Latest beauty empties: serums, treatments and eye creams


Don’t let my absence from writing fool you – I might have been failing my blog duties, but not my skincare routine! I have been extra busy finishing some old favourites, but also took some time to try some new products and brands.

Tropic Skin Feast (£24 / 50ml) has long been my go-to everyday moisturiser, perfect for when all you need is some luscious, yet fuss-free hydration. Its herbal smell is refreshing and comforting, and the light, creamy and soothing texture is perfect for a quick morning massage – particularly nice the day after a retinol or glycolic treatment. It’s affordable and lasts for ages, a really great buy!

Codex Eye Cream (£50 / 15ml) has a pleasantly light gel texture that feels very cooling on the skin, which turned it into my favourite go-to morning eye cream during the hot days of summer. On the other hand, it is a bit too much on the light side and doesn’t feel unctuous enough for the eye area that is a lot drier than the rest of the face, so for me it’s not at all ideal for long-term results, like reducing wrinkles, but it does feel nice under makeup. I do think that you can find similar products for at most half of the price.

HydroPeptide Eye Authority Eye Cream (£48-£62 / 15ml) was one of my May 2020 favourites – and definitely in my top products of the year. It leaves the skin instantly brighter and hydrated, but I’ve also noticed improvements when it comes to the fine lines around the corners of my eyes.

Dr Sebagh Instant Fix Eye Lift Gel (£48 / 15ml) is the kind of product that promises so much, yet the results it delivers have been a bit of a disappointment. The hyaluronic acid feels quite hydrating, but almost not plumping enough, while the soft-focus brightening action was nowhere to be seen. I probably do have a drier than average eye area and, the same as with the Codex product above, these extra light textures are probably not enough for me.

Monat Rewind Age Control Nectar (£112 / 30ml) is the kind of hydrating serum that I really love – a lightweight jelly that simply sinks into the skin, leaving it perfectly prepped for a thin layer of moisturiser. Even though it’s mainly intended for night-time use because of its AHA content, I ended up using it as a morning summertime hydrating serum – in my defence, the hyaluronic acid makes it perfect for this. Still not convinced that a hyaluronic serum should cost quite that much though!

Alumier MD Ultimate Boost Serum (£69.50 / 30ml) is one of the products I mentioned last year as part of my quarantine morning moisture rituals that kept my skin safe and sane-ish. It’s a bit hard to come by (you can only purchase it from authorised spa/aesthetics retailers) and not entirely cheap, but it’s such a fantastic hydrator that it’s quite worth the hassle of sourcing it.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow Extreme (£22.95 / 100ml) sounded ideal on paper – a high-dose glycolic for an acid aficionado like myself – yet it ended up being too aggressive for my skin. Any glycolic is meant to tingle a bit, but the uncomfortable sensation and redness would last too long and not worth the effort, so I passed it onto my husband. I think it’s quite a decent formula for thicker, oilier skin like men’s, which can better tolerate the harshness.

Ho Karan Canabooster Detox Detoxifying Serum (£39 / 20ml) is based on cannabis terpenes, one of those miracle hemp-based ingredients that have taken the beauty world – and the British high-streets – by storm. The addition of zinc makes it ideal for acne-prone skin, and it’s designed to defend the skin against pollution and oxidation, while keeping sebum under control. I can’t really say the effects were that visible, but that’s one of the issues with anti-pollution defence – you can only hope it works long-term to prevent negative effects rather than create an immediate positive change. On the other hand, I really liked the intense green colour and the herbal scent, it made it a very pleasant serum to apply in the morning.

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum (£70 / 30ml) was my very first product from the famous American brand whose best-sellers have gathered a cult following. I think it’s a decent retinol, but it did take me at least half of the bottle to see the results I was more or less expecting. Once my skin started improving (by this, I mean less acne spots, clearer pores and more even texture), I actually ended up reducing the use of the product to about 1-2 times per week, especially when I saw breakouts starting to appear during the more hormonally active times of the month. It has a nice light texture that absorbs easily and by the morning the breakouts are often visibly reduced. I haven’t noticed effects on wrinkles yet, but this is probably something that takes a very long time. My only pet peeve is the price – 1% Retinol Treatment by Paula’s Choice, which has become my gold standard, is £53 and always felt more efficient. But maybe retinol is a bit like a drug and you’ll never get the same addictive results as the first time you use it…

Seed to Skin The Alche’Mist Superactive Serum Spray (£145 / 100ml – 50ml sample pictured) has to be one of the nicest skincare fragrances I’ve ever come across. This lovely Italian brand creates the most luxurious products in gorgeous textures, stunning green glass bottles and an enticing signature herbal scent that makes the application an absolute daily luxury. I was lucky enough to get this serum in a generous sample size and have been using it since last year – probably not the wisest thing to do since the delicate botanical formulas have a shorter shelf life. It has a very refreshing, pick-me-up feel when lightly misted as a serum, but I do think the price is far too inhibitive for a facial mist.

Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior 2-in-1 Plumping Moisturizer + Serum (£80 / 50ml) is another one of my May favourites and I’ll admit that I squeezed out every last drop of this lovely serum (with the inevitable slightly sad feeling that comes with the empty bottle). It’s a great everyday moisturiser that softens the skin and the fine lines and leaves the skin feeling so fresh and bright – worth the hefty price, in my opinion.

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