Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Good Skin(Ceuticals) Days : Review of Serum 10 and Phyto Corrective Gel

An unusual phenomenon is sweeping across Britain: SUNSHINE woohoo! So if you haven’t already added suncream to your daily skincare routine, now is the perfik time to start and stick to it whatever the weather. It’ll stop you turning an unsightly shade of lobster and protect against skin damage. Today’s post, however, isn’t about suncreams - it’s about anti-oxidant serums! Anti-oxidant serums and suncream go hand in hand; both working to neutralise free radicals and help protect against UV damage. I think it’s the best combo to help prevent premature ageing.
In your search for the best anti-oxidant serums, you’re likely to come across SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. C E Ferulic contains 15% L-ascorbic Acid, 1% Alpha Tocopherol, and 0.5% Ferulic Acid. Unfortunately, it comes with an impressive price tag to match its claims: $150. It’s been on the radar for years but I couldn’t find a stockist - even if I was inclined to spend that amount of cash. That was until I discovered the shop John Bell & Croydon. (And that dermatology clinics also stock it.) So off I went to get a sample. At every place I went to, the consultants gave me the same advice: you’re too young for it. (I’m 25, FYG) I’m not entirely why this is so - maybe it’s because high concentrations of Vitamin C can irritate the skin? IDK. They recommended I use a milder formulation, Serum 10 which contains 10% L-ascorbic acid and 0.2% Ferulic acid, and the Phyto Corrective Gel, an anti-inflammatory serum to target spots and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

I got sample of each to try out, and this is how I’ve been using them:

Cleanser: REN Clay Cleanser / Bioderma Sensibo H20 Solution Micellaire
Lotion: Decleor Aroma White C+ Hydra Brightening Lotion
Eye Serum: Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment Serum
Eye Cream: DHC Coenzyme Q10 Cream
Serum: Serum 10
Serum: Phyto Corrective Gel
Moisturiser: Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream
Sun Cream: John Masters Organics Mineral Sun Cream (SPF 30)

Cleansers: Bioderma / samples
Lotion: Decleor Hydra Brightening Lotion
Eye Serum: Elemis Serum
Eye Cream: DHC Q10 Cream
Serum: Phyto Corrective Gel
Moisturiser: Elemis Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream

You use the dropper to dispense a few drops directly on to the skin and then massage in. It's a bit of a faff and if you're not careful you might knock something over (I did - the Gel. Dayum). Serum 10 has the standard runny texture, while Phyto is thicker but still very far from your typical gel formulation. Both spread easily, absorb quickly and a little goes a long way. I didn't have any issues applying products afterwards. I thought it was a bit much to have you use two serums, one designed to ‘prevent’ (AM) and one to ‘correct’ (AM + PM). MUST FOLLOW OUR WAY BUY ALL THE STUFF! logic They’re expensive to begin with and the premium you pay in GBP is just silly. But it makes sense because 1. they have different ingredients and functions (duh) and 2. I’m already doing that.
I typically use Rosehip Oil or Ole's Truth Serum (antioxidant serums to ‘prevent’) followed by Hydraluron or REN’s Omega Three Serum (hydrating serums to ‘correct’). Although I tend to use them twice a day and used to layer three of them… Oops. (sawwrry)

OK with that 500 word waffle out the way let me finally get to the point: these serums are incredible. I am not one to lavish praises easily - very obvious going by my last few reviews. You’ve better luck finding a hen’s tooth. I’ve been using these two serums for five weeks, and in the last few days I’ve noticed how my skin looks so much better. The norm is for me to cry over my resemblance to a speckled egg when I look in the mirror, so something special has happened. I don’t have awe-inspiring before/after shots (which kinda detracts from my point doesn’t it) but I do have a keyboard! And this is what I’ve noticed since I started using the serums.
  • My skin is more ‘translucent’. A friend commented that my skin is ‘glowy ethereal white’ which I think better describes Galadriel on a pony but I’ll take it. 
  • Other than looking smoother and brighter, my skin looks a lot clearer. I’m honestly not sure if it’s thanks to these serums but my hyperpigmentation marks have faded considerably. (Could be that I’m too critical or don’t check my reflection often enough.) 
  • And lest I need proof that I’m not delusional, I’m hearing more of ‘your skin is looks much better these days’ from the people who frequently see me without make-up. It beats hearing ‘your skin used to be so nice’.
So in spite of the hefty price tag (£70, holy shizz), I went ahead and ordered Serum 10.* I might get the Phyto Corrective Gel but I want to try some other hydrating serums from SkinCeuticals first. Plus I’m too poor right now. I’ll update in a month or so with the results but in the meantime, if you’re looking for an anti-oxidant serum and something for hyperpigmentation, try to pick up a sample and give it a whirl!

*Serum 15 and Serum 20 aren't available in the UK :(

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Review: Decleor Aroma Lisse 2-In-1 Dark Circle & Eye Wrinkle Eraser

I’m finally wrapping up my reviews of the new Aroma Lisse range with a long-overdue post on the 2-in-1 Dark Circle & Eye Wrinkle Eraser. It costs £32/15ml (available in John Lewis, HOF, Liberty etc.). It’s designed to smooth away fine lines and brighten dark under eye circles. Decleor's website mentions these key ingredients:
  •  Mandarin Essential Oil to protect and repair cells
  • Galanga, yeast and Ruscus Extracts to plump the skin, reduce puffiness and reduce the appearance of dark circles
  • Gold pigments that instantly illuminate and neutralise dark undertones
Those are five ingredients out of fifty. FIFTY. If you used this with the day cream that’s 100 chemicals on your face already. Wowza.


Aqua (Water)
Butylene Glycol
Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride
Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
Fluorescent Brightener 230 Salt
Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil
Glyceryl Stearate
PEG-100 Stearate
Pentaerythrityl Distearate
Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil
PEG-6 Isostearate
Cetyl Alcohol
Propylene Glycol
Ruscus Aculeatus Root Extract
Sodium Polyacrylate
Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
Caprylyl Glycol
CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)
Alpina Galanga Leaf Extract
Pentylene Glycol
C13-14 Isoparaffin
Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil
Disodium EDTA
Michelia Alba Leaf Oil
Polyvinylalcohol Crosspolymer
Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract
Sodium Hyaluronate
Glycerol Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer
Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil
Hesperetin Laurate
Citrus Nobilus (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil
CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake)
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
Xanthan Gum
Panax Ginseng Root Extract

Goodness that took a long time to type up! I'll follow up with an ingredients breakdown, but for now suffice to say it works with (1) yellow pigments to brighten eye bags and (2) silicones to fill out wrinkles.

In tests conducted by Decleor over a 28-day period, 81% of users witnessed smoothed lines and wrinkles and 100% saw a more moisturised and brighter eye contour. 81% of 21 participants, i.e. 17 people. Whats the point in using such a small sample!? I’ve been using it for a few weeks and I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference. As a caveat, it is kinda pointless for me to comment on the anti-wrinkle benefits when I’m 25. I hate those reviews where someone gushes over a firming cream, an anti-wrinkle cream or anti-acne cream when they clearly have NONE of those problems. Also, I think it’s a little misleading to call this a wrinkle ‘eraser’, when whats happening is that silicones are filling in lines. You can’t ‘erase’ winkles but you can reduce their appearance by minimising sun exposure and always using suncream, drinking enough water and using hydrating skincare products. L-ascorbic acid, Retinol, Niacinamide and AHAs & BHAs are also effective in reducing wrinkles.

When it comes to dark circles, gather round my friends. I have under eye circles to complement my pallid skin tone and produce a gaunt sickly appearance. I don’t think my dark circles are too bad (but then again I could just be delusional.) I could do with some concealer, but I don’t feel the need to buy specific skincare products for it. What I need is more sleep!

This cream might appeal to people who don’t use make-up but want something to brighten the eye area, as there is a subtle difference when you use it. By subtle, I mean so subtle that you probably wouldn’t notice it unless you were purposefully looking for a difference. If you have some serious eye-baggery going on, this is not the solution to your problems.

For people who use concealer, using creams like this seems pointless because any effect is covered by make-up. And on that topic, my biggest gripe with this cream is that it tends to flake when you apply make-up on top and leave patchy bits.

To sum it up:

-Has a subtle brightening effect
-Some good ingredients, like sunflower seed oil, evening primrose oil and soybean oil
-Hygienic packaging, easy to control the amount that comes out

-The brightening effect is temporary
-Wrinkle ‘eraser’ is filler
-The top three ingredients are water > petrochemical > silicone. Meh.
-Not hydrating enough
-Irritates the eyes if you get it in the tear duct. (Whose smart idea was it to use citrus peel in an eye product?)
-Expensive - works out as £200+/100ml

You can read my reviews of the other products by clicking on the links: Energising Smoothing Cream, Smoothing Night Balm and Aromessence Mandarine Serum.