Judging by comments across various Blathers, it looks like lots of you laydees are into the whole organic, natural beauty thang. I've used some stuff from Liz Earle and Decleor and Aptiva and their ilk in my time, and I fully understand the lure of products that seem, well, good for you.
Generally, though, I have to admit to liking things from the other end of the beauty spectrum. It's just easier for me to believe that products can deliver all that they claim if they've lots of science, research and even chemicals behind them... or if they have a scientific-sounding name. Ehem. So I was in my element when I recently tried out the NeoStrata range for oily and problem skin.
Read how I fared with their offerings after Le Cut!
NeoCeuticals Clarifying Facial Cleanser is fab. It actually managed to form a creamy lather which is saying something in Portarlington's hard water; it's where suds come to die. It's non-irritating, non-drying and soap-free, and has anti-bacterial properties. It also contains chamomile to soothe and condition skin. After using the cleanser, my skin felt really clean but not dehydrated.
NeoStrata Oily Skin Solution is a toner-like liquid. It contains 8% Glycolic acid which means that (a) it also acts as a daily exfoliant, and (b) you do need to wear sunscreen daily when using this product. I found that this worked brilliantly as a toner - even after double-cleansing, it managed to locate and remove the very last traces of slap which my usual toner would just pretend weren't there. It also helped to remove excess oil from my skin and my, ehem, "areas of congestion" looked less clogged after use.
Next up, I needed a moisturiser. From my little selection box of goodies, I went for the NeoCeuticals Clear Skin Solution. It contains very impressive sounding things like NeoHydroxy complex [nope, I dunno what it is either] and 2% Salicylic acid, and is formulated to control oily and blemish prone skin while allowing irritated skin to heal.
This routine worked brilliantly initially: my skin looked less congested and my pores seemed smaller with no redness, no flakiness, no irritation. It actually looked, well, kind of radiant. I'd have put this down to wishful thinking had Himself not noticed the glow after the first night of use. Like most boys, I'd usually have to be sporting a Hulk-green mask for him to notice anything different about my complexion. On Day Three, I considered leaving the house without make-up on. I didn't, like, but I did seriously think about it, and that in itself is saying something.
On Day Five, I noticed that the skin around my nose and chin felt tight and when I caught sight of myself in a mirror at lunchtime, it was Flake City. After all the glowy radiance I'd had going on for the few days previous, I was gutted at this development. Looked like the combination of Glycolic acid in the Oily Skin Solution and the Salicylic acid in the Clear Skin Solution was too much even for my oily face. In the interests of research, I decided to give it another couple of days, thinking that maybe my skin was just rebalancing and that it'd sort itself out if I gave it a chance.
Funnily enough, it didn't.
I think the Clear Skin Solution is really only suitable for people prone to acne rather than oiliness, no matter how severe it might seem.
In a bid to actually keep some skin on my face, I decided to switch to the Oil-Free Lotion with SPF 15 and 4% PHA, which promises hydration and protection for oily and acne prone skin. It's a nice light moisturiser which was quickly absorbed and worked well in terms of hydrating my flaky skin. Even though it's oil-free and suitable for wear under make-up, I found that it neither matified nor controlled oil as well as my trusty Normaderm moisturiser.
Ah well. I liked the cleanser and the toner, even if their moisuriser options did nothing for me personally. Two out of three ain't bad for what might just be the most scientific-sounding skincare brand on the planet!