Forget the never-ending emails, if there’s one thing the internet is good for, it’s learning about the latest and greatest in skincare and the key ingredients within each lotion and potion. The ones we’ve most been Googling so far this year? The top ten are here on this very page, thanks to some stealth data research courtesy of online beauty emporium Cult Beauty. From the ingredients you’re already au fait with to those you might not know, here find British Vogue’s synopsis of what they are, what they do and, crucially, the latest and greatest products to find them in.
A potent antioxidant (that defends skin against external aggressors, like pollution), vitamin C also helps boost collagen production, brightens and evens and smoothes out skin tone. Apply it morning and night after cleansing the skin.
From softening fine lines and tightening pores to reducing acne and improving texture, retinol (or vitamin A) prompts cell turnover and collagen production and is your go-to ingredient if you want to see a big difference in your skin. Start with a low percentage and build up to a higher one as skin can initially find it difficult to tolerate; apply at night and wear an SPF every day to protect your skin.
Rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, castor oil is said to take down inflammation, moisturise and promote hair growth. It is used in skincare but it’s best avoided by anyone with problem skin; meanwhile, all hair types will benefit from it.
A molecule that’s able to hold 1000 times its own weight in moisture, hyaluronic acid is your best friend for hydrating and plumping. Nowadays it’s in many of the skincare products on the market but a dedicated serum is always a good idea and can be applied as much as you like for a healthy glow.
An emollient which helps to lock moisture into skin, squalane is another ingredient regularly used in skincare formulations – and it’s an antioxidant too.
Acne-prone? Salicylic acid is your best friend. A beta-hydroxy acid, it penetrates pores and exfoliates the skin, dissolving pore-clogging dead skin cells and taking down everything from blackheads to the more angry inflamed spots.
Another one for those who are prone to spots, benzoyl peroxide is an antiseptic ingredient that kills the acne-causing bacteria that live on the skin. It can lead to drying, redness, and peeling so ensure your skincare regime contains a moisturiser.
Try: Acnecide Gel Spot Treatment Benzoyl Peroxide; mostly prescription only.
A plant extract which is both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral, witch hazel has long been used in products like toners to tighten pores and take down redness. However, it is an astringent meaning it can be overtly drying, so tread carefully and listen to your skin.
There are few faces that won’t love niacinamide; it helps to shrink pores, hydrate, protect, and improve skin discolouration – and generally contributes to the workings of healthy skin.
To reinforce your skin’s barrier (and keep hydration in and dirt, pollution, and bacteria out), incorporate ceramides into your routine. They help smooth, firm, and plump while imparting a healthy luminosity to skin.
From British Vogue