Review // 5 hyaluronic acid serums
You may have read my recent posts on my morning and evening skincare routines, within which serums play a pivotal role. I’ve had a bumpy journey with serums, mainly because they are so expensive, and most of the ones I’ve bought haven’t been worth the money. However, I’ve noticed that the ones which suit me best have one common denominator – they contain hyaluronic acid (sodium hyalurate) – a magic ingredient which traps up to 1,000 times it’s own weight of water. I firmly believe that consistent use of HA-based products has yielded a big improvement in the look and feel of my skin. Over the past year or so I have tried out a variety of HA serums, and these are the ones that I currently have in my bathroom cabinet.
I love Nuxe products, especially the old Sérum Merveillance formulation (not the new one – the scent is overpowering), so I had high hopes for the Nuxellence Jeunesse serum. Nuxe say that you can use it as a serum or moisturiser but it isn’t nourishing enough for me to be used alone; in fact, after a few weeks Winter usage with a weighty moisturiser top, I didn’t experience the dramatic hydration boost that I was seeking (although this might make it suitable for oilier skin types). I will certainly be giving it another try in the Summer when my skin isn’t as dehydrated as it is now. Another negative for me is the passionflower scent, which is a little strong for my tastes (but it doesn’t linger, thankfully). On a positive note, it does give my skin a fresh, dewy finish which is ideal for tired days or when I want a glowy make-up look.
Price: €49.99 for 50ml
Stockists: Selected pharmacies nationwide
Sali Hughes, beauty editor at The Guardian and author of Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion, named this as one of her top products of 2014. Need any more convincing? Then perhaps the power combination of hyaluronic acid, combined with nourishing seaweed extract and soothing thermal water might entice you? Or it’s hypoallergenic and paraben free status? Or the high-street price tag? In fairness, it’s a great product and I really enjoy using it. It leaves my skin feeling supple, hydrated and plump; it leaves no sticky or oily residue; and the effects last the day. The only drawback for me is the old-fashioned floral fragrance, which I find very overpowering. I’ve tried to find out what it is but no luck yet – I’ll update the post when I do. Whatever it is, it didn’t trigger my sensitive skin, just my sensitive nose.
Price: €24.00 for 30ml
Stockists: Selected pharmacies nationwide
Hydraluron Moisture Booster
Hydraluron Moisture Booster is a cult favourite within the beauty industry and a permanent fixture on my bathroom shelf. It is a no-nonsense, what-you-see-is-what-you-get, kind of product and delivers exactly what it promises: excellent hydration. Its key ingredients are high-grade hyaluronic acid and red marine algae, which work together to nourish, smooth and rejuvenate dehydrated skin. I use it as my morning serum as it is feather-weight, absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave my skin looking oily. The only slight drawback with it is that the skin can feel tacky after application of the product (but that disappears once I apply my moisturiser). Notably, it is paraben-free and fragrance-free.
Price: €32.99 for 30ml
PESTLE AND MORTAR
Pure Hyaluronic Serum
Pestle and Mortar Cosmetics is an Irish company founded by Sonia Deasy in conjunction with her photographer husband and biochemist sister. Sonia wanted to develop a skincare booster that would effectively tackle dryness, aging and fine lines, and make skin look plump and luminous both on camera and in real life, and so, in 2014, Pure Hyaluronic Serum was born.
Though I have only been using this product for three weeks, I am pleased with how it is performing. First impressions are very good; appearance-wise, its sophisticated packaging is clean, chic and very attractive – certainly befitting of its price-tag. The serum itself is a clear, fragrance-free, thin liquid that glides beautifully onto the face, absorbs quickly and leaves a lasting, supple effect. It works well with all my moisturisers and also apparently doubles as a make-up primer (though I don’t use it for that purpose). A little goes a very long way and even though I’ve been using it 1-2 times a day for 21 days, the bottle still appears full. It’s also worth noting that it is paraben-free and fragrance-free.
In terms of my review, I’ll need to keep using it for another while before I make my final conclusions. For now, I will say that I’ve noticed an improvement in my skin’s moisture levels, though my fine lines haven’t changed (more’s the pity). [Edit 02/06/2015: Read my final review here.]
Price: €43 for 30ml
Advanced Génefique Youth Activating Concentrate
I attended a Lancôme event last year to celebrate the launch of this serum and I can only guess that the canapés went to my head as I ended up buying a bottle of it on the night! (It’s very unlike me to buy anything without checking the reviews first, especially when priced at €73.00.) So, I was pleased and relieved to find it a pleasant product. The packaging is beautiful and if nothing else the opaque glass bottle looks very pretty on a bathroom shelf. The product absorbs quickly into the skin yet provides long-lasting, soothing nourishment. I was surprised by how little I needed to use – the applicator dispenses the perfect amount so there’s no wastage (essential when it’s such an expensive product). However, for me, the major drawback is the price; for a third of the cost you can purchase the very similar and equally good, if not better, Vichy Aqualia Thermal (reviewed above). For that reason, I have not repurchased but I felt it was worthy of inclusion in this review as it is a solid product.
Price: €73.00 for 30ml
Stockists: Lancôme outlets nationwide.
All reviews on stylebycaroline.ie are based on my own personal experiences and opinions. I have not been paid to endorse any of the featured items. If you have specific skincare concerns or queries, please refer to your GP or dermatologist. All prices and links are correct at time of publication.