. Oily skin can still get dehydrated (meaning it lacks water) and sensitised. Acne is a different condition that can happen to anyone, regardless of skin type, and it’s usually either hormone related (which is why it’s so common during adolescence and around periods) or sensitivity/allergy related.

Tropic Skincare Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum, RRP £42.00 for 30ml

Still a firm favourite of mine, the Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum helps to cool the skin and soothe the inflammation at the early stages of blemish breakout and prevents the spot causing bacteria from growing. I still suffer from hormonal breakouts which are a pain, and this serum is such a gorgeous treatment. With Hyaluronic Acid, Prebiotics, Niacinamide, Salicylic Acid, Watermelon Extract and Blue Spirulina in the ingredient list along with Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) and Copper and Zinc PCA, it regulates the skin without skipping the all-important hydration. It’s a liquid, almost water-like formula, so really quickly absorbed, very gentle and super lightweight on the skin. I find 4 to 6 drops work best for me and my oily-dehydrated skin and it sinks in super quick, with no residue. Good thing is you can pair it with a hydrating serum for that extra boost, just avoid pairing with Vitamin C in the same application as it might counteract the Copper PCA, so use one in the AM and the other in the PM.

Available at Tropic Skincare

Beauty Pie Plantastic™ Micropeeling Super Drops, RRP £50.00 for 50ml (£9.90 for members)

This is amazing to keep breakouts at bay, skin looking bright, pores refined and tight, this is a great addition to your skincare routine.With  95% naturally derived ingredients, fruit-acids, micro-purifying antimicrobial biosurfactants and natural brighteners. Refines pores, exfoliates and perfects, helps even out skin tone, softens and smooths by dissolving the top layer of skin and removing impurities. With exfoliating Salicylic Acid, Banana, Caja and Mango Fruit Acids to smooth, Kiwiberry Stem Cells for healthy skin and Vitabright Extract for refining pores and reducing the appearance of pigmentation. Absolutely perfect to use once or twice a week for maintenance, or daily if you’re battling breakouts, which is exactly what I do, I don’t use it everyday unless my skin is going through a “phase”. Usually, when I know my skin will be breaking out due to hormones, I start increasing to daily use about a week before, to help prevent them, otherwise I keep it to 2 or 3 times weekly.

Available at Beauty Pie

IRÉN SKIN Clearer Days Anti-Blemish Serum, RRP £30.00 for 15ml

A 3-phase anti-blemish serum that treats, calms, and protects your skin from future breakouts. Still a favourite of mine, this little blend is packed full of powerful ingredients. With 8% Niacinamide, a powerful antioxidant with acne-clearing and anti-inflammatory properties that can regulate sebum and Mangosteen Extract, which has anti-bacterial properties and calming benefits and also White Willow Extract which contains anti-inflammatory natural salicylates (similar to Salicylic Acid) that can target acne and has soothing effects. Having been designed to blend with the other serums in the range, it’s ideal to layer with your hydration serum.

Available at Lonedesignclub.com

Herbivore Lapis Balancing Facial Oil, RRP £60.00 for 50ml

Suitable for combination, oily and blemish-prone skins the most. We’ve all been through stages where we over-wash our skin and do not moisturise it properly, so it overcompensates by producing more oil and sebum leading to oilier skin and clogged pores. This facial oil is made with natural plant oils like Blue Tansy, Kukui Nut and Jojoba Oils and Squalane, that will thoroughly hydrate skin without clogging pores so that it can stop producing excess oil and find the balance it needs. We know  oily skin needs moisture too and is often dehydrated because we tend to forget that, leading to dry patches and the overcompensation of oil and sebum. This sinks in deeply to moisturise and nourish with antioxidants and vitamins, which work to hydrate where skin is dry and give it a radiant glow. It has a lovely herbal, slightly fruity-sweet scent.

Available at Cult Beauty

COSRX AC Collection Blemish Spot Clearing Serum, RRP £31.00 for 40ml

This is a potent serum that truly works quickly and effectively to reduce the appearance of redness and swelling, leaving you with the feeling of clearer, smoother, calmer skin. Gentle, natural Centella works to drastically diminish the appearance of spots, while Niacinamide encourages the reduction of discolouration and the look of irritation, making marks and acne scars less visible. An infusion of EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) helps to boost the look of collagen production and elasticity in the skin, for skin that is plumper, firmer and softer. The uniquely created spot serum works to maintain sebum levels, dramatically minimising the risk of them becoming imbalanced. Another really effective treatment serum with great texture, quickly absorbed and great to layer with other serums also.

Available at LookFantastic and BeautyBay

Balanced/All Skin types/All around care

Balanced or “normal” skin is usually the holy grail of skin types and sported by those that won the skin typing genetic lottery (yes, the rest of us are jealous). It is as the name suggests, perfectly balanced between sebum and natural moisturising factors. It has good, even texture and pores are a non-issue. Balanced skin can still get dehydrated or sensitised or even get occasional spots.

Evolve Organic Beauty, RRP £38.00 for 30ml

The Superfood 360 natural face serum is their new supercharged anti ageing serum based on their Age Smarter 360 concept.  Ageing Smarter is taking care of the skin naturally at every stage of life, working proactively with the body to support graceful ageing. A 360 view of ageing tackles not only fine lines and wrinkles but also age spots, texture and luminosity. This lightweight serum can be used on all skin types and at any age really. The advanced formulation is packed with highly effective natural superfoods such as Sacha Inchi Peptides which is proven to improve firmness, reduce wrinkles and smooth skin, restructuring by improving dermal density, Peruvian Maca which stimulates cell renewal, to reduce the appearance of wrinkles whilst boosting skin’s luminosity and radiance and Cacay Oil which is rich in Linoleic Acid to support the skin barrier and to lock moisture into the skin together with Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate and deliver comprehensive skin protection and rejuvenation benefits including improvement in skin tone, wrinkle depth, texture and luminosity. Gorgeous texture that leaves skin feeling silky smooth and a very subtle, delicious citrus scent.

Available at evolvebeauty.co.uk

BIOEFFECT EGF Serum, RRP £130.00 for 15ml

This age-defying serum is always a favourite because it is just so ridiculously good. From texture to ease of application and effectiveness. The price point might not be the most accessible to all, but it’s a good investment if you can make it. It significantly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increases skin thickness and density and restores skin’s healthy radiance and plumpness. Designed to renew, revive, and restore skin. Apply 2 to 4 drops to the face and neck on cleansed and toned skin every night. You can follow with your nightime moisturiser or oil of choice if you feel your skin needs it, but for most skins, it won’t be necessary and you won’t fell like you need to. Provides intense repair to the skin while you sleep. Contains only 7 ingredients, including Hyaluronic Acid, Icelandinc Water and their patented EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor).

Available at bioeffect.co.uk

Beauty Pie Japanfusion Deep-Treatment Serum, RRP £75.00 for 50ml (£10.16 for members)

Another favourite, but then again I do love the Japanfusion range, so it’s no surprise. This is a skin-energizing, NMF (Natural Moisturising Factor) boosting serum. Fully-loaded with Grape and Citrus antioxidants, NMF mimickers and powerful skin soothers. This formula protects skin from pollution and external aggressions, and helps skin retain moisture longer. Infused with deep-hydrating ingredients for natural plumping, skin soothing, smoothing and softening. Excellent for protecting sensitive skin. A fantastic re-energizing moisturising serum for sun-damaged skin. With NMFission Moisture-Lock Complex, a quadruple-action Pombe Yeast derivative that delivers moisture and firmness, visibly re-energizes the complexion and reduces visible lines and wrinkles through deep hydration and skin-surface nourishing, Jabara Extract, an antioxidant ingredient harvested from the Japanese citrus fruit, rich in Vitamin C and Polyphenols, it helps inhibit the appearance of pigmented spots, and helps fight free radical damage, Delamyth DNA+ which is an extract from the peels of the Delaware Grape, proven to help soothe the skin, and to counteract UV-related free radical damage, especially UVB, with excellent antioxidant properties and Superlift Moisture BioPolymer™, to instantly firm, lift, tone and moisturise skin.

Available at Beauty Pie

Algenist AA Barrier Serum, RRP £80.00 for 30ml

Defend your complexion from pollutants and damage caused by the environment with this antioxidant serum that features a fast-absorbing formula. This treatment has been developed with the brand’s patented ageing care ingredient, Alguronic Acid, an effective compound sourced from algae cells. It also contains nourishing Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) along with a powerful antioxidant blend that includes Ergothioneine from Mushrooms and Phloretin from Green Apples. And also Vitamins A and C and Lactic and Glycolic Acids. These actives work together to provide a defence against urban pollution and improve the skin’s overall appearance. With continued use, it can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, dullness and discolouration. It can be used AM and PM after cleansing and toning, just smooth a small amount onto the face, neck and upper chest before applying your moisturiser. This is a very “complete” serum, with a slightly thicker texture. The scent is a bit odd because it’s not fragranced, so it’s the scent of the ingredients, which is not the best scent, but you won’t have an issue with added fragrance.

Available at Space NK, Net-a-porter.com, Feelunique.com and Lookfantastic.com

Organic Apoteke Rasayana Rejuvenating Serum 6-in-1, RRP £54.95 for 30ml

A certified organic ageing care blend of 6 serums in 1 bottle, also known as “a facelift in a jar”, this revolutionary serum draws upon nature’s most potent ageing care extracts to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, lighten age spots and improve skin tone and texture. The lightweight formula carries the precious nutrients in the Rasayana Complex to the deepest layers of your skin. Using a Pentapeptide Complex of natural Amino Acids extracted from Sugar Beet to smooth, firm and tone skin which provides the building blocks of collagen and elastin, alongside Gotu Kola which is rich in vitamins A, B, E and K which strengths and repairs skin and Rosehip which supports healthy regeneration and supports skin structure.

Available online at https://www.organicapoteke.com/

Ageing care 

This is something that happens to us all, let’s just face that right here, and be happy it does. As we age, skin’s collagen production diminishes, especially after our 30’s, but lifestyle and diet can have a part in collagen breakdown and loss, like excess sugar, as sugar will cause glycation, which is what occurs when excess bodily glucose molecules link to the skin’s collagen and elastin fibres, making them become more rigid, less elastic and it reduces its regenerative abilities which can then lead to damage such as thinning skin and loss of firmness. Excess sun will also damage your skin and skin naturally loses some of its capacity to retain moisture as we age and it becomes a bit drier and more dehydrated. So looking at ageing care specific products as early as your mid twenties is not excessive, but take into account all the other factors that influence your skin, like acne, hormones, and so on. You can crack on with the Vitamin C and Niacinamide and even Retinoids if you suffer from severe acne (these will usually even be prescribed to you by your doctor), or if you “abuse” the sun, otherwise start on those from your 30’s onwards (we’ll discuss more about retinoids below). And definitely crack on with it all if you’re a smoker, as that is terribly damaging to your skin (and your health in general).

SVR Densitium Firming Bi-Serum, RRP £43.00 for 30ml 

Designed to combat all signs of ageing and to restore fullness and firmness to the face, this amazing firming and lifting serum with a dual oil and aqua-gel formula, is the first product to contain ultra-fragmented Hyaluronic Acid and Bio-Calcium, 2 active ingredients with recognized dermatological properties on skin density. This unique serum contains two different formulas to maximize the concentration of active ingredients in each of the phases while ensuring perfect stability, one is a redensifying anti-gravity aqua-gel serum containing not only the Bio-Calcium and Ultra-Fragmented Hyaluronic Acid but two proprietary blends which have a firming, lifting and lipo-plumping action on the skin, whilst also stimulating collagen synthesis and the other is a radiance-boosting and anti-wrinkle lipid restoring oil containing Achiote, Borage, Evening Primrose and Argan Oils which are rich in Omega 6, help to restore the lipid barrier, have antioxidant, antiseptic and antibacterial properties as well as emollient, firming and regenerative properties, Hydrophilic Sugars to reinforce the skin barrier, reduce trans-epidermal water loss and provide long-lasting comfort, Squalane + Viamérine® to restore the skin’s barrier function, moisturise, hydrate and nourish and stimulate cell renewal and Stoechiol which is an oil extracted from butterfly lavender and smooths wrinkles with two combined actions by relaxing dermal contractions through the production of beta endorphins and by rebuilding the epidermis while stimulating the division of cells and improving their cohesion. Its botox-like effect lasts up to 24 hours after application and up to 7 days after the treatment is stopped. Also containing 45% (the highest concentration on the market) of re-densifying, antigravity and lipid restoring active ingredients, it combats the three main signs of skin ageing, loss of density and volume, deepening of wrinkles and extreme dryness. Day after day the skin is denser, the cheekbones more raised, facial contours redefined. Use twice a day after cleansing and toning and before your daily moisturiser, by blending one pump of the 2 formulas in the palm of your hand then applying to face and neck.

Available at uk.labo-svr.com, lookfantastic.com, feelunique.com and beautyexpert.com

Clockface Beauty Signature Serum, RRP £44.00 for 30ml

A high-performance formulation, containing 12 active ingredients. A perfect balance of antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids, this one product can tone, lift, tighten, protect and hydrate your skin. Suitable for all skin types, and powerful enough to treat various skin conditions including acne, eczema and scarring. With Frankincense to increase cellular turnover, which will fight the signs of aging, smooth out wrinkles and produce plump, fresh skin cells, Argan Oil and Grapeseed Oil will soften and hydrate the skin whilst also protecting against future damage, Vitamin E and Patchouli deliver a healthy, youthful glow, Oleic Acid from Avocado Oil helps to improve texture and appearance of skin tone and large pores and Santalol from Sandalwood helps relieve the irritation of eczema. Containing clarifying Clary Sage which contains Alpha Terpineol and Vitamin C which works hard as an anti-acne solution and can reduce hyperpigmentation. Myrrh and Bergamot help to address pigmentation and balance oil production. What I also love about it is it has benefits for your mind, just breathe in the beautiful scent of Myrrh, Frankincense, Ylang-ylang and Patchouli, which all have a balancing and calming effect. Waterless, cruelty free and vegan, natural skincare at it’s best.

Available at clockfacebeauty.com

Dr. Hauschka Regenerating Oil Serum Intensive, RRP £59.00 for 20ml

Firming day care to strengthen and stabilise the skin’s natural barrier. Combining the concentrated care of an oil with the power of a serum, this nourishes skin that is losing firmness and elasticity to improve its natural barrier function. Dry and sensitive skin becomes more resilient and is protected against environmental damage. Every application is an experience as the uniquely rich texture melts into the skin, leaving it feeling refreshed and silky smooth. Also, it offers long-lasting nourishment and improves the resilience of the skin. If you want you can apply it after your moisturiser, to offer additional and long-lasting protection against environmental influences. This serum does go a long way, with even a small amount leaving the skin feeling noticeably smooth throughout the day. Designed for more mature skin.

Available at drhauschka.co.uk

Slow Ageing Essential Facial Essence, RRP £56.00 for 20ml

This gorgeous, super-luxe oil is an absolute antioxidant powerhouse, effectively fighting skin damaging free radicals and increasing the potency of any skincare you apply after using it. Delicately balancing 4 multi-active, luminosity-inducing essential oils like Roman Chamomile, Ylang-Ylang, Rosemary and Lemon Verbena with an elasticity-stimulating pure plant oil like Hazelnut Seed and Vitamin E to create an incredibly smooth, silky texture that sinks in like a dream. This pure plant oil is your “secret agent” in a bottle that will hydrate to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and give skin some serious bounce. To help boost lymphatic and blood flow and release blocked energy pathways, to help bring you calm, relaxation and peace as well as brighter, healthier, more stress free skin, indulge in a little facial massage when applying it. A few drops in the palm of your hand, smooth hands together, bring them to your face and inhale the beautiful, gently citrusy scent before starting your application. Gorgeous, easy to absorb texture and the scent is just divine.

Available at slowageing.co.uk

Odile Paris OR, Je Suis, RRP £85.00 for 50ml

The secret to achieve smooth, elastic skin is found inside the formula of this amazing serum. OR, Je Suis provides immediate results, instantly reducing the appearance of both fine lines and deeper wrinkles. Avena Sativa Kernel Extract is a powerful tightener with a high molecular weight which lifts nad plumps the skin surface and Wheat Germ Extract improves the skin’s elasticity and protects it from the effects of ageing. Silk Proteins and Riboflavin contribute to making skin more beautiful, more radiant and firmer for an overall more beautiful complexion.

Available at odile.co.uk from April 

Retinoids

Although retinol/vitamin A is considered the ultimate wrinkle banishing ingredient, and the one ingredient that can truly activate collagen and cell renewal, it can be used for a variety of concerns, such as acne (it was actually originally formulated as an acne treated when they realised the its “anti-ageing” capabilities), uneven skin texture, lines and wrinkles (as stated) and a loss of elasticity and firmness, like sagging around the jaw line and cheeks. Ideally you use it at night on cleansed and toned skin, allowing it to absorb fully before applying the remainder of your skincare routine (like moisturiser). This means leaving a gap of a good 15 to 30 mins before applying another oil, cream or lotion on top. If you’re using in the AM, always finish with SPF! Always! Retinoids are all derived from Vitamin A and come in different types, such as retinol, retinal, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, and some others which are usually either “brand” names or what you’d find in prescription retinoids, and they all will act slightly different on skin, either by how they are absorbed or released into the skin or their strength, and prescription strength retinol may even be in oral medication format (capsules). Retinoids also come in different % strength, so if you’re a retinol “virgin” and just starting out, choose something with a lower strength which you can gradually increase when you become a well seasoned retinoid pro! I always recommend starting retinoids as an every 2 days application, to gauge your skin’s reaction and then either increase or decrease how many days a week you use it until your skin gets used to it and can get to using it daily. Retinoids will always make your skin react, they are a strong active, so your skin will go through a period of adjustment where it looks not so great (or as Sally Hughes puts it, “the uglies”), it will go a bit drier and flaky and then it clears and gets so much better. If however you have a serious immediate reaction, (redness, itchiness, blotchiness) even with the mildest strength, type or formula, it might be best to discontinue use and speak to your dermatologist. Do not use it at the same time as other acids (as in, not in the same application), you can alternate your acids (lactic, glycolic, etc) on the days you’re not using retinol or use one in the AM and the other in the PM, as these will also be actives and the last thing you want to do is over-stimulate your skin. Pregnant or lactating women are advised to seek the advice of their GP or medical practitioner before using retinoids. 

Omorovicza Midnight Renewal Serum, RRP £140.00 for 30ml

Always a big fan of Omorovicza, I find their products ultimately deliver great results every time, even if they’re not the most accessible to everyone, price wise, if you can, they are a worthy investment. And their new Midnight Renewal Serum is no exception. This serum delivers an instant complexion boost, smoothness, evenness of tone and radiance. Over time, it improves skin’s ability to repair at night and combats key concerns by reducing appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and signs of fatigue, as well as boosting elasticity and hydration. Skin’s healthy barrier function is reinforced, while collagen and elastin productions are boosted to optimal levels, resulting in firmer, smoother and softer-looking skin. This product uses a form of Vitamin A that is 11 times more effective than classic retinol, called Retinal. Patented, and proven to be suitable for those of us with sensitive skins who find it hard to use traditional retinol, Retinal is converted into retinoic acid in just one step, rapidly enabling our skin’s cells to communicate more efficiently, while encouraging ageing cells to continue their renewal process and regenerate collagen and elastin. With Bioactive Microalgae that shields skin from the damaging effects of cortisol, which compromises the integrity of skin cells. Helping to restore the Circadian rhythm, it increases skin’s ability to metabolise retinal and repair itself and patented Healing Concentrate™ which is a complex rich in minerals from Hungarian Thermal Waters and other natural actives, that leaves skin firmer, suppler and more youthful in appearance.

Available at Omorovicza, Cult Beauty and SpaceNK

Murad Resurgence Retinol Youth Renewal Serum, RRP £78.00 for 30ml

Tri Active Retinol Technology (3 forms of retinol for maximum efficacy) that works to treat fine lines and wrinkles. The formula is gentle and effective, not aggressive so it’s even suitable for those with sensitive skin types. This fast-acting serum combines 3 retinol technologies with Hyaluronic Acid to reduce the look of wrinkles in just 2 weeks. Fast-acting Retinoid, a time-released Retinol and a Retinol Booster help fight lines and deeper wrinkles, even skin tone and boost radiance. This innovation balances a potent, fast-acting retinol with a time released retinol that works like a slow drip, feeding retinol gradually to minimise irritation and maximise visible results. And, a booster amplifies retinol’s ability to increase cell turnover, one of retinol’s key actions, for more healthy-looking skin, fewer fine lines, and enhanced radiance.

Available at Murad.co.uk, Cult Beauty, SpaceNK and Lookfantastic.com

Beauty Pie Super Retinol Ceramide-Boost Anti-Aging Face Serum, RRP £80.00 for 50ml (£14.08 for members)

Forever a fan of the Pie! This is a perfectly balanced ultra-gentle encapsulated retinol serum which is infused with Lactic and Hyaluronic Acids, and a concentrated, barrier-repairing Ceramide blend to help protect, brighten, hydrate, smooth fine lines, soothe and also revive and replenish skin. Featuring a slow-release gentle encapsulated Retinol complex which helps to even skin tone and visibly diminish fine lines and wrinkles and enhances firmness, a concentrated Ceramide Blend to help reduce the visible signs of ageing, increase elasticity, improve skin softness and support skin’s natural barrier, Hyaluronic Acid to help keep skin dewy and hydrated and Lactic Acid to gently resurface the skin. This is a 3% encapsulated Retinol complex, which works on the skin at 0.09% pure Retinol. Apply 1-2 pumps to your entire face and neck after cleansing, toning and/or essence. Follow with your moisturiser and an SPF in the morning, and your moisturiser in the evening (if you wish). Recommendations for best results:  If you’re already a retinol user, you can use Super Retinol Serum every morning and night for at least six months. If you’re just starting with retinols or upping your strength, start by using every 2 days until you can see your skin’s reaction and then start increasing usage.

Available at Beauty Pie

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum, RRP £70.00 for 30ml

Advanced-strength retinoid serum that delivers a 6.5% solution of stabilized retinoid blends and botanical, retinol-alternative extracts into the skin. Combining 5% Retinoid Ester Blend, 1% Liposomal-Encapsulated Retinol Blend, and 0.5% Blue-Green Algae with natural, Retinoid-alternative activity, this serum fights the signs of aging and improves the look of congested and UV damaged skin. Encapsulated CoQ10 helps to improve the appearance of aging or damaged skin, while rare Hawaiian White Honey, Bisabolol, Cactus Extract, and Ginger balance and soothe the skin for the appearance of a calmer, more even-toned complexion. Another favourite, Sunday Riley always delivers. Again, price wise it might not be the most accessible to all, but if you can make the investment, do it. It’s worth it!

Available at Cult Beauty

Kat Burki Retin-C Treatment Complex, RRP £165.00 for 30ml

Put this ultimate Super Nutrient Complex, Hyaluronic Acid, 8% Vitamin C and 2.5% Retinol Rovisome (which is a less abrasive, more effective form of Retinol) blend to work for you! Vitamin C has been proven to increase Retinol’s efficacy while making it that much more stable. STAY C, is a patented potent vitamin C derivative with superior stability and it’s an antioxidant not only known for its instant radiance capabilities but has also been studied on it ability to help the skin receive greater benefits from Retinol. Retinols work by promoting skin cell turnover, allowing for new cell growth. The breakdown of collagen is reduced and skin is thicker at the deepest layer where fine lines and wrinkles begin. Research has demonstrated the two together increase the benefit of each. With 6 Cold Pressed Oils, Evening Primrose, Borage Seed, Flax Seed, Grapeseed, Jojoba and Tamanu to deliver additional smoothness, nutrition and hydration. Another one that price wise might not be the most accessible to all, but if you can make the investment, do it.

Available at Feelunique.com

Next time we talk Acid Exfoliators!

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