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Today I'm very excited to introduce you to the latest K-Beauty brand to arrive on UK shores; AHC Skincare. They're already huge in Korean and have a loyal following in the US, and now you can find their products exclusively at Look Fantastic! I've been testing out a few of their products, so keep reading to hear my thoughts and learn a little bit more about the brand...
The ethos behind the brand is bringing scientifically-proven ingredients and quality formulations in a variety of products. As I've lamented many times on this blog; I have dehydrated skin, which can happen to any skin type, so don't be fooled into thinking that just because you're oily, you can't be dehydrated! My skin type is normal, but my main skin concern (a temporary state brought on my environmental / lifestyle factors) is dehydration. That meant the Aqualuronic line in particular seemed perfect for me, and I also have their hero product; a concentrated moisturiser for the face and eyes. Looking through the ingredients of the entire range, I was impressed overall, with my only slight negative being that the products do contain some fragrance (bar the Aqualuronic moisturiser), which doesn't bother me, but I always like to let you all know so you can decide for yourself. As I'm sure regular readers will be aware; I absolutely love hyaluronic acid and it can be found in every product in the Aqualuronic range. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it attracts water, so is amazing for dehydrated skin (I apply it to damp skin so that it draws that water in). The products from this collection contain three forms of hyaluronic acid at different molecular weights, which ensures that the different layers of your skin all get a hydration boost. These products also all contain ceramides, which help to strengthen the skin's barrier, so moisture is locked in and any irritation is calmed.
The first step of a morning skincare routine is, of course, cleansing so we'll start with the AHC Aqualuronic Cleanser* | £18. This is one of those cleansers that's foaming but moisturising; I usually use something like this in the morning to leave my skin feeling free from any oiliness or dirt that might have gathered on it overnight, without totally stripping the skin of moisture (because it contains all those amazing hydrating ingredients). I find this works best if you dampen your skin and fingertips a little before applying the product, so you can really get that foaming action going. You really don't need much product and this is a big generous tube for a very reasonable price, so I think this will last me a good long while. It definitely leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh but also very soft, with none of that tight feeling that some foaming cleansers can leave you with.
After cleanser, as with a Western skincare routine; you move on to the toning stage. The AHC Aqualuronic Toner* | £20 | is simple but functional and something I can reach for when I want to hydrate and replenish my skin instead of using something strong like exfoliating toner. It isn't sticky or anything like that; the texture truly is water-light and it absorbs into my skin in that way too. I quite often use this in the evening as well, when my skin is looking and feeling a bit tired and dull, just to bring that moisture back in, and it works really well for that.
The next step in this routine is the AHC Aqualuronic Emulsion* | £20. I know some brands use 'emulsion' to refer to a light moisturiser, but this particular product is designed to be used after your toner but before applying a serum. This is not only a new skincare step for me, but I think this is one of my favourite products from the entire line. It's a very lightweight milky serum-like formula that you simply pat into the skin for an extra dose of hydration. It leaves my skin incredibly soft before I've even moved on to my serum and moisturiser stage, really locking in all that hydration and preventing water loss throughout the day. I know that for some, it might be an extra step in their routine they don't want to do, but I personally love it and am so glad I've discovered this new way of hydrating my skin.
There's also a serum in this collection; the AHC Aqualuronic Serum* | £26 | which is formulated with niacinamide, alongside the ceramides and hyaluronic acid featured in all of the Aqualuronic products. Niacinamide is a vitamin that can deliver a whole host of benefits to the skin, including calming irritation, regulating oil production and strengthening the skin barrier. It's a lovely gel-serum that absorbs beautifully into my skin. I've obviously used a lot of hyaluronic acid serums by now, so I know what I'm looking for and this delivers all the benefits I associate with this ingredient in a formula that's easy to wear, is never sticky or tacky and doesn't peel up as you apply further layers of skincare. I really think this could work for a variety of skin types, due to it having such a lightweight texture and a simple, but effective ingredient list. Even when I'm not doing a full routine with all the products I'm talking about today and I've just done my morning cleanse and gone straight in with this serum; I notice my skin feels so much softer and more hydrated. I also notice an immediate plumping effect after using this serum, so my dehydration lines look less visible, which also really helps with things like makeup application. This is another highlight from the range for me.
Outside of the Aqualuronic range, I also tried one of the brand's most famous products - the AHC Essential Real Eye Cream for Face* | £26. As I'm sure most of you reading this know by now; I personally think that unless you want something dramatically different for your eye area in comparison to the rest of your face, then you don't need a separate eye cream and moisturiser in most cases. This is a really nice cream-gel formula, which is exactly what I look for in an eye cream; I don't need something really rich and heavy, because that's going to just overwhelm my eye area with greasiness and cause milia. Something like this is the perfect level of hydration for me, softening my skin without feeling heavy, and the consistency makes it a great lightweight moisturiser during the summer months. The ingredient list is much more extensive than any product in the Aqualuronic range (though we've still got ceramides and hyaluronic acid in the mix) but there are a few things I wanted pick out to talk about in a little more depth. There's niacinamide in this product, which I've already explained is a favourite ingredient of mine. I also love squalane, which is a plant-derived oil that mimics the natural oils the skin produces, to lock in moisture. There are lots of other oils in here that are great for sealing moisture into the skin, such as macadamia and calendula seed. There are fermented ingredients in here, which are a staple of Korean skincare lines. There's a little Vitamin C in the mix, to brighten and protect the skin, as well as Lactic Acid, to gently exfoliate the skin and attract water. It's a lovely (and travel-friendly) all-rounder that I'll definitely be reaching for regularly.
Finally, we have the AHC Aqualuronic Cream* | £32 | which is another of my must-have products. This is a lightweight gel formula moisturiser, which is perfect for summer when you don't want something heavy or suffocating on your skin. I'm pretty picky when it comes to gel moisturisers, because some of them are aimed squarely at oily skin and just don't provide enough hydration for me, however (despite having a texture that positively melts into the skin) this one really helps my thirsty skin, making it look dewy, plump and healthy. I think a range of skin types could also use this moisturiser when their complexion is looking a bit dull and lacking in moisture. It's pretty much the antidote to dehydration and I'm loving using it!
Do you use hyaluronic acid in your skincare routine? And do you have your eye on any of the products from AHC Skincare?