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When I checked out the Cult Beauty 'new in' section a few weeks back, I nearly dropped my phone! A whole host of brands we've been seeing on Instagram but haven't had access to in the UK all landed at around the same time. Today I'm reviewing what I tried from Jordan Samuel, Volition, Versed and Biossance...

Let's start with the Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Facial Serum | £26. This brand is pretty reasonably-priced on the whole and I really like the chic packaging. Jordan Samuel Skin was founded by the aforementioned skin therapist a few years back as a gentle but effective option for stressed-out skin. This is a pretty simple serum; it's lightweight, it absorbs without feeling sticky or tacky on the skin and contains a straightforward blend of ingredients. This is perfect for dehydrated skin, as it's formulated with ingredients like glycerin, aloe and hyaluronic acid. Aloe is a soothing agent for the skin, it's hydrating and it acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin from free radical damage. Glycerin and hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate is used in this particular formula) are humectants, meaning they draw water into the layers of the skin. I personally apply something like this to slightly damp skin so that moisture is pulled in. This serum honestly works really nicely; I like the texture and application and I do notice my skin is softer, plumper and just looks overall more healthy and replenished after use. Whilst it's not full of wild actives that give dramatic results; it does the job for someone with dehydrated skin like mine.

Next I have the Volition Strawberry-C Brightening Serum | £32. Volition Beauty is a 'clean' and cruelty-free brand built around the very modern idea of constant interaction between the brand and the consumer. Effectively, they let you vote for the products you want in your life and they'll make the most popular ones! Strawberries are a rich source of Vitamin C, and there is some evidence to suggest this can work even when used topically. This comes in a frosted bottle, which I hope is designed to keep the Vitamin C stable. The form of Vitamin C in this serum is ascorbic acid; a nice option that's well-researched. This serum also contains humectants like glycerin and sodium hyaluronate, which (as with the Jordan Samuel Skin serum) will pull water from your surroundings into the skin. There's also strawberry seed extract and cucumber water to give this serum some further antioxidant properties, protecting your skin from environmental damage. I also find cucumber to be lightweight, hydrating and refreshing on my skin. Overall, I do like this serum. I've been using it for around 4-6 weeks now in the morning and it absolutely plumps the skin, makes it glow and contributes to an overall 'fresh skin' look. It melts nicely into the skin without leaving any surface stickiness too. However, I can't say that during this time I've noticed my skin is more even or my hyper-pigmentation has been reduced in a way that I could attribute to this serum. I'll keep using this product to see if I notice any changes over more long-term use, but if you're looking specifically to target uneven skin tone and texture with your Vitamin C serum, perhaps this isn't the best option out there.

Moving onto exfoliating products, I also recently gave the Versed the Shortcut Overnight Peel | £18 | a go. Versed is one of those newer, very affordable, actives-focused skincare brands. There isn't a single product in their range that costs over £20 and, though it's quite basic, I actually find their packaging cute as well as functional. Their products are generally basic blends as opposed to being single-ingredient driven, making the small collection pretty easy to navigate. This is a cream-based overnight mask, which stipulates it should be applied to clean, product-free skin (though I tend to follow it up with a nourishing moisturiser at this time of year). It's formulated with Vitamin A (retinol is derived from it and has skin-smoothing, anti-acne properties), AHAs (lactic and glycolic acids) and a few hydrating and moisturising factors like Vitamin E, shea butter, glycerin and rosehip oil to counteract any dryness you may experience with strong acid exfoliation. Whilst I wouldn't say it's the most gentle overnight peel I've ever used (and I wouldn't recommend it if you've never used chemical exfoliators before), I didn't experience any redness or irritation with this. Lactic acid and glycolic acid are both alpha hydroxy acids, that will break down the 'glue' between dead skin cells so they break away and reveal smoother, softer, more even skin. I've actually really been impressed with this treatment, having used it a couple of times a week over the past few weeks. My skin is noticeably smoother and more radiant by morning whenever I use it, with no irritation. 

Finally, I also got the Biossance 100% Squalane Oil | £27. This plant-derived oil mimics the natural oils our skin produces, making it perfect for dry and sensitive skin types, because it gives the skin additional moisture and it's pretty much impossible to react as a result of using it. Biossance actually do something a little different with their squalane and produce it using sugar cane, as they believe it to be a more sustainable source. Biossance is pretty much built around this ingredient, so what better place to start than with a nice big bottle of their star formula? This comes in really handy pump packaging, because you can use this on your body and hair, as well as your face. I have to say I've been loving it! It's not greasy, heavy or slippery; it absorbs so nicely and plumps and softens my skin. I personally use this as the final step in my evening skincare routine so I have healthier-feeling skin by morning. It's an amazing one for travel because it also nourishes the dry skin on my body. Additionally, it's lightweight enough to nourish the ends of my hair without weighing it down. It's a fairly basic product and formula, but it's incredibly useful to have on-hand.

Have you tried or do you want to try any of these brands?

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