Here comes the long-awaited sequel of my latest skincare empties promised back in May – has it already been over 5 months?! After reviewing the cleansers, toners and masks that have been part of my skincare routine over the last year or so, it’s time to review the serums, treatments and moisturisers that I’ve been using. While there might be a few beauty companies that I love and insist on buying all the time, this post will also give you a pretty good idea of how much I really love to experiment with the products and brands I use in my skincare routine.
Here are the latest finished serums and treatments, from the lowest to the highest price:
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (£5 / 30ml)
This was my second bottle of niacinamide from The Ordinary, a product that has been very helpful in keeping in check my acne, blemishes and excess sebum. Even though the effects are never dramatic and most often slow to observe with such conditions, niacinamide and zinc are two important actives that help manage problem skin in combination with retinol and acids. In fact, every product with niacinamide that I’ve used has been very helpful in clarifying the skin, also thanks to its brightening properties, so I definitely recommend making some space for it in your daily facial care.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (£6.30 / 30ml)
This fiery red gel formula is a very concentrated weekly acid mask, quite unlike any other masks I’ve used before. While it has a very strong chemically peeling action, leaving the skin brightened and smoother, it’s also not recommended for the faint-hearted or the acid beginners because it produces a sort of tingle (mildly put) that is not easy at all to tolerate. But it’s a highly economical (this pot lasted me for over a year, used at least 1-2 times/week) and efficient product, that offers quick and visible results.
Hylamide Pore Control (£17 / 30ml)
One of the things you’ll always hear me complain about my skin is pore size, and the promise of an oil control serum that makes pores look smaller is forever going to be music to my ears. It promises to do this through a bitter mushroom extract, peptides and niacinamide, but the results failed to impress me. The slightly milky texture is easy and pleasant to apply in the morning, so it actually makes a good base for makeup or just for the daytime moisturiser.
Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Serum (£19 / 80ml)
This is actually the third bottle of the Innisfree Green Tea Serum that I’m finishing in the last two years; needless to say, I’m obsessed with it! I love the unique fresh smell of the whole green tea line, I adore the lightness of its runny texture that makes it the perfect morning serum and I also like the hydrating effects that it has on my skin. It works wonders on oilier skin types because it adds that boost of mush-needed moisture without leaving too much shine behind, but I can see it being equally great for dry or sensitive skins too.
Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Booster (£24.99 / 30ml)
During the last year, I’ve been making efforts to incorporate hyaluronic acid into my daily routine, to help treat any patches of dryness that even my oily skin occasionally suffers from. Based on Caroline Hiron’s recommendation and taking advantage of a Boots sale, I started using this serum gel in the mornings before my moisturiser and/or SPF to help the skin stay better moisturised throughout the day. It needs to be immediately followed with a cream because otherwise it leaves skin mildly tighter, but not necessarily drier; however, I didn’t actually experience the ultra-moisturising effect that it promises and I still ended up with dry patches during the afternoon, so I was quite glad to finish it and move onto a different product that has a more concentrated hyaluronic acid formulation that combines different molecular weights for bot surface and deeper hydration.
NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex (£25 / 15ml)
This serum makes some big, bold promises – with as many as 15 different molecules of hyaluronic acid never combined before in a single product. This tiny, yet fierce bottle was my go-to serum for days when my skin needed a boost of moisture. I loved applying it both in the morning before moisturiser and SPF, and in the evening before a thicker night cream. It’s definitely one of the better hyaluronic serums I’ve used, but still debating if worth repurchasing.
Tropic Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum (£42 / 30ml)
I love Tropic Skincare – I love what they do, what the stand for and how nice and likeable their team is. And when they created a serum that sounded like it was made specifically for my skin (the oily and blemish-prone kind), I was overly excited to try it. The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredients soothe and prevent blemishes, hyaluronic acid adds moisture and niacinamide, zinc and copper help with acne treatment. While it might not offer the radical effects of an acid treatment, it’s much more gentle on the skin and has excellent calming benefits for irritated skin.
Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster (£48 / 20ml)
I’ve been working in the beauty industry for 7 years now, but I never understood what peptides really do. Paula said you need this serum for younger-looking skin, so I believed her because I love her products, but I’m not convinced whether it truly softened my wrinkles or improved my texture. Reading the 5* reviews on their website makes me want to believe in this product being a miracle worker, but maybe not for my skin in particular.
Previse Ozone Defense Nutrify Serum (£69 / 30ml)
On paper, this serum is packed with all the ideal ingredients that your skin needs to face the day: vitamins B5, B3, C and hyaluronic acid, plus an artichoke extract infusion that work together to offer antioxidant protection against UV light, pollution and ground-level ozone. It all sounds great, but at the same time impossible to verify unless you own a microscope or other advanced machinery that can attest the validity of these bold statements. But I guess that’s the best you can get from a protective treatment – the hope that it does the job to keep your skin away from all the environmental harms that lurk at every step.
Teoxane RHA x VCIP Serum (£85 / 30ml)
For the last time today, hyaluronic acid steals the show – I know I’ve mentioned it 8 times already, but please bear with me until the end. This time we’re talking about RHA (Resilient Hyaluronic Acid technology for longer-lasting hydration) combined with collagen-boosting vitamin C and brightening pyruvic acid. This is definitely the most gentle vitamin C product I’ve used to date, as it tends to cause quite a bit of irritation for my skin, and I loved the smoothing effects and was very sad to finish it. I did try to hold onto this serum for longer by using it only in the morning, and I felt quite sad and almost nostalgic when it finished…
Stay tuned for one last episode of my skincare empties that will focus on moisturisers and eye creams!