Two things popular skincare brands like The Ordinary, Glossier and Versed have in common is affordability and no fluff. Whether you're looking for a vitamin C product to target hyperpigmentation or exfoliating acids for acne, they have made once expensive and confusing ingredients easy to buy and understand. Now there's another brand vying for space among them: Skin Proud.
Thanks to the Glossier-esque packaging and the backing of makeup artists and top London skin expert Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, you might have heard of Skin Proud already. Exclusive to ASOS (joining cult brands like Mario Badescu and CeraVe), the line currently consists of nine products and ranges from serums and moisturisers to targeted skin treatments. But the main focus is on the dermatologist-loved ingredients, such as 2% vitamin C (for brightening and protecting against pollution), 0.5% retinol (for all skin types, especially acne-prone) and 2% hyaluronic acid (for counteracting dehydration and fine lines).
Aside from the Instagram-worthy, millennial pink bottles and proven ingredients, one of the reasons why the brand is gaining so much traction online is that nothing exceeds the £15 mark. But is it worth the hype? I tried everything in the range. Here are my unfiltered thoughts.
Glycerin, shea butter, avocado oil and niacinamide are the star ingredients in this overnight mask. Don't let the name put you off; the consistency is more like a lightweight moisturiser than a thick, tacky mask. It absorbs fast and makes dry, flaky skin bouncy and soft come morning. If you have acne-prone skin, I'd suggest swapping it for something without shea butter or oils, which are known to exacerbate breakouts. Try the non-sticky Smooth Talk 2% Hyaluronic Acid Gel Serum, £12.99, instead.
Best Skin Proud product for acne-prone skin: Recharge Overnight Retinol 0.5% Serum, £13.99, available at ASOS.
Not all retinol products are the same strength and this serum contains 0.5% retinyl palmitate: a weaker retinoid that combines retinol and palmitic acid. This means it's less likely to irritate your skin over time, as retinol products can cause redness, flaking and sensitivity. Experts usually suggest 0.3% to 0.5% retinol for beginners. The texture and results (clearer, smoother skin) are very similar to The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid 2% In Emulsion, £8. As with all retinol products, only use it in the evening and always wear SPF during the day.
Best Skin Proud product for dehydrated skin: Sorbet Burst Hyaluronic Acid Jelly Moisturiser, £13.99, available at ASOS.
If your face feels taut after cleansing, this jelly moisturiser quenches skin instantly. Like Sleep Hero, it also contains shea butter and avocado oil but feels much lighter in texture and more comfortable on the skin. I found it to be a good makeup primer.
Best Skin Proud product for brightening skin: Bright Boost 2% Vitamin C Multi-Vitamin Serum, £12.99, available at ASOS.
For the skincare buffs, this serum includes a stable form of vitamin C (3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid) so it stays potent and effective for longer. The texture is watery and clear, almost like a hyaluronic acid serum, but it packs a punch and does help brighten skin. It tingles ever so slightly though, so be sparing if your skin is sensitive or opt for Sorbet Burst instead.
Best Skin Proud product for under eyes: Bright Eye Pomegranate Eye Cream, £14.99, available at ASOS.
While dermatologists argue that eye creams are pretty much redundant when it comes to treating dark circles, this hydrates and moisturises skin around the eyes, plumping out fine lines. It feels like a balm but isn't tacky (so won't make your concealer slip and slide) and doesn't contain any silicone. If you're after something a bit lighter, try Glossier Bubblewrap, £23.
Best Skin Proud product for acne scars: Detox Daily AHA/BHA Exfoliating Tonic, £14.99, available at ASOS.
This liquid exfoliator combines buzzy lactic acid, salicylic acid and glycolic acid, and if you're a fan of Glossier's Solution, £19, or Pixi Glow Tonic, £18, you'll like this. Used regularly as part of a nighttime routine (you can alternate it with the retinol), the acids exfoliate skin to minimise skin staining left behind by acne scars and empty pores of dirt and oil. It does contain alcohol but any drying potential is balanced with hyaluronic acid (a hydrating acid, not an exfoliating acid), according to Dr Ukeleghe. It made my skin appear brighter and red marks less noticeable. It has sold out but we're sure it will be back in stock soon.
A universal balm (best for lips and cuticles), hyaluronic acid gel serum (non-sticky) and face mist (fresh and hydrating) complete the collection, but products currently missing are sunscreen (because SPF is a must when using retinol and exfoliating acids) and a cleanser for morning and evening. The good thing about simple and effective products like these is that you can mix and match across all brands depending on your preference. Try something gentle like Cetaphil Pro Cleansing Facial Wash, £14.99, or Kiehl's Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Cleanser, £24, to shift makeup, oil and dirt. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid SPF 150, £17.50, and Avène Very High Protection Tinted Suncare for Ageing Skin SPF50+, £20, are excellent sunscreens which don't make skin feel oily or coated.