If you shop for skincare online, you might have already spotted the brand on Cult Beauty alongside the likes of The Ordinary, Glow Recipe and Drunk Elephant. It boasts all the essentials, from face masks and moisturisers to cleansers and spot treatments, and some products are so popular, they have waiting lists. With charming names such as Vacation Eyes (a vitamin C eye cream) and Dew Point (a green tea and aloe leaf moisturiser), Versed radiates Glossier vibes – the packaging is similarly millennial. But while the brand is gaining serious popularity, does it live up to the hype?
I have what most experts would call combination skin; I'm prone to oiliness, breakouts and the odd dry patch thanks to hormones, the weather and the environment. As a result, I'm finicky with skincare and avoid lots of fussy, buzzy ingredients. But like The Ordinary and The Inkey List, Versed breaks everything down. Each product champions just one or two main components. For example, the Shortcut Overnight Facial Peel, £9.50, boasts lactic and glycolic acid, while the On the Rise Firming Serum, £18, places a focus on peptides. Intrigued, I tried six products in place of my usual skincare routine. Here's how I got on.
The best Versed Skincare product for acne: Nix It Complexion Solution, £12, available at Cult Beauty.
This is the star of the show. It boasts rosemary and tea tree oil (the latter a hero among dermatologists for treating breakouts) to minimise the size of angry, inflamed spots. Like magic, a tiny dab blasts spots pretty instantly, preventing them from multiplying in size or turning into whiteheads.
The best Versed Skincare product for fine lines: Vacation Eyes Brightening Eye Gel, £16.50, available at Cult Beauty.
The main ingredient in this featherlight eye gel is vitamin C, which shields skin against dulling, fine line-inducing pollution. It absorbed instantly and kept my concealer in place for longer, but I found it a little too light. If you're prone to that uncomfortable taut feeling, especially after cleansing, you might need something a little more substantial in texture. Try Glossier Bubblewrap, £23.
The best Versed Skincare product for oily skin: Wash It Out Gel Cleanser, £12, available at Cult Beauty.
If you have very sensitive or reactive skin, you might not like the zing of the peppermint in this cleanser, but if you're oily, you'll appreciate just how fresh it makes skin feel. It's not really designed to cut through makeup, though.
The best Versed Skincare product for removing makeup: Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm, £7.50, available at Cult Beauty.
I was worried about this at first, as it looks a bit like coconut oil, but unlike other balm cleansers (which can clog pores or leave a film over your eyes) this did exactly what it said on the tin and more. I did a double cleanse with two 50p-size amounts as I wear very heavy waterproof foundation and mascara. My skin felt plump, moisturised and most importantly, squeaky clean.
The best Versed Skincare product for hyperpigmentation: Stroke Of Brilliance Brightening Serum, £18, available at Cult Beauty.
The best Versed Skincare product for dry and oily skin: Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream, £13.50, available at Cult Beauty.
This barely there gel-cream hybrid is light enough not to make your makeup slip or block pores but weighty enough to moisturise well. Aloe leaf quells redness but seaweed isn't really on the radar of most dermatologists and skin experts. If your skin is prone to spots, skip the moisturising step for a lightweight SPF like Glossier Invisible Shield, £20. The texture is virtually the same but it comes with high protection.
The best Versed Skincare product for dull skin: Photos, Please Brightening Tightening Mask, £9.50, available at Cult Beauty.
This mask is housed in packaging that reminds me of Capri-Sun (i.e. very Instagrammable). As it features kaolin clay, I expected it to dry fast and suck all the moisture from my skin, but it didn't. I applied a very thin layer and it didn't crack or leave me parched. I was amazed at how much brighter my skin looked post-rinse.
Overall, I'm impressed. However I wasn't swayed by the 'We Lose The Bad' label on the back of each product, which lists things like parabens, silicones and sulphates. Thanks to EU guidelines and regulations, you can rest assured that when a product enters the UK market, it's safe for your skin. While parabens (essentially preservatives) have been branded harmful, the research behind this take is scarce and dermatologists argue that they are vital. "Preservatives are absolutely essential in our skincare," says consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto, who argues that it is the dose that makes the poison. "If we didn’t have preservatives in our products, we would literally be smearing bacteria, viruses, fungi and mould over our faces within about 48 hours of our skincare being left open." If you'd rather avoid parabens, Versed has enlisted other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and benzyl alcohol to extend product shelf life.
Products are also formulated without sulphates but you don't have to fear them, either. "Of course there are studies backing up allergies to sulphates but there’s always two sides to the point, which we don’t evaluate unfortunately," Prudvi Kaka, chief scientific officer at Deciem recently told R29. "Sulphates are in most toothpastes, body washes and hand washes you use every day. I think it’s more about the other ingredients in the formulation which affect or increase the potential to irritate the skin."
While sometimes demonised, silicones have also proven to be useful in skincare, keeping moisture under lock and key in dry skin and acting as a great primer before makeup. That said, Versed knows that some people don't like the heavy, pore-clogging feeling some silicones leave on skin. It has also done away with petroleum, which is known to clog pores in those with skin prone to acne.