- Advertisement information: this post discusses items gifted to me with no obligation to share them (marked *). In addition I have / have had a brand relationship with Cult Beauty and Beauty Bay (gifting). My blog has Skimlinks and RewardStyle installed to automatically monetise purchases of products I link on my blog, therefore this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions remain my own and please refer to my Disclosure Page for further detail -
This is one of those posts I've been meaning to share for ages but I've only just had the space in my schedule after a flurry of new skincare launches, which I tend to prioritise for review because I get asked about them a lot! Today, I'm going to talk about Revolution Skincare. Myself and Revolution go waaaaaay back; I used to buy every eyeshadow palette they launched and would review them back in 2014 / 2015 right here on this blog, so it only seemed right to test out their skincare, now that's where my focus has shifted to. Therefore, I'm putting Revolution skincare up against some of my more expensive favourites to see if they offer a viable alternative (this feels so old-school, as it's exactly what I did with Revolution palettes back in the day!)
Revolution have a bit of a reputation. Firstly, for shamelessly 'duping' high-end makeup products from brands like Urban Decay, Too Faced and Charlotte Tilbury. Secondly, as part of the backlash against 'fast fashion', with their incessant releases of trendy makeup being seen as encouraging mindless consumerism and using a palette once before chucking it in the bin and it ending up in a landfill site somewhere. Additionally, their products do look suspiciously inspired by the Ordinary, but are slightly more expensive. On top of everything else; I really questioned whether a product range that's so extensive and being expanded upon almost daily could really be any good when it comes to formulation. Therefore, I was a little hesitant about reviewing them at all. However, today I just wanted to talk about the products and the formulas with all of that set aside because going into this I was genuinely intrigued as to what these products would be like!
The Glycolic Acid Toner: Pixi Glow Tonic* | £18 (250ml) | vs. Revolution 5% Glycolic Acid Tonic* | £10 (200ml)
Glycolic acid is pretty much the gold standard of AHAs. AHAs chemically exfoliate the skin, and has amazing brightening and skin-smoothing abilities. It can even help fade hyperpigmentation marks over time. The Pixi Glow Tonic is one of the first exfoliating toners I ever tried and, though it's not my everyday option these days, it will always have a place in my heart! It's gentle but it works. It is formulated with fragrance, which might not be the best combination for some skin types, but I've never had any issues with this formula (perhaps it's the calming aloe in there). The Revolution toner is a little over half the price, so even though Pixi's isn't exactly expensive, it's still a decent saving. It contains witch hazel, like the Pixi formula, which can be irritating but really isn't the devil in low doses, and also contains aloe, but it's very low on the ingredient list. Unfortunately I couldn't use this for an extended period of time because it has an awful, overpowering fragrance I just couldn't stomach! It worked well enough for that surface glow, but it was a touch drying. I couldn't continue with it for long enough to comment on how it worked for blemish scarring. Pixi easily wins this round for me, particularly as the price difference is somewhat inflated because you get less product with Revolution.
The Growth Factor: Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream* | £57 (for full size - 50ml) | vs. Revolution Skincare Conditioning EGF Serum* | £10 (30ml)
I know we're comparing a moisturiser to a serum here, but I don't have a ton of Epidermal Growth Factor in my collection, as I have some reservations about it in terms of whether it's something I want to use on my skin and whether it actually works - I'd encourage you to do your own research in the area. The aim of growth factor is to stimulated cell growth and - in the context of skincare - it's aimed at repairing cell damage. There's not a ton of evidence that this works, nor is there that the peptides in the Drunk Elephant formula stimulate collagen production, so there are plenty of reasons why one might be hesitant to splash out on something lik Protini. I'm not a huge fan of Drunk Elephant these days anyway and this moisturiser is one of their products that just really didn't do a lot for my skin; it was too lightweight and not hydrating enough. I didn't feel the EFG serum from Revolution did anything amazing or crazy for my skin either, to be honest. It's fine; it's hydrating and softening, but given what shaky ground EFG is on; I'd rather stick to a nice hyaluronic acid serum. I'm going to call this a draw because neither of them blew me away.
Copper Peptides: Niod Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2.1* | £60 (30ml) | vs. Revolution Copper Peptide Serum | £10 (30ml)
As I mentioned; copper peptides are supposed to encourage collagen production and therefore are sold as an anti-ageing ingredient, however the evidence just isn't that solid on them and they're pretty expensive, so I recommend proceeding with caution if you're considering purchasing something like the Niod serum. Personally, I find the Copper Amino Isolate gives me that 'brand new skin' look and some of my best skin days ever, however that's totally my own anecdotal experience. I also really rate the Ordinary's formula, but that's still £30, so Revolution's is one of the most inexpensive options on the market and you know what; it's really not bad at all! No, it doesn't give as dramatic results as the Niod formula, but the finish is non-sticky and I felt the overall quality of my skin was great during the time I used this product. I think it's a viable alternative.
Plant-Based 'Retinol': Algenist Elevate Advanced Retinol Serum* | £81 (30ml) | vs. Revolution 1% Bakuchiol Serum* | £10 (30ml)
Ok, bakuchiol definitely isn't retinol; let's get that out of the way! Retinol is the only proven ingredient that can reverse skin ageing; it comes from Vitamin A, which can be plant or animal derived (this formula from Algenist is vegan). You can't use it whilst pregnant or on accutane, but it can also be incredible for post-acne scarring. It's advised to start with a low concentration and build up in terms of regularity over a period of time, though you may experience some peeling regardless. Retinol can be a bit scary for some, and of course; not everyone can use it at all stages of their life, which led to bakuchiol gaining popularity in the past year or two as a 'natural' alternative that may trick skin cells into thinking it's retinol. I've tried both ingredients from different brands and can categorically say I've never seen the same next-level skin-smoothing results with bakuchiol that I have with retinol, but it's still a nice ingredients that's gentle and does help my skin look a little smoother. Algenist do a great plant-based formula, but it's obviously incredibly pricey. Revolution's Bakuchiol is a fraction of the price, and I actually found it to be pretty good! I don't wake up in the morning after using this marvelling at my skin as I would with retinoids, but my skin definitely looked and felt smoother over long-term use. It's not retinol, but it's pretty good and I personally prefer it to the affordable true retinols I've tried from the Ordinary and the Inkey List, making it a viable alternative.
Vitamin C Serum: Omorovicza Daily Vitamin C Serum* | £99 (30ml) | vs. Revolution 3% Vitamin C Serum | £8 (30ml)
Omorovicza is a super-luxury brand that's not going to be attainable to everyone, but the creamy lotion texture of Revolution's £10 alternative reminded me of it a little. Vitamin C has a whole host of benefits; it can smooth the skin, improve its texture, even out hyperpigmentation and generally brighten the skin to give it an overall glow. Honestly, the Omorovicza serum is lovely; it's hydrating and makes my skin glow, but I don't think it helps dramatically with skin texture. It also lasts a good while because it uses a pretty stable form of Vitamin C. Overall, for the price, I probably wouldn't purchase it again. I actually really enjoyed the Revolution formula whilst it lasted, but unfortunately; that wasn't for very long! Despite the pump and opaque packaging, it turned within less than a month (Vitamin C is very unstable and can degrade on contact with light and air - watch out for it turning yellow or orange - and this formula contains ascorbic acid, the most well-proven but also volatile form). This actually had a lovely texture that melted into my skin and gave it a gorgeous glow, but I wasn't able to use it for long enough to see any benefits in terms of the appearance hyperpigmentation. At the end of the day; it's £8 and you could probably finish this in 4-6 weeks if you used it every single day and some evenings. It's not a bad buy, but consider yourself warned regarding the quick 'turn'!
Hyaluronic Acid Serum: Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex* | £38 (30ml) | vs. Revolution 2% Hyaluronic Acid Serum | £6 (30ml)
Every brand has a hyaluronic acid serum in their range, so it's a great measuring stick for comparison. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, so draws water into the skin. For this reason it's best applied to slightly damp skin. Niod's formula is 'multi-molecular' with 12 forms of the ingredient at different sizes to reach the different layers of the skin. It has a fast-absorbing water-light formula that plumps, hydrates and gives my skin a healthy, fresh glow. It's my favourite hyaluronic acid serum for sure! I've tried many affordable hyaluronic acid serums and many of them have a sticky, filmy finish that makes them unpleasant to apply. This is the reason I've never been much of a fan of the Ordinary's formula. I was actually pleasantly surprised by Revolution's take on the ingredient; whilst it has a thicker, more gel-like formula than the Niod; it doesn't feel overly tacky at all. It absorbs nicely and hydrates my skin, so I'm considering it a bargain find!
Rosehip Oil: Pai BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil* | £24 (30ml) | vs. Revolution Gold Elixir Rosehip Seed Oil* | £10 (30ml)
Rosehip oil is something I often use before bed, particularly during the colder months. It's not only super-nourishing but it could also have healing properties for scarring and skin texture. It's gentle and it plays well with other skincare ingredients, which makes it a great staple. I'm a long-time fan of the Pai oil; it's nothing overly greasy or shiny and doesn't clog my pores. I've been using it for years and it's still my #1. I do like the Revolution formula; it's definitely a little greasier and doesn't absorb as readily, but that feels like a minor inconvenience given how affordable it is.
Spot Treatment: REN ClearCalm Non-Drying Spot Treatment* | £17.50 (15ml) | vs. Revolution 2% Salicylic Acid Serum* | £8 (30ml)
The REN spot treatment is formulated with willow bark, which is a precursor to salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a BHA, so an acid exfoliant that can penetrate deeply into the pores to clear out congestion, help active blemishes and improve the appearance of blemish scarring. Willow bark doesn't have the same amount of studies backing up its efficacy, but many people claim it's a gentler alternative. Although the Revolution product is billed as a serum, I recommend also using it as a spot treatment to be applied only on breakouts and marks left behind afterwards, as and when needed. The REN formula is genuinely very gentle and it works pretty well for me in terms of calming angry spots; I simply apply it before bed and see an improvement by morning. The Revolution formula works just as well for me, if not better, reducing the size of angry red blemishes overnight and preventing them from scarring afterwards.
Overall, there are some good products in this range and I was pleasantly surprised with the formulations. I often find affordable skincare brands scrimp on the texture and feel of the product, particularly when it comes to serums, but these had a pleasant texture without stickiness or tackiness. I don't think it's a bad range, but it's definitely a case of 'your mileage may vary' and I suspect getting hot ingredients to market quickly takes precedence over creating really effective formulas in packaging that protects their integrity. I think in a world populated with the likes of the Ordinary, the Inkey List and Good Molecules, this brand at this price-point may struggle to stand out. However, I can appreciate Good Molecules isn't that accessible in the UK and the Ordinary do struggle to keep their products in stock.
Have you tried Revolution skincare?