Beauty,  Skincare

My journey with

I test a lot of skincare in my job. It may sound wonderful, and when the products work for my skin, it is. But there is so much that doesn’t make it onto the site because it simply does not get on with my skin. Beauty bloggers and writers are basically guinea pigs for you. We root out the best there is by testing the everything – and that means getting great results, but also breakouts, reactions and disrupted barrier function. I know who choose to do it, but just remember that you only see a small percentage of what we actually test. After all, nobody is going to spend in inordinate amount of time creating a post about a product they didn’t like. But the moments when you discover something truly remarkable make all the spots and rashes worth it, which is why we carry on.

I (and quite a few other bloggers) had one of those moments last year when we were introduced to which stands for Skin Ingredients, the brainchild of Dr Alek Nikolic who saw a gap in the market for highly effective serums that would easily slot into any skin care routine, regardless of the brand currently used.

It has honestly been years since I got this excited about a brand. Not only are the products incredible, the packaging, branding and ethos all resonate with me, and have all been executed perfectly.

The range consists of 5 different products, with 3 strengths of one of them, so 7 in total. I’m going to explain what each one does and I’ve asked Dr Alek to give more some more in-depth info on the formulas of some of them.

marvel | hydro shot(R1050)

This is a super hydration booster for the skin. It helps hydrate dry and damaged skin, and works to repair the barrier structure and function. 

It contains a 5% hyaluronic acid complex with varying molecular weights for maximum hydration and penetration through all the layers of the skin. Vitamins C & E offer antioxidant protection, fight pigmentation and help to stimulate collagen production and ceramides repair the skin barrier.

gloss | radiant shot(R1300)

This is not your average Vitamin C serum. It contains an oil-soluble form of Vitamin that penetrates better than the regular ascorbic acid, which is water –soluble. This is where I hand over to Dr Alek for the science:

Ascorbic acid needs to be acidic (formulated to a low pH) to be absorbed through the skin barrier and it is this low pH that can cause sensitivity reactions on the skin. Also ascorbic acid is eliminated through the skin through water channels as it is water-soluble. Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (AT which is the vitamin C found in serums) is an oil soluble ester of ascorbic acid that allows easy penetration through the skin barrier. It also is not dependent on the water channels or aquaporins like ascorbic acid is so it stays longer in the skin. It also has the ability to penetrate to the deep dermal layers. AT is also more stable than ascorbic acid so it has a much slower oxidising breakdown with air exposure. Its specific benefits demonstrated with studies include:

  1. Faster percutaneous absorption of Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate than other forms of vitamin C owing to lipid solubility.
  2. Better stability.
  3. Lower irritancy.
  4. Significant improvement of facial hyperpigmentation.
  5. A reduction in trans epidermal water loss.
  6. Increase in skin elasticity.
  7. Visible improvement in texture and wrinkles.
  8. Increased collagen and elastin stimulation through the reactivation of fibroblasts.

pure | medi shot(R700)

Rid your skin of acne-causing bacteria as well as dirt and oils. This formula contains a prescription grade, maximum strength 2% salicylic acid to prevent breakouts, fade pigmentation and tackle blackheads like nothing else I’ve ever tried. As this is a pretty impressive formula, I’m handing over Dr Alek again:

The HA in pure is Hylasome® EG10 and this ingredient has a number of additional benefits when compared to ‘normal’ hyaluronic acid (not’s hyaluronic acid complex). Hylasome® EG10 is a chemically cross-linked hyaluronic acid derived from a non-animal source. Cross-linking means that the hyaluronic acid is bound together by other molecules. The reason for this is to prevent or slow down the breakdown of the hyaluronic acid by our enzyme known as hyaluronidase. This allows for a longer effect.

Other advantages include:

1.           The ability to form a film on the skin that delivers moisturisation or water to the skin over a period of time.

2.           It provides five times the moisturisation of skin when compared to normal hyaluronic acid (not’s hyaluronic acid complex).

3.           Free radical scavenger reducing the effects of environmental damage by up to 40%.

The fruit based enzymes are to further exfoliate the skin through a proteolytic effect – break down of proteins (salicylic acid uses a keratolytic effect – break down of cell bonds). 

Niacinamide is a very effective skin-restoring ingredient that helps to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, improve uneven skin tone, reduce fine lines and dullness and strengthens a weakened skin barrier. Niacinamide can also help reduce the impact of environmental damage to the skin.

Zinc PCA is a synthetic skin-conditioning ingredient derived from zinc. It has specific acne benefits and research has shown it has anti-aging benefits due to its ability to thwart destructive enzymes in skin that can damage its surface and lead to an aged, wrinkled appearance.

Flash 1, 2 & 3| repair shots (R880, R980 & R1250)

Not all retinol is created equal. There are so many different strengths and forms that it can be a bit of a nightmare figuring out what your skin needs.

The form in these formulas is called hydroxypinacolone retinoate, which is granactive retinol. Granactive refers to the delivery system of active vitamin A. This method of delivery means that you get the benefits of retinol without the irritation normally associated with retinol use. There are 3 strengths of Flash: 1 contains 0.6%, 2 has 1% and 3 contains 2%.

These formulas also contain Vitamins C and E, as well as 2% ceramides and 5% hyaluronic acid complex, making them the best option for fighting the signs of aging. This combination of actives will plump out fine lines and wrinkles, repair the skin’s barrier as well as fight pigmentation.

bounce | combo shot(R1800)

This was the product Dr Alek developed for himself as an all-in-one for daily use. It’s basically flash and gloss in one. It has the same formula as Flash 2, but with a higher dose of Vitamin C for extra pigmentation fighting action.

I used bounce because my main concern is pigmentation. If yours is aging, then you’d opt for flash instead

Now, as I said earlier, it’s exciting when you find a product that works for you, but I can really only tell you about the results I can physically see and feel, but with, I got the chance to see the results deeper in my skin, too. Dr Alek used the 7thgeneration VISIA Complexion Analysis System to measure the changes in my skin. The VISIA is machine that uses hi-tech lighting to record and measure surface and subsurface skin conditions. 

Here are my incredible results after 3 months of daily use. I used marvel and gloss each morning and pure and bounce in the evenings. 

Convinced that the products really, honestly do what they promise on the box? You can get your products at participating stockists or online on their website here.