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Today I have three new launches from one of my favourite discoveries from last year: PSA Skin (the more affordable younger sibling of Allies of Skin) - you can check out my original review here for a little more background on them. These products aren't yet available through their UK stockists but I'll update you when they are (update - check them out on Beauty Bay). Let's get into the reviews...
Starting with the liquids: these are a little confusing, I have to say! They aren't your everyday products, they're what you reach for when you need a little something extra. They're boosters (hence the smaller size and more concentrated formula); so you can use them as serums (which is what I do) or the brand suggests mixing them in with your moisturiser, oil or serum. I tend to steer clear of doing that, because you can't guarantee it's not going to interact negatively with whatever's in your other product. If you have the hydrating serum from this brand, I'd say that's fine to mix with these (presumably this has been tested), but if you're using other brands then maybe not (unless you're dealing with something like a 100% rosehip oil). First up, I have the Liquid Panacea Centella & Kombucha Firming Recovery Booster* | £27. This one is designed to combat dullness, redness and dehydration and comes out as a sort of melting gel. It's packed full of antioxidants, so I personally tend to use it in the morning, but it also works as a calming, reparative evening step. The texture is hydrating and not at all sticky and the product is formulated with kombucha and white tea extracts but also centella asiatica, which is a really hot ingredient in East and Southeast Asian skincare formulas; it has amazing calming, soothing, anti-redness properties, bisabolol will also help with that. My skin has been going through... something recently - I blame the haywire weather! This has really helped to calm my skin down and restore some sense of normality. I like it a lot, my only negative is that this is 15ml vs. £35 for 30ml in their hydrating serum, though I do appreciate this is a more complex and concentrated formula.
We also have the Liquid Clarity BHA & Bakuchiol Blemish Recovery Booster* | £27. This is what you're going to reach for when you're breaking out. I don't have spot-prone skin, but I do tend to break out hormonally, at which point I've been switching to this product. What really impresses me about this formula is that it has the same hydrating, melting gel-like texture as Panacea. So many anti-blemish products just aren't right for my skin type, so I tend to struggle to get the balance right when I'm breaking out. This is perfect for me; it contains exfoliants so I tend to reach for it in the evening (more because I use other ingredients like my Vitamin C in the morning). This is formulated with salicylic acid (and willow bark, its precursor) at 2%, which is the maximum concentration allowed in the UK at least. I would personally use this every other day during a breakout, as it is fairly strong (though I'm not totally sure how much of the complex is salicylic acid vs. willow bark extract), even though it doesn't feel irritating for my skin at all. Salicylic acid is a pore-penetrating chemical exfoliant that's amazing for both increasing cell turnover (moving along active breakouts), but also to help with the scarring afterwards. The potential harshness of this ingredient is kind of offset by really hydrating, skin-barrier-friendly ingredients like allantoin, bisabolol and different forms of hyaluronic acid. You also get Zinc PCA, which calms down inflammation and bakuchiol, which is an interesting and promising ingredient. It's often touted as a 'natural retinol' but doesn't have the same scientific evidence for any skin-smoothing or anti-acne benefits. However, it has potential and it's very gentle. This product calms down my skin and helps clear things up gently, which I love. If you have dry skin skin but experience breakouts sometimes: this is a gentle, hydrating way of helping things along.
Lastly, I have the Follow the Light Multi-Acids & Vitamin C Radiance Peel* | £38. This is a face mask or treatment that I'd recommend for once-weekly use in the evening (on nights you aren't using retinoids or any other strong actives). It's formulated with a 10% blend of glycolic and lactic acids, so it's a mid-range intensity that I'd still recommend building up to if you aren't experienced with these ingredients, given it's alongside Vitamin C. Glycolic is the AHA gold standard, effectively brightening the skin and evening out its overall tone. Lactic is it's slightly gentler and more hydrating sibling. These are teamed up with gentle pomegranate enzymes that will aid in that exfoliation, and licorice root which is a great ingredient to combat hyperpigmentation that's also in the mix. We have some soothing, calming ingredients in here too like centella asiatica. The other powerhouse is the ethylated l-asborbic acid - a Vitamin C derivative (antioxidant) that's a little more stable but will still offer some great benefits like making your skin glow and helping to even out its overall tone. This is a really nice combination; they both like a low pH environment and it kills two birds with one stone to create a great all-round effective treatment for uneven skin tone. This product gives that immediate glow boost, and using it weekly over a period of time has helped me harmonise my skin tone after breakouts. Just be sure with this product and Liquid Clarity that you're wearing your sunscreen every single day!
Have you tried PSA Skin?