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Today we’re talking Minimalist skincare, which is now available via Sephora UK, Face the Future and Beauty Bay. This brand is honestly a little secretive about its origins but I’m pretty sure it’s an Indian brand given a lot of creators in India have spoken of using it as a more accessible alternative to the Ordinary. And the brands are honestly pretty similar; the price-point is like the original Ordinary launch and the focus on active ingredients is also very similar. Let’s dive into if the products are any good!

First, let’s talk about their Vitamin C + E + Ferulic 16% | £9.99. Honestly, this serum is a tad misleading; when I first came across this, I thought it was going to be an ascorbic acid formula (pure Vitamin C). I discussed the drawbacks and options in detail regarding this ingredient here, but in short: ascorbic acid is the most proven form of Vitamin C when it comes to boosting collagen production and providing the best antioxidant protection against free radical damage to the skin. However, it’s very unstable and oxidises (turning yellow) and becomes ineffective very quickly. There’s a ‘sweet spot’ pH, concentration and combination of ingredients (adding Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid) which is currently under patent by Skinceuticals, who make very expensive products! Smaller brands have been able to make very fresh ascorbic acid and ship very quickly to avoid this issue. I thought this might have been one such brand, though I was dubious if ordering via a retailer would mean it wouldn’t be quite so fresh. I decided to order it anyway given it’s only £10 and see how I got on…

This arrived and I noted the colour was still completely clear and not yellowing; result! However, over opening this and using it over a couple of months, it still didn’t change colour, which started to seem a little questionable (even my Skinceuticals would have some form of colour change after that period of time). So, I revisited the product page and realised this is actually Ethylated Ascorbic Acid, which is a derivative of Vitamin C; you’ll get some antioxidant and skin-brightening benefits, but probably not a boost in collagen production. On the upside, this is a more stable form of the ingredient and it’s less likely to irritate the skin. On the flip side; 16% isn’t that high of a concentration for this derivative so this serum might not be punchy enough for advanced skincare users. Personally, I found this formula to be gentle, and in terms of results it did give me a bit of a glow boost but my skin wasn’t noticeably plumper and I didn’t see much of a boost in evening out blemish marks whilst using it. Overall, it’s probably not a recommend.

The next product I’ll discuss is one of my favourite products of the bunch; the Oat Extract 6% Gentle Cleanser | £6.99. There really aren’t many cleansers out there these days at such a low price-point and that’s what initially piqued my interest, though it was a pretty small bottle once it arrived, so bear that in mind! That being said, I like the ingredients and I enjoyed my experience with this product. It’s a non-foaming cleanser that’s fairly viscous, so the packaging is something you need to get used to. It’s formulated with a very mild oat-based surfactant, and oat does in itself have skin-soothing properties and there are other calming and hydrating ingredients in here like glycerin, panthenol, bisabolol and hyaluronic acid. Like all the products in this range, it’s also free from fragrance. This is a great option for very dry and / or sensitive skin because it does leave my skin feeling fresher but it’s completely non-drying and non-stripping. This is just about as gentle as a cleanser can get! I personally really like it as a morning cleanse when I want to refresh my skin without taking away much-needed moisture.

Next, let’s talk about Multi-Peptides 10% | £10.99. This is formulated with the Matrixyl 3000 peptide complex which has some really positive clinical evidence behind it. Peptides are short-chain amino acids, which can have hydrating, replenishing benefits for the skin but could also boost up collagen production to keep our skin more elastic for longer. If your skin doesn’t do well on retinoids or pure form Vitamin C (the two most proven well-ageing heroes in our arsenal), then try peptides because they aren’t going to potentially irritate your skin in the same way, but you could reap some of the same benefits. Matrixyl 3000 is really the peptide to have in your routine if you don’t want to splurge on something unproven. There’s also an ingredient here which seems to be similar to growth factor, which is a nice added extra for an £11 serum (though ingredients such as this are unproven, as an additional component to a more proven formula and for the price, I don’t have a huge issue here). It’s a water-like serum which is very similar to the Vitamin C which is simple but also does contain glycerin and hyaluronic acid for added hydration. It’s a really nice serum that you can use alongside your retinoid in the PM or alternated with your antioxidant in the AM. I found my skin was plump, hydrated and happy whilst using this serum.

Next, we have the Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream | £10.99. I really like this as a beginner retinoid; firstly, it’s affordable, secondly, it’s a one-step active moisturiser with plenty of nice, buffering ingredients and also because Granactive Retinoid is a great place to start if you’re wanting to get into retinoids. Why would you want to get into retinoids? As I mentioned earlier in the post, this is the most proven well-ageing active ingredient class we have available in cosmetics. Retinoids can boost collagen production, reduce discolouration and skin texture (by boosting skin cell turnover) and even reverse existing signs of photo-ageing. They shouldn’t be used by pregnant or breastfeeding people and you may experience side-effects such as irritation or dryness (for most people, after a few weeks this subsides, unless the product is way too strong for them). Granactive Retinoid promises similar results to retinol without the associated irritation and dryness, and I have to say my skin really does get on with this form of Vitamin A.

This product comes out like a light lotion, and even with its affordable price-point, you’re getting opaque pump packaging, to help keep the ingredient as stable as possible for as long as possible. It’s going to be fine for any skin type, though you might want to use another moisturiser afterwards if you’re already prone to dryness. It contains basic hydrators, moisturisers and occlusives but it’s a very simple product outside of the Granactive Retinoid. The 2% concentration is on the beginner-to-intermediate side of things; possibly try an retinol ester-based formula before progressing to this, but it’s a pretty gentle formula. It didn’t irritate my skin but I did see some improvement in dark marks and skin smoothness whilst using it. Personally, it didn’t pack quite enough of a punch for me and I was craving my retinal again by the end of the testing period, but I use this on my neck now and this sensitive area of skin tolerates this formula really well. It’s budget-friendly and fairly beginner-friendly, so if this sounds like it will tick your personal boxes; give it a go!

Finally, we have two moisturisers here to discuss; one richer, creamier formula and one that’s more water-based and gel-like. The lighter of the two is the Ceramides 0.3% + Madecassoside | £9.99. Honestly, it was my bad that I picked up this product as it does clearly state it’s for oily or combination skin types, which is not my skin! I guess I was just going off the ingredients… So, this wasn’t really made for me, but it’s not bad at all. I would like to see a higher concentration of ceramides, personally, because 0.3% is quite low to me (perhaps this was to keep the texture light, given this is a lipid-based ingredient), but it’s still welcome to have this skin barrier booster in the formula. This is bolstered by cholesterol and fatty acids, the other components of your skin’s lipid barrier. There’s also Madecassoside in here, which is the active component of cica, which is a popular skin-soothing extract often found in Korean skincare. This is a really nice option for oily-but-sensitive skin; it’s simple, soothing, hydrating and skin barrier friendly. Although it’s a gel and not quite enough for my skin, it doesn’t disappear into nothing, so I definitely see myself using this during the summer months!

The other option they have is the Marula Oil 5% Moisturiser | £6.99. Marula oil is a great moisturising, antioxidant-rich plant oil often found in much more expensive formulas… here it’s paired with fatty and replenishing antioxidants like Vitamin E and Vitamin F. This is your dry skin hero, but it’s actually not too rich or heavy in texture; it feels nourishing but is lotion-y enough to comfortably squeeze out of a tube like this. I really enjoy this for both AM and PM at the moment in this dry UK winter. It’s cheap, it’s simple, but it works for softening dry skin and you get that added antioxidant boost too!

Have you tried Minimalist skincare?

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