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There's been a real wave of Gen Z skincare brands - if only I'd had some of them instead of Clean & Clear when I was a teenager! Leading the charge is Bubble Skincare. They're US-based but you can ship their products to the UK. Let's dive into how these products worked on my Millennial face...
Bubble isn't an actives-focused brand, which I kind of like; most young people are probably doing too much to their skin, but it does also mean you can slot in actives from brands like the Ordinary really easily alongside this line. I like that it's focused on maintaining skin health on an everyday basis, though; it's a breath of fresh air in a world where people are using a 30% glycolic acid, microneedling over it then sleeping in it for some notoriety on TikTok! I also like that the brand gives back with long-term donations to youth mental health charities.
Of course we're starting with cleansers. I'm not a fan of foaming gel cleansers so I was expecting the Fresh Start Gel Cleanser* | $16 | to be... not for me. But actually - whilst this form of cleanser won't ever really be my first choice - I thought this was pretty good! This is formulated with PHAs to provide a very gentle surface-level exfoliation as well as hydrating benefits, there's soothing aloe in here and also caffeine to act as an antioxidant. The formula does contain lavender and spearmint extracts, which could be irritating for sensitive skin, but these aren't the essential oil forms and cleansing is short-contact so I think this is fine for most people. It lathers but doesn't foam excessively and didn't leave my skin stripped of moisture. This is one I feel confident to recommend to people who do prefer this sort of formula.
We also have the Wipe Out Makeup Remover* | $13. For me, this isn't just for makeup; if you wear sunscreen (particularly waterproof sunscreen), I really do recommend doing a double cleanse even on no-makeup days. I was expecting this to be an oil, but it's actually more like a creamy lotion, which I think is probably less of a scary prospect for young skin. Whilst it's not going to emulsify, it's kind of like a Cleanse and Polish so you can remove it with a damp cloth. It's formulated with Vitamin E, non-fragrant plant oils and fatty alcohols and I found it really worked for removing my makeup. It lifted my complexion products but also eye makeup and left my skin clean, soft and not at all stripped after use.
Moving onto the more treatment-stage products (there aren't serums in this line), let's talk about the Come Clean Detoxifying Face Mask* | $19. This has such an interesting texture! I'm not usually a big user of clay masks; most of them bleed my skin dry of all moisture and crack on my skin through sheer parchedness. However, I actually really enjoyed this formula; it has a super-light, almost gliding texture that does have a dry down but doesn't dry out. I use it on problem areas to help clear excess oil, bacteria and congestion, and it works really well. It has Vitamin E in the mix to balance out the clay with added moisture, glycerin for hydration and calm and also azelaic acid. This is a wash-off product so I wouldn't hang your hat on it or anything but it's certainly not bad to have in here, with its anti-redness and skin-evening benefits. This product does contain some potentially irritating plant extracts but nothing too crazy or excessive and it's not a leave-on product.
Toners! It honestly took me a while to actually clock that yes: the Bounce Back Refreshing Toner* | $12 | and the Break Even Balancing Toner* | £16 | are the exact same thing but the Refreshing version (55ml) is a mist and the Balancing version (95ml) is a traditional toner with reverse-pump packaging, so just be aware of that if you're looking to try the line. It's really about your personal preference, though I would say the spray is quite heavy. I kind of think they missed a trick with this; they've included hydrating rose flower water (this will contain trace amounts of the essential oil, if you do have a sensitivity) but also willow bark extract, a gentler precursor to salicylic acid (the pore-penetrating BHA chemical exfoliant that's amazing for spots), alongside humectants, niacinamide (to help with skin barrier function, pigmentation and also uneven skin tone) and green tea extract, which acts as an antioxidant. What they've created is a hydrating toner with a little bit more, but not something I'd reach for if I was having an active breakout. I get that it's not massively their vibe to go with stronger actives but a salicylic acid exfoliating toner (at a lower 0.5% - 1% concentration) with niacinamide then a hydrating mist with your rosewater and humectants kind of makes more sense to me. I feel like this is perhaps trying to do too much and as a result doesn't really do either that well.
Last, but not least, let's talk about the moisturisers; there's a light option for combination-oily skin (though my normal-dry skin still enjoyed it over the summer) and a slightly richer option (which could also work as a night cream on combination skin). The Level Up Balancing Moisturiser* | $15 | is your light, breathable, more humectant-based formula. Although there is hemp seed oil, squalane and evening primrose oil in here, this is still very light and these help to bind the hydration a little so it's locked into the skin, and I do feel this provides a hydration that lasts. It's also formulated with zinc PCA, which can help with redness and inflammation, more niacinamide and glycerin to draw water into the skin.
My preferred choice is the Slam Dunk Hydrating Moisturiser* | $15. This is still light, it's still in the reverse pump packaging but it's a little more emollient, creamy and occlusive. This contains aloe for soothing, shea butter for nourishment, Vitamin E and avocado for moisture and its antioxidant benefits. I personally really enjoyed this for my skin; whilst it had a light feel, it was still moisturising and left me feeling so beautifully soft. For that reason, unless shea butter or something else in here breaks you out, I don't see why people with oilier skin couldn't use this as part of their evening routine.
Overall, there are some really great products in this line; pleasant surprises included the gel cleanser and clay mask but my standouts have to be the first cleanse and the moisturisers (specifically the richer moisturiser). The toners weren't bad, but they were only ok. Overall, this is a solid line. It's not trying to give 'results' or 'transform' your skin; it succeeds in its aim of supporting skin health and who goes to one brand for everything these days, anyway? I'm interested to see where they go next and if they come to a retailer in the UK / EU like Boots or Cult Beauty...
Have you tried Bubble Skincare?