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Today I'm reviewing an affordable brand that's making waves over on Skinstagram: Stratia Skin. I ordered 2 items directly from their website and the delivery to the UK cost me around $16 (it took around about 10 days to arrive) and there was no additional customs charge on arrival, so that makes things a little more pricey but it's really not bad for a smaller and newer brand! 

I'm actually going to start with the Soft Touch AHA | $16 | which is described as a 'hyper-gentle resurfacing treatment'. If you don't know much about my exfoliation journey; I used to over-exfoliate. Big time! Didn't we all in 2016-18? Until a year or so ago, exfoliating acids were basically all I used in terms of 'proper' actives on my skin, however I now go for Vitamin C (often pure-form ascorbic acid) pretty much every single morning and retinaldehyde (a more direct form of retinoid than retinol, but less direct than a prescription-strength form like tretinoin) pretty much every single evening. These ingredients really work for me and not only do I feel the need to exfoliate less (as my skin tone is already looking more even and my skin cell turnover is already increased) but you really don't want to be slapping on a 30% AHA treatment then going in with a retinal afterwards! Therefore the idea of a low-concentration, gentle but still very effective treatment really appealed to me. Definitely don't do this unless you're an advanced skincare user and you know your skin very well, but something like this before a cosmetic retinoid or Vitamin C can actually increase its penetration, helping you to reap the most benefits from your ingredients.

Soft Touch is formulated with 10% mandelic acid, an AHA with a larger molecular size than something like glycolic, so it's less likely to irritate the skin. There's also some evidence that mandelic acid is specifically great in terms of evening out the skin tone and reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation. This is a really simple formula; it comes out like a clear gel, so any skin type can use this as it pretty much disappears into the skin. It's paired with panthenol, aloe, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, urea, chamomile and allantoin to calm and hydrate the skin, again making it a great option if you're sensitive-skinned (it's free from fragrance and other known potential allergens), but also if you use other active ingredients in your routine that can be irritating and you just don't want to overdo it. I use this underneath my retinoid 4 nights a week and it causes me zero irritation personally but my skin is so smooth and plump and even by the next morning. It just takes everything to the next level. I've been using the same retinoid for the past several months, so I'm very used to the results, and I feel like this just gives things an extra kick with no irritation. This is a hit for me!

I also obviously picked up their famous Liquid Gold | $27. This is a really versatile product, not dissimilar to the Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relief, though I actually preferred this and it's cheaper and it's easier to get my hands on. It has a light, almost gel-like texture which is really uncommon in a product packed with this much good stuff! It's as though people think of these replenishing ingredients and can only view them in the context of dry skin, when oily people can be sensitive too. It can definitely be used as an everyday product, but for me it's more about barrier repair or you can actually pair this as a soothing counterpart to stronger actives. Retinoids are known to dry out the skin and they can be a little irritating, so if you've just moved on to a higher strength, using something like this alongside it can really take the edge off. The texture of this product means that if you're dry, you can use it like a serum, but if you're oily then this would be your moisturiser.

After all of that: what's in it? Well, the skin barrier is made up of a blend of ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol and all three of these components are found in this moisturiser. If you've ever thrown off your skin barrier, you'll know the unpleasant feeling of redness, irritation, dehydration and tightness it creates, and something like this can get things back on track fast. We also have nourishing sea buckthorn oil (which gives the product its identifiable colour - that's not dye) and rosehip oil, which has the added benefit of maybe helping with scar healing. There's panthenol, hyaluronic acid and glycerin in here like with the serum, as well as fatty alcohol and also squalane, a plant-derived oil that mimics the oils our skin naturally produces. We have niacinamide in the mix too, a hard-working multi-tasker. It's had a bit of a bad rap recently, but when formulated in an appropriate concentration (as I'd expect this product is, given its aim is 'barrier repair') it provides a host of benefits by strengthening the skin barrier, helping with hyperpigmentation and allowing the skin's natural oil production to reach an equilibrium. It's something that can benefit pretty much every skin type. The overall formula is calming, soothing and replenishing and the sort of thing I keep by my bedside to reach for whenever things are feeling a bit dry or irritated. I can see this being a staple as we head into the colder months, because my skin hates winter. 

Overall, I'm impressed! Yes, it's a little more effort to ship these products to the UK, but I actually had a really positive experience and nothing to complain about in terms of that process so I wouldn't hesitate to order again from them in the future. Both of the products really knocked my socks off and I appreciate the gentle-but-effective approach this brand has to skincare.

Have you tried Stratia Skin?

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