Reinvigorate, refresh and revive your skin in 2020 with Luxuriate’s collection of our favourite tried and tested facial serums on the market.
We all know how it is – December is a tough month for our bodies – Excessive eating and drinking for many continuous weeks followed by a January full of denial and regret. Once the new year hits, your skin tends to reflect the season of excess the most.
Are you suffering from dry, dull skin, hyperpigmentation or starting to notice some fine lines around your eyes and forehead? Or all of the above? Now we are a few weeks in to a brand new decade, how about considering a brand new skin routine?
We believe serums are the present and future of skincare as they address all skin-related issues regardless of the lifestyle you follow, which gender you identify as and they can also cater for all budgets.
Below is an in depth round-up of what we think the best serums on the market are, what they can do for your skin and their unique selling points.
Skyn Iceland Icelandic Youth Serum with Red Algae, 30ml
First of all, this serum has been put together specifically for “stressed skin” and can be used on all skin types, but specifically skin that is flagging and has lost its once-youthful glow. The serum is unique in that it harnesses the power of Astaxanthin, an antioxidant harvested from Icelandic red micro algae using 100% renewable geothermal energy. Not only is this serum potent (almost 6000 times more than Vitamin C, another wonder ingredient which we will get to later), the serum promises brighter, younger, pollution-neutralising skin.
Many people I speak to have said Vitamin C is too strong on their sensitive skin, and this provides a very good and effective alternative. I have been using it for a couple of weeks now and find the serum to be non-greasy, easily absorbed and does not ball up when I use moisturiser on top.
I would definitely recommend as an all-around skin serum that can help correct stress-induced signs of ageing, and bring back a bit of colour and life into your face.
Available from www.feelunique.com and Marks & Spencer.
Allél A2 serum, 30ml
For a unisex option, I have to recommend Allel’s A2 Serum. The packaging is glorious: it comes in a grey marbled box and the bottle itself is a lovely matte black capsule which unscrews to reveal a pipette dropper. It almost looks like a very understated vaporiser, perfect to travel with.
As well as the sleek packaging, this serum utilises the power of plant stem cells (grape) to neutralise the effects of oxidative stress and free radical damage whilst protecting and boosting cellular defence on the skins surface. The serum also has extracts of the Kakadu plum (additional vitamin C) and does not sting or burn the face on application.
Allél are also a revolutionary skincare brand, one of the only companies on the market that pride themselves on specialised DNA-based skincare. Started by a well-known dermatologist and doctor from Sweden, the company uses DNA analysis to advise you on what products you should be using and which ingredients will best suit your skin. A co-founder of the brand has said that DNA is important for skincare as many recent studies suggest that our genetics account for 50 to 60% of ageing, and the rest are down to lifestyle factors. A consultation with Allél is definitely something worth considering, especially when their products are this good.
This serum is ideal for anyone new to skincare who wants something easy to use, discreet, but packs all the punches of some of the other more well-known serums. It will help address premature ageing and sagging skin concerns, and works best with moisturiser on top.
Allél skincare is available by consultation at certified clinics, including the Cadogan Clinic, London SW1.
Alphascience Tannic (CF) Serum, 30ml
Alphascience is a relative newcomer to the skincare market but is renowned as a highly innovative French company that’s completely dedicated to advanced skincare science. All their products are inspired by nature, recommended by dermatologists, and also benefit from clinically proven results.
The one serum I’d like to focus on is their new Tannic Acid serum, as Alphascience are the only skincare company that sell it in its stabilised form. It’s a revolutionary and powerful anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory ingredient, designed to future-proof your skin. In this serum, the tannic acid has been paired with a high concentration of Vitamin C and ingredients including L-Ascorbic Acid, Ferulic Acid and Ginkgo Biloba.
This unique combination means that it is wonderful for combatting various skin conditions including wrinkles, brown spots and loss of firmness caused by biological and environmental factors. The glass bottle and pipette mean it is very easy to apply and no product is wasted. I’d suggest using it twice a day (morning and before bed) on the face, décolletage and the back of your hands. For more mature skins, I would also recommend their Alpha Bright Serum.
Available from efskin.com
Proto-col Collagen Facial Serum, 50ml
Specially formulated for mature skin, the Proto-col collagen facial serum is a nice lightweight treatment that has been formulated to help maintain healthy skin and to bring vitality and freshness to the complexion. Blended with plant-derived collagen and vitamins A, B & C, this serum works to nurture and nourish the skin leaving it plump, nourished and refined.
The gel like nature of the serum is aided by silk extracts helping it glide on to the skin. Soft and supple skin, here you come!
The bottle is easy to use, and comes in a very generous 50ml size, and when used everyday can last 6 months or more.
Available from www.proto-col.com
Grounded Egyptian Gold Retinol Serum, 50ml
Looking for something for all skin types, including sensitive skin, but one that also tackles anti-ageing? For something a bit different but just as effective as any other serum on the market, try Grounded’s Egyptian Gold Retinol Serum, with added hyaluronic acid for extra hydration and plumping action. The UK-made formula is cruelty-free, has no fragrance, unnatural ingredients, silicone, alcohol, and is also gluten-free and vegan.
The other key point about this product is its main ingredient: retinol (can also be known as Vitamin A). Retinol has been the buzzword of the beauty and skincare industry for a few years now. With the help of collagen-boosting properties, the ingredient has the power to help accelerate skin renewal and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots for firmer, smoother and more evenly-toned skin. However, everyone’s skin reacts differently to retinol and testing on skin is required as using it can often result in peeling, flaking, intense skin sensitivity and redness.
That’s where this product comes in, it introduces your skin to retinol without overpowering it, balancing it with a burst of extra hydration in the form of hyaluronic acid. The 1% retinol level takes advantage of retinol’s powers as a skin saviour, without the more well-known side effects. The product can be used both in the morning and at night time, and should be followed by a moisturiser. If applying in the daytime, always make sure to follow with sunscreen.
Available from their website, Amazon, Zalando and selected global airlines.
Kyushi Chamomile & Helichrysum oil, 30ml
Although not for everyone, I am a fan of (naturally) fragranced beauty. The right scent in the right product can take you back to that spa day in Bali and automatically relax your senses, helping the product settle in better. I definitely had this feeling when I used Kyushi’s Chamomile and Helichrysum oil on my face. I was also given very specific instructions on how to use it, something that the brand maintains is just as important as the product itself.
Kyushi is a Japanese word which means “pause”, and the application instructions have been inspired by the Japanese belief of being “in the moment” with the promise of “the ritual will bring you back to yourself”. I am instructed to pause for a couple of moments twice daily, place three drops of the oil in my hands, rub them together and then cup my hands over my face and mouth. I then need to take three deep breaths which fill the lungs, and breathe out heavily which will oxygenate my body and consequently help to regenerate my skin. Only after this ritual should I rub the oil into my face.
I have to admit I had my doubts initially (who has enough time for this twice a day?!), but after the first couple of times I was really into it. In the mornings, it made me feel energised and ready for whatever the day had in store for me, and in the evenings it helped me forget about the day I’d just had and prepare my mind and skin for sleep. It’s definitely a unisex product and is in a fuss free glass bottle. Although there are others in the range, the Chamomile and Helichrysum oil I tried was soothing and also contained notes of bergamot, frankincense and neroli which helped to calm my redness and dryness, and restore elasticity in my skin.
Available to buy in 10ml and 30ml sizes on www.kyushi.co.uk
Perricone MD High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum, 59ml
If you’re after scientifically proven results with a formula that took many years in a lab to perfect, look no further than Perricone MD’s Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum which uses their proprietary polyamine technology. The three-tiers of this technology are a combination of novel ingredients including polyamine growth factor, eggshell membrane and encapsulated retinol, delivering dramatic anti-ageing results, helping to regenerate collagen, elastin and cellular renewal to improve skin’s elasticity over time.
We again see that all important word: retinol. Here, the ingredient has been encapsulated to make it more effective by improving the serum’s ability to penetrate the skin’s surface, but also removes some of the adverse side-effects commonly associated with retinol. Giving retinol the ability to be slowly released over time, the High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum has both immediate and long-term skin benefits. I love the smooth, almost milky consistency of the product, which does not sting on application and easily sinks into the skin. This product can be used for anti-ageing measures, but also would be incredibly effective on older skin looking to combat deep-set wrinkles.
The product is available on www.perriconemd.co.uk
Tropic Glow Berry and Rainforest Dew Serums, 30ml
As you have probably gleaned from this round-up so far, I am a sucker for nice packaging. Tropic manages to make the products not only look like they were made in the depths of the Amazon rainforest with sustainable cardboard, but also the products are placed in beautiful multi-coloured leaf-decorated boxes which make me smile every time I open them. The bottles themselves look like boiled sweets with their colour selection, but are also elegant in tall, matted glass.
The Australian-origin skincare brand prides itself on being freshly made in the UK, using the most innovative, effective ingredients that nature has to offer. The founder, Susie Ma, believes that plants and fruits that grow in tropical climates (with lots of sunshine!) are the most nutritious and beneficial for the skin. Susie has sourced her ingredients sustainably from the Amazon rainforest, Polynesia, Australia and many more exotic regions brimming with powerful botanicals.
The Glow Berry serum is a blend of brightening berries, Vitamin C, and kangaroo paw flower extract. It claims to have anti-ageing, detoxifying and brightening properties, which gives your face a natural, all-encompassing glow.
Before coming on to my opinion, a quick summary on Vitamin C. Although a relatively new ingredient to my skincare arsenal, it has now become absolutely essential and I believe everyone should have some element of topical Vitamin C included in their skincare. Why? It has unbelievably effective brightening, clarifying and regenerating properties, helping skin get rid of dark spots, promoting collagen and elastin production and evening out skin’s natural bumps and lines. Tropic’s Glow Berry Serum has a Vitamin C hit of 10%, which I feel is just the right amount, and although it can sting a little on application, knowing that the ingredients are all natural it feels like your skin is drinking up all of those botanical benefits.
Following this Serum with the Rainforest Dew Serum, with plant peptides, extract of evergreen fern and another one of my favourite ingredients, hydrating hyaluronic acid, work beautifully together on my face. Skin is not just brighter, tighter and toned, it is also plump, smooth and soothed. Who needs chemically processed ingredients when you have nature at your fingertips?!
Pro tip: Make sure to keep Glow Berry Serum in the fridge to ensure the continuous potency of the natural ingredients.
Tropic products are available to buy on www.tropicskincare.com
Jane Scrivner Intense Oil, 30ml
Rose gold has had a bit of a renaissance. It’s almost as synonymous with the modern generation as “millennial pink” has become. You could even think that the colour is a bit commonplace nowadays.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Jane Scrivner’s beautiful bottles of naturally sourced facial oils are definite exceptions to the rule. I was even a bit reluctant to use any of the product as it was so beautiful and looked wonderful untouched on my bedside table! Jane Scrivner is a world-renowned spa therapist and trainer who believes in “feeding the skin”, a bit like a healthy diet would. She only wants to use the world’s best natural ingredients, and with this Intense Oil she has chosen the brilliantly adaptable rosehip “rosa mosqueta” as her primary ingredient. Locally sourced from a single estate in Chile, this cold-pressed rose hip extract is naturally rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs), vitamins A, C and E (aka all my favourites!), and is 100% organic to boot.
Although it’s an oil and not specifically a serum, the formula feels rich but is also absorbed easily into my hungry skin. I use it day and night and my acne-damaged skin looks less pock-marked, red and sensitive after only a week of constant use.
All Jane Scrivner products are available here: janescrivner.com/shop
Scrivner also have a separate skincare range specifically for men available here: janescrivner.com/shop/shop-men
Mavala Vitalizing Healthy Glow Serum, 30ml
Have you ever considered pearls as a skin-enhancing ingredient? Swiss skincare brand Mavala’s laboratories have discovered that the addition of pearls mean that the formula melts effortlessly into the skin. Given this revolutionary discovery, they applied it to their vitamin-enriched vitality serum which refreshes and energises dull skin and restores radiance for a healthier complexion. The labs also found that lack of sleep, stress, pollution, the sun’s UV rays and smoking tend to exhaust skin’s renewal metabolism. Dead skin cells then accumulate and the complexion loses its radiance and turns a grey/off colour. Those imperfections caused by exhaustion give the impression that skin is in poor health, and that it looks older than it is in reality.
Luckily, Mavala’s revolutionary serum contains Swiss apricot extract which delivers antioxidant, toning and exfoliating benefits, as well as Vitamin C. My skin was left looking fresh, hydrated and energised. The formula itself is non-oily and not sticky without leaving any residue on the face. Thanks to Mavala, I’ll now add skincare to the list of things the Swiss know how to do exceptionally as well as fondue and chocolate!
Available on www.mavala.com and on general sale at online retailers across the UK.
Beautifully Nourished Vitamin ACE Facial Serum, 50ml
Beautifully Nourished is the latest natural, vegan, anti-ageing skincare and nutricosmetics brand set to take the beauty industry by storm. Created by ex-Nutritionist Katherine Elyse Blake, her collection of skincare and supplements are designed to boost physical and mental wellbeing and enhance the skin of today’s millennial woman. The company’s main objective, according to their website, is to make women feel better about themselves. Now if that isn’t a 2020 resolution to stand by, then what is?!
The product is a natural formula which combines my three favourite vitamins (A, C and E) into one mega serum. As well as the holy trinity of vitamins, the serum is presented in a generous 50ml glass bottle and blends carrot (a renowned brightening ingredient) with hyaluronic acid for hydrating benefits. The serum is best applied on freshly cleansed skin which has been wiped with a warm towel – this will allow the serum to be absorbed into the skin.
Combine the serum with Beautifully Nourished’s Detoxification Formula, all-natural pills that contain a blend of Konjac Fibre, Aloe Vera, Anise Seed, Rhubarb root and probiotic Lactobacillus Acidophilus, which detox your body (and your liver), and naturally cleanse the body of toxins and impurities.
All Beautifully Nourished products are available here: beautifullynourished.com
Intraceuticals Retouch Starter Kit
Now for the jewel in the crown! If you feel like your skin needs a complete overhaul or you’re looking for a gift for someone who is really into their skincare, then check out the Intraceuticals Retouch Kit. Intraceuticals have done all the hard work for you and have placed five wonderful serums in one handy kit for you to be able to tailor and personalise to your specific skincare concerns.
Endorsed by Lord Gavin McLeod-Valentine; a world-renowned facialist to Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham-Carter, Julianne Moore and more, the kit’s five high-performance serums come with a luxurious rose gold palette. If you travel regularly, all five of the serums are 15ml in size, making them a perfect size to pop into your hand luggage.
The five serums are:
Retouch Hyaluronic Base Serum – This carries a unique blend of hyaluronic acid to maximise hydration, whilst preparing skin for Retouch targeted serums. Alternatively, this base serum can be used on its own for beautifully hydrated looking skin.
Retouch Lines – The serum rapidly fills the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, whilst boosting collagen and softening the looks of expression lines.
Retouch Eyes – This powerhouse peptide serum visibly blurs dark circles, bags, puffiness and lines around the eye contour. A complete rejuvenating effect – increases skin luminosity, firmness and elasticity.
Retouch Lift – A must have anti-sagging powerhouse with gravity defying peptide power. The Retouch Lift enhances essential skin components for a lifted, more sculpting appearance.
Retouch Highlight – Containing cutting-edge peptide technology mixed with iridescent pigments, this brightens and illuminates targeted facial features, creating a naturally flawless look.
I was increasingly impressed with the potency of these products, which used over time, made my pores, lines and dark areas look less visible and deep. The global brand Intraceuticals specialises in cosmeceutical skincare products specifically targeting adult acne, hyperpigmentation, early ageing and dehydrated skin. Its formulations are based on Hyaluronic Acid and peptides as the key active ingredients to help skin retain moisture and look and feel plumper and more youthful. They provide clinics worldwide for an Intraceuticals Retouch Facial and other best-in-class treatments. Buying this kit will give you access to the latest technological advances in skincare at a much lower price point than a lot of in-house dermatologist treatments.
If you have any questions about any of the products in this feature or would like to speak to me about skincare recommendations, email me here.