I always find it difficult reviewing moisturisers. It's not the physical writing up of my reviews that makes it hard, but more the fact that for most consumers, moisturiser is traditionally the one element of skin care we really want to get right and thus the part of our regimes we invest most of our time and money in.
I feel a duty to give my readers information to help them make the right purchasing decision for their own skin but very few moisturisers actually make a real difference beyond hydration, regardless of miracle claims and impressive price tags. It truly bores me to write about products which are perfectly fine, but not in any way better or worse than hundreds of other products out there.
The more expensive the product, the harder it is to write about it because I know the conclusion will be something wishy washy like "It's a nice product to use but only time will tell if it does anything special but if you have £80 to spare you can always take the brand's word for it and cross your fingers..."
I've been getting a lot of emails lately from readers who really, really want to be sure they're making the right skin care decisions. They're not beauty writers with unlimited pots of expensive face creams at their disposal... they're real people who need confirmation that they're spending their hard-earned cash wisely. How could I possibly recommend skin care willy nilly knowing that?
That's why there are very few moisturiser reviews on my blog, despite me always having around four on the go. Aside from the immediate impressions of ingredients, absorption and hydration, moisturisers are almost impossible to critique and "value". Not to mention the fact that every person's skin will respond differently.
However, I have recently started using The Secret is Out Lifting Cream from the Dr. Nick Lowe range and I can tell you in tangible terms why it's made it onto my skin.
The man behind the brand
I got to meet Dr. Nick Lowe last week and it turns out he's a real person. Not only that, but he's actually an internationally-renowned and still practising dermatologist with 30 years' experience of extensive testing and research.
When he did his little background talk, he kept it succinct and didn't try to "sell", but what I found most compelling was how realistic he was about skin issues. When I asked his advice on a very specific issue I had with my skin, he went into dermatologist mode and gave some unexpectedly serious advice (involving lifestyle, genetics and prescription-only topical treatments) rather than pushing his own product range and promising miracles.
In contrast, I'd earlier had the opportunity to meet the founders of another skin care brand and I actually went away feeling disappointed. This high-end brand that I'd always thought of positively seemed to be run by a couple of charismatic marketing guys with no real knowledge of their own products. It was honestly that feeling of being being taken for a fool.
So it was refreshing to meet the down-to-earth Dr. Nick Lowe who seemed to know what he was talking about, and who I get the impression wouldn't want to sully his hard-earned reputation with a range of products he didn't personally create.
Approved UVA protection
During the summer, I used a sunscreen (Boots No7 Anti-Dark Spot Facial Sun Protection SPF 30) every day instead of moisturiser because I didn't trust the supposed UVA protection in my moisturisers which all lacked approved UVA "star" ratings. There's no point wearing a moisturiser with an SPF if it's not doing a good job of blocking the UVA rays that cause premature ageing and hyperpigmentation.
The day creams in the Dr. Nick Lowe range have all been approved for their UVA protection. The Secret is Out Lifting Cream has a 3-star UVA rating as well as SPF 15 which is more than necessary in grey old London. Although I'd obviously use a proper sunscreen in stronger sun.
The Dr. Nick Lowe range is currently only available in Boots and we all know Boots have a very rigorous approach to sun protection (all Boots own-brand sunscreens have 5-star UVA protection and Boots No.7 Protect & Perfect Day Cream now also has 5-star UVA protection).
Moisture without white, shiny patches
My skin gets really dry in winter. Last winter I bought Clarins HydraQuench Cream SPF15 which was great at moisturising my dehydrated, lifeless skin but I came to realise that it also had the effect of giving me big white, shiny patches across my face.
Dr. Nick Lowe The Secret is Out Lifting Cream is just as hydrating and softening as Clarins HydraQuench Cream but without the great big shine patches. In noting this, I remembered Dr. Nick Lowe mentioning that he wanted to create a range that was suitable for all ethnicities - he didn't want his products to create white casts on darker skins for example.
In terms of consistency and texture, the cream feels (and smells) like those old Pond's creams from the 80's (I have no idea what Pond's products are like now). It's rich, heavy and comforting. Note this cream is for dry or mature skin only.
I also find that my skin continues to look hydrated throughout the entire day.
That's it for now.
Like I said, it's very difficult reviewing the anti-ageing qualities of a moisturiser. But I'll give you the official blurb of the product (and cross my fingers)...
"More than just a superior moisturiser this multi-benefit SPF15 lifting day cream targets several signs of skin ageing. New generation peptides and powerful hydrators work with the Anti Age Cranley Complex to help deliver firming, toning, vital hydration and UVA / UVB protection. With regular use the appearance of skin is left more even-toned, replenished, softer and younger looking.
Anti Wrinkle + Firming - New generation peptides Matrixyl®, ChroNOlineTM and Argireline® to help reduce instantly, and over the long term, the apperarance of fine lines and wrinkles
Superior Moisture - Advanced hydrators, Hyaluramine® and Hydralys®, return vital moisture to the skin and encourage skin's natural collagen production. With time, the skin recovers its supple and elastic qualities
SPF15 and advanced UVA / UVB protection system - Helps protect skin against cellular damage caused by sun, smoke and pollution
Anti Age Cranley Complex combining potent anti-antioxidants Ferulic Acid, Pomegranate and Raspberry with Vitamins A, C and E"
There are also some "proven effectiveness" claims of 79% of consumers agreeing their wrinkles appeared reduced and skin looked firmer after 4 weeks, based on an independent consumer test of 50 women aged 25-70. However, I always take these studies with a pinch of salt. I'm pretty sure the comparisons are always versus people using no product at all as opposed to a different product. Duh, of course the testers using moisturiser are going to see more effect than the people not using moisturiser at all.
The full ingredients of Dr. Nick Lowe The Secret is Out Lifting Cream are:
Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl olivate, Dimethicone, Sorbitan olivate, Glyceryl polymethacrylate, Hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter), Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, Pullulan, Methylparaben, C13-14 isoparaffin, Parfum (Fragrance), Propylene glycol, Butylene glycol, Rubus idaeus (Raspberry) leaf extract, Cucumis melo (Melon) fruit extract, Ferulic acid, Propylparaben, Punica granatum (Pomegranate) extract, Sodium lactate, Algae extract, Laureth-7, Disodium EDTA, Phospholipids, Sodium benzoate, Sodium hydroxide, Potassium sorbate, BHT, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Retinyl palmitate, Quaternium-15, Caprooyl tetrapeptide-3, Dextran, EDTA, Tocopheryl acetate, Ascorbyl palmitate, Palmitoyl oligopeptide, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7.
The Secret is Out Lifting Cream is from the "Anti Age" range and costs £24.95 for 50ml. For more details and to buy online, have a look at the product page at drnicklowe.com or the Boots.com product page or just pop into your local Boots store where there will probably be a tester pot for you to dip your fingers into.
Disclaimer: PR sample