Before I click ‘post’ on anything that appears here I ask myself if the missile I’m sending out into the world contains anything other than brute opinion. If I hate a cream because it made my crazy skin crazier, I want to tell you the how and, if my burgeoning knowledge of skincare ingredients allows, why. At the very least I want to tell you what kind of crazy my skin was when I applied whatever it was that made it more mental so that if you happen to be similarly inclined you can avoid.
I do not wish, however, to downplay the very huge element in recommending this cream or that mascara that is, by necessity, based upon opinion. As you may have guessed, I’m quite vocal on this front and never hesitate at expressing my distaste/adoration. Recently I’ve locked horns a few times so thought I’d introduce a few dissenting voices to the mix. First up…
CLARINS DOUBLE SERUM, £55 here //
LOWDOWN / Two separate chambers that dispense a hydric+lipidic serum oil to mimic the skin’s composition (70% water – hydro, 30% oil – lipid), hence ‘biomimetic skincare’ (bio – life, mimicry – copy). The separate chambers purportedly stop the ingredients from mixing and destabilising. The serum itself is designed to target ‘all signs of ageing.’
HATE / I’m afraid to say this one’s all me. I wanted to like this serum so very much after reading that one sells in the UK every 40 seconds and that Harper’s, Grazia and Stylist among many, many others have put this serum in their halls of fame. It won’t be going in mine: this was the devil for my volatile skin. There are two reasons for this – first, the entirely unnecessary level of fragrance going on here. While I liked the scent, it has no benefits whatsoever for the skin and seriously irritated mine.
Second is the high mineral oil content. I know – mineral oil seems to be a buzzword at the moment with everyone debating its merits/demerits. My thoughts? It’s not derived from plants (as you’d hope for from Clarins, who pride themselves on their botanical extracts), it is exceptionally cheap with no discernible benefits for the skin and is occlusive, which is the EXACT opposite of what you’d like your serum to be. As I explained here, serum is designed to deeply penetrate the skin. Chucking in a mineral oil designed to sit on the surface of the skin massively undermines this serum’s ability to do so, even if the separate chambers ensure that the product isn’t ‘mixed’ and will therefore both act as a serum and an oil in one.
LOVE / Once decided on my feelings on this one, I gave it to my sister. Her skin: decidedly less easily-aggravated than mine and she instead battles dry skin and the occasional bout of eczema. She put it on her skin, said it felt immediately less tight and then trotted off happily. Four days of consecutive use later and she was rapturous – her skin was softer, smoother and less dry. Over two weeks later and she’s not seen so much as a whisper of redness and is still claiming this is the best serum she’s tried in yonks.