- 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) and Look Fantastic (paid advertorial content). 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 -
As a beauty creator, I've tried a lot of products and one of my most-asked questions is which I recommend out of two similar formulas. Today, I've rounded up a few comparable products to discuss their similarities, differences and help you decide which might be right for you...
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is a gentle, oil-soluble Vitamin C derivative. Whilst it's collagen-boosting and antioxidant (i.e. protecting the skin from environmental aggressors) benefits aren't as proven as those that have been displayed by pure-form ascorbic acid, it still has great brightening and glow-boosting potential, plus it's really nice and stable. Due to it being oil-soluble, it works really well in facial oils and can be found in both the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil* | £55 (30ml) | and the Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C & Turmeric Face Oil* | £68 (35ml). If you don't like fragrance in skincare: I'm afraid that neither of these will be for you! But, if you like a facial oil and enjoy a bit of a sensory experience: don't skip ahead... The Biossance oil is a lot more straightforward: it's squalane (a plant-derived skin-identical oil), rose oil and the Vitamin C derivative. Sunday Riley is a little more complex, with ginger as an anti-inflammatory, turmeric as an antioxidant and a variety of plant oils including cranberry seed, jojoba and pomegranate seed. The Biossance also has a bit of a lighter texture that's better suited to wearing during the daytime if you're an oil-in-the-AM kind of person; it's a little easier to control if you just want to press a couple of drops into your skin before moisturiser. The Sunday Riley is a little bit heavier, so I prefer it as the last step in my PM routine as it's that bit more occlusive and you can still reap antioxidant benefits the next day, plus you wake up with lovely glowing skin. It's really about personal preference in terms of texture and how you want to use the product within your routine, plus how much you value the supporting ingredients within the formula.
This is one I get asked about quite a bit! The original classic product from this brand was the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturising Cleanser* | £38 (120ml) | and a more recent launch is the Kate Somerville DeliKate Soothing Cleanser* | £38 (120ml). Goat Milk is a thick, rich, creamy, non-foaming cleanser with goat milk (for a very mild exfoliation) and jojoba oil, avocado and manuka honey to deeply nourish the skin. It's gorgeous in the morning or as a second cleanse in the evening if you have a drier skin type like me. It's totally non-stripping and leaves my skin soft, clean and moisturised. This one does have a fragrance to it, which I personally enjoy but it won't be for everyone. Where Goat Milk is thicker and more luxurious, DeliKate is a little lighter and more watery. It's formulated without fragrance and with compromised skin barriers in mind. It's also a non-foaming and non-stripping formula but contains ceramides and peptides to strengthen sensitive skin and moisturising oils like cucumber and sunflower seed, plus ginger as an anti-inflammatory. If you're sensitive and you want something gentle and fragrance-free: DeliKate is for you, if you're dry and you like a creamy-textured cleanser and want the sensory experience of a rich feel and a beautiful scent: go for Goat Milk.
If you prefer your Vitamin C derivatives in more of a serum format: I have two to discuss here. The first is the Biossance Squalane & Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum* | £48 (30ml) | and the second is the Youth to the People 15% Vitamin C + Clean Caffeine Energy Serum* | £59 (30ml). These two products do seem similar on the surface but have fairly different textures and feels on the skin. The Biossance is formulated with their signature sugarcane-derived squalane, which you can think of as the plant version of the oils your skin naturally produces. It comes out as lightweight but a little more on the moisturising, emollient side. In terms of Vitamin C, it contains ethylated ascorbic acid, which is a derivative (processed to make it more stable and less irritating). This is propped up by licorice extract, which can be helpful for dark spots. I personally think the name is a bit of a big promise, as getting an even skin tone can only really be achieved through incorporating a variety of ingredients into your skincare routine. This contains two, so whilst it's moisturising and will make your skin glow: it isn't going to be transformative in and of itself. Personally, I also like to see more than one Vitamin C derivative in a formula as they're just a little less proven than the pure form of the ingredient, so it's really hedging your bets. The Youth to the People formula is lighter and more water-based, giving a fresh, dewy, hydrated glow to the skin. This contains three forms of Vitamin C derivatives: the ethylated ascorbic acid, the Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate we saw in our Vitamin C oils and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate. Plus we have caffeine as an antioxidant and this one also contains squalane. I feel it gives my skin an immediate glow boost and I'm more confident in its antioxidant benefits given the supporting ingredients included and the mix of Vitamin C derivatives included. For that reason it does have to be my recommendation over the Biossance.
Lactic acid is a chemical exfoliant that my skin really enjoys! It's a pretty gentle resurfacing option that also has hydrating benefits, making it perfect for dry skin that's looking a bit dull and lifeless. Here I have the Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum* | £55 (30ml) | up against the Kora Organics Noni Night AHA Resurfacing Serum* | £67 (30ml). Both formulas buffer their acids with lots of moisturising goodness to ensure a slow release and counteracting any potential irritation before it has the chance to even get a look-in. The Farmacy formula does also have a smattering of glycolic if you feel like you need that extra little kick and some willow bark extract which can act like a gentler salicylic acid precursor to help a little with breakouts, whereas the Kora Organics is just the lactic. In terms of added ingredients, Farmacy formulate with several honey-based extracts for added nourishment, ginger extract which can be anti-inflammatory, hyaluronic acid and glycerin, moisturising grape seed oil and turmeric extract for its powerful antioxidant benefits. Kora Organics use fermented ingredients, lots of glycerin, avocado and sunflower seed oils and jojoba esters. Both products contain fragrant extracts, which some people won't like. I feel like on paper the Farmacy product sounds better, and it really is wonderful, giving me glowing skin overnight without any irritation. However, for me, I just feel like the Kora Organics takes those results to the next level, giving me impossibly-smooth skin without upsetting my skin barrier.
My go-to lip balm for ages has been the Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm | £21 (15g) | but it's creeping up in price and I recently too a break from it to try the more affordable Biossance Squalane & Rose Vegan Lip Balm* | £12 (15g). The Summer Fridays never fails to leave my lips soft and nourished with vegan waxes and ingredients like shea butter and murumuru butter. I use this every single night before bed and the tinted versions live in my handbag to wear during the day. The Biossance formula of course contains squalane alongside ceramides, jojoba esters, castor oil, Vitamin E and rose wax. I found the Biossance a little bit average, if I'm honest: it's fine but it just didn't give me that lovely soft plump feeling I got from Summer Fridays. It kind of just sits on top of my lips sometimes and doesn't feel like it's really getting in. Summer Fridays is definitely my favourite of the two!
Next we have two exfoliating toners from Pestle and Mortar. The Pestle & Mortar NMF Lactic Acid Toner | £28 (200ml) | is your gentler option and the Pestle & Mortar Exfoliate Glycolic Acid Toner | £25 (200ml) | packs more of a punch. The NMF formula is like when you want a hydrating toner with a bit more to use maybe four times a week, as it's just over a 5% concentration, which is pretty skin-friendly. There's also a PHA in the mix, which is an even gentler acid with hydrating properties, plus niacinamide to boost the skin barrier. If you have dry and / or sensitive skin but want something to smooth your skin and increase the glow: this is for you. On the other hand: if you really love your acids, Exfoliate contains just under 7% of glycolic acid, so it's not for beginners but it's nothing too crazy either. The aloe and allantoin will help add a soothing benefit and there's niacinamide in here too. Glycolic isn't my favourite but this is a really nice option if you like it and I do feel it made my skin glow and smoothed out texture. For me: NMF wins out because it fits well into my skincare routine and does the job without being irritating.
Lastly, let's talk about ceramide moisturisers and put the Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream* | £69 (50ml) | up against the Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturising Cream* | £60 (50g). Ceramides are a fundamental component of our skin barrier so I love seeing them in my skincare products for that healing and reparative quality they bring to a formula. An all-time favourite of mine since it launched has been the DeliKate: it's a rich, buttery, delicious ceramide cream that's also formulated with peptides that can repair the skin and support its natural barrier. This is what I reach for if I'm dry, irritated or my skin is just generally unhappy. It's fragrance-free and contains some nice anti-inflammatory ingredients too. ICE is a touch lighter and more whipped in its texture so will probably feel more approachable if you've not got really dry skin. Ceramides and Vitamin F provide that fatty, replenishing goodness and squalane and glycerin are always welcome additions. This is a really nice product but I find the scent a bit much! I also prefer barrier repair products to be fragrance-free so they're as skin-friendly as possible if my face is having a wobble. For this reason, it has to be DeliKate for me!
Have you tried any of these products?