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I'm becoming more cynical the more skincare brands I see launch. Do we really need another line? Are these brands really offering something new? Is everyone just trying to get a slice of the beauty pie? However, Regimen Lab is a new Canadian brand that actually made me sit up and take notice. They're a science-driven, peer-reviewed skincare brand that's not really trying to appeal to a mass market. It's a small range for those who are already literate in skincare and love getting nerdy. I initially ordered two products from the range, so let's do a deep-dive on them...
As a side-note: I had no issues ordering Regimen Lab to the UK. The prices default to US dollars, just for reference (not Canadian, which is kind of confusing!), and there's free shipping to the UK / EU if you spend $85. I was really impressed at how quickly it arrived - free shipping and it took less than a week! There were no additional charges on my order when it arrived either.
Let's start with the Level Serum | $35. As you may have noticed, I've found myself moving away from single-active serums and more towards blends of ingredients targeted at a specific concern. This powerhouse formula combines pretty much everything you need to target hyperpigmentation, sun damage and uneven skin tone. And it's gentle whilst it does it! I love that they give you information like the pH of the product to so that the nerds amongst us can figure out how we want to use them within our routines. There's 5% niacinamide in here, which is the perfect, efficacious, skin-friendly concentration (according to the studies we have). It can help prevent melanin transfer in the skin, which is fantastic for stopping pigmentation spreading beyond the original injury site. It also helps regulate oil production in the skin, reduces inflammation and stimulates ceramide production in the skin so its natural lipid barrier is happy.
Alongside niacinamide, we have 3% tranexamic acid. It may seem like this ingredient came out of nowhere because tranexamic acid was only cleared for topical use a couple of years ago. However, it's been used for ages as an oral medication for blood loss, and then was prescribed as a melasma treatment, so you can see how it came to be relevant for use in topical cosmetics aimed at discolouration. It's pretty gentle and plays well with other ingredients. Another headliner is the 2% alpha arbutin. This is like a less-harsh derivative of hydroquinone, a prescription topical used to treat significant melasma and discolouration. Hydroquinone has to be used under the supervision of a dermatologist, because over-use, over too long a period of time can actually cause 'rebound hyperpigmentation', effectively making your issues worse. I personally think there's no need to be scared of it if you've been prescribed it because it's the dermatologist's job to monitor you and your skin to ensure you don't go too far with it, but it has been quite demonised. Arbutin (the Alpha form being the most effective) doesn't have this issue but is still a really effective tyrosinase inhibitor, meaning it can prevent the overproduction of melanin after trauma that leads to dark spots.
Those are the superstars but there are some other interesting things in the mix. It's formulated with N-Acetylglucosamine (NAG) which boosts up hyaluronic acid production in the skin and the reason it's in there is because there are some studies suggesting it works synergistically with niacinamide. Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine is an amino acid we believe disrupts the signals that make your melanocytes over-produce the melanin pigment that leads to dark spots. We have Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate in the mix which is an anti-inflammatory component of licorice extract. Hexylresorcinol is an antioxidant with brightening abilities and Betaine helps boost hydration levels in the skin.
The overall formula is going to tackle uneven skin tone on several levels, but just be aware that these ingredients and this product (like most of the ones I recommend) are going to be more effective on newer marks. This is why I honestly recommend not just using something like this when you've already got scarring; if you know you're prone to pigmentation then just use this daily or every other day to stay on top of things, rather than being reactionary. Whilst my overall skin tone was improved, the most significant thing for me was that when I got breakouts, they faded really quickly without leaving behind difficult-to-shift marks. This isn't irritating, you can use in in the morning or the evening, layered with other actives. It has a light, watery texture that also lends itself to sitting alongside other products.
The second product I ordered is their C.R.E.A.M. Ceramide Moisturiser | $39. The science behind this formula is that our skin barrier is made up of 3 components: ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids, so it contains them at the same ratio as within our skin. Topping these components up topically can help retain water in the skin and keep things healthy, balanced and calm. This particular formula uses a mechanism that's supposed to help provide lasting moisture, and I have to agree with that. It's formulated at around about the natural pH of the skin, which is what you want for something that's going to help your skin barrier.
Alongside this skin-barrier-mimicking combo we have Isosorbide Dicaprylate to help reduce transepidermal water loss (this often happens overnight, and is a process whereby moisture from the skin evaporates into the atmosphere). We have glycerin, to act as a humectant, drawing water into the skin. Bisabolol is a nice soothing, calming ingredient and we also have Ursolic Acid Liposomes, which can help encourage the skin to produce more ceramides itself. And then we have emollients to soften and smooth the skin. Overall, it's a really well-balanced moisturiser that tackles dryness and dehydration from several angles.
I personally loved the texture of this moisturiser; it has a substantial quality to it (a stiffness, maybe) but it's absolutely not thick or greasy or even rich or buttery. As someone on the drier side, I can wear in the day and I think oilier people would still enjoy using this at nighttime when your skin is more prone to that sort of water loss. This product leaves skin soft and replenished, it gives me that lasting moisture, it has such a light texture once applied to my skin and it gives my face a bit of anything it's missing.
Overall, I'm very impressed with Regimen Lab and I'd be intrigued by their Vitamin X antioxidant and to see what they come out with next; I'd love to see a retinal or some sort of gentle multi-acid exfoliant. Whatever they do next, I'm sure it will be well thought-out and based on comprehensive research!
Have you tried Regimen Lab?