IS Clinical is in a class of products generally referred to as "cosmeceuticals" (cosmetics + pharmaceuticals) that merge science and beauty. Their new Youth Serum was released last year and while no one is promising it's the Fountain of Youth, it was designed by an impressive team of renowned pharmacologists, geneticists, biologists and physicians that's responsible for some amazing advances in the fields of skincare and anti-aging medicine.
Youth Serum has the consistency of warm honey—thick, syrupy, rich. A little goes a long way and I found that two gloopy drops were enough to treat my face, another two for the neck area. Beyond the instant hydration you'd get with any other serum/moisturiser, I did experience instant, mild warming with this serum that resulted in a visibly smoother and tighter complexion. In the long run, Youth Serum's patented Extremozyme™ (enzymes to protect and repair DNA) will help skin increase its collagen synthesis, visibly reduce signs of wrinkles and fine lines, and improve firmness and elasticity.
I also really like that IS Clinical's claims are backed by numerous independent third-party clinical studies. And, they don't test on animals or use ingredients sourced from animals.
Available at select clinics and medi-spas, $189
Clarins Boosters, Glow, Detox and Energy
Sometimes your skin just needs a quick, intensive pick-me-up—something more powerful than a serum, longer lasting than a masque. This is when you turn to Clarins' boosters.
Similar in format to their wildly popular Glow Booster (for a quick faux tan glow), these three new facial boosters are concentrated elixirs that you simply add to your existing skincare regimen. Add three to five drops to your moisturiser, serum, masque or even foundation to give them a little boost in performance. There are three different boosters: Detox, made with African green coffee extract to help decongest and detoxify the skin; Energy, made with ginseng to brighten and revitalise fatigued skin; and Repair, made with mimosa tenuiflora extract to help skin recover from environmental stresses.
This is the easiest way to customize your skincare without having to search for all new products. The TSA-friendly vials make them perfect your carry-on. The Energy booster has a permanent spot in my travel kit now.
SkinCeuticals has a well-deserved reputation for developing potent, somewhat no-frills products that simply deliver results without much hype. Their new Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 cream perfectly falls into this camp. It's a bland-looking cream in a simple screw-top jar that is a joy to use. It will perk up any skin, but is a particular salvation to dry and dehydrated skin.
Named 2:4:2 after its active ingredients, this anti-ageing cream contains 2% pure ceramides, 4% natural cholesterol and 2% fatty acids. Aging skin naturally loses its lipids, which affects skin's natural protective moisture barrier, resulting in accelerated signs of aging as well as decreased ability to self-repair.
This cream is deeply comforting, especially as we head into winter conditions. It nourishes the skin for long-term repair while providing immediate relief to the fine lines and other stresses that come from improperly hydrated skin. It will improve your skin's texture, laxity and overall radiance.
With skincare products, you really have to learn to read labels if you want to get the most out of them. Reversa's Acenex Purifying Solution clearly indicates it's a treatment for those with acne, but if you look past the marketing and read the ingredients (2% salicylic acid [BHA], 10% glycolic acid [AHA] and alcohol-free), you'll see it's a fabulous all-round exfoliator, regardless of skin type or age. A good exfoliator is crucial to achieving clear skin, and clear skin looks like healthy, youthful skin.
Yes, if you suffer from mild to moderate acne (whatever your age), this product will help. Use it up to twice a day and it will address acne caused by hormonal changes, environmental pollutants and environmental and physiological stress. With two types of exfoliators, it will clear out your pores on a deeper level as well as help slough away surface debris.
If you don't have acne or just have the occasional spot, this will still help improve skin texture and keep pores clear. Use it a few times a week to keep your skin looking fresh and bright. It's also a fantastic spot treatment for areas prone to ingrown hairs after shaving as well as for redness caused by post-acne and post-insect bites. Just swab a little on the desired areas.
Available at Shoppers Drug Mart, $29
La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion
Just when I thought I couldn't add another step to my skincare regimen, I tried La Prairie's new Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion. This "lotion" is based on the Asian concept and is closer to (but isn't) a toner. It's also not a moisturiser, a serum or makeup remover/cleanser. What these types of lotions, softeners and essences do is prepare your freshly cleansed skin to better absorb the serums and moisturizers you're about to apply. Think of it as a primer for your skincare. Just as we prime our faces before applying makeup, this lotion will prime your face to get the maximum benefits out of your skincare.
La Prairie's iconic Skin Caviar was launched more than 25 years ago, derived from real caviar. This newest product in the Caviar family uses steam distillation to extract caviar components in a clear, active fluid. It also contains the proprietary complex that's been at the heart of La Prairie's skincare products for four decades.
Housed in a gorgeous cobalt blue bottle, this lotion is easy to apply: pour a few drops into your hands, press onto your face while you inhale deeply. Your skin is immediately softened and dewy, perfectly prepped to absorb and make the most out of the rest of your skincare regimen.
Whenever I'm asked to guess someone's age, I skip the face and immediately scrutinize the hands and décolleté. Most of us now use products to take years off our faces, but we neglect our hands. Age spots, wrinkles, lumps and bumps—your hands can reveal your real age in a single glance!
Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Gloves, as part of a new generation of "intelligent textiles," contain copper-infused fibres. The inclusion of copper helps improve skin tone and texture over the course of four weeks with regular use. Copper is intrinsically antimicrobial and even in small amounts can effectively control the spread of algae, fungi and molds.
The gloves are fingerless, beige and stretchy. While I wish they were available in more interesting colours (the beige colour hardly camouflages), they do work. On this note, I have two points: Making the effort to wear these gloves made me more aware of my hands in general and I exfoliated and used hand cream more religiously. That alone made my hands look better. Secondly, these gloves offer a layer of sun protection, especially while driving, and that also is going to improve the appearance of your hands.
All these combined, improved conditions definitely made a noticeable improvement in the condition of my hands. The Skin Rejuvenating Gloves are available in XS/S and M/L and will last through 100 washings.
French darling, Caudalie has just released its latest product in the Resveratrol Lift line: Face Lifting Soft Cream. The texture is uniquely positioned somewhere between whipped and bouncy—hence the "soft" in its name. Incredibly light in texture, it's impossibly rich.
This cream contains Caudalie's famous vine resveratrol as well as micro-hyaluronic acid and is actually co-patented between Caudalie and Harvard University. Along with peptides, phospholipids and an extended-release delivery system, the Soft Cream also features mattifying powders and pearlizers to give skin an immediate even glow (and is an ideal base for makeup).
AmorePacific Time Response Skin Renewal Sleeping Masque
I've always been an avid fan of nighttime or overnight treatments because I know that's when our bodies work the hardest at repairing and replenishing. Now AmorePacific's got the science to back this claim up.
Their new Time Response Skin Renewal Sleeping Masque was developed with Cornell sleep expert Dr. Rebecca Robbins. The "golden hour" is generally between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., the best time for nourishing and rejuvenating cells. This is the perfect solution for those nights when your skin is feeling thirsty and fragile, when all you want to do is cleanse and put on a thick layer of something healing and moisturising.
Apply this silky smooth masque with a brush (included) for even application. It absorbs quickly without any stickiness, and you'll wake up to fresh, hydrated and supple skin by morning. It's made with botanical compounds found only in the roots of the oldest of AmorePacific's private reserve green tea plants on Jeju Island, South Korea.
AlumierMD is a science-based brand that approaches anti-aging from a more clinical standpoint. Their formulas tend to be closer to professional treatments and sometimes contain prescription-strength actives. Some of their superstar products feature a micro-encapsulated system that slowly releases ingredients to penetrate skin. This includes their range of retinol serums.
Most people have heard of retinol by now, which is often (and rightly) touted as a crucial ingredient in reversing signs of aging. Retinol is seemingly everywhere, in a lot of products at every price range now. There are a couple of thing to consider with retinol, though: delivery and performance.
The level of retinol that's advertised in a product isn't always the level that's delivered into your skin. (This isn't exclusive to retinol, by the way.) Sometimes a lot of it just ends up sitting on top of your skin, and is therefore ineffective. Also, retinol is known for causing skin to "shed" as it speeds up exfoliation. Your skin is definitely in a heightened state of stress and a lot of people give up using the product at this stage.
AlumierMD offers three levels of pure retinol: 0.25%, 0.5% and 1.0%. Not everybody needs the maximum strength to get the best result and, even if you do, now you can gradually work your way up to minimise if not entirely eliminate the dreaded shedding so you're more likely to stick with this powerful regimen.
Keep up with this program and you'll be rewarded with reduced fine lines and wrinkles, faded hyperpigmentation, increased firmness and elasticity, smoother texture, brightened skintone and increased collagen and elastin production. It's also free from fragrance, sulfates, parabens, mineral oil and dyes.
Available at select medi-spas and online. Retinol Resurfacing Serum 0.25 ($90), Retinol Resurfacing Serum 0.5 ($105), Retinol Resurfacing Serum 1.0 ($120)
Look fresh and feel radiant with these top anti-aging skincare products
Your skincare products could be the key to looking years younger than you actually are. Breakthroughs in the science of skincare—especially in the field of anti-aging—are happening almost every day. The amount of research and development that goes into every jar and bottle of skincare is quite staggering.
But so are the options, which can be overwhelming. There are a lot of fabulously effective products on the market, but there are even more lacklustre products vying for your dollars. If you're just starting to think about anti-aging products, start off slowly, with just one new product. Remember, skin goes through a 28-day cycle so you need a full month with a product before fairly determining whether it's a good fit for your skin.
The items here are all hero products, in my book. I've tested them all and most now have a permanent spot in my medicine cabinet. My skin type is combination—slightly dry and oily, but severely dehydrated—so keep that in mind when making your shopping list. However, I feel the products listed are suitable for all skin types.
Catherine is a lifestyle writer, specializing in travel, style, food and beauty. You can read more of her work in WestWorld, Real Weddings, AsiaSpa, Darpan, Wine Enthusiast and others. Follow her on social (Instagram, Snapchat & Twitter) @TSEwords.