Over the past couple of months I've been collecting and testing products from the Primark x Alex Steinherr skincare collection and it's finally time to return my verdict! I'll give you all of the background information, prices, how to get the products, what the ingredients are and my experience...
If you didn't already know; Alessandra Steinherr is a well-loved, long-established part of the beauty landscape here in the UK; most famously as the beauty director of Glamour magazine but also as an influencer in her own right. Primark is everyone's favourite super-affordable high street retailer; though they focus on clothing, their home range is really popular and now I guess they're looking to expand their beauty department.
The frustrating thing about Primark is that they don't sell online! That means these products can only be found in-store, and in my experience they have often been...'tampered with'! There's a list of stores you can find the products in here however there's no guarantee what stock they'll have in, so it might be worth calling up before making any long journeys to hunt this skincare down.
There are several ranges in this collection and, as you'd expect with a £4 average price per product, the packaging is basic, however I find it functional and it doesn't feel too flimsy. I have something from every range here to show you today but you can see the full product list here.
- PORE BALANCE -This collection is definitely more for oily skin, so I didn't expect it to be my favourite, but in the chaos of trying to grab as much as possible in Primark Bristol on a Saturday afternoon I ended up with a few things anyway.
The first is the Super Detox Clay Mousse Face Mask | £5. This is your classic kaolin clay mask which also contains niacinamide (to calm inflammation) and charcoal (to decongest your pores). I actually got on pretty well with this mask; it definitely hardens on the skin, however it has a slightly more watery texture than a lot of clay masks so it wasn't like having a really solid, immovable layer on your face. I've used this a good few times when my skin has been a bit spotty and lacklustre and it does help calm down a breakout. I wouldn't say it totally gets rid of all of my spots, but it has been helping reduce the size of them and just makes my skin feel like it's had a deep clean. Overall it's a solid B-!
I also tried the Low-pH Sulphate Free Cleanser | £4 | although I'm not really sure why! I have dehydrated-combination skin and a gel cleanser like this one (formulated with the BHA salicylic acid; known for its blemish-minimising properties) is definitely more for oiler types. I just found this too stripping and drying for me, but as I wasn't the intended audience, I can't really give it a fair review!
- MAXIMUM MOISTURE -This range was far more up my street; especially given that it's winter! All of these products are designed to help your skin retain moisture or give a general hydration boost.
I picked up the Micellar Cleansing Gel | £5 | because I haven't really come across a formula like it before. This is a gel product that uses micelle technology and has added moisturising ingredients such as fig extract. This is a really gentle cleanser; both on the skin and around the eye area, so is worth looking into if you have sensitive skin. I wouldn't say it's the most effective cleanser ever at removing waterproof eye makeup, however I do find it much easier and quicker to massage something like this in and remove it with a damp cloth, than using a micellar water and a dozen cotton wool pads. I'd recommend checking this out if you like the gentle effect of micellar water but want something a little more heavy-duty without having to resort to using an oil-based formula.
I also had high hopes for the Hydration on-the-Go | £4 | however it was a little lacklustre for me, unfortunately. This is a small tube containing a clear gel serum formulated with hyaluronic acid. I used this every day for several weeks and I just didn't really notice any significant effects from using it. I'm not sure what the HA concentration is in this but I think it probably isn't that high because my skin usually loves the stuff, as it generally plumps out any fine lines and gives me soft, hydrated skin. This just didn't really do anything much for me, which was very disappointing.
Finally there was one of the surprise winners out of the whole collaboration: the Moisture-Locking Everyday Moisturiser | £5. This is a cream-based moisturiser and its ingredients include squalene and peptides. I'm really, really impressed with this one and you just can't complain for £5! It smooths and softens my skin, giving a really nice amount of hydration that lasts all day. I also love that it isn't overly rich and doesn't leave an excess; it just absorbs nicely. I have combination skin and I'd say this would suit anyone from combination through to dry skin types.
- POLLUTION SOLUTION -This collection is formulated around antioxidants and claims to combat daily aggressors and help keep your skin looking young and healthy.
I actually only tried one product from this range (I did want the exfoliating pads but couldn't track them down), as the only other thing they had was the moisturiser, which didn't really call out to me; this here is the Daily Skin Starter | £5. This is another serum product but instead of being in a tube, it's a small bottle with a pump. Again, I just didn't feel like this serum did a lot; to me a serum is the 'booster' of your skincare routine that should really pack a punch but this was just quite a sticky gel product that I didn't see any real results with. Again, I used this for a couple of weeks but gave up because it felt like it wasn't doing anything for my skin at all. Maybe it is protecting my skin from the environment but I'd expect more of a healthy, hydrating effect from using this.
- PLUMP AND GLOW -This is a range with hyaluronic acid and fruit extracts that aims to give your skin a healthy look and a nice glow-boost.
I tried one product from this range, as I was kind of just grabbing as much as possible without really knowing what was inside... this ended up being the Facial in a Stick | £5. This is essentially a solid stick product in twist-up packaging that you apply directly to your face. It is oil-based but realistically you're probably not going to want to swipe this directly onto a face full of makeup because it's not particularly hygienic! I instead use this as a second cleanse / treatment; applying it, leaving it to absorb for a few minutes and then rinsing. I do find this leaves my skin softer, more hydrated and healthy-looking. It hasn't changed my universe but it's pretty nice if you can get over the slightly annoying packaging! I'd recommend having this as your second cleanse (as opposed to using it in the morning) so that it's always going onto clean skin, ensuring you're not spreading germs each time you use it.
- SLEEP SPA -As a whole, this was definitely my favourite collection within the collaboration. These products are all designed to be used overnight and I have everything besides the night cleanser, which I would have loved to have tried but I couldn't find it. Willowherb, hyaluronic acid and chamomile are the key ingredients in this range so expect soothing hydration.
The first product I tried was the Every Night Eye Mask | £4. This is actually more of a semi-clear gel-cream formula, which surprised me, as I kind of expected a richer cream texture from an overnight product. I did like the mask, however and have been using it every night to incorporate some eye care into my evening skincare routine. It definitely hydrates the skin around my eyes and I've noticed a difference since adding this step in there. It isn't transformative but it's a nice product that works for me.
Next I have the Sleeping Face Mask | £5. This is again a lighter sort of cream as opposed to something super-nourishing, which means it might not be heavy-duty enough for dry skin. As I'm combination, this works really nicely for me; it's nothing that intense but my skin is soft, soothed and hydrated when I wake up in the morning after using it. I actually tend to apply this quite liberally, as it's so affordable I don't feel too guilty!
I've saved the best for last: the Overnight Lip Mask | £4. I absolutely love this stuff; it actually rivals my Laneige one! This is a slightly thicker lip balm in a pink gel formula that you simply apply before bed so you wake up the next day with seriously smooth, soft lips. Recently I had some pretty bad dry patches on my lips that I couldn't even shift after exfoliating, however I started using this and within one night they were back to full health!
- MY VERDICT -Overall, there were a few duds in the range for me that just didn't pack enough of a punch, however there were some gems too. My only annoyance is that I won't easily be able to pick up the products that impressed me again because this isn't stocked in the Birmingham store, which is where I live. Meaning I'd have to just try and pop into Primark stores when I'm away on the off chance they have them in stock. In summary: the Pore Balance range was fine, but not necessarily for my skin type, the Maximum Moisture range had more hits than misses, the single product I tried from the Pollution Solution range didn't work for me, the Plump and Glow product I got was fairly decent and the Sleep Spa was a resounding success.
I do wonder if the price-point they were working to on this collection meant that they had to dilute down some of the ingredients (along with having quite small sizes for many of the products). Overall I don't know if I can call this collection a clear hit or miss! I still love Alex but a few of the things I tried didn't do much for me, however at this price, maybe it was worth blindly grabbing a bunch of stuff to find those gems that I really fell for.
Have you tried / will you be trying anything from Primark x Alex Steinherr?