I’ve never been to Disneyland. I’ve never been that child hysterically stumbling along the plastic pavements with ice cream on her nose and Minnie Mouse ears hanging lopsidedly off her head, jumping for joy when Prince Eric blows her a kiss from his float. I’ve never understood the excitement behind paying terrifyingly large amounts of money just to walk around something you can watch on television, or watch videos of online.
And then I fell in love with skincare. And shops like Khiels became my Disneyland. As an adult, I’m not sure that running through the third floor of John Lewis with a Sundae Riley sample on my nose and a streak of Molton Brown running through my hair would be classed as ‘appropriate’, but to me, that’s what it feels like inside. For someone who struggles to write a 1000 word essay for her university degree, I could write an entire novel on my favourite skincare brands.I pick up samples in shops, I order them online, I have them sent to me by brands…I have a basket of samples almost overflowing in my room, just begging for me to try them out. So that’s what I thought I would do. A monthly skincare sample review – trying out new brands, new products, and new writing styles, in an attempt to critically categorise my steadily growing collection into the products I do, genuinely adore, and the ones I could perhaps do without.
And, although January and February were left dehydrated and dry without any skincare samples (apparently Christmas wipes out sample sales as well as skin cells), I decided to jump straight into March with one that literally arrived on my doorstep this morning. The product promises to do it all. The packaging boasts 24 hour moisturising, fast absorption, exfoliating oat particles yet soothing oatmeal substances, buffering, polishing, SPF protection…It sold itself as a naturally active, all-in-one, superhero of a skincare product, and I won’t deny, I was impressed. Essentially this lotion is designed to be the alternative to all other skincare products, to wipe your cupboards clean of all the expensive and unnecessary creams, potions, and serums and replace them with just one item. The Aveeno Moisturing Lotion. But, for me, although I did like the product, I’m quite happy keeping my other bottles where they are for now, thanks. The lotion itself is lovely. Incredibly light on skin, with an almost watery texture that smoothes nicely across the skin, and a rather surprising, yet addictive scent of almond milk, despite it being admittedly ‘fragrance free’. It’s a very gentle substance, and you can almost feel the difference between that and a lotion rich in chemicals and perfumes. The branding of ‘active naturals’ is certainly an appropriate one, and for the particularly environmentally friendly among us, for a simple moisturiser, it’s a relatively safe bet. Fast to absorb, however, it is not. I found I had to almost rub my skin raw just to remove the residue, and I was a little disappointed by how long it took to actually begin working in my skin. I found there was a certain stickiness to it that didn’t feel particularly soothing, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a product to apply in a hurry. In terms of the actual benefit it can have on your skin, yes, I’ll admit, it has improved the firmness and hydration of my skin, as promised. I wouldn’t argue that it has buffed, polished or exfoliated it however, it seems to be far too gentle a product to even come close to an exfoliant, making it’s branding a little contradictory. The danger, of course, with any skincare sample, is that you can only review a product used once. You can’t talk about the long term benefits, or promise that it will definitely work within two weeks, you can only describe what you see and have in front of you.