Wrinkles, bags, spots, dryness… you name the ailment and we bet you’ll find a beauty product (or ten) to ‘cure’ it. With a market saturated with lotions, potions, serums and essences, we’ve unearthed the cult brands that do exactly what they say on the tin.

The three-step regime of cleanse, tone, moisturise is as out-of-date as our mum’s YSL No. 19 Fuchsia lipstick, circa 1988. With a string of serums, oils, moisturisers, masks and essences out there, we are in a bit of a conundrum of how we firstly, remember all these products, secondly, what order to apply them and thirdly, find ourselves asking are they really worth it? We delved into the shelves of the Beyond Beauty room at Harvey Nichols-Dubai and asked the experts to identify the crucial products that should be sitting proudly in our bathroom cabinets, not forgetting the key ingredients that we should be taking note of when buying and applying skin care.



After the cleansing and toning steps you should be adding a serum to the mix prior to your moisturiser. “Adding a serum to your daily routine is very important as it adds another hydrating step and is a great addition if one has been lapsing,” Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, founder of 111SKIN says. “Try a collagen- boosting serum that will aid skin recovery.” He suggests 111Skin’s Y Theorem Repair Serum. Pat a small amount onto your neck and face each night to soothe skin, aid regeneration of cells and get those amino acids working on improving the elasticity of your skin.

If surgery is not your bag, but you’re after the same smoothing effect, then Alpha-H, a cult brand from Australia, might be for you. Their Liquid Laser Concentrate comes with a key ingredient called Hexapeptide that mimics the effect of Botox but without the needles. The peptide intercepts messages from the brain to prevent muscle contractions and will relax facial muscles such as a furrowing brow or fine lines around the eyes.

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We’ve all been there: it’s 1am, our bed is calling and ‘just this once’ we’re contemplating not removing our make-up. Don’t do it. Not only will it make a mess of your bed linen, it will also create a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in pimples. In the morning skin will look dull and lacklustre and in the long term, trapped dirt and make-up can lead to ageing.

The Organic Pharmacy’s Carrot Butter Cleanser – the lazy girl’s go-to product – will wipe all make-up (eyes and lips too) off in one swoop. “Simply take 3/4 of a teaspoon, melt it between your hands and massage it over dry skin on the face, neck and décoletté. You can take it right up to the eyes and take off all eye make-up too,” instructs Margo Marrone, founder of The Organic Pharmacy. “Massage for two minutes to let the oils dissolve the grime and also condition the skin, then remove with a hand-hot muslin cloth. It takes everything off without drying the skin and exfoliates leaving the skin clean, fresh and glowing.”



You’ve cleansed, toned and smoothed on the serum, now it’s time for possibly the most important step in the regime: moisturising. Gone are the days when a small scoop of Simple daily cream did the job. Our ageing skin needs much more than hydration to ward off the lines and to keep our epidermis looking youthful, and we are now relying on plant technologies and the much-raved-about Hyaluronic acid. We are looking to space and the moisturisers that NASA astronauts use before entering space conditions that are known to accelerate ageing. But how to navigate the mindfield of moisturisers? Should we wear wrinkle cream in our twenties? And do we need to be spending as much on a face cream as we do on a pair of Louboutins?

First things first: wrinkles. “I suggest regularly using anti-ageing skin care in your mid to late twenties,” recommends Dr Alexandrides. “Although skin is still relatively wrinkle-free, prevention is better than cure, and with environmental aggressors such as pollution and smoking, skin can be affected at this age.” Bioeffect Daytime, new to the Dubai beauty scene, is good for novices as the light, water-based cream contains natural protein derived from plants known as EFG cellular activators. This is proven to encourage the growth of new cells similar to how it occurs naturally – the result is youthful, rejuvenated skin.

Beauty aficionados looking to turn back the clock should look no further than 111Skin’s Celestial Black Diamond Cream, the Rolls Royce of skin care. It’s a galactic-inspired cream that contains rare diamond dust particles and a patented potent mix of amino acids, peptides and anti-oxidants known as NAC y2 that was created by space scientists and 111Skin. “The unique formula of NAC y2 stimulates the natural cell recovery system, which in turn boosts the skins cells, giving a flawless complexion,” says Dr Alexandrides. Chances are you won’t be heading into space any time soon, but any cream that gets a nod from astronauts must be good for us Earth-bound folk – if your bank account allows.



Eyes, the windows to our soul and the indicator to how much sleep we got last night  – we’ve got the bags to prove it. Some question the viability of an eye-cream. Is it just a marketeer’s way to get us to spend more on yet another cream? Maria Hatzistefanis, founder of London-born skin care brand Rodial, argues yes, we should be wearing eye cream. “The skin composing the lower eyelid is significantly thinner than the rest of the face and is much more sensitive,” she says. “The benefit of using cream specifically formulated for the eye area is that will be less irritating than a typical moisturiser.”

But it’s not just the consistency we should be paying attention to; the ingredients are important too. Haloxyl, a natural element found in bee pollen and plants is what the party-girls should be looking out for. This topical ingredient is used to absorb the pigment present in blood that is responsible for colour; use this and eventually dark circles will reduce. “Our Bee Venom eye cream contains haloxyl, which reduces dark circles and repairs delicate skin around the eye area,” says Hatzistefanis. “The trick is to allow eye cream sink in for a minute or two so it is fully absorbed before you apply your make-up.” To increase the efficiency of the cream, try the Iris Illuminating Eye Massager from Foreo after you’ve applied. It will gently massage in the cream and wake up skin to give that refreshed look and feel.

And for the girls who got too much beauty sleep, Hatzistefanis recommends an eye mask such as the cooling Dragon’s Blood Eye that contains hydrating Hyaluronic acid, bio-celloluse and Arnica Extract known for its anti-inflammatory properties, all of which will work to “reduce any under puffiness and give a brighter eye appearance.”



“Another step?!” we hear you cry. Yup, afraid so, and this one shouldn’t be ignored. We’ve cleaned, sealed, hydrated and plumped our face, but sometimes we need just a little bit more. Perhaps, we’ve been on a long haul flight and our skin is extra-dehydrated even with the all the Hyaluronic acid we’ve been layering on. Or maybe a run of late nights has caused a skin breakout and we need to defuse the issue A-SAP. Instead of rushing to the nearest beauty counter and replacing our current stock of potions and lotions, why not try a facemask dependent on your issue. Sheet masks, offer different remedies and are a good inexpensive option as you can usually buy them individually. If there is no noticeable problem, invest extra time into your skin regime and apply Ren’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask once or twice a week. This active mask  has cult-following, is high in enzymes, natural acids and Omega 3 and 7 that works to decongest the skin, reduce fine lines, and shrink pores. We could all do with some of that. n

All products are available at the Beyond Beauty ROOM IN Harvey Nichols-Dubai.

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Photos: Mazen Abusrour