• Anastasia Pentias

TBN: Lixir Review Edition

(This review will eventually read like a love letter -this is embarrassingly not sponsored, as Lixir are utterly oblivious to my existence.)

There was a lot of anticipation for this new range in the beauty community, at first because of its instagrammable packaging (which I could not care less about, both the packaging and Instagram), but also because it's a new premise in skincare, a paradigm shift. Only six main products for all needs in the entire line, with the recent addition of a mud mask. Lixir is the brainchild of Colette Haydon, a doctor of dermopharmacology who has developed a variety of successful skincare products for established brands.

I was first introduced to her work through Healgel products, a line she developed for a group of Harley Street surgeons, designed to help with skin regeneration. I loved the products, they were SO light but SO effective. I suspect it was mainly because they are packed with peptides, which my skin seems to appreciate that evey time. My only grievance was that I went through them quite quickly and they are on the higher-end of the price spectrum.

After Healgel, she lauched her own line, Lixir, that strictly sticks to scientifically proven results and busting beauty myths (ex. retinol is the only actually proven anti-ageing ingredient, there's no need for a separate eye cream etc). Six months ago, I bought her Universal Emulsion, the Vitamin C Paste, the Electrogel Cleanser, the Night Switch PHA/AHA and, more recently, the Soft Clay Rubber mask. Spoiler alert: I've refused to buy anything else since (well, almost- I am a beauty hound after all). Oh yes. Lixir's that good.

Initially, it took me a minute to get used to their scent, a discreet, herbal/medicinal one. I'm newly appreciating the value of no fragrance in skincare (Haydon does not use fragrance because it is a known irritant).

On to the individual products. The Universal Emulsion, the line's one and only moisturiser, is brilliant. Light but supremely moisturising and also used around the eyes. It makes a great primer for makeup, playing well with every foundation I've thrown at it. I can honestly say I have not even considered another moisturiser since and I am on my third 100ml tube.

Lixir's nighttime, take-the-day-off offering is the Electrogel Cleanser. I need two steps (micellar water, then this) to take everything off but if you wear minimal makeup, this is your one stop shop. You leave it on for a minute or more (this doubles up as a mask), rinse off and *boom* moisturised, perfectly clean skin. This is explained in rather elaborate spiel on their website: 'The negatively charged Electrogel™ attracts, captures and eliminates positively charged toxins - pollution nanoparticles, heavy metals and free radicals - to give urban skin the ultimate detox.' I don't know if that is scientifically accurate or not, I only know it cleanses very effectively and I get the most out my subsequent night products. This has also balanced my skin, in the sense that it's never dry anymore. I attribute it to this cleanser that does not strip the skin of its natural oils.

Lixir has three serums (called Night Switches) on the menu, a BHA for acneic skin, a PHA for the rest of us and a 1% Retinol for lines. They suggest using one of these at a time, mixed into the Emulsion for two or three-week stretches, after which you switch to another active. I find that my skin does better when I use the PHA and the Retinol on alternate nights. As a long-time sufferer of serious acne, I have been using Hydroxy Acids for more than twenty years but also retinol for the last few years. I am very well acquainted with super-expensive formulas, mid-range dermopharmaceutical formulas and your more basic cheapos. These are sophisticated and effective. Not like your run-of-the-mill acids for less than a tenner, with these you get solid results with zero irritation. Once in a while, something like this comes along to remind me that 'formula is king', as my goddess, Her Royal (Caroline) Hirons says. King indeed: I dare say that I prefer the PHA to Sunday Riley's Good Genes. Comparable results at a much lower price point.

If I had to pick one product as a holy grail from Haydon's line, however, it would be the Vitamin C Paste. You apply it in the morning, leave it on for a minute or more (like Electrogel, this is also a mask), rinse off and start the day. This feels very refreshing and comfortable instantly but the better part comes later. On the long term, this has clarified and boosted my complexion tremendously. My skin is clear, plump and radiant. This is skin alchemy, turning ashes to gold- it better never get discontinued, or else.

Their mud mask is the only product that is just, ehm.. ok? For the price, it's not what you should be getting and I hate their suggestion of rubbing my skin to work this in. I have mature-ish skin people. Forget that when I rub I look like a Shar Pei puppy. The worst is that rubbing irritates skin. That's a big no from me. Instead, I would recommend Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask, a beautiful concoction that's worth every penny.

To round this up, after six months of use, the effect of Lixir products is that, at the age of 38, I have the good skin I should have been enjoying in my twenties. In an unexpected twist, Lixir is also saving me money: I've been religiously multi-masking since I was 15 and severely acneic. Hand on heart, I don't use masks anymore. I don't need to, with the exception of an occasional 10-minute Tilbury mud mask (available here https://bit.ly/2SNM64O). My skin is in a stable, plumped and clear state, never irritated, never patchy. This is way more than I'd hoped to get out of this line.

Lixir products are available to buy here: https://bit.ly/2CYUGrL

(If you are wondering, pictured in the photo above is also the Stemcell Super-Food Balm from Rodial, a great alternative to the Eight Hour Cream by Elizabeth Arden- excellent for harsh weather irritation or after-sun care.)

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