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The Four-Week Challenge

Skincare products worth persevering with

As holidays end and the festive glow fades away, many of us find ourselves looking in the mirror and realising that there is a price to pay for the Christmas excesses. Redness, dry skin, and opaque complexion are just a few of the consequences of a couple of weeks of indulging on alcohol, rich foods and sweets. Fortunately, as the skincare industry evolves, better and faster products are launched, which deliver results nothing short of miraculous. We have chosen a few for you, all of which have been tested by members of our team during a period of four weeks.

IRENE FORTE PHYTOMELATONIN REJUVENATING SERUM

This is one of those products that will become a staple of your bathroom cabinet, whichever your skin type, as it targets all the usual signs of skin ageing: pigmentation, enlarged pores, wrinkles and frailness. The key ingredient in this serum is as Alpine Plant Melatonin (APM), a form of phytomelatonin, a powerful natural antioxidant derivative of the amino acid tryptophan, which plays a fundamental role as a precursor of proteins, among them collagen. Phytomelatonin also counteracts the degenerative effects of UV exposure and other stressors.

Irene Forte Phytomelatonin Rejuvenating serum contains APM at 70 percent concentration and vitamin E at 30 percent.

Irene Forte Phytomelatonin Rejuvenating Serum works at molecular level to increase the vitality of skin cells, and their ability to regulate biochemical processes. Within ten days, we appreciated a softening of lines and a brighter complexion. After eight weeks, there was a clear reduction of wrinkle volume and pores, fading of pigmentation and increased elasticity.

Fear not if you have sensitive skin as clinical tests prove that this rich, unctuous serum soothes and calms the skin. Irene Forte Phytomelatonin Rejuvenating Serum retails at  £225 (15ml) and is exclusively available at IRENE FORTE

111 SKIN CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND RETINOL OIL

We’ve been very fond of 111 Skin products for a very long time. The whole range has been developed following rigorous scientific research and the latest technology. Retinol has been long known to encourage fibroblasts to synthesize collagen, improve skin elasticity, increase the proliferation of skin cells and promote the formation of new blood vessels.

However, retinol is also known to irritate the skin. That’s why its formulation is very important and why 111 Skin Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil stands out. Despite the high concentration of retinol in this oil (2.5 percent blend of retinol and granactive retinoid, both a derivative of Vitamin A, one of most efficient compounds in preventing and reversing the signs of ageing and sun damage), no irritation has been reported in any of the clinical tests.

111 Skin Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil is best used in the evening, starting with three times a week, before using it every night, to safely increase tolerance.

Within a week, we noticed the skin brighter and smoother. After four weeks, there was an obvious reduction in the depth of wrinkles and fine lines, almost as if you had used botox. Areas with hyperpigmentation also benefited from the use of this retinol oil, especially after eight weeks. Always use SPF 50 when using any products with retinol. Find 111 Skin Celestial Black Diamond Retinol (30ml) at 111 SKIN and HARVEY NICHOLS among other retailers for £190.

GOLD COLLAGEN INSTANT GLOW SERUM

In its 15 years in the market, Gold Collagen has established itself in the market as the go-to brand for effective collagen oral supplementation. Now the same company offers a full skincare range that it is proving to be as successful as its liquid wonder. We tried Gold Collagen Instant Glow Serum. The texture is light and very pleasant, and the immediate effect is that of an illuminator. No wonder “glow” and “instant” are part of its name. After a few days, the benefits extended to less redness and the physical sensation of the skin being deeply hydrated. As the weeks went by, we also noticed and improvement on elasticity, a more uniformed tone, a much less congested complexion and pores that appeared visibly reduced.

Gold Collagen Instant Glow Serum contains a vitamin complex that illuminates the skin on the outside and nourishes it from the inside.

Key ingredients include niacinamide, known to help combat inflammation, regulate the skin’s natural grease secretion and improve elasticity. Vitamin C also helps to reduce inflammation, increases luminosity and works as an antioxidant; as does Vitamin E, fighting free radicals besides its role as photoprotector and natural moisturiser.

How you apply it also seems to help. We were asked to do so by massaging it into the skin from the centre of the face outwards, finishing on the chin; and on the neck, from the bottom up and outwards. Gold Collagen Glow Serum (30ml, £36) is available directly from GOLD COLLAGEN and JOHN BELL & CROYDEN among other retailers.

DR GABRIELA MAGIC VITAMIN BOOSTER SERUM

This is a product that made my jaw dropped to the ground. Dr Gabriela tested it on half my face while we were chatting. Fifteen minutes later, that half of my face had visible lifted, was plumper and brighter. Dr Gabriela tells me that the secret of her skincare range is the intense moisturising properties of molecular water. This unique ingredient penetrates each and every cell to deeply hydrate and rejuvenate skin from the inside out, providing moisturisation for up to 72 hours after application. Other key ingredients include low and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, vitamin A, panthenol, and essential fatty acids.

After just one application, Dr Gabriela Magic Vitamin Booster Serum leaves the skin looking visible lifted, plumper and brighter.

By using it daily morning and evening, the serum restores hydration and creates the optimum conditions for cell renewal and collagen production. A second layer of hyaluronic acid coats the surface of the skin, sealing in moisture. The stunning results from the first application kept getting better with regular use. After two weeks, our face looked younger and more luminous, and after four, it was significantly lifted, plumper, and the skin felt more elastic. Dr Gabriela Magic Vitamin Booster Serum £299 (30ml) is exclusively available from DR GABRIELA SKINCARE.

CRYSTAL CLEAR PHARMA GRADE HYALURONIC SERUM

From one instant miracle to the next. Here the star is hyaluronic acid, a compound widely recognised for the role it plays in cell renewal and the proliferation of fibroblasts, which translates into its famous properties to increase skin elasticity and plumpness and reduce inflammation, i.e, less redness, less scar marks, eyes less puffy. In addition, it works wonders on joints and helps wounds heal faster.

Now… not all types of hyaluronic acid are the same. Crystal Clear’s contains high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid at 98 percent. The high weight form provides an instant burst of hydration, to instantly plump and firm the skin; the low molecular weight form reaches deeper layers of the skin and bind moisture. This helps the skin cells to get tighter together so by the time they reach the surface, this new skin is much more luminous, elastic and bouncy.

Crystal Clear Pharma Grade Hyaluronic Acid contains high and low molecular forms of this miracle compound to renew and hydrate the skin from the inside out.

The first time we used it, we noticed that our skin felt plumper and hydrated and it looked as if we had used a top primer: pores and lines appeared reduced and our face glowed. Over four weeks, the skin seemed to stay hydrated for longer, eye puffiness had disappeared, and overall, the whole face and neck had lifted, felt tighter, and wrinkles and lines had been reduced, giving way to a fuller, thicker, more supple skin. Crystal Clear Pharma Grade Hayluronic Serum (30ml, £84) is available at CRYSTAL CLEAR and THE SKIN BAR among other retailers.

UKLASH EYELASH SERUM

This is a product we tried a while ago and are still raving about it. This powerful serum targets short and brittle eyelashes with spectacular results. It may not have the immediate results of the other products featured in this article, but your patience will pay off after just four weeks, and if you are constant for a few more, you’ll be seriously impressed. In our case, we stopped using it after eight weeks as our eyelashes had grown really long… almost too much! Uklash states “up to 55 percent longer and 75% more voluminous” but also warns that the results may differ from person to person, which makes sense.

With daily application, Uklash Eyelash Serum delivers real results in less than a month. Afterwards, using it 3-4 times a week is recommended for maintenance.

Some of the ingredients that contribute to the stunning effects of this serum include Biotin, which is a vitamin vital for healthy hair growth; myristoyl pentapeptide-17, a compound that stimulate keratin genes; green tea extract, also proven to help with hair growth thanks to its high content in a polyphenol with a name impossible to pronounce; and vitamin B5, which is known to restructure the hair fibre by filling in the hair scales.

Now, don’t be tempted to put more than what is recommended. It is true that it feels as if there is hardly any product on the brush, but one dip applied to the eyeline (top and bottom) is enough for both eyes. Massaging the eyelids may also help (we did). Uklash Eyelash Serum (3ml, £39) is available at UKLASH and SEPHORA, among other retailers.

Although all these products have been tested by our team and delivered positive results, we always recommend you exercise caution when trying something new on your skin.

Words: Julia Pasarón

Opening photo by Anna Shvets for Pexels.

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