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Cult French pharmacy skincare brand La Roche-Posay is famed for its Cicaplast B5 Baume, a barrier recovery balm for skin healing and to counteract dryness. They recently launched a serum version of this beloved formula and actually reformulated the original balm that's saved many of our skins over the years! Today I'm reviewing both...

First up, let's talk about the brand new product: the Cicaplast B5 Serum | £39. This is quite a thick, gloopy serum, which makes sense as it contains many of the ingredients that the balm does that form a barrier between your skin and external factors.  In terms of who this is for when it comes to skin type and texture; it's definitely geared towards dry and dehydrated skin types, but I think those who are oily-dehydrated could still use it overnight. This is pretty simple formula-wise and it's free from fragrance and other common irritant, making it great for compromised barriers or skin that's sensitive and easily reactive. It contains Vitamin E, which is a moisturising, fat-soluble antioxidant, so protects the skin from free radical damage resulting from exposure to pollution and your environment. It's also packed with glycerin, a really effective humectant that acts as a magnet for water (so, to get maximum hydration, I recommend applying this to slightly damp skin. The hyaluronic acid in here performs a similar function. The other main functional ingredient in here is panthenol (AKA Vitamin B5), which is a really great all-rounder for sensitised and / or dehydrated skin; not only does it hydrate the skin, but it helps the skin better retain moisture, plus it has anti-inflammatory benefits to calm redness and irritation. There is denatured alcohol in here, which some people don't like (as it can be drying) but within this overall formula, I can't say it's a problem for me.

I'd say that if you have more reaction-prone skin but don't want to put something as thick and heavy as the original balm on your skin that regularly, or your skin doesn't like the shea butter in it: this is for you. I would personally say it's a little pricey for the ingredients in it; I picked this up in Paris for €28 and I'm happy with it for that, but almost £40 is a lot for a very simple formula. I don't think I'd repurchase this but I will continue to use and enjoy it when my skin is feeling a little dry and unhappy or it just doesn't want my usual actives, because it's very soothing and hydrating. However, unless there's a particular reason why the balm doesn't work for your skin that doesn't apply to this formula, I don't think the serum is a must-have.

Now, onto the controversially-reformulated: Cicaplast B5+ Baume | £18. Spoiler alert: this isn't a major reformulation, so you can probably breathe a sigh of relief! All that's really been done is adding in a few more skin barrier boosters - you can check out the original INCI here, vs. the new INCI here. This is a product I've used for many years and the texture is fundamentally unchanged; it's a thicker creamy balm that's best used overnight because it's probably not going to vibe with makeup or sunscreen (note: the anti-inflammatory zinc and titanium dioxide in here can also leave a slight cast on darker skin tones). Some people use this every night as a moisturiser, but I tend to keep it in my bathroom cabinet to use as and when my skin really needs it, and even then I'll just apply it to the areas that are dry, cracked or highly irritated. But, it's a flexible formula and you can use it either way as long as your skin can handle it.

In terms of ingredients carried over from the original formula, the shea butter in here will deeply nourish and soften the skin, glycerin will hydrate, dimethicone is going to seal in hydration and create that barrier, there's also a copper ingredient in here that can promote skin healing and regeneration, your Vitamin E and of course, the panthenol that its name calls out, alongside cica and madecassoside (which don't actually feature in the serum, so perhaps including the 'Cicaplast' title is a little misleading!) These extracts have amazing anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing properties. The main additions that will actually impact the skin (rather than improving the texture or feel of the product) are another form of zinc to calm inflammation and a probiotic ingredient to help boost the skin's microbiome and contribute towards a happy, healthy skin barrier. This is what a reformulation should be: for those who love the original, this still clears up dryness and irritation just as effectively, there are just a few extra things in here to help it be even more effective! Our favourite product is safe and perhaps even a little better than it was before...

Have you tried the new serum or reformulated balm?

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