With the change in season there’s also a change in skincare! This one’s going to be a long and chatty one, so grab a cuppa and settle back for a read.
What’s in store for the next few months then – less unctuous oils, more ‘water’ based, hydrating formulas.
You’ll want to aim for serums that specifically target dehydration, aid in keeping water held within the skin, and liquid-y lotions instead of stiff creams. Here are a few of my picks for springtime skincare that I’ll be using this season.
I have two flavours of Bio-essence in my arsenal – the Hydra Tri-Action Sleeping Beauty Mask, and the Hydra Tri-Action Moisturising Gel.
For the sake of keeping your reading sanity, let’s just call them the sleeping mask and the moisturiser respectively.
If you’re looking for natural and organic ingredients, step not along this path weary traveller.
Both these moisturisers are basically made up of a butt tonne of silicones, a little bit of Cranberry seed oil for antioxidant purposes, fragrance, and preservative.
The preservative in question is Methylisothiazolinone (MI). Caroline Hirons explains its effects better than I, and you can find that spiel over here. I consider my skin to be sensitive, and have suffered from eczema across my whole face and body for most of my life, but MI has not caused me problems to date.
The sleeping mask’s claim to fame is that molecules of the active ingredients (a few forms of the powerhouse hydrator, hyaluronic acid) are encapsulated in microscopic spheres within the stiff gel, thereby preserving their potency. As you massage the product into your face, the protective spheres are broken, and you end up with droplets of liquid literally forming as you apply, which purportedly deliver the key benefits to the skin better.
Use and effect
Bio-essence is firmly something to use in the spring and summer, and just won’t cut it in the colder months. You will have to wear a separate SPF though, as the product doesn’t contain sun protection.
I have had a spot of stubborn facial eczema in recent months on my right eye, which resulted in the skin on my lid and under eye area being red, irritated, puffy and flaky. The under eye looked especially like the bottom of a drought caught damn – crepey and cracked.
Since switching over to Bio-essence this season, it’s like I have brand new eyes again. The skin is full, there are no more visible cracks or flakes of skin, and the whole area certainly looks hydrated and happy.
I use a double dose of the sleeping mask at night (as is its original intention of being a sleeping mask), but one layer in the day time also works as a day-use product. If I want to really seal the deal with either moisturiser, I sometimes add a thin layer of a more oil based cream (like Aesop), which will just seal in the water and prevent immediate evaporation.
Bio-essence is primarily an Asian brand (mostly carried in chemists such as Watsons and Guardian), and so is tailored to the humid and hot conditions experienced in those parts of the world (Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc). Sadly it’s not well known outside of that region and as such, is difficult to find physically. My supplies were admittedly bought when I was in Singapore last year, but UK based Cult Beauty have managed to secure stocks and can be bought online from them. Be Beauty in Singapore will also deliver internationally, but the shipping costs are eye watering.
If you suffer from dry or dehydrated skin, the biggest favour you can do for yourself is invest in a really good serum that directly addresses the hydration issue. For me, it’s something like Hydraluron by Indeed Labs, Hyaluronic Acid Serum by Bravura London, or any of the hyaluronic formulas made by NIOD, Hylamide, or The Ordinary, which are all owned by the parent company Deciem (‘the Abnormal Beauty Company’).
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is found naturally in the body (we have it in abundance as babies), but our levels deplete as we age, hence why we may feel as get older that our skin literally dries up. It acts as a hydrator by attracting water to its structure and holding onto that as it’s absorbed into your skin (most consumer blurbs state HA holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water).
If you want to get really technical, there are different molecular weights of HA, which means some forms are too big to be absorbed by the skin, while others are small enough to actually be effective. Some argue that not having the right combination of HA molecules actually dehydrates your skin more by attracting water out instead, in a bitter osmosis process.
Really nerdy skincare companies like Deciem live off this type of scientific specifity (which is positive of course – knowledge is power, right?)
You can see why HA, therefore, is the key ingredient in skincare when it comes to rehydrating the skin. My go-to serum in this regard is Hydraluron by Indeed Labs.
Use and effect
This does what it says on the box. A pea size amount spread across a clean face (a bit more if you have a lot of real estate), applied until just absorbed (a little bit of tackiness is fine) and then followed with your regular moisturiser.
You should feel a sense of immediate hydration, like you’ve just popped a quilt on your face. Always use under a moisturiser – this serum is meant to boost the effects of whatever goes on top.
I don’t need to use this all the time, only when I’m properly dehydrated. Too much of a good thing is true in this case, and if I use Hydraluron when I don’t need it, my skin feels a bit bloated.
You may find some incompatibility if you use a silicone heavy makeup, or need to ‘work’ other products over top, in that the serum can collect together and roll off your skin in little balls.
*I actually decanted my tube of Hydraluron into an old bottle of Bravura London’s hyaluronic serum because I can control how much I use per pump. Bravura London’s product works pretty identical to Hydraluron anyway.