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Around about a year or so ago, a new YouTuber started popping up in my recommendations: Rob from Mad About Skin and ever since then I've been a silent lurker and don't actually think I've missed a video from him. He does a lot of deep-dives into ingredients and creates great snackable content that always feels really current (often, I'll just be randomly thinking about a topic and within 24 hours, he'll have a video up on it!) 90% of his skincare recommendations are affordable, so when he announced he'd be launching a capsule collection of skincare products: I was there. Now I've had the chance to use these products over several weeks it's time to let you know how I got on with everything...
Really, the Mad About Skin product line is aimed at simplifying things down, so we have a cleanser and a moisturiser that will suit most people and a very gentle multi-active serum. The sizes of the products are really generous; the serum, for example, comes in a 50ml bottle rather than the standard 30ml. I chose to pick up the Ultimate Set for £31.50, which offers you a 15% saving on all 3 products. However, with the delivery charge for the UK (they do ship worldwide as an FYI) it balances back to around about the cost of the 3 products individually. I would probably personally prefer it if delivery was just free over £30 to the UK, because you know I have a mental block against paying for delivery. The packaging is simple, functional and actually kind of cute; I personally like the design. My only slight negative is that something about the shape of the serum bottle and the size of the dropper means I have to be careful when I'm putting the dropper back in to make sure the product doesn't overflow down the sides. Besides that, everything is under £20 and I have no complaints on it functionally or aesthetically! None of the products are formulated with hyaluronic acid or niacinamide - as I discussed in a recent post, most of your serums, toners and moisturisers probably contain these ingredients and the line is really designed to slot right into your routine without creating too many conflicts. Just for total clarity: I don't know Rob, I've never spoken to him, as noted above: I purchased everything myself and these are my honest thoughts on the products and the products alone! Let's get into them individually...
Starting with the Gentle Jelly Cleanser | £9.99. This is a really interesting product and the only other cleansers I've tried that I would liken it to are the Q + A Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser* and the Dr Sam Flawless Cleanser, but even then - it's still a little different... It comes out looking like a creamy gel, though the formula itself is primarily water-based. The reason it reminds me of the other cleansers I mentioned is that it doesn't really have a foam to it. That's actually my personal preference; in the evening and especially with the cold weather setting in, I like my second cleanse to be water-based but foam is often a bit too stripping for me. I don't think this sort of formula will be for everyone because some people have to feel that foam, but the gentle surfactants leave my skin soft, smooth and not at all dry after use. In fact, I can even use this as a morning cleanse and my skin never feels tight.
For me, the trick is to make sure you're not going in with too much product; with this big old squeezy tube it's easy to go overboard, but you only need a tiny amount and this bottle will last you ages. Given Rob is on the oily, acne-prone end of the scale and I'm quite dry, I'm fairly confident this is going to work for most skin types. It's formulated with some botanical extracts that can have some antioxidant benefits, urea (which is amazing for your skin barrier and overall skin hydration) and also allantoin, for its soothing properties. Just as a side-note: I tested the cleanser out as a first cleanse too, just to see how it performed. It doesn't claim to remove makeup so I'm not mad that, when I paired this with a damp cloth, I did still have a bit of liner on my eyes the next day. However, I do find it sufficient to remove my everyday sunscreen with minimal effort and it can also remove tinted sunscreen and light complexion makeup. I'm personally not wearing a full face every single day at the moment, so when I'm feeling lazy on a WFH day: this is a great, gentle, one-step cleanse.
Let's talk the Got You Covered Super Serum | £16.99 | which is the star 'active' of the line. I really like these sorts of serums that give your skin a little of everything it needs; if you prefer a pared-back routine then this is your one-stop shop, but it's also very easy to layer with other products if you have a stronger active you just have to get into your routine. I personally went for this in my morning routine. It's formulated with 5% respectively of azelaic acid, ascorbyl glucoside and peptides, and the supporting ingredients include allantoin, urea, panthenol (to calm and hydrate), calendula (a skin-soother) and glycerin (a humectant, drawing water into the skin).
Azelaic acid is a really fantastic ingredient on two fronts: it's amazing at tackling redness and inflammation (so can even be used as a treatment for rosacea) but also it works extremely well against hyperpigmentation, whether that's post-acne marks or melasma. This is a nice everyday concentration but it can be obtained in higher strengths like 20% via prescription. This isn't labelled as being a derivative, but many products on the market are, which could also be why there's a lower concentration here than you might be used to seeing. Ascorbyl glucoside is a derivative of Vitamin C. Pure ascorbic / l-ascorbic acid is a nightmare to formulate with, due to its instability. A derivative like ascorbyl glucoside is reasonably shelf-stable, even in transparent packaging like this. It's also less potentially-irritating. It's still probably going to help your skin glow and even out your skin's overall tone. Can it provide antioxidant benefits (protecting against free radical damage)? Possibly. Will it stimulate collagen production in the skin? I think further research is needed into this to see if it measures up to pure-form Vitamin C. There are also two peptides in this, which are short-chain amino acids able to hydrate and even plump the skin. They're often touted as anti-ageing but more research is needed into this, from my perspective. However, they're certainly not a bad thing to have in the mix, especially at this price-point; you might as well give them a go.
In terms of the texture and feel of this serum, it's definitely a bit thicker and 'gloopier', which I think could be due to the fact there's a fair amount of glycerin in this formula. It really doesn't bother me, because I need that hydration and I like that this gives my skin a nice glow, but if you are on the oilier side, I'd recommend being quite conservative with your application; you really won't need a lot of product. I tend to layer a more water-light serum underneath it (at the moment it's the Regimen Lab Level Serum, which I'll update you on soon) and then go in with my moisturiser. It's not at all irritating, and at one point I used it in the morning and in the evening (which meant it went on under my retinoid). It definitely hydrated my skin, and made it look even and feel calm. It's not some intense treatment serum, it's an understated everyday option to keep your skin looking its best. If you're quite sensitive and find your skin reacts to heavy-hitters like pure-form Vitamin C and high-percentage niacinamide: I really recommend checking this one out. I do personally struggle to take those stronger actives down on my neck, but I can with this and given the large bottle I can happily do my face and neck every day to ensure both are looked after.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Maximum Impact Moisturiser | £10.50. Again, this is a huge, generous tube and you can slather the product all over your face and neck in the AM and the PM, if you like! This is formulated with squalane and glycerin, the perfect blend of bringing water into the skin alongside a lightweight oil to provide that deep moisture and help keep that hydration in. Urea is amazing for combating dry or irritated skin, there are some great moisturising plant oils in the mix too like macadamia and calendula. Then we also have a nice ceramide in the formula, which is going to help promote a healthy skin barrier so irritation is reduced and your skin can retain much-needed hydration as the weather cools down. This does have a slight aroma from the plant extracts included; I find it a bit of a grey area because there will be very little of the irritating essential oil in these sorts of extracts, but if you're hyper-sensitive to these things, this moisturiser might not be for you.
I was interested in how this would perform for my skin; as I've mentioned, this is Rob's brand so I'd imagine he'd formulate what he likes to use and he's on the oily side, whereas I'm quite dry. You know it's not going to be a super-thick, rich formula because it's in a tube and it comes out as a cream, but it has this almost gel-like texture as you massage it into the skin. It's a great balance, to my mind, as you know it has all those great moisturising, replenishing ingredients and it has enough emollience to make my skin feel nice and soft and enough occlusion to ensure my skin is hydrated throughout the day, but it still pretty light. I use this mainly as a day cream but it did also work in the evening for me, topped with an oil to add that extra barrier against transepidermal water loss. It's simple, as universal as I think you can probably achieve with a moisturiser, it's affordable and it works! Those with oily skin might prefer it as a night cream.
Overall, I'm really impressed with this brand and I don't think you can go wrong with these products; the textures work for most skin types and I like that there's one, multi-active serum formulated at skin-friendly concentrations that won't cause you irritation. It's a solid range and paradoxically I'm excited to see where Rob takes it next, whilst also appreciating how streamlined and simple this lineup feels. The only thing you really need to add in is sunscreen; these are obviously very difficult and expensive to formulate, so I'm never mad at a brand for not launching with one!
Will you be trying Mad About Skin?