Friday 27 April 2018

Smooth Surface - the top five products to try at home

Shed the dead layers, says our expert, who has the panel's five top resurfacers to turn heads

Vichy Idealia Peeling
Vichy Idealia Peeling
Alpha-H Liquid Gold AHA
IDC Trilogy Masque
Image Skincare Ageless Total Overnight Retinol Masque

Sarah Caden

If there's one thing we all like, it's a compliment. And it's even better if we haven't been killing ourselves to look better, or paying visits to a surgeon. Lines and wrinkles are, for the most part, bearable. Of course, there's the Botox route for those, but that won't do anything for loss of radiance, which comes to us all.

We hear a lot about "the glow" these days, and what that mostly means is the bloom of youth. Which, obviously, is wasted on the under 35s. As we age, however, skin cells die and shed and reproduce less efficiently, and so we end up with a complexion that is duller, a bit dreary.

Salon peels are one answer, but there are efforts you can make at home. Adding products with retinol or all manner of acids to your regime - albeit not all at the same time - can make a massive difference. Most are swipe-on products that don't require time or technique, which is a bonus, and all five of on this page won complimentary comments from the panellists. Just one dose of: "You look well", and it's a winner.

Best Overall

Lancome Visionnaire Crescendo, €75, Lancome counters nationwide

This may seem like a lot to spend on a single month of product, but the impressive results of this treatment last a lot longer. For the first fortnight, you use Phase 1, the introductory fruit acid solution, which sloughs off surface dead cells. Then you go into warp speed, with Phase 2, which refines the skin even further with a combo of salicylic and glycolic acids. "You see results after a week, at most," said a panellist. "No bad skin reaction, but a few good reactions from friends."

Best Retinol Reviver

Image Skincare Ageless Total Overnight Retinol Masque, €89.50, selected salons nationwide, for information, see

They say that everyone over 40 should be using retinol, the vitamin-A derivative that is the ultimate ingredient for resurfacing, reducing the dull density of the skin and, as a result, diminishing the appearance of fine lines. Leave it on overnight, and this industrious stuff has a remarkable effect. Avoid the thin skin around the eye, where it can pool and cause a cracked appearance. "I love the tingle that says it's doing something," said one panellist. "I look so rested the day after using it."

Best Golden Wonder

Alpha-H Liquid Gold AHA, €40, pharmacies nationwide, see

The major ingredient in this long-loved product is glycolic acid, which gobbles up dead skin cells, thus revealing new and less rough-looking skin, and also promises to attract moisture to the newly uncovered skin. This product has been referred to as an "overnight facial" - if you swipe it on at night, resist applying anything over it and let it work at full tilt. "It feels wrong to skip the night cream, but the results by morning are noticeably fab," said a panellist.

Best Easy Peel

Vichy Idealia Peeling, €30, available nationwide

Blueberry polyphenol is the fruit-acid ingredient that does most of the resurfacing work with this product. It sounds like it might turn you a bit Violet Beauregarde, but it works, like most fruit acids, to gobble up dead skin cells and, combined with fermented black tea, it promises to increase radiance when used nightly. Even the most sensitive skin can tolerate nightly use, they promise, but all skins will benefit, with a more even skintone and a smoother surface. "Very quickly, my skin was brighter and some fine lines were less obvious. People have commented," a panellist said.

Best for Men

IDC Trilogy Masque, €40, pharmacies nationwide, or see

IDC is a Canadian brand that's new to Ireland, and this is one of the hero products, for all skin types and both genders. The "trilogy" refers to the "enzymatic, chemical and mechanical" manners in which it works - acids and scrubby bits, basically. So you apply a mask, let the enzymes and chemicals do their bit, and then, as you rinse, you have a bit of a scrub, which will satisfy the male user. "So satisfying to use," said a panellist, "and so obvious that you've used it."


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