October’s definitely one of those in-between months. Not quite chilly, not really that warm…I find myself reaching for skincare that nourishes and balances.
Superdrug Optimum PhytoDeluxe Day Cream and Night Cream (£14.99 each, currently Buy One, Get One Free)
It’s been hard to ignore this latest skincare launch, as it’s been all over the beauty press. Getting your new product noticed in a crowded marketplace can be a challenge. If your product is going to stand out, it needs a hook. Luckily for Superdrug, their hook is pretty darn persuasive. These are no ordinary face creams – they contain a super-luxurious ingredient: Black Diamond Truffle.
Putting truffle extract on your face may sound utterly bonkers, but Superdrug is definitely onto something. Black Diamond Truffle is the same prized ingredient used in the Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv range.
Along with its unique flavour and high price tag, it has been discovered that the black truffle renews the skin’s ability to fight the ageing process, giving the skin cells the energy they need to repair themselves, hence they look younger for longer.
Superdrug combine their Black Diamond Truffle Extract with PhytoDeluxe – a specially created formula containing a potent terapeptide. Especially good for mature skin, this beautifully nourishing formula is surprisingly lightweight. My skin has definitely felt much smoother since I’ve started using it. I usually rely on peels and masks to refine my skin’s texture, so was very surprised to see such a marked difference with a moisturiser that costs less than £15. It has the feel and finish of a much more expensive product. Superdrug have a great track record of creating their on-brand products, and the PhytoDeluxe range offers real value for money in terms of the results it delivers. As they’re currently on a Buy One, Get One Free – get both. It’d be rude not to.
Cowshed shampoo and conditioner (Volumising / Strengthening / Balancing / Smoothing) – £16 per shampoo, £18 per conditioner
Thanks to a bumper yield at TK Maxx, I managed to get my paws on some Cowshed hair products. I’m already a fan of their skincare, so was intrigued to give their haircare a try.
I bought the balancing, volumising and strengthening shampoos as my hair tends to be quite contrary and has different needs on different days. I started off with the strengthening shampoo and was totally blown away by the formulation: a rich, creamy lather that rinsed cleanly away. I have quite thick hair, which I realise may be the dream for some, but I have found that some shampoos end up getting clogged in my hair: and half-washed hair and an itchy scalp is no-one’s dream.
The Cowshed products are free from petrochemicals, sulphates and parabens. I have found ‘natural’ beauty products somewhat hit and miss with regards to performance, for every Tata Harper there’s at least a dozen brands that just don’t measure up. However, Cowshed are a terrific example of what happens when you get the basics right. The work done on the formulations is self-evident: I’ve used both body care and skincare products from this range, and everything has worked exactly as it’s supposed to.
The Cowshed shampoos really suit my hair, rinsing quickly through but not leaving my hair feeling stripped. The volumising shampoo is a real thing of beauty; gently adding volume just where it’s needed. My hair feels nourished and has its ‘bounce’ back which is glorious after months of frustration with other products.
My only gripe, and it’s a small one, is that Cowshed don’t offer a shampoo for colour-treated hair, which would frankly cover all my bases. But if you want a shampoo that gives you great hair every time, Cowshed really is worth checking out.
Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask – £30 (plus another much-loved faithful, the Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask, £15)
I do love a new product, but equally, you really can’t beat an old favourite. Elemis is one of the first ‘serious’ skincare ranges I used. Their philosophy of using plant extracts to create balance in the skin worked really well for my skin in my twenties, and I still use it now just a few years later (cough).
The smell of the Herbal Repair mask is so evocative; Marcel Proust could have written a book about it. Containing Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender essential oils, it’s excellent at working on congested skin. Using a clay base, the mask deep cleans and rebalances, taking care of any redness and irritation as well as soothing blemishes. It’s a great all-rounder for when your skin is feeling a bit out of sorts.
While Elemis have grown to become a company at the sharp end of skincare innovation, I still find their ‘basics’ incredibly effective. Every aspect of the mask has been thought about: the lavender is gorgeously calming as it gets to work; it’s all part of Elemis’ holistic approach to skincare. This face mask is the beauty equivalent of a cosy cashmere blanket: reassuring, comforting and perfect for this time of year.
Pixi Rose Oil Blend – £26
Another recent launch – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am a total sucker for face oils. I’m also a sucker for any product with a rose scent. Needless to say, my purchase of this new product was a foregone conclusion.
Containing a blend of sweet almond, rosehip, jojoba and rose geranium oils, the scent of this oil is absolutely amazing. It needs to be made into a perfume, it’s that good. But as with all things Pixi, there’s more to this product than just a great smell. The oil sits somewhere between light and mid-weight – even if you’re quite heavy handed with it, the oil sinks in well to the skin, nourishing without leaving a residue. It’s a perfect choice if you’re new to face oils; the ingredients are all tried-and-tested hydrators.
If there’s any negative with this product, it’s the fact that I now feel compelled to seek out other items in the Pixi range….Overnight Serum…I’m coming for you!
Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Cream with Glacial Flower Extract – £30
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but I got this eye cream free of charge as part of a store promotion, when I purchased the Skyn Arctic Face Oil (see? Obsessed).
I didn’t have particularly high hopes for this product as a result, but it just goes to show what I know. Turns out Icelandic Relief is a gorgeous little number that my eyes are immensely grateful for.
The genius part of this product is that it contains Saponaria Pumila, a plant extract that tackles dark circles, puffiness and signs of ageing. Saponaria is a flowering plant that survived the Ice Age (really) by adapting to extreme climates. It helps to stimulate cell renewal, improving the skin’s appearance from the inside out.
I’m surprised in researching this product that Skyn don’t make more of the eye cream’s hydrating properties – it plumps out fine lines beautifully and comforts dry, tired eyes. I dab on a little in the evening, and it instantly soothes and cools. In the morning, it gets to work on dark circles, making me look well rested (even if I don’t feel it).
This eye cream has become an invaluable part of my skincare routine – and when the time comes, I will definitely be repurchasing.
Eve Lom Intense Hydration Serum – £75 (plus Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum; £22.50 and Hylamide Booster Sensitive Fix Serum; £18)
This is a beauty range normally beyond my budget, but a canny bargain courtesy of TK Maxx made this Eve Lom wonder part of my skincare collection.
I do have a bit of a thing for hydrating serums, as they do treat my dehydrated skin particularly well. While the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Serum is fabulous value at £22.50, I was intrigued to try a product higher up the price ladder to see how it compared.
Using Hyaluronic Acid as its main ingredient, the Intense Hydration Serum claims to increase your skin’s moisture levels by ‘up to 20% in just two hours’. I was somewhat curious to see if a £75 serum could really deliver results worthy of its price tag.
There can often be the slightest margin between a good product and a great one, but Eve Lom has created a serum that performs head and shoulders above its competitors. The hydrating effect is instant, plumping out the skin with a surge of moisture. But what makes this product special is that it really does make a long-term difference to your skin’s hydration levels – I use this a couple of times a week, and it really has made a difference to the look and feel of my skin. Many hydration products work as a quick fix – and do a great job – but the price you pay for this serum is reflected in the quality of product.
Recommended for normal / dry skins, I’d say this would be a must-have for anyone whose major skin concern is dehydration. It really does tackle the problem head-on, and delivers the level of results you’d expect from a prestige brand. Any future purchases for me will have to be reserved for a lottery win, but if you’ve got the budget – the serum is well worth it.
That’s it for another month…next time I anticipate pre-Xmas madness. Will I manage to get my mitts on the M&S Beauty Advent Calendar?? The anticipation…