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Over a few months last year I picked up several new launches from Beauty Bay's own brand skincare line, and they're all £8 or under. So, let's dive into which might be worth checking out...

First up, let's talk about the Butter Cup Cleansing Balm with Oat Lipid & Chamomile | £8. This is a simple cleansing balm formula that doesn't contain plastics, so has more of a crumbly consistency that requires a bit of melting down, rather than being smooth and silky right off the bat. It actually would've been a great shout for sensitive skin with its oat lipid, soothing chamomile and Vitamin E, but it does contain limonene, which is a shame. Having said that, this is lovely and moisturising if you aren't sensitive to fragrance, and it's getting washed off after all. As I mentioned, this definitely needs a bit of warming up before you apply it to the skin but it easily melts down to its oil base so you can massage it into your skin. It breaks down makeup and sunscreen very effectively, even if you're wearing waterproof eyeliner. It emulsifies very easily on contact with water and I personally remove it with a damp cloth (one comes with it, as well as a scoop). I did find it left a little bit of excess on my skin after use, but I do always double cleanse so that doesn't bother me, but it's worth mentioning for those who like to use a cleansing balm in the morning for added nourishment.

The next product I tried was the 30% AHA 2% BHA Peeling Solution Drops with Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid* | £6. This blood-red peels is obviously a not-so-subtle imitation of the Ordinary's product of pretty much the same name, and I shared my current thoughts on that product here but in short: I have a good skincare routine and at this stage in my life, I don't feel the need to use such an incredibly-strong exfoliant. And - as I'm sure you've seen - it's often misused and abused on social media for views. This contains a 30% blend of lactic and glycolic acid and a 2% concentration of salicylic acid, so you're getting the resurfacing but also clearing out the pores. This is pretty much the same product as the Ordinary's but it's a bit more of a gel. It's slightly more expensive, it contains citrus extracts that can be irritating for some and I do find this more drying and more irritating than the Ordinary's product. I don't think this really needed to be made, but I guess if you love the Ordinary's peel and it's out of stock: you could try this. But, it's not for me at all. 

A product that is for me is their 2% BHA Overnight Mask with Salicylic Acid and Azelaic Acid | £7.50. If you struggle with breakouts, congestion, post-inflammatory marks or all of the above: check this out, and I absolutely would recommend it over the peel. It comes out as a yellowish gel-cream that can be used as a PM one-stop-shop or underneath a moisturiser. Obviously, the marketing focuses on the salicylic acid, and based on the texture of this product and us not having a percentage for the azelaic acid, I think there's probably not a high concentration of it. However, it's a great ingredient and such a good one to supplement salicylic acid, because it's fantastic for post-acne marks and even rosacea. Just be aware that there are some citrus extracts in here that won't agree with everyone. For me, this is great as a multi-pronged attack on both breakouts and their aftermath and I found this gentle and very clarifying and clearing for my skin.

Moving onto the serums, the first one I tried a while back from this bunch was the SkinHit Calming Serum with Cica & Mushroom | £6. This is a clear, fragrance-free gel serum that's non-sticky and easy to layer with other products without pilling. It's formulated with several mushroom extracts, which can be calming but also act as a humectants to bring water into the skin, and also madecassoside, which is the active element of centella asiatica (cica), a soothing botanical you might recognise from your favourite K-beauty products. We also have a probiotic in here, which could help to boost up the skin barrier with good bacteria. This is one of those products that didn't feel standout when I first started using it, but over time, I just found myself reaching for it a lot; after using an exfoliating toner or before applying my retinoid, just to calm things down. It's also great at soothing red, more reactive winter skin. Overall, it's definitely worth checking out. 

Next, let's talk the SkinHit Hyperpigmentation Serum with Tranexamic Acid & Alpha Arbutin | £6.50. I'm sure regulars will know that I always say you're going need multiple ingredients to see an improvement in uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation: there's no holy grail active. This serum goes some of the way to taking the effort out of this by combining tranexamic acid and alpha arbutin, both of which are thought to be great at evening out the skin's tone without being too strong or irritating. Additionally, they're both really compatible with most skincare ingredients so you can layer this alongside them, which the water-light clear texture is perfect for. Something like this can be used daily or twice-daily if you like. Personally, I used it as part of my morning routine, layered on after my ascorbic acid serum to give it that extra boost and I do think it helped move things along that little bit faster for me when I had some breakouts, though you will need to use it for a good month or two. Game-changing? No. A good support to add to your routine for enhancing its skin-evening benefits? Absolutely.

Moving on, we have a product that I honestly think probably isn't aimed at me, so I'm going to try to be fair and bear that in mind! The SkinHit Retinol 0.2% Complex with Peptides | £5 | is definitely a beginners' product. 0.2% pure retinol is a fairly safe place to start, but note: this is a complex, probably blended with other moisturising ingredients that I can see on the INCI list, so who knows what the actual concentration of retinol in here is. It's also formulated with a peptide, which is a great well-ageing ingredient to go alongside retinol to plump the skin and possibly even stimulate collagen production. Though, I do like to see more than one peptide in a formula, ideally. I'm sure you're aware, but retinol is our proven collagen-stimulating ingredient and (unless you're pregnant or breastfeeding) I pretty much blanket recommend getting it into your evening skincare routine if you're over 25. This is a slightly yellow, very light gel that dries down quickly so will be good for oily skin types in particular. I used it for about 4 weeks and I know I should've given it longer, but I just wanted my heavy-hitting retinals back in my life! For someone like me at this stage of their skincare journey, this isn't worth bothering with - I didn't feel like it did anything much for my skin. Having said that, it's £5 and can help get your skin used to the ingredient if you've never used one before. I will be using it up on my neck, which is prone to sensitivity.

To round things off, we have the SkinHit Protecting Serum with Anti-Pollution & Blue Light Actives* | £6. I don't love the marketing of this product; blue light is definitely a thing, but I really wouldn't be worrying about it coming off your screen and I'd be a lot more concerned about all the visible light coming from the sun, even through windows. That can impact on your skin, for sure, so I'm not sure why this worry over phone screens is the current marketing hype. Personally, I get my blue light protection from iron oxides in my sunscreen and that's all the thought I give it! So, back on track: I am reviewing this as an antioxidant serum, because that's what it is to my mind. Antioxidants can help neutralise free radical damage from the environment, which we think is a significant factor in accelerated skin ageing. Particularly if you live in the city like me, you're going to want them in your routine. This serum comes out as a kind of yellow milk so is actually quite moisturising, which is a nice pro. It's formulated with plant-based oils and Vitamin E, which is probably where it gets this lovely softening, moisturising consistency from. It gives my skin a glow-boost, makes it look juicy and healthy and hopefully it's helping to protect my skin from its surroundings too! 

For me, the cleansing balm, the salicylic with azelaic overnight mask and the calming serum are my standout products from this batch of recent launches. The pigmentation serum and antioxidant serum are also nice, but not products I'd run out and repurchase. The retinol wasn't for me, but could be someone else, and the peel just isn't a product I recommend!

Have you tried Skincare by Beauty Bay?

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