Premium Skincare Mini Reviews

I dealt with the first lockdown in no small part by indulging my love of skincare. I bought both the Caroline Hirons Spring and Summer Kits with savings on the contents of  55%. I probably purchased enough skincare for several faces and still have plenty to see me into 2021. No regrets though. I got a chance to try some products I’ve wanted for ages and it was an excellent distraction. Here are my brief thoughts on some of them.


Peptide K8 Power Cream by Kate Somerville £127

Previously known as Deep Tissue Repair, Caroline Hirons has said she’d like to be buried with a tub of this. At £127, I waited 7 years to give it a go at a hefty discount. It’s supposedly a lot more than a moisturiser; essentially a serum strength ‘power cream’. Now, I’m not good with creams that have a heavy artificial fragrance and this has a strong citrusy scent. It’s not unpleasant but it feels odd to me to be putting perfume on my face. It’s listed as ‘Parfum’ on the ingredients list rather than it being the aroma of the natural materials. It certainly feels nice on the skin and I use it on non-tretinoin nights. However, I don’t think it’s quite what it’s cracked up to be. The ingredients just don’t seem to back it up. Would not repurchase at that price.

Protini Polypeptide Cream by Drunk Elephant £57

Unlike Peptide K8 this moisturiser really does have a stellar ingredients list with 9 signal peptides. The cream is a water-gel but it feels richer than this suggests. A little goes a long way. I would consider repurchasing because I want peptides in my routine for their collagen boosting properties and I like that I can do this in the moisturiser step rather than add another serum. It also has the genius push dispenser in the top so you don’t have to put your finger in it.

The Skin Recovery Blend by de Mamiel £95

Now this really does feel luxurious. I don’t know if it would appeal to everyone but I love the slightly chocolately, aromatic scent which comes largely from Blue Tansy essential oil. This also helps give it its stunning blue colour. This is a pressed serum which turns to oil with the heat from your fingertips. I find it very relaxing to apply and it soothes my sensitised skin which can get irritated from tret use. I like to take my time to apply it on a Sunday when I’m having a self-care spa day. If I had the money to splurge I’d repurchase in a heartbeat but can’t justify buying it largely for the sensorial experience.

Goat Milk Moisturizing Cleanser by Kate Somerville £32

This is a cult cleanser and in no small part because of the fragrance. I imagine for most people it’s love or hate. Those who love it find it positively swoon-inducing while those who dislike it compare it to the smell of baby vomit. I’m somewhere inbetween. I don’t particularly like it but I don’t hate it. It’s a sweet, creamy aroma that’s a little almond-y. I don’t mind fragrance in my cleanser because it’s not the skin for long. It cleanses well, needing only a pea-sized amount for the whole face, neck and chest. I wouldn’t use it to remove make-up though. Not a repeat buy.

DeliKate Recovery Cream by Kate Somerville £69

This soothing cream is intended to ‘put the fire out’. When the skin on my neck became red and scaly in April, this really did calm it down. It’s unscented and pretty solid, more like a balm. I think it’s a good product to have in your stash for when your skin flares up. I would repurchase as it’s not something you need to use regularly. There is also a serum and a cleanser in the DeliKate range.

Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate by NIOD £43

You only a get a small 15ml bottle for your money but I literally only need one drop for each eye. It’s like water so absorbs super fast. I like it a lot but the pipette drives me nuts. I managed to knock the bottle over and lost a fair amount of the contents because they’re so runny. Won’t rebuy because of the packaging.

Super C30 by Medik8 £44

Vitamin C is a must for my morning routine but this 30% Vitamin C serum was too strong for me. It smells like swimming pools and quickly irritated my skin to the point where it stung when applied. Definitely not a repeat purchase.

C-Tetra by Medik8 £35

I got this less intense Vitamin C serum from Medik8 in the Summer Kit and it’s a hit. It smells like oranges, has a lightweight consistency and is non-irritating. It is also a 100% stable formula which means unlike most Vitamin C serums, you don’t have to worry about it degrading over time. Would re-buy, despite the dropper.

Stress Rescue Super Serum by Dr Dennis Gross £75

I found this to be a pleasant calming serum, with a nice milky texture that seemed to melt into the skin. I really liked its natural ginger scent too but I’ll stick to DeliKate for a de-stressor.

Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel by Dr Dennis Gross £89

You get two sachets per application of this product (pack of 30), one contains a ‘wipe’ with a trio of exfoliating acids, while the second is infused with actives which act as your serum step. People love these but I was unimpressed. For one thing, I don’t like having to wait 2 minutes as instructed between the acid step and the serum step. I also prefer specific serums targeted at my individual needs. It may be convenient for people on the go but I think it’s a faff as well as pricey.

Liquid ExfoliKate by Kate Somerville £50

I thought this acid exfoliant might be too powerful but it’s turned out to be the best one I’ve tried. It tingles slightly but doesn’t sting and I can actually see the difference to my skin. It looks noticeably smoother and brighter. It’s a bit too drying for regular use in the winter but I would consider repurchasing in warmer weather, although I do like exfoliating masks.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have any pricier skincare favourites?



Filed under Beauty Review

16 responses to “Premium Skincare Mini Reviews

  1. Still smiling at Drunk Elephant, which was also the product that caught my eye in your list. I am a big fan of that Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel moisturiser Caroline Hirons championed on a morning TV show a while back, and am on my fifth tub or so – I sense this might have the same consistency, more powerful ingredients, and of course it has a bonus humorous name. 😉


    • Hi V,

      Apparently elephants get drunk on fermenting marula fruit. Who knew?

      Oh yes, I’ve heard good things about the Hydro Boost. Good to hear it’s working well for you.


  2. Hamamelis

    I (again) simplified my skin care routine, and use a Korean toner for moisturizing, Essence toner by Pyunkang Yul (sorry for the name), it is relatively cheap 15 euro’s for 100 mls and a good replacement for my all time favouritebut unrecognisably reformulated Whamisa 😦 toner. I add moringa facial oil during the day, and cherry kernel oil in the evening, both by Arc en Sels. Sometimes I use Garden of Wisdom products, but find my skin at the moment does better on simple.


    • I think it’s great when you figure out what your skin needs. It can take time.

      I have heard of that Korean essence toner. Probably from Gothamista. Good to know you rate it.


  3. I use a lot of cheapish Asian stuff. I like Hadalabo Gokujiun Premium lotion for a toner, niacin serum, ceramide creams and Vaseline to lock it in by night. I also use medical tretinoin 0. 5% at night plus deciems vampire aha peel. My 57 year old skin looks a lot younger and my routine is quite cheap. And don’t forget the daily sunscreen, even in winter


  4. Tara C

    Since my skin is so sensitive, I pretty much stick to just La Roche Posay products. I do like the Tatcha rice powder enzyme exfoliant because it is so gentle. I use plain water and sesame oil on a cotton pad to remove makeup, and sometimes Fresh Index Soy face cleanser if I need a deeper clean. I only use a bit of under eye concealer, face powder and eyeshadow
    /mascara, no foundation, so cleanup is not a real big job. Still haven’t found my perfect sunscreen, maybe I’ll try that Shaka fluid.


  5. I love your skincare posts: they affect me more than your book review posts 🙂 I start reading about skincare products you mention.

    I’m impressed with your self-care approach, and I’m inspired to try more products.

    For many years my skincare routine was quite minimalistic: a foaming face wash, a moisturizer with an SPF for the day (year round), some stronger SPF for summer days outside and a night cream. I would use some serums from time to time and try different new products included as samples with purchases, but I never paid too much attention to anything beyond my routine. Then several years ago for a while, following discussions on either your you Vanessa’s blog, I decided to try Paula’s Choice. I got a number of different products from the line and started using all those AHA/BHA potions… but then the first forest fires happened, and I developed new skin sensitivity to everything. I barely found 3 products in Paula’s Choice line that didn’t make my eyes puffy and itchy (again, a face wash, day cream with SPF and night cream without).

    Recently my skin seems to feel better, so I started trying again. Currently I’m using several products from Peach & Lily. I like them, though I’m not sure if I see any changes in my skin. I plan to try other products about which I keep reading, though it’s a little scary every time I try something new: my skin might not like it. But I’ll keep trying. On my list next to try is Drunk Elephant. And your endorsement makes me want to get this gel first.


    • It’s encouraging to hear you like the skincare reviews. I’ll keep going with them.
      Im so sorry to hear the Forest fires triggered your skin sensitivity. That’s rotten. I hope it continues to improve. In the meantime I think you might like the Drunk Elephant range. It’s supposedly free of anything that can cause issues. It also has the cutest packaging.


  6. Hayley

    I love the skin care reviews too. I’m pretty basic but love skincare as a self care treat and ask for it for Christmas presents. I like Elemis, Liz Earle but I love the sound of Drunk Elephant!
    I recently used The Revolution vitamin c serum at 12% that was amazing I could actually see a difference. It was recommended by Sali Hughes but it’s always out of stock now, I’d definitely buy that again.


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