Today I thought it would be fun to rattle through my favourite skincare launches of 2021 so far. This will include new brands, new products and also some things that are just new to us here in the UK or have been relaunched. I will also be linking full reviews where they're up, but if I've not posted one yet, I'll go into a bit more detail Let's dive in...
Ultra Violette (UK launch)
Ultra Violette was THE cool girl Aussie sunscreen brand: combining the super-rigorous testing required to make these SPF claims down under with elegant formulas that beauty lovers rave about, and this year it arrived in the UK. I've reviewed both products I tried from the range and they were both cosmetically elegant and beautiful under makeup whilst providing a high level of UVA and UVB protection. My personal favourite is the all-in-one moisturiser, sunscreen and primer: the Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Sunscreen SPF 50 + | £34. It has a very slight peachy tint to it and melts into my skin effortlessly with zero white cast. It's a light lotion that's hydrating, gives me glow and actually even enhances the look of my makeup. It's one of my favourite sunscreen discoveries of 2021 and is absolutely worth the hype for me.
Monday Muse the Juice Serum
Hello Sunday (new brand)
Hello Sunday is a new affordable / mid-range UK sunscreen brand that launched a couple of months back. Overall, several of the face products impressed me, but I’ve reached the most for their the One That’s a Serum Face Drops SPF 45* | £20. What I really enjoy about this line is that they’re focused on ‘every single day’ sunscreen, so the formulas work really nicely under makeup. This lightweight, broad-spectrum chemical sunscreen uses modern filters to create a serum-light sunscreen with a high level of protection that acts as a beautiful primer. It never pills up and gives my skin a fresh, healthy glow under makeup. They’re definitely worth checking out and please do see my full review for more information.
Full review in the works
Zelens is a brand I’d wanted to try for aaaages, but I think it was just that bit too pricey for me to justify. However, this year they rebranded with slick new packaging, a few extra products and at a lower price-point (don't get me wrong, it's still luxury, but it's a good 20% cheaper and there's often a discount code floating around so I got 25% off the products I purchased myself). What more could I have asked for?! I’m still working my way through the products I have from the range (I was gifted some and purchased some more) which is why a full brand review isn’t up yet, however the Vitamin D line has been giving my face life recently! The original iconic formula is the Power D* | £95 | a beautiful, lightweight face oil. I use this as the final step of my PM routine but it's the kind of oil you can wear during the day if that's your thing. It's really helped my skin when my barrier has been compromised and I can't wait to use this during the winter months, because I can tell it's going to be amazing at counteracting some of the seasonal changes I tend to see in my skin. It's formulated with Vitamin D3, Vitamin F, squalane, phospholipids, cholesterol, hyaluronic acid, bisabolol, avocado oil and more.
I also decided to pick up the newly-packaged Provitamin D3 Fortifying Face Mist | £48 | and the newly-launched Emulsion D Fortifying Moisturiser | £60. The face mist is so light and never feels sticky or greasy but provides instant calm and hydration that lasts with humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, plus Vitamin D3 (of course!), amino acids and panthenol, to really soothe and replenish the skin. The moisturiser was a lovely surprise too, as it has such a light, but actually quite substantial texture. It melts right onto my skin and I can use it AM or PM to soften and smooth my skin, as well as to help build a healthy barrier (making it perfect paired with stronger actives like ascorbic acid or my retinal). You have your Vitamin D3, phospholipids, ceramides, Vitamin F, pre and probiotics, Vitamin E and more.
Sachi Skin Retinal
Full review in the works
I will do a bit more of a deep-dive on this, but the only retinoid that's really turned my head this year has been the Sachi Skin Ursolic Acid & Retinal Overnight Reform* | £65. Retinal is the most direct retinoid available not via prescription and it isn't for beginners, but if you've been using retinol for a while and your skin has been happy with it: the results I've seen with retinal are just in a different league! This particular formula is 0.05% encapsulated, and I experienced none of the peeling, dryness or irritation that can be associated with retinoid use, though I am an advanced user of these types of products and you should always patch test to be sure. This formula teams it up with antioxidants, peptides and niacinamide (which I guess is technically another antioxidant, but it also has wider benefits for oily, damaged and irritated skin in gentle concentrations like this) to boost those skin-plumping and clarifying benefits. It's the perfect balance between delivering amazing results (smoother, clearer skin) but also with none of the irritation. People often act as though you're a mug for buying high-end cosmetic retinoids when you can get a tretinoin prescription for £20 / month. I saw great results with tret but it's not for everyone and I found it extremely drying and irritating, plus it just monopolised my skincare routine because it had to be used every night and often even the next morning I'd just have to use a barrier repair serum, moisturiser and sunscreen. If it's the only skincare step you bother with besides cleansing and, of course, sunscreen: maybe tret is an option for you, but I feel I get great results with something like this without any of the negative side-effects.
Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Serum
I think the Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum | £38 | is about to break the record for my fasted product emptied! It's a lovely, hydrating, replenishing and calming serum from the cult Korean-American brand all themed around fruit and veg. Alongside various ceramides to help rebuild the skin barrier, we have avocado, niacinamide and various antioxidant extracts to create the product I reach for when I just want some time off from the actives.
Then I Met You (UK launch)
Full review in the works
Then I Met You is another super-popular Korean-American brand that only recently became easily-accessible to us in the UK recently, thanks to Cult Beauty, which is why it made it onto my list. I will be back with a full brand review but it's safe to say: I get the hype around the Living Cleansing Balm | £37. This has a really soft texture that means it's barely any work to massage it down into an oil that's going to lift makeup and sunscreen easily. It has a really nice emulsification action too, so you know there's no residue lurking around on your skin after use. Yes, it's 'just' a cleansing balm, but it's everything I want from a cleansing balm.
Youth to the People (UK relaunch)
Youth to the People is a US indie brand that I have dabbled in, in the past, but this Spring they were given a proper relaunch into the UK market. Overall, I've really fallen for a number of their products and I like their approach to actives, however my standout from the entire line is their 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum* | £59. This is a gentle blend of ascorbic acid and some other stabilising Vitamin C derivatives that really worked for my skin. It helped clarify and even out my skin tone with no irritation and it's actually lovely and hydrating to boot.
Lastly we have a new launch from a brand that arrived on the scene last year and (I promptly fell for their products!) PSA Skin is the younger, more affordable little sister of Allies of Skin and I love their capsule line of intentional actives. The latest additions are intended to be used as and when you need them. The Liquid Panacea Centella & Kombucha Firming Recovery Booster* | £28 | is a lightweight hydrating, soothing gel packed full of antioxidants to calm redness and irritation, as well as giving my skin a healthy appearance. The Liquid Clarity BHA & Bakuchiol Blemish Recovery Booster* | £28 | is amazing for when I'm breaking out, because it speeds up that cell turnover and helps clear things up without any irritation. It has the same hydrating gel base, which is rare in an anti-blemish serum.
Have you tried any of these launches? What are your top picks of 2021's new skincare brands and products?