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Today - at long last! - I'm sharing my review of Beauty Bay's now not-so-new own skincare line. This originally launched in January but due to the COVID situation, when the products sold out; they weren't able to restock them for a long while. However, the range is back (along with a few new additions) and I have the entire lot here today to give you an overview (after having had many months to test it all out!)
Beauty Bay has played a really important role in bringing indie makeup and skincare brands to the UK mass market over the years. They launched their own-brand makeup line a couple of years back and at the start of 2020 the skincare collection came to market. The packaging is pretty simple, but still has that bit of colourful fun I associate with Beauty Bay's branding. The price-point is very affordable, which I think is also appropriate because quite a lot of their audience is made up of teens. I like that they both have a descriptive title for each product (e.g. 'clarifying serum') but also outline the active ingredients they're formulated with.
- SERUMS -
Let's kick things off with the serums. The first one I tried was the SkinHit Correcting Serum* | £5.95. This is a chemical exfoliation serum with AHA and PHA. Glycolic Acid is the second ingredient on the INCI list, so you know it's strong stuff! It also contains PHAs, which are less well-known but a lovely gentle alternative to AHAs and BHAs, as they have a larger molecular size and are absorbed more slowly. I honestly didn't find this the gentlest product in world, and my skin is very much used to acids, so I think this could potentially be quite irritating for some people (it also contains peppermint and tea tree oils, which can aggravate some skin types). It did give me smoother and clearer skin, but I wouldn't recommend using it more than a couple of times a week (in the evening - and don't forget your sunscreen in the morning).
Next, let's talk about the SkinHit Soothing Serum* | £5. This blue-toned serum is formulated with niacinamide and copper peptides. Niacinamide is a great skin multitasker; it regulates oil production, maintains a healthy skin barrier, has a soothing effect and can reduce redness and breakouts. Copper peptides are an ingredient type I really love, but products containing them tend to be very expensive, and despite anecdotal evidence; there's not that much science backing their effectiveness at increasing collagen production and renewing the skin, so understandably not everyone wants to spend a small fortune on them. This comes in at a purse-friendly £5 and I really like the idea of this combination in theory. I don't think I got crazy copper peptide results like I do with my Niod, however I do think the niacinamide element is lovely. My skin was nice, clear and calm for the several weeks during which I use this serum; it kept everything nicely in balance.
I also have the SkinHit Hydrating Serum* | £5.95. This serum is full of water-attracting ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycogen, so I recommend applying it to damp skin to pull that water into its deeper layers. It's lightweight and doesn't feel overly tacky when it dries down, which I do like. It's a pretty simple, basic formula, but that's not necessarily a bad thing! For me; it does the job of making my skin look plumper and feel more hydrated. It also improves the appearance of dehydration line I suffer from. It didn't blow my mind (like Niod's HA, for example) but it's under £6 and I personally find it has a more pleasant texture than something like the Ordinary's HA.
My standout serum has to be the SkinHit Clarifying Serum | £6.50 | though perhaps not for its advertised purpose. This is marketed as a clarifying serum to help with hyperpigmentation and is formulated with bakuchiol and oatmeal. Bakuchiol is often called the 'natural' alternative to retinol, as it's plant-derived. It's a nice one to have in your arsenal if you're expecting, because unlike retinol; it's pregnancy-safe, additionally it's a lot more gentle on the skin and can be used in conjunction ingredients that retinol doesn't get along with. That being said, I don't find the results to be as dramatic as those I get with retinol in terms of evening out the texture and tone of my skin. For me, oatmeal is a soothing and moisturising ingredient, as opposed to a clarifying one. All that being said; this serum has a pleasant, moisturising texture that softens and smooths my skin. After several weeks of using it (I tend to use this as part of an evening routine), I did feel as though my skin looked healthy and its overall quality was good. Of all the serums; this is definitely my favourite.
Finally, we have the SkinHit Brightening Serum* | £6.50. This serum is formulated with Vitamin C and peptides. Vitamin C is a love / hate relationship for me! When it's good; it's really good and can help with skin brightening and uneven pigmentation. When it's bad; it's unstable, it oxidises and it's effectively useless for these purposes. This serum contains ascorbyl glucoside, which is a pretty stable form of Vitamin C, but my main concern here is that the packaging just doesn't do enough to really seal in that ingredient. Whilst the opaque packaging with protect it from light, it's definitely not airtight. Peptides, as I mentioned previously, may increase collagen production in the skin and (anecdotally) I find they give me smoother, healthier looking skin. Overall, this serum made my skin lovely and smooth and gave it a radiant appearance. I can't say I saw a massive difference in terms of my skin tone and pigmentation, but this is a lovely option for healthy, glowing skin. I'll enjoy this serum while it lasts, though I fear that might not be long! However for £6.50; I can't complain too much. Just don't open this unless you can commit to using it daily until it's finished up, if you want to get your money's worth. There are also no fragrant essential oils in this serum, for those who are conscious of this in their skincare.
- CLEANSE, TONE & MOISTURISE -
A standout for me from the entire range was the Super Jelly Cleansing Gel* | £6.50. This non-foaming jelly cleanser is formulated with avocado oil (to nourish the skin and act as an antioxidant) and prebiotics, to encourage a healthy balance of bacteria on the skin's surface. There are also some other fruit extracts and humectants in the ingredient list and I couldn't see any obvious potential irritants, but please do check for yourself if you have any allergies or are prone to sensitivity. I really love the texture of this product; it doesn't foam up and feels nicely cleansing without stripping my skin of moisture. I really like using this in the morning as a lightweight, fresh option that leaves my skin clean but doesn't dry it out. If you like the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser or Fresh Soy Face Cleanser; you'll definitely be into this, and it's only £6.50!
I also really enjoyed the Make It Rain Face Mist* | £5. This is a lightweight, non-sticky hydrating mist formulated primarily with mineral and berry extracts. There are lots of fruit and flower oils, to moisturise the skin (though some of them may not be suitable for sensitive skin) and zinc, which is great for redness and blemish-prone skin. This does exactly what it sets out to and is an effective hydrating mist.
As an exfoliating option, there's the Acid Trip Exfoliating Toner | £6.75. This chemically exfoliates the skin with AHAs and PHAs, just like the serum I talked about earlier. This contains several fragrant ingredients, which I actually don't really like in an exfoliating product, because you're putting your skin through a treatment that compromises it, so adding in potential irritants can cause damage. I did find this worked for evening my complexion out and making my skin feel smoother, but I definitely felt a tingling sensation. My skin is very used to acids, so I can imagine this causing some irritation for those who are quite new to them. A lot of the reviews on the website mention it smelling bad - I personally didn't really get that with this product, but it could be something to bear in mind given a lot of people have said this! I have a lot of acid toners and find this one a bit harsh, so it's not one I'm going to continue using.
There are two moisturising options in the range, the first of which is the Day One Moisturiser* | £6.50. This is the more lightweight, lotion-like option, but it still contains nourishing olive-derived squalane oil, which mimics the oils are skin naturally produces to contribute to overall skin health. It also contains ginseng, which can act as an antioxidant to protect the skin from free radical damage. There's also glycerin to bring water into the skin and sunflower seed oil, a gentle moisturiser. It has a pretty simple, functional formulation, which I quite like. For my normal, dehydrated skin it's spot on for the summer months, softening and hydrating my skin without overloading it with product. I think this is best for normal and combination skin types.
A real standout for me has been the Thirst Class Rich Moisturiser | £7. This is formulated with oat lipids, to replenish the skin barrier, moisturising sunflower seed oil and niacinamide, to calm the skin, reduce redness and regulate sebum production. There's no fragrance in here and it should be pretty safe for sensitive skin, though do check the full ingredient list to be sure. I absolutely love how softening and nourishing this is on my skin without leaving any greasy excess on its surface. The texture and application are both lovely with this formula. When I first got this back in January, I used it during the day, but as it's summer now; I really enjoy this as a replenishing overnight recovery cream.
Finally, for this section, we have the SkinHit Nourishing Oil* | £7.50. This oil is formulated with hemp seed oil, a well-proven skin moisturiser, and rosehip oil, which is not only intensely nourishing on the skin but may even help with the appearance of scarring. I personally enjoy both of these ingredients already and I really like that this oil that brings them together. I find this oil really locks in moisture when used as the final step of my evening skincare routine and I wake up in the morning with lovely, soft skin. It's definitely a little heavier than more expensive oils in my collection, but for £6.50; I really don't mind!
- TREATMENTS -
First up, I have the Dot-a-Spot Blemish Stickers | £5.95. I probably wouldn't have picked this up, were I not looking to just review the whole collection, but I thought I'd give them a go. These dots contain hydrocolloid; a sort of wound dressing, which helps with skin healing. The other benefit of these are that they stop you touching the spot (which just adds more bacteria) and picking at it (which causes scarring). I also sometimes find that spot pastes don't work that well for me overnight because I move a lot in my sleep and it just ends up rubbing off, so these stay on really well. Overall, they aren't a miracle-worker, but I do find that popping one of these on over a spot before bed can help reduce its size and appearance by morning.
The Skin Fixer Clay Mask* | £7.50 | was actually a pleasant surprise. It definitely hardens and dries down, but as long as you don't exceed the 10-15 minutes the instructions advise you to leave it on for, it won't suck your skin dry of moisture! It's formulated with kaolin clay to provide a deep cleanse and PHAs for exfoliation. I think it's probably the AHAs used in the serum and toner that didn't agree with my skin, because this mask didn't cause me any irritation. After use, my skin felt clean, clear and smooth, which is exactly what I wanted from this mask. I use it around once a week for an overall skin pick-me-up.
- FINAL THOUGHTS -
In a very similar vein to the Ordinary; it is a bit of a lucky dip! There was only one product I truly didn't like (the toner), most were fine and a few were absolute standouts that I see as total bargains and products I'm really happy to have in my collection. Overall, I thought the formulas were pretty good, though most of the serums didn't knock my socks off. My main criticism would be that some of these active ingredients don't seem like they'd be well-protected enough in this basic packaging. Additionally, most of the products are formulated with an element of fragrant essential oils, which could cause irritation for some skin types. In terms of high points; I really felt like the formulations were of a good standard; sometimes with more affordable brands, something is sacrificed in terms of texture and application, but not here! I didn't find any of the products sticky or uncomfortable to use or apply in any way. From the entire range, I'm naming my absolute must-haves as the cleanser, rich moisturiser, oil and clarifying serum.
Have you tried any of the Beauty Bay skincare products, or are any of them calling out to you?