As a beauty writer, I’m well versed in youth-obsessed beauty brands that promise to bust wrinkles, zap dullness and keep customers as pristine as their fresh-faced teenage selves. But I’m a big believer in ageing disgracefully, and hope to bask in every grey hair, dark spot and laughter line that nature throws at me. Some of my favourite style mavens are over 60 and I like to think I try my best to fight our industry’s obsession with eternal youth. As you can imagine, anti-ageing products were not for me. Well, until now.
When I was presented with Dior’s latest skincare range, Capture Youth, I was sceptical. Can women ever escape the constant barrage of scaremongering, I thought, or must we live, from puberty until death, with the threat of eventually becoming haggard old raisins? But then came the science. Sitting down with Édouard Mauvais-Jarvis, Dior's environmental and scientific communication director, I became a convert. If the term 'anti-ageing' is firmly off your agenda, then, ironically, this range might just be for you.
The truth is, the majority of us want to protect our skin from the ravages of time, even if we don’t see it that way. Whether it’s fighting sustained pollution from the cities we live in, hydrating painful dryness, or calming inflammation and redness, we’re safeguarding our skin for the present and the future at once. And that’s exactly the approach Dior is taking with its latest range. Rather than attempting to completely prevent the markers of a well-lived life, shouldn’t we instead protect our skin from damage, while still celebrating its evolution? The key is acting now – rather than later – and taking steps that will stand your skin in good stead for the future.
Capture Youth, "the first mix and match active age delay regime," is made up of five serums and one cream, designed to give you a skincare wardrobe that addresses particular concerns. “We’re not all the same,” Édouard explains. “When the antioxidant defences decline, it manifests itself in different ways from one person to another.” With this in mind, the line is centred around the Age-Delay Advanced Cream, “to restore and boost the core internal antioxidant system.” While the cream has been clinically tested on all skin types and is a gorgeous, rich but non-greasy hydration hit, the serums are specifically aimed at various concerns, and can be both layered or used alone.
All of the serums – but the cream most intensely – contain an extract of iris florentina, which is the base of the range’s scientific genius. “Whatever the source – whether it’s pollution, UVs, food, exercise – most oxidation of the biological pathways ends up producing a single molecule called glyoxal,” Édouard tells Refinery29. “This can be neutralised by an enzyme called glyoxalase, which we have identified in the skin. However, we also found that its activity decreases with age.”
Over several years in the laboratory working in partnership with Nancy-Université in Lorraine and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, Dior observed on 230 subjects aged 16-55 that antioxidants get to work long before the typical signs of ageing appear. “It made us realise that the decrease of the antioxidant resistance (glyoxalase) is a very important process in ageing, and that it starts at an early age and must be addressed as soon as possible.” Enter iris florentina, which boosts glyoxalase’s activity, keeps damage from accumulating and ageing from becoming visible, and is vital to the Capture Youth range. While this wunderkind is most potent in the cream, it’s also featured in the serums, which are tailored to whatever your skin’s crying out for at any given time. While iris florentina is clearly the star of the show, the serum’s smart ingredients are also mighty impressive (and hardworking).
Worried that your visage will get less glowy over time? The Glow Booster, an illuminating serum that I’ve been using morning and night for several weeks, is your best bet. Its main ingredient is murunga plum – which is 100 times more concentrated in vitamin C than oranges – combined with AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) to slough off dead cells and buff irregular texture. I’d say I noticed general brightness and radiance after a few days of use, and now it peps my skin up after a late night or tough day almost instantly.
My second hero from the range is the Redness Soother, a calming serum that gently uses cotton peptides to relieve angry skin. If my cheeks are looking sore from wind exposure, or hormonal chin spots are playing up, this formula instantly – and I mean instantly – flushes out the aggressive redness. If dryness is your concern, the Plump Filler contains three different weights of botanical hyaluronic acid molecules from wheat to rehydrate. Brilliant for combatting the brutality of winter across all skin types, it’s the one to focus on if you’ve already tried every moisturiser under the sun.
There’s the Matte Maximiser, which, aimed at oily skin, combines lactic acid, pink clay and zinc gluconate to regulate sebum. It prevents the enlargement of pores in later life, but also acts as a wonderful coverage primer. Finally, if you’re worried that you’re looking slightly more tired and less defined as you age, the Lift Sculptor blends polyphenols (or micronutrients) from green and white tea to penetrate and combat lack of skin elasticity.
Dior’s approach to working with your skin as you get older, rather than dramatically trying to reverse the markers of age, had me interested, and now the products have me sold. Fuss-free, no sign of ageism and impressive science to boot. That’s anti-ageing in 2018.