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It's time for my Axis-Y brand review! If you aren't familiar with this K-beauty brand; they're focused on humidity-proof skincare with gentle but effective active ingredients. Their products available from Skin Library for those of us in the UK, so you don't have to wait long for your order to arrive. Let's get into the products...
Cleansers seem a good place to start and there are two options with Axis-Y: the Quinoa One Step Balanced Gel Cleanser | £18. This cleanser is formulated with soothing ingredients like centella asiatica and calendula, alongside some amazing antioxidant sources like green tea and quinoa, alongside sweet almond oil to moisturise the skin. This is designed to be a one-step evening cleanse - I personally use this on days when I'm not wearing makeup to remove sunscreen and cleanse my skin in one go, as I personally prefer to use something oil-based on makeup days. It is a gel cleanser so it lathers, but I wouldn't say it's sudsy when you add water (so long as you're using a reasonable amount), which is what I prefer. Overall it's a gentle option that I recommend as a daily cleanser for normal, combination and oily skin types. The other option is probably my favourite of the two: the Sunday Morning Refreshing Cleansing Foam | £14.99. This is one of those rich, thick lathers, so it's really nice for my drier, more dehydrated skin type as a morning cleanse, but also I do use this in the evening too when I'm just wearing sunscreen and it leaves my skin soft, smooth, clean and hydrated. This is formulated with birch water (for oil regulation and hydration), natural moisturising factors (which help to replenish the skin so its natural barrier stays healthy) and green tea extract as an antioxidant.
Moving on to face masks; I think this is one of my favourite categories from Axis-Y because they cover off both hydrating and soothing the skin but also clarifying and helping with breakouts. Their latest addition is the New Skin Resolution Gel Mask | £22.50 | and I can't stop using this! I love face masks but when they're crammed full of actives, you have to be quite careful about using them too often, as they're really a skin treatment, not general maintenance. This is a mask that helps my skin on a regular basis and I can slap it on and chill out for around 20 minutes (instead of worrying if the tingling is a bit too much and whether I need to go and take it off immediately!) This is a cooling, soothing gel mask with centella asiatica, heartleaf extract and 2% niacinamide. Niacinamide is one of my favourite skincare multi-taskers because it can help regulate oil production in the skin, maintain a healthy barrier function (minimising inflammation, irritation and dehydration), prevent hyperpigmentation and also calm redness. This calms, hydrates and softens my skin and I can't wait to use it this summer to replenish my skin after I've spent time out in the heat! The other mask they do is the Mugwort Pore-Clarifying Wash-Off Pack | £22.50. It's a clay-based mask formulated with a K-beauty classic: mugwort. This ingredient is a soothing, anti-inflammatory that's great for treating skin disruption, whether that's the redness and soreness associated with breakouts and acne or the irritation you get when your skin is sensitised, making it a great all-rounder. You also get brightening licorice extract and soothing oat extract in here. The kaolin clay is also going to provide that deep skin cleanse and reduce surface oiliness. What I love about this mask is that it's gentle and non-drying. I don't like clay masks that bleed your skin dry of all moisture but this is one I can use whenever I need it without any worries. You can even multi-mask with this duo, applying the mugwort in your t-zone and the gel mask where you're more dehydrated. They can be purchased in a bundle with a £5 saving too.
I also really enjoy their Daily Purifying Treatment Toner | £22. In Western skincare there's been a real trend as of late for super-high percentages of active ingredients when we know from studies that the benefits they offer can be delivered at lower, more skin-friendly and everyday-appropriate concentrations. This toner uses 0.5% BHA (salicylic acid - a chemical exfoliant) as opposed to the 2% we often see in toners here in the UK; usually I wouldn't recommend using salicylic every day, but at this percentage I think it's fine. You can still build up to it if you're new to acids but this isn't going to over-exfoliate the skin, it's cumulatively going to help smooth your skin and clear out your pores. You get soothing centella asiatica in there too, alongside tea tree. I know some people warn against tea tree, but that's really relating to taking the pure essential oil and using it on your skin at a 100% concentration. Here it's actually the last ingredient on the INCI list, so you're going to get the anti-blemish benefits without any irritation. This is a gentle everyday toner that's been my go-to during times when I'm struggling with my skin. It's not harsh but it does work to help breakouts and even out my skin texture.
There are also two serums in the range. I actually picked up the Artichoke Intensive Skin Barrier Ampoule | £22 | a while ago before working with Axis-Y and really liked it. An ampoule is kind of like a concentrated serum that you can switch to when your skin really needs it. This is a clear gel that melts into the skin and doesn't feel tacky. It's formulated with allantoin (helping the hydration levels in the skin), soothing aloe, sodium hyaluronate (a form of hyaluronic acid, which acts as a water magnet), antioxidant artichoke extract, glycerin (the underrated humectant), centella asiatica, licorice extract and tea tree oil (again, at the bottom of the INCI list). This ampoule calms, hydrates and even has some mild skin-brightening and blemish-fighting benefits. If you really want something that will tackle discolouration (again, without being harsh or too strong) then I recommend the Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum | £19. This is a really light gel formula that melts into the skin and does also have some hydrating benefits. 5% niacinamide is actually the concentration I recommend trying because you get all the benefits I discussed earlier with none of the irritation. Niacinamide can really help with hyperpigmentation over time: you might not see dramatic results 4 or even 6 weeks in but keep at it because this formula really does work to harmonise the skin's overall tone, fading post-inflammatory marks. It also contains squalane (a skin-similar oil) to moisturise, allantoin, calendula and sea buckthorn (another moisturiser). One of the things I love about this brand is how well-rounded the formulas are, so even if a product is targeted at treating the skin it's never harsh and you get soothing and moisturising ingredients in there too.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Cera-Heart My Type Duo Cream | £28. I love this concept for a moisturiser because it makes the product so versatile: you get a light, hydrating gel with ingredients like centella asiatica, allantoin and licorice extract, then a richer (but still creamy and not heavy) formula with jojoba oil, sodium hyaluronate, ceramides (the fatty 'building blocks' of the skin barrier) and centella asiatica. You can do a number of things with this product: as the brand suggests, if you have combination skin then go in with the gel on your t-zone and then the cream where you're drier. This past winter, I actually sometimes used the gel as a hydrating serum and then the cream on top. For summer, when I'm on holiday, I plan on taking this and using the gel as a light moisturiser during the day and then the cream overnight. The gel provides lasting hydration and the cream is lovely and nourishing, leaving my skin feeling so soft.
Have you tried Axis-Y? Which of these products and ingredients do you like the sound of?