Thursday 19 April 2018

Water works - the skincare ingredient that is impossible to avoid

Hyaluronic acid is now to be found everywhere, says our beauty expert, so give your skin a drink

Vichy Mineral 89 Fortifying and Plumping Daily Booster
Vichy Mineral 89 Fortifying and Plumping Daily Booster
No7 Restore & Renew Face and Neck Multi-Action Serum
Clarins SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Mask
Image I Beauty Flawless Rejuvenating Eye Pads
SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier Serum

Sarah Caden

It doesn't have to be the hottest summer on record for your skin to become dehydrated. Even slightly warmer weather will make your skin thirsty, and a sun holiday will only make it worse. Your skin needs a drink, but a splash of water just won't do it.

Hyaluronic acid has become the skincare ingredient that is impossible to avoid. It's on trend, but it's no gimmick. This is a simple, no-downside ingredient that provides instant results. Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the skin and helps to keep it firm. It is like a sponge, with each molecule capable of holding up to 1,000 times its volume in water, so it also plumps the skin. Naturally, it diminishes with age, resulting in a decrease in volume, a crumpled-paper texture and an increase in lines. Luckily, though, including this stuff in your skincare will plump you up again.

Best Overall

Vichy Mineral 89 Fortifying and Plumping Daily Booster, €22, available nationwide

This feels and acts like a drink for the skin. It's a cool-feeling gel that dries to a non-greasy finish. With an 89pc concentration of Vichy Thermal Mineralizing Water, plus our hyaluronic friend, it's a drink that the upper layer of your skin can absorb. It plumps out those cells, making the skin and wrinkles instantly softer. "It sounds weird, but this made my skin more bouncy," said a panellist. "After using it, I saw more elasticity and less brittle, dry skin."

Best Hard Neck

No7 Restore & Renew Face and Neck Multi-Action Serum

No7 Restore & Renew Face and Neck Multi-Action Serum, €36, Boots

The late Nora Ephron, in her essay I Feel Bad About My Neck, said that her neck began to deteriorate about age 43, and that there was nothing to be done. You can't stop the ageing of this thin skin, but a good oil can soften scaliness, and this serum is a find. Calcium, amino acids and vitamins A and C promise to tackle rough skin and uneven pigmentation, while hyaluronic acid has a skin-plumping effect. "Crepiness was definitely diminished," said a panellist. "My neck looked less weary after a week of use."

Best Eyes Right

Image I Beauty Flawless Rejuvenating Eye Pads

Image I Beauty Flawless Rejuvenating Eye Pads, €39.50, for stockists, see

These product-infused eye pads aren't cheap, but they work - temporarily, but we'll take that. Squeeze excess product out of two pads, place one on each closed eyelid and gently glide them around. A dose of hyaluronic acid gives the fragile skin a drink, and plumped-up cells make crow's feet look softer. "Your make-up comes off, but the cooling effect of the pads is the real pleasure," one panellist said. "I looked more awake after them."

Best Mighty Mask

Clarins SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Mask

Clarins SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Mask, €38, Clarins counters nationwide

We've previously recommended the creamy sister of this new-launch SOS mask, but this product is a more thirst-quenching and, as the name says, refreshing treatment. Along with the leaf of life extract that appears in Clarins' hydrating skincare line, it also has

a good hyaluronic content, which makes the cream-gel feel watery and quenching. Five minutes will do wonders; overnight soakage is even better. "This is amazing after a holiday or a night out," a panellist said. "Tiny dehydration lines were banished."

Best Soaking Serum

SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier Serum

SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier Serum, €91, for stockists, see

Now that you've got your head around the basics of hyaluronic acid, let me tell you that there are three types of it in this serum. As a trio, they promise that you get a super-boosted dose of skin strengthening and cell-plumping. It also contains licorice root, which claims to help hold the hyaluronic acid in your skin. "This is a lovely serum for summer," one panellist said. "It's light and fresh-feeling, and it made my skin seem less parched."

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