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Well, this review came a little later than I'd anticipated! It's probably been around about a year of swapping in these products and using and loving them so now I'm finally returning my thoughts on one of my now-favourite skincare brands: Zelens...

To give a bit of context: Zelens has been around for ages and have been loved by the skincare community pretty much since its inception. However, last year they re-launched with new, chic branding, a slightly lower price-point (though don't get me wrong: they're still premium but do actually hold sales semi-regularly now too) and having removed fragrance from the product line. There were new products added to the collection and now I've been using everything for a good while, I can also share with you which products I've picked up again with my own money!

Let's start with the Power antioxidant serum line. The Power A Vitamin A Concentrate* | £105 | is actually my least favourite of the bunch; not for the actual formulation but for how it applies. On paper, this is a great gentle retinoid formula; if you don't know, the Vitamin A family is the only class of ingredients that can not only prevent signs of ageing and photodamage in the skin, but reverse them. They span from being included in low concentrations in moisturisers as an added extra through to prescription-strength tretinoin (a form of direct retinoic acid). This formula combines retinol (the most common cosmetic Vitamin A and a mid-level strength on that scale) with two retinoid esters, which are on the gentler side of things. They have a combined concentration of 1% within this formula but I don't know how that's divided between the three. Granactive retinoid is one of the esters used in this formula, which is supposed to act within the skin like retinoic acid. The other combines retinol with fatty Vitamin F (linoleic acid). They're suspended in a plant oil-based formula including squalane (this can imitate the oils our skin naturally produces), replenishing antioxidant Vitamin E, moisturising phospholipids and emollients to soften the skin. It all sounds great but for whatever reason, this just didn't work for me in practice. It's a lightweight oil and personally: when it comes to an active ingredient, I want to be able to apply an oil like this before moisturiser so it can really get into my skin, however despite trying with several moisturisers and trying to be really minimal with my overall routine, it just pilled when I tried to do this. It did work over moisturiser and definitely softened and smoothed my skin, but I just wanted those amazing retinoid results and I feel like I didn't really get them with the way I had to apply the product, unfortunately.

Much more of a hit for me was the Power B Vitamin B Concentrate* | £90. Most people associate Vitamin B with Vitamin B3, AKA niacinamide, but this is so much more than your ten-a-penny single-ingredient niacinamide serum. I'm sure the majority of you know what niacinamide is but just in case: it's a real multi-tasker, which is why it's loved by many and can be found in so many serums and moisturisers.  It can help regulate oil production in the skin, it boosts up your skin's natural ceramide production meaning it can help maintain a healthy barrier function and it's great for preventing hyperpigmentation from spreading through the skin (so that little spot doesn't turn into a much-bigger scar). Alongside niacinamide, we have panthenol (Vitamin B5), a soothing and hydrating ingredient that actually helps the skin retain moisture and reduces inflammation. Vitamin B6 is also in the mix, which can help with breakouts and excess sebum. There are sugar molecules in here that can help the skin boost up its own production of hyaluronic acid alongside topical hyaluronic acid, to leave the skin plump and hydrated. There's also a soothing fermented complex in here with oat, quinoa and rice. Urea is a natural moisturising factor and Beta-glucan helps to calm inflammation and hydrate the skin. The texture itself is a light gel that absorbs into the skin easily without leaving behind a tacky feel. What can I say? I love this stuff! It's soothing, calming and very hydrating, as well as having that gentle clarifying benefit over long-term use. If you have sensitive but acne-prone skin: this would be absolutely wonderful, especially when pitched against overly-strong single-ingredient niacinamide serums on the market.

Next, let's talk the Power C Vitamin C Concentrate* | £105. This is formulated with a 20% concentration of a Vitamin C derivative that's more stable and less potentially-irritating than the pure form of the ingredient; whilst derivatives don't have as much research to back their ability to increase collagen production in the skin, they're still great for treating uneven skin tone and provide an antioxidant benefit, neutralising free radicals so the general pollution of your surroundings can't accelerate skin ageing. I love that this has a light, milky moisturising texture because it's perfect for my dry skin and just removes the need for hydrating toners and serums to be used alongside my Vitamin C in the morning (perfect for when I prefer a streamlined routine). The form of Vitamin C in here is oil-based but it's blended perfectly into this lightweight, non-greasy serum. There's also a fermented plant extract complex which includes kakadu plum and rosehip to boost the antioxidant potential of the overall formula. We also have squalane to moisturise the skin and glycerin and hyaluronic acid to attract water and hydration. This is very gentle and a great option for sensitive skin or for those who just find pure-form ascorbic acid hard work with how quickly it oxidises. I've been using this for the past couple of months and it's absolutely delivered on the glow and even skin tone, embedding those benefits in a moisturising base that makes this a really well-rounded formula for a quicker morning routine. For the price, do I think it's the absolute best Vitamin C derivative on the market? No, but I'll use it up and enjoy it whilst I have it.

Next we have my beloved (and already-repurchased) holy grail Power D Vitamin D Concentrate* | £105. This super-light oil is a versatile skin barrier repair and / or support product. You can use it underneath your moisturiser when your skin is really suffering to keep things simple and replenishing or over your moisturiser as an added little hug for your face, especially if you're using strong actives like a peel or an intense retinoid. Vitamin D3 builds the skin's resilience and it's bolstered by moisturising lipids and esters, alongside squalane. Vitamin F is also in there to provide that replenishing goodness and fatty acids really help to nourish the skin and bring it back to life when it's feeling irritated and unhappy. There are also plenty of plant oils to combat dryness, including avocado, meadowfoam and sunflower. Bisabolol is in here too, which is the active soothing component of chamomile and we have Vitamin E in the mix too. All-in-all: this is one of my secret weapons if my skin is dry or irritated, whether that's due to the weather / seasonal changes or something like upping my retinoid strength. It's the perfect blend of a luxurious, softening, beautiful oil that's also incredibly functional in the purpose it serves in my routine.

Last - but definitely not least in this little family - we have the Power E Vitamin E Concentrate* | £90. Spoiler: I will definitely pick this up again when I run out! This is light and milky serum, though it's perhaps a tad richer than the Vitamin C formula. It's formulated with the pure form of the ingredient alongside several esters of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant with a bit more; it can really moisturise the skin and help maintain its barrier function. This is packed full of lipids and plant oils like squalane, raspberry and sunflower seed. Sodium PCA is in here too as a natural moisturising factor to hydrate and replenish the skin, there are emollient esters to soften the skin, glycerin as your humectant and yeast, which is rich in amino acids and beta-glucan. This is gorgeously calming, softening and moisturising. When my skin is dry, dull and irritated: this, a ceramide moisturiser and Power D are my go-tos for getting things back on track. If you suffer with dry skin and want an antioxidant in your routine or something to help keep your skin barrier happy: this is gorgeous!

There are other serums in the line outside of the Power collection and we'll start with the Melatonin B12 Advanced Repair Serum* | £105. The concept of this product is that we know the body undergoes different processes when we're asleep and that includes our skin; this serum is designed to boost the natural repair process and therefore improve tired, stressed skin and help keep premature ageing at bay. Melatonin has antioxidant properties (propped up by the Vitamin E in this formula) as well as an anti-inflammatory benefit. There are peptides in here too, alongside enzymes that help prevent collagen degradation, so you're getting some great well-ageing benefits from this product. Then we have moisturisers and humectants, alongside ingredients like Sodium PCA and Beta-glucan to keep the skin hydrated and happy. There are also a bunch of plant extracts to moisturise the skin, keep it nice and soft and also provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. There's nothing in here that conflicts with any of my essential active ingredients, so I like to slot it in alongside them as a booster for my overall routine. The texture is kind of like a milky gel, so is hydrating and softening but also pretty lightweight. It's really hard to pinpoint what this stuff does to your skin but I actually had a bit of a skin wobble a few months back where my skin felt easily-aggravated; even just cleansing felt like it was bringing up some kind of inflammation, so I dropped out my retinoids, acids and Vitamin C and decided to just use this so I was getting something a little bit active in without overdoing it. It helped so much with that transitional skin irritation and just slotting this in alongside my normal routine did seem to give me good skin days. I'm a little bit torn on it because of the price (I generally prefer to spend on ingredients that have a bit more backing like those in the Power series) but if you can afford it: I think this is a great supplement in terms of preventing skin damage and helping with redness and irritation.

Then we have the Hydraluron Intense Hydro-Plumping Serum* | £68. Look, I don’t get too excited over hyaluronic acid serums these days but this is a bit of an elevated take on the staple of every skincare line. On the off chance you don't know: this ingredient is a humectant, meaning it acts like a magnet for water. What's interesting about this formula is that whilst it contains several different molecular weights of topical hyaluronic acid (meaning that water can be transported into different layers of the skin), it also contains an ingredient that inhibits the enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid in the skin. Put simply: it's also helping you retain your skin's natural stores of hyaluronic acid, alongside just adding more topically. We also have glycerin, another great humectant, soothing and hydrating Beta-glucan and fermented ingredients. This comes out as a gel, so it's not a waterlight formula like some others on the market, and whilst I always recommend locking humectants in with your moisturiser pretty quickly, this does have some substance to it and I've never noticed that it does that whole 'evaporating off into thin air' thing on my skin. It provides hydration that lasts and leaves my skin looking and feeling healthy and plump!

Moving onto other product types, I have the Microbiota P3 Mist* | £52. This is a lightweight, hydrating and refreshing mist with a lot more in terms of ingredients. I wouldn't spend this amount on something like a basic rosewater, but Zelens pack in so much goodness that you can reap some wonderful rewards by taking a couple of seconds to do a little misting. This contains pre, pro and postbiotics, which I did a deep-dive on here but in short: they could help your skin barrier function by introducing good bacteria. There's a barrier support peptide in the mix too, alongside fermented yeast, soothing Sodium PCA, amino acids to hydrate and replenish the skin and humectants to pull in hydration. It's hydrating, calming and has a lovely, lightweight quality to it. One of my greatest bugbears with humectant-based mists is that a lot of them just aren't formulated well and evaporate off into the aether, often leaving your skin less hydrated than when you started. Not this one! The hydration lasts and you're getting those added skin barrier benefits.

As you can probably see: the Provitamin D3 Fortifying Mist* | £52 | is another firm favourite and there's a backup I picked up during a sale in my drawer already. This mist is a touch heavier than the P3 but it still has a light mist action from the pump until you get right down to the bottom of the bottle. This is for hydration but it's also to moisturise and calm the skin, providing anti-inflammatory and skin barrier-boosting benefits. Alongside the Vitamin D3 (the same as in the Power D formulation) we have moisturising plant sugars, hyaluronic acid in several molecular weights to pull water into every level of the skin, amino acids, plant extracts with anti-inflammatory properties, Sodium PCA and panthenol. Again, this is a well thought-out mist that does hydrate the skin in a way that lasts, but goes far beyond that. If my skin is unhappy or I'm using products that are a little rougher on it: this is a great quick step to add in, because it just brings everything back into balance for me.

A newer addition to the line as part of the Vitamin D family is the Emulsion D Fortifying Moisturiser* | £65 | which I already got myself a backup of because it's just heavenly! It's that perfect blend for me of being a little bit rich and buttery but also lightweight, creamy and easy to spread. It's not thick or heavy to apply but acts as a barrier support moisturiser that doesn't smother my skin and is actually dreamy under makeup. Best all: it's great as both a day cream and a night cream, which is such a rarity for me, so it's perfect for travel or if you just want a low-maintenance routine. In terms of ingredients, we have the Vitamin D, of course, but also ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids (the components of the skin barrier), pre and probiotics, Vitamin F and Vitamin E. It's a hug for your skin that's deeply nourishing and comforting without being too heavy. I absolutely love the stuff! And I particularly recommend this if you like the sound of Power D but you're not big into oils.

Rounding out the products I've tried is the Shisho Balm Radiance Cleanser* | £50. This is essentially a cleansing balm in a pump bottle, so it comes out a little lighter (almost like a gel) and doesn't need to be warmed up, so it's less fussy and obviously more travel-friendly and efficient than a traditional first cleanse in a pot. This is primarily formulated with moisturising plant oils and shisho as an extract is purported to have anti-inflammatory benefits, but for me: cleansers (other than exfoliating ones) are first and foremost a functional step in my routine. I just want products that work, rather than focusing on ingredients that won't be in contact with. my skin for very long. And this one does work: it melts down makeup as it transforms into something more oil-based and emulsifies easily, though I do still recommend using a damp cloth with this to ensure everything has been gently removed. It's effective, gentle and leaves my skin soft and happy after use. My only negative really is that other cleansers do this for much less than £50.

All in all, Zelens has been one of my favourite brand discoveries of the past year when it comes to great actives set within well-rounded formulas. The products aren't cheap but it's up to you how you prioritise skincare in your life and which products you want to invest how much money into within that! For me, personally: the repurchases say it all...

Have you tried Zelens?

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