- Advertisement information: this post discusses items gifted to me with no obligation to share them (marked *). In addition I have / have had a brand relationship with Cult Beauty (gifting). My blog has Skimlinks and RewardStyle installed to automatically monetise purchases of products I link on my blog, therefore this post may contain affiliate links. All opinions remain my own and please refer to my Disclosure Page for further detail -
Youth to the People products have been a staple in my routine since they arrived on UK shores last year (original review) and I recently had the chance to try a few of their newer launches so today I'm talking you through my experience with them!
Let's start with the Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm* | £31 | which I did actually demo here if you want to see how it works and what the texture is like in action. A lot of skincare brands use microplastics in their cleansing balms to get that really silky texture. I've discussed it before but there's no evidence that these plastics are 'dangerous' and we don't know that they're harmful to the environment, but I get that if people don't have the evidence that they're not harmful to marine life, they may wish to err on the side of caution. It's a personal choice, but for those who have such concerns: this doesn't contain this type of ingredient. All of that to say: the texture of this product might not be what you're expecting! It's a solid-to-oil, so if you get a little scooper into this product it's going to sort of crumble, rather than having the smooth sorbet kind of vibe that something very oil-rich or something containing those microplastics. It's not an issue for me, personally: I just recommend warming this up for a couple of seconds between your fingertips before applying it, so it melts down into an oil.
For me, that extra little step is well worth it for how effectively this cleansing balm works. It's really fantastic at cutting through makeup and sunscreen and I used it so much over the festive period when I was wearing a little more makeup a little more often than usual. It just melts everything down really effectively and don't worry: despite it having a slightly-unusual texture, it does emulsify with water like any other cleansing balm. I then remove everything with a lukewarm damp cloth and follow it up with a second cleanser. I don't feel an excess on my skin after use (it not containing microplastics does also mean you're less likely to experience that waxy / filmy feeling once it's rinsed off) but it's always good practice to do a double cleanse. In terms of ingredients, this isn't something I focus on excessively because it's a first cleanse so by the time I've used it for a couple of minutes, rinsed it off and cleansed again, the likelihood of them really penetrating and having an impact seems remote to me. However, it does contain lots of fruit and vegetable extracts for their antioxidant benefits, panthenol, glycerin, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, to name just a few. It is formulated with fragrance - I don't find this problematic for my skin unless the product stings my sensitive eyes, which this doesn't. Overall, it's a great cleansing balm for when you need to get a full beat off your face.
Next, we have the Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask* | £31. I don't use a ton of face masks and I especially don't use a ton of clay masks - I guess, for me, I rarely have time and at most I'm using them once a week so I reached a point where it was hard enough to use up the ones I already had so I certainly didn't need to buy any new ones. So, I had pretty high standards for this to get into my personal rotation rather than it ending up in my donation pile. I actually really enjoyed the texture of this mask; it's lightweight and easy to spread, and if you're leaving it on for up to 10 minutes, it doesn't crack and solidify to suck your skin dry of moisture! For me, this alongside the ingredients are what places this mask a head and shoulders above the rest.
The charcoal, kaolin and French green clay are balanced out with hydrating, soothing and moisturising ingredients like safflower seed oil, glycerin, aloe, allantoin and fatty alcohol, which is probably why this doesn't feel drying, even on my dry skin. In terms of actives, we have 2% niacinamide: this is a really nice concentration but in a once-a-week or 'as and when needed' product like this, I don't personally think it's going to have a significant impact on uneven skin tone or boosting up the skin's barrier function, but niacinamide can also be great for inflammation and regulating oil production. We also have salicylic acid and willow bark extract (its gentler precursor) as BHA chemical exfoliants. This class of ingredient can get into the pores because BHAs are oil-soluble, so they can help with active breakouts but also in preventing and helping to fade blemish scars. I'm not sure what their combined concentration is but given they're listed after the niacinamide, we know that individually they're at <2%. We also have some fermented ingredients in here that can help restore a healthy glow in the skin and make it feel more hydrated. Again, I prefer these ingredients in leave-on products I'll use more often, but they're certainly not bad to have!
I like to use this when I need it: if my skin is congested (like it was after the festive period) or a week before 'that time of the month' is due, to head off any hormonal breakouts. I personally apply it where I need it, generally, avoiding areas of my face that are prone to dryness. And it works! It's not drying but it does help clear up breakouts and general skin congestion: if you like the idea of clay masks but don't enjoy how most of them feel on your skin then this could be perfect...
Last, but certainly not least (given it's my favourite of the products in this post #spoiler), we have the Mandelic + Superfood Unity Exfoliant* | £32. This is a leave-on chemically-exfoliating toner formulated with 3% mandelic acid (AHA), 2% salicylic acid (BHA) and 1% gluconolactone (PHA). Let's break down these exfoliants, how they work and their concentrations. Mandelic acid is a water-soluble AHA with a larger molecular size than it's more famous siblings: lactic and glycolic acid, so it feels a little gentler on the skin. It's believed to be specifically good at treating hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. I look for concentrations of up to 10%, so a 3% concentration is playing more of a supporting role. I feel the star of the show is probably the 2% salicylic acid - which we discussed above. 2% is the maximum and most well-studied concentration of this ingredient to treat blemishes, breakouts and acne. Gluconolactone is a PHA, a large-moleculed exfoliant that will absorb more slowly into the skin so it feels gentler and can help a lot with surface-level softness and smoothness. A concentration of up to 10% is what I personally look for, and 1% is probably in there more for hydration than exfoliation, because their hydrating benefits are another thing worth mentioning about PHAs.
In terms of other ingredients, we have a lot of good stuff in the mix like panthenol, glycerin and aloe for soothing and hydrating the skin. We also have fermented ingredients, antioxidant green tea and licorice extract, which can help with brightening and evening out the skin tone. There are some ingredients like rosewater in here, which will generally hydrate the skin, but if you're allergic to fragrance then I'd avoid because there will be trace amounts of essential oils included. Overall, I loved this formula! I don't overly-rely on lots of exfoliation in my skincare routine so a gentle product like this 3-4 times a week is perfect for me. This caused zero irritation but smoothed and evened out my skin, whilst having a fantastic clarifying benefit. I'd lean more towards this for breakout-prone skin, but honestly: it's actually very hydrating, gentle and relatively universal. Definitely one of the best multi-acids I've tried in a while!
So there you have it! My thoughts on three new launches from Youth to the People and overall it was a really positive experience. If I had to rank them, I'd go for the exfoliating toner, the cleanser and then the mask in terms of how essential they are in my routine and how they measure up against my absolute favourites.
Have you tried anything from Youth to the People?