Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Serious Skincare on a Budget

Getting old is a funny thing. You can, on a good day, feel just like you did at 18 - shiny of hair, taut of skin and bursting with energy. But on a bad day? Jeez. My son came into our room the other morning, just as I was getting out of bed, and asked if I'd been crying, I looked that creased and swollen of eye. I'm not vain, but it's a bit worrying that you should wake from a good 8 hours' kip looking like you've taken a few punches in a boxing ring rather than getting some quality shut-eye.

While I'm extremely sceptical about anti-ageing treatments, I do appreciate that at my stage of life a little bit of help might be required in the skin care department. The problem is, of course, that a lot of the products lauded by the trustworthy beauty journos don't come cheap - I simply can't part with the best part of £50 for a serum. 

Thankfully there is a brilliant alternative for helping with middle aged skin issues. The Ordinary is a brand that has been making a fair bit of noise with industry insiders for some time, including a positive review from my go-to skincare guru, Sali Hughes. I finally bought some products on a recent trip to London where I visited their Covent Garden shop as I'd been a bit confused by what did what when looking on their website - it's a bit of a minefield of scientific terminology and percentages. I was pleased to be able to get some proper advice from a store assistant before making a purchase, but if you know your retinols from your AHAs you should be okay deciding which products best service your needs.

The range is essentially made up of 'generic pharma' products in the same vein of unbranded paracetamol - unlike its prettier, branded packets, it does the same job but without the big marketing spend. The Ordinary takes a similar approach, using tried and tested ingredients in its products but leaving behind anything superfluous and swapping expensive packaging for pared-down bottles and boxes. Personally, I find the simplicity of it all very pleasing, though you could get annoyed by the overblown spiel in the 'About Us' page on their website. 

If their website mission statements leaves you confused, you can read a good review of the products by Sali Hughes here, while I found this article a helpful guide to which products work best for certain skin concerns. The products I'm currently using are the Hyaluronic Acid 2% +B5. Now I have overcome my fear of the word 'acid' in the context of skincare and get what this particular type of acid does (holds moisture to keep your skin looking plump, hydrated and youthful) I'm fully on board with it and this serum seems to be doing what it promises on the bottle. I'm using it just in the morning, on clean skin before my moisturiser. Just a few drops suffice to cover the face (I'm also using it on my neck as this area of my skin seems to have borne particular brunt of the ageing process.) It leaves skin a little bit tacky but I can live with that as I think it's definitely made my skin feel softer and smoother over the short time I've been using this product.

At night I'm using the most expensive product in the The Ordinary range (a still incredibly affordable £12.70); "Buffet" is a 'multi-technology peptide serum' which can be used both at night and in the morning too under other products and make-up. Again, it has a slightly sticky consistency but it's not unpleasant, particularly as I'm using it solely at night. It promises to tackle fine lines, wrinkles and 'textural irregularities'. Oh, and 'dynamic lines' - I don't know what these are but I'm pretty sure I've got them.

Having used the serum for just a few weeks now, and in conjunction with other night-time beauty staples (Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Serum and Wildsource Apothecary Miracle Skin Oil) I honestly feel my skin looks a bit more springy and youthful (either that or I really do need to follow up that annual eye appointment - getting old is all the fun!)

With most products in the range coming in at the £5 mark, The Ordinary is certainly revolutionary in offering targeted, clinical skincare solutions at inclusive price points - the products are cheaper than similar mass-market offerings from the likes of Olay and L'Oreal, plus the packaging is more aesthetically pleasing if things like that matter to you.

Nothing can truly eradicate decades-worth of sunbathing, wine drinking, child rearing and all the other stuff that shows on our faces when we reach a certain age. But The Ordinary serums go a little way to hiding the evidence for a bit longer...

Visit the The Ordinary website here to see the full range of products. 


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