With a lot more of us experiencing skin gripes such as breakouts, dry skin and sensitivity, there's high demand for simple, reliable, results-driven skincare — and right now, nothing is more popular than fuss-free pharmacy brands. France is well-known for its cult drugstore skincare offerings, including much-loved La Roche-Posay, Bioderma and Avène, swiftly followed by the US, where CeraVe and Differin reign supreme. Now there's a new brand making waves in the UK and though you might not have heard of it, it already has dermatologist backing.
Hailing from Poland, Tolpa is considered one of Warsaw's most trustworthy dermocosmetics brands. The vast collection of skincare products is specially formulated to help combat specific skincare concerns, whether that's spots, rosacea, excessively oily skin or dryness and dehydration, to name a handful. Currently, Tolpa claims the number one spot in the acne care category in Poland, where one of the 3-Enzyme face treatments (which combine exfoliating ingredients to tackle oily skin and blackheads) is sold every minute. The best part is that nothing exceeds the £12.99 mark.
The buzzy brand, which already has UK-based psychodermatologist Dr Alia Ahmed on board, is exclusive to Lloyds Pharmacy online (soon to be in store on 19th July) and it's got beauty editors everywhere talking. So what's worth your money? I tried a handful of products from the range and here's what you should consider stocking up on before the brand becomes a hit (and inevitably sells out).
The best Tolpa skincare product for acne scars and uneven skin texture: Sebio Max Effect Exfoliating Silver Mask, £9.99.
The silver microparticles in this exfoliating face mask might make you look like the Tin Man for 15 minutes but the glow-giving results are second to none. At first glance it reminded me of Glam Glow's Gravity Mud (almost five times the price) but the natural, dewy glow it lends skin is unrivalled. That's all down to phytic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA) which exfoliates the surface of the skin and helps to unclog pores, preventing spots. Like most exfoliating masks, it does tingle, but the sensation is worth it for skin that looks brand-new and feels soft and smooth. This is my top pick.
If your T-zone looks like an oil slick come 3pm, try this. It's excellent at controlling excess shine, especially on the nose. As it reduces oil, it helps prevent blackheads from cropping up and subsequently makes large pores appear smaller. One downside: it has a very strong, fruity fragrance (which might not be so great if you have sensitive or reactive skin) but that fades quickly when massaged in well.
The best Tolpa skincare product for acne and skin staining left behind by spots: Sebio+ CICA Correcting Cream, £9.99.
There's one main acne-busting ingredient in this cream, best used at night: salicylic acid, which gently exfoliates deep inside the pore to prevent clogging and eventually blackheads and whiteheads. There's also cica, which helps bring down the redness and swelling typical of painful breakouts. Unlike the TikTok-famous Dr Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment, £37, it's not tinted and doesn't contain makeup, making it a great daytime and nighttime moisturiser. If you're using exfoliating acids like salicylic acid, it's best to wear a high factor, broad spectrum sunscreen during the day to protect your skin against damaging UV rays.
The best Tolpa skincare product for rosacea and redness: Rosacal Strengthening Soothing Cream, £12.99.
This face lotion is ever so slightly tinted to conceal redness associated with rosacea. It contains SPF 10 protection but this isn't enough to shield skin from the sun. Follow with something that has an SPF of 30 or 50, like Bondi Sands’ Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+, £7, or Charlotte Tilbury's SPF 50 Invisible UV Flawless Poreless Primer, £39.
The best Tolpa skincare product for oily skin and large pores: Exfoliating Pore-Constricting Concentrate, £10.99.
This occupies a space between a hydrating serum and a mattifying, astringent toner. While you can't actually change the shape of your pores (nor do they open or close), you can minimise the appearance by reducing oil — and this does exactly that. Follow with the T-Zone Mattifying Gel-Cream, £10. Most lightweight moisturisers tailored to breakout-prone skin can be drying and not feel substantial enough, resulting in a tight, uncomfortable feel, but not this one.
Moisturising glycerin is the star ingredient in this concentrated serum. To boost moisture and hydration, apply straight after cleansing and follow with your favourite moisturiser. Also try the Hydrativ Hyaluronic Moisturising Gel-Cream, £12.99, if you're on the lookout for a gentle, non-sticky or heavy moisturiser with hydrating hyaluronic acid inside.
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