It's true, I'm on the hunt.
I'm looking for a soft, light moisturiser that I can use day or night. Something hydrating, without being too sticky or heavy. Lovely and a bit luxurious, without irritating my skin or breaking the bank
Harder than it seems! I even took to my Twitter for suggestions so that I can leave no stone unturned in this quest.
To get started, the lovely people at Lush and Mecca have given me some food for thought, in the way of samples. I'm trying two from Lush (Imperialis and Celestial) and from Mecca, Darphin Hydraskin Light
Firstly, the Darphin Hydraskin Light.
As soon as I mentioned the word 'light' to the staff at Mecca, they whisked me towards the Darphin, and I can see why. It's extremely delicate, and leaves only a very soft skin feel, no heaviness or stickiness at all.
I was interested that it actually had quite a strong smell, similar to a fancy sunscreen I suppose, which is unusual in a moisturiser suitable for sensitive skin. I haven't had any reaction at all to the fragrance and I quite like the scent, as it adds to the luxurious feel of the product.
The product itself feels extremely light, both to use and on my skin, which makes it easier to use less.
It contains a range of hydrating and antioxidant rich natural ingredients (Butterfly Lavender, Kiwi Fresh Cells), and Hydralonic Acid, the moisturising wonder-kid, designed to help your skin absorb moisture extremely efficiently, basically, this stuff is absolute gold.
Given these terrific ingredients, I wasn't surprised that my skin felt extremely soft and supple after use. The only downside with the Darphin is the price. Mecca sell it for $68 for 50ml which is down the splurge-ier end of my budget.
However, given how much I've loved the sample, and am yet to find something I prefer, I might be indulging in a pot of Darphin very soon.
This is Lush's specific moisturiser for sensitive skin. It contains a range of soothing anti-redness ingredients including Lavender Flower and St John's Wort, which are mixed in with deeply hydrating products like Olive Oil and Cocoa and Shea Butters.
As you can see, it's a pinkish moisturiser, which, I promise, looks much better in a Lush pot than in this sample photo. (Also, yep my nails are covered in glitter, more on that Friday)
While it may seem quite heavy in this photo, in reality it is a very light cream. It doesn't sit on the skin or leave a heavy residue, and I experienced no irritation at all.
My only issue with this product was the smell. It gave off an extremely... medicinal odour. I'm not exactly sure of the source- St John's Wort maybe?- but I found it quite strong and not particularly pleasant.
Given the smell, and the fact that this product followed the Darphin sample, I felt overall that this moisturiser just didn't feel luxurious enough. Admittedly it's not nearly as expensive, but at $33 for 45 grams it still isn't cheap, and I just didn't love or even particularly look forward to using it.
A good moisturiser for sensitive skin, but not quite right for Goldilocks here.
I much preferred the scent of Lush Celestial Moisturiser
With vanilla and almond milk, it had a lovely creamy, almost vanilla custard scent, which wasn't very overpowering at all. Also, the colour and consistency of this moisturiser felt slightly more luxurious than the Imperialis.
It is a heavier moisturiser, and on the skin, I could feel that it was a heavier product, and it sat in a layer on top of my skin if I used too much.
So while I liked the scent and feel when I used Celestial, within a couple of minutes of it on my face, I wasn't thrilled with its heavier texture.
I didn't experience any irritation or breakouts, so I still think this is terrific for sensitive skin, but it's not a completely light-weight moisturiser, and that was one of my criteria. At $27.95 for 45grams, this is a cheaper product. But given the heavier feel, I'll probably search for something a bit lighter within the same price range instead of purchasing.
So my quest continues, to find something I love as much as the Darphin, or just splurge on it.
While I've got you here, you've probably noticed that all these moisturisers are samples. As a sensitive-skin-type, I couldn't make any significant purchases without giving something a good try out. I have no problem asking for a sample, particularly at stores where they know I'm a good customer, and will return if I'm happy.
Below you can see my catch-all in the bathroom, with three little sample jars that I was working through at the time, one of which (REN Rose Serum) I fell in love with and purchased almost immediately.
If you're going to ask for samples, and I think it is a good idea, I've got some basic guidelines to ensure you foster good relationships with the stores and brands you sample from, and get the most out of the experience
- Know what you're looking for- I walked into the stores and specifically outlined my skin issues, and what I needed from a product (and wanted to avoid) to save myself and the sales assistant's time.
- Trust the sale staff- it's a give and take relationship, if you're asking to try their products, you can at least pay attention to what they're saying about them.
- Consistently use the sample. There's no point mixing the sample in to your routine with other samples, because then you can't pinpoint the source of any irritations. When you consistently use a product, you'll quickly work out how it feels and works for your skin, and how you feel about using it.
- Label your samples. Nothing worse than coming home with no clue what you've got in your handbag.
- Return if you're purchasing. Unless there's a serious price differential online, I am very loyal to the stores that let me sample. I think it's only fair, given I wouldn't have brought the product without their assistance, and, over time, I'm able to build good relationships with staff. (Favourite places to buy- Mecca Cosmetica by an absolute country mile, plus Tom Ford and Bobbi Brown have brilliantly trained people. Also encountered great staff at Lush, Kiehls and Aesop )
- Interrupt another customer. Firsly, it's rude. Secondly, you're asking for a sample, not a blood transfusion, it can wait.
- Disregard the sales people. While it's easy to do a lot of research online, they spend all day with these products and are a terrific resource. Plus, it's quite unreasonable to expect them to cough up samples when you're not willing to engage with their knowledge and abilities.
- Over-do it. I wouldn't take more than two samples in the one visit, it's not reasonable to compare a whole swag of products, plus it starts to seem like you're being a bit dodgy. Equally, I wouldn't take the same sample twice, if you got back for it again, just buy it.
- Be shy about price. There's no point sampling things you can never afford- you'll just break your own heart! Let the sales-person know what price point you're looking at, and don't be afraid to ask how much a specific product is.
- Think you need to buy every sample you use. The idea of sampling is to find what you like. If it didn't work, go back to the store and tell them why, they'll probably be happy to use your review, and steer you towards something more suitable.
Most of all, have fun! There's nothing I love more than chatting about a few products, and coming home with a couple of samples to try. I'd like to thank the lovely people at Lush and Mecca, who made this post, and my quest for the perfect moisturier, possible.
Have you used a moisturiser that you love? Don't be shy! Let me know via the comments, or connect with me on Twitter- @spackleon