The UK skincare market is price conscious and focused on feel-good texturesAt times, the ‘feel’ can only be achieved by adding non-natural, texture forming ingredients within the manufacturing processThere is nothing wrong with that but the feel of the product does not ensure that it contains only ingredients that benefit the skin. What the skin needs is products made by companies that prioritise the quality of ingredients above other factors [e.g. Neal’s Yard Remedies], yet we must recognise that focus may lead to a compromise on the ‘feel’ of the product. 

The secret is to blend the best quality ingredients to both optimise your skin condition and achieve great “skin feel”. I would always encourage you to read the ingredient list. I want to refer back to India Knights column on Sunday [15.1.2017] musing about the M&S Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream, £22 [50 ml]. So let’s have a look together:

M&S use comforting words like intuitive, luxurious, created with expertise, very best of formula.. “Part of the luxurious formula absolute skin care solutions range which features proven active ingredients to fight 10 signs of ageing. Formula skincare is created with more than 20 years of expertise with results proven by real women. Proven to tackle 10 signs of ageing, absolute offers. The very best of formula skincare. Luxurious textures designed to be layered into your skincare regime or combined for the ultimate anti-ageing solution.

  • 100% intuitive skincare. Wake up to more rested and younger looking skin. Results: Clinically proven and independently tested. Transform your skin with 10 amazing benefits after just 4 weeks. Skin appears less fatigued deep lines appear reduced age spots firmer skin. Skin looks healthier improved elasticity skin feels softer and more supple imperfections appear reduced brighter, radiant skin. Skin feels comfortable and protected through out the night. 
  • Proven: When tested 71% agreed skin appeared transformed after just 2 weeks. Hypoallergenic, paraben free and suitable for all skin types.”

I cannot argue with any of that however whilst it is ‘paraben free’, it does contain the preservative phenoxyethanol and it is debatable whether that is better, please read my article. The key is to check all ingredients. Those shown by scientific research to be beneficial for the skin are highlighted in the ingredient list below:

Aqua, isododecane, niacinamide, c10-18, triglycerides, isodecyl neopentanoate, butylene glycol, cera alba (beeswax), isononyl, isononanoate, dimethicone, hydrogenated, tetradecenyl/methylpentadecene, glycerin, sucrose, polystearate, glyceryl stearate, peg 100stearate, behenyl alcohol, butyrospermum parkii(shea butter), acrylamide/sodiumacryloyldimethyltaurate copolymer, phenoxyethanol + other low level ingredients [India mentions active ingredients e.i. peptides, hyaluronic acid and brightening actives – these ingredients are in levels lower than the preservative, therefore, there is a very small amounts indeed. In my view, their clinical benefit is negligible.]

Essentially it is a mixture of shea butter and beeswax, with glycerin and vitamin B3 [niacinamide]. Old-fashioned, inexpensive, comforting ingredients. That is all fine as long the consumers understand what are they purchasing. However, often they have to rely solely on the retailers’ description. 

Glycerin and niacinamide [due to Olay research] have some data on functional improvement of skin barrier function. As far as good practice in skincare goes, using any moisturiser is better than none and dry, mature skin types will benefit. However, this is not sophisticated skincare and it definitely does not push the boundaries of what great, innovative ingredients could do for the skin. Over the next two months I will investigate and identify more sophisticated products which, in my opinion, provide a more beneficial outcome. 

SAVE OR SPEND: Not for oily and sensitive skin type. There are many niche, natural, ethical British brands that “do balms” better. SAVE.


  • Polly says:

    Thank you Katerina. As always excellent advice, you are experienced, knowledgeable and really know your stuff!!!

  • Victoria says:

    Wish I had read this before I paid £22.00 for a pot of cheap ingredients. It’s no miracle cream and feels heavy and sticky on the skin. Does not easily absorb. My pot of Lidl face cream is better . More fool me for believing the hype.

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