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NEW IN SKIN | UK DRUGSTORE & INDIE BRANDS UNDER £25


Advertisement information: this post discusses items gifted to me with no obligation to share them (marked *). In addition I have / have had a brand relationship with Cult Beauty (gifting) Boots, Plenaire and the Inkey List (paid advertorial content). My blog has Skimlinks and RewardStyle installed to automatically monetise purchases of products I link on my blog, therefore this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions remain my own and please refer to my Disclosure Page  for further detail - 

Today, I just wanted to run through some new affordable indie and drugstore-available skincare launches. It's not some super in-depth review (like my more high-end post with lots of actives that took me months and months to try out was), more of a whistle-stop tour, but I thought it would be fun to do something a little more off-the-cuff, so let me know if you enjoy...

First up, let's talk about Peace Out, who are now available at Boots. I have 4 products here to discuss from them. The first product I tried was their pack of Peace Out Dullness 1-Step Brightening Face Pads* | £22. These are actually quite steep once you realise you only get 8 pads in this, though I suppose they aren't Dr Dennis Gross-level! I like that you can pop your fingers into this mini-mitt and it's pre-soaked in the solution. Whilst this definitely wouldn't be an 'every single day product for me' (it would just be expensive and wasteful when you can just get a bottle of toner and apply it with a cotton pad or even just using your hands), I can see how they'd be handy for travel. They're formulated an exfoliating blend of AHAs including glycolic and lactic at 10%, BHA (salicylic acid) at 0.4% and PHA at 2%. I don't love glycolic on its own in high concentrations but blended in with other acids, it can work quite nicely to brighten and resurface the skin, BHAs penetrate deep into the pores to clear out blemish-causing debris and PHAs work on a surface level to hydrate and smooth. We also have niacinamide in there to regulate oil production in the skin and help with any pigmentation issues, soothing aloe and hyaluronic acid to draw water into the skin. I'm not sure what about this product caused me issues but this formula was super-irritating for my skin. It does contain fragrance, so perhaps combined with all of those different acids, my skin just didn't like it but I can't recommend them for sensitive skin. Yes, my complexion was smoother, but I would just prefer to use something that doesn't create that irritation.

Next, I have their Peace Out Wrinkles Microneedling Patches* | £25. These microdart-style patches are quite interesting to me; obviously if you go to get microneedling done professionally, it can help increase penetration of topicals that are applied after. Obviously this shallow, dissolving home patch isn't anywhere near as deep, but it could still do something for getting the ingredients into your skin. You're getting 3 of these patches for £25, so again: it's at the drugstore but that works out as pretty pricey to me. It's formulated with retinol (an ingredient shown in many studies to reverse the signs of ageing) and peptides (often touted as stimulating collagen production, but honestly: we don't have enough evidence for that, though they can be plumping and hydrating) which are two ingredients I love. Yes, the darts get them a little deeper into your skin and the act of having a patch on your skin can smooth it temporarily anyway. I can't give much of an opinion on this because.... I've used it three times! For me, all of these ingredients give the best results over prolonged use and I don't know why you'd spend £25 on this when you could spend £5 on a peptide serum from the Ordinary and £9.99 for retinol from the Inkey List and use the former every morning and the latter every evening and get 2 months' use out of them to see long-term benefits. For me, patches are for temporary disruptions, not long-term skin goals.

I also have their Peace Out Puffy Eyes Under Eye Patches* | £23 | which were actually my top pick from the brand. They're made from biocellulose, so feel less wasteful, and critically: I reach for eye patches as and when I need them, rather than them being a really regular thing so the patch format makes a lot more sense for me. They use microfibre technology and it actually works to help these grip to your face rather than slide down your cheek! These patches are formulated with niacinamide, a hyaluronic acid derivative, kojic acid, ascorbic acid, peptides and caffeine. Niacinamide isn't going to brighten the eye area with this sort of occasional use, but it can be calming on the skin, peptides can be plumping and hydrating and hyaluronic acid does give that immediate hydration by drawing water into the skin. Kojic acid and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) are both great brightening agents, but I don't think you'll see amazing benefits using a product like this, likewise with the caffeine acting as an antioxidant: it's not bad to have in there but visible results are unlikely. These instantly hydrate, cool and perk up my eye area, which is what I want from this sort of product. They're not a daily thing but sometimes I just look and feel knackered and these help refresh me!

Lastly, for this brand is the Peace Out Retinol Eye Stick* | £25. I'm sorry, I wasn't much of a fan of this one either! I'm actually thinking I might pick up their actual spot patches to review and maybe compare to Zitsticka to hopefully find something I can recommend. I don't dislike the idea of this; most retinol products are a bit sensitising around the eyes so having a separate product still makes sense if you experience that. My issue here is how dry this stick is; I had to stop using it because it just causes tugging and pulling around the eyes, which is going to have the opposite long-term effect to what you're going for with a retinol! 

This next one is more of an FYI: the Ordinary have now launched more products in their supersized packaging, including their Salicylic Acid 2% Masque* | £19 (100ml). This is a favourite of mine, as it's a clay mask that's non-drying because it contains glycerin and squalane alongside kaolin. There's also 2% salicylic acid, an exfoliator that can penetrate deep into the pores. This is amazing for clearing up congestion and breakouts and I really recommend checking it out if that's something you struggle with. The new additions to the supersized lineup are the azelaic acid, this mask and the alpha arbutin, and the existing supersized products are the niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, squalane cleanser and moisturiser.

Recently, I've been switching in the new CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum* | £17 | and I'm really into it. I feel as though hyaluronic acid has had a bit of a bad rap recently, but for me: it's all about formulation. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant (meaning, a water magnet), so without other ingredients to bind it, you do have to apply it to damp skin and then lock it in really quickly with a moisturiser so it doesn't start pulling moisture from the upper layers of your skin, and that can be a bit of a faff! It can also get a little irritating depending on the molecular size or if you're layering a toner, then a serum, then a moisturiser containing it. However this formula combines the hyaluronic acid with ceramides (lipids that exist within our skin naturally) and panthenol (which can help retain water in the skin). It comes out as this light, creamy lotion and it's just such a well-rounded formula with hydration and moisture. If you already have hyaluronic in other steps of your routine, you might not need this, but if your skin needs that little boost and you find pure hyaluronic acid serums too difficult to use and incorporate into your routine: definitely check this out.

Recently British indie brand Bybi launched their Bybi Face Base Moisturiser* | £16 (15% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY (affiliate). They do these little booster oils with CBD, bakuchiol and other ingredients so the idea is that you can add in a couple of drops with this or use it on its own as a really simple moisturiser. It has a light lotion texture that will suit most skin types. It's moisturising but not heavy and it's a really nice option even on my drier skin during the winter, formulated with Vitamin E, grape seed oil, rice bran, propanediol and jojoba butter. Super simple, but a nice moisturiser. My only slight negative is that this can pill up a little bit with certain sunscreens, which isn't ideal in a day cream. However, it works for the evening when I mix in a couple of drops of one of their booster oils.

Bliss recently relaunched in the UK, and at a bit of a lower price-point, so I decided to pick up their Bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen SPF 30 | £19.99. This is a broad-spectrum, all-mineral sunscreen that comes in just the one tint. You might know, if you caught me demoing this one on Instagram, that I did not like it at all. I was honestly amazed it was branded as 'invisible' because that raises expectations immediately, but in reality they clearly have a very narrow idea of what human skin tones look like if they think this is 'invisible'. It was pink and ashy on me, very difficult to apply and was thick, matte and just sat on the surface of my skin. An all-round awful experience!

Next up I have a brand new range by UK, Gen Z mid-priced skincare brand Scientia. And how cute is the packaging? This line is targeted at problematic and teenage skin. The first product here is the Scientia Pure Clarity Deep Clean PHA Cleanser* | £24. I was a bit hesitant when I saw this was described as 'deep clean' as that sounded like code for 'stripping' to me. One thing I was a fan of is that this is formulated with PHAs, which are a gentle, actually very hydrating acid exfoliant class. They actually work on more of a surface level to smooth the skin and take care of dry patches. This has a clear gel texture and it does lather lightly, but I was surprised that this wasn't at all drying and actually left my skin quite soft and hydrated after use. I went to have a look at the ingredients and actually there's a lot of good hydrators and soothers in there, so I'm not surprised it worked so well for my dehydrated skin: we have squalane, aloe, rosewater and panthenol. There's also niacinamide to calm and smooth the skin (plus help with oil production in the skin) and green tea for it's antioxidant benefits (it is a wash-off treatment so there are limits to what this product can do, but you can still glean some of these benefits). We even have succinic acid in here which is a newer-generation ingredient. There's not a ton of research on it but I'm interested to find out more about its benefits. Overall a surprisingly impressive cleanser that isn't drying but gives a mild exfoliation.

Next up we have the Scientia Pure Clarifying PHA Skin Tonic* | £24. I personally don't think you need both products: if you use other exfoliators in your routine then go for the cleanser, if you want something stronger and leave-on then I'd go for this option. This is fragrance-free, which is great, and its main ingredients are the PHAs, niacinamide, succinic acid, castor oil (to ensure this feels moisturising) and aloe. This is really gentle, it's not at all irritating on my skin and I'd recommend it for people who have sensitive skin or those who (like me) use a lot of other actives and can't be hitting the glycolic on the daily. It softens and smooths my skin and never dries it out. I really loved using this.

Lastly, we have the Pure Clarity Targeted Blemish Paste* | £16. I've been a bit cold on blemish pastes because most of them are very drying and have drying alcohols as their second, or sometimes even first ingredient. I often find that these products cause more harm long-term by causing hyperpigmentation from drying out the blemish in this way. However, this is a little different (kind of like the one Plenaire do) in that it's a paste, not something sat in alcohol (this does contain benzyl alcohol but it's over halfway down the INCI list). You just take a cotton bud, dip it in and apply it to the spot (I tend to do this when I'm just home for the day, as overnight these sorts of products can rub off on my bedding). There's salicylic acid in here, its precursor: willow bark, glycerin (to stave off any drying), clay (to remove excess oil) and zinc (to calm the area). I find this works really well at reducing redness and inflammation. If you have a big spot, it might take a couple of applications to shift it, but I would far rather that than dry out my skin.

Have you tried any of these products, or have any of them caught your eye?


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