Skincare has definitely come leaps and bounds in the last decade – for me personally, I graduated from face wipes to balms and moisturiser, which was revolutionary at the time – and something that’s come up often with launches since are anti-pollution and non-toxic ingredients. I was pretty ignorant about skincare doing anything other than making my face soft and clean, and it was only when I had a meeting with a Oskia did I realise how much more skincare could be doing for us, and how pollutants really go to town daily on our pores – as if blackheads and spots weren’t enough, now pollution!
Since taking note of the ingredients and adding a few anti-pollution products to my routine, I have to say that the properties really make a positive difference to spots and breakouts; my pores are clearer, my skin texture is smoother, and it feels a lot cleaner even after a day in the city! Now that more brands are taking note of the breakthroughs and, tbh, great results of others, I wanted to talk through some of my favourite products and how they work in your routine, plus the difference they’ve made to my skin.
The first brand that made a difference to me and was actually making serious claims that followed through was Oskia CityLife, and you’ve heard me talk about a lot of the products before but I wanted to give you a somewhat scientific in-depth review into how each of my favourite staples works in my routine – the two products I use daily are the CityLife Mist* and CityLife Booster*; the mist helps hydrate but provides a barrier of protection against free-radicals by chelating (a compound made up of a metallic ion i.e. pollution radicals, attached by covalent bonds to two or more nonmetallic ions in the same molecule) pollutants. In this case, the magic ingredient is EUK 134, a self-regenerating Manganese molecule that combines Hydrogen and Oxygen based free-radicals and turns them into water to hydrate the skin, and also protects against toxic free-radicals by mimicking SOD (superoxide dismutase) an enzyme that helps break down potentially harmful oxygen molecules in cells, which might prevent wrinkles and damage to tissue.
I use the mist twice a day, three spritz each time, and I’ve found it to be super hydrating but also really balancing. If I’m planning a face mask later in the evening, I just pop this on after a cleanse and it feels fully moisturised that sometimes I forget the rest of my routine – it also smells really great too 😉 Since adding it to my routine, I’ve found a nice plumpness to my cheeks, softer and hydrated pores, and a fresher clean feel to my skin which is hard to describe but it feels so so good; if you’re to get anything from the range, make it this!
The booster is a pretty pricey product, but worth it for the concentrated magic it holds; according to the Oskia website it protects ‘against specific indoor and outdoor pollution, including Singlet Oxygen, Peroxyl, Hydroxyl & Halogenated Free Radicals, Nickel, Iron and other heavy metals, Ozone & PM 1μm (Particulate Matter). Whether you’re at home or in the city, smoke and airborne metals can cause inflammation and sensitivity, which leads to cellular damage, loss of elasticity, hyper pigmentation, and dark spots – and this all comes from pollution in your carpets, computer screens, public transport, and general smog fyi.
I’ve found the booster the most beneficial product for anti-pollution, as my pores are looked a lot smaller and clearer since adding this in daily – I use either 1-3 drops depending on where I am in the day (1 for home, 3 for London) and it adds a deeper layer of protection and purging, which is why I’ve highly rated it for clearing up my spots. Because it’s breaking down grime, it’s breaking down a lot of the sebum and gunk that cause blackheads, so overall my complexion is a lot brighter and just, wow. Again, pricey but the one product that shows the most results fast!
Two other products from the range I use weekly include the CityLife Cleanser* and CityLife Detox Mask* – the cleanser is usually my first cleanse when wearing makeup as it breaks down a lot of makeup and gets rid of the surface impurities. Despite being a foaming formula, it’s very gentle and actually cleanses deep (just don’t leave it near your eyes too long, because then it’s a wee bit soapy – also it really does budge waterproof mascara hence why it’s in my eyes) so you’ll feel fully stripped of any daily grime and fresh for bedtime!
I have to give a big shoutout to the Detox Mask, as it’s a holographic space mask of dreams but really does pull that gunk out – I use this after London days for a full detox, and you get a lot of product in the packet so you can get two uses out of one sachet if you’re clever. It is designed to mix in the sachet and be applied to the face, neck, and chest, but if you don’t have the time to stand around, just cut the top off and decant half of each side into a bowl to mix. Again, it contains Malachite to protect against radicals and will decongest any impurities, as that final stage of full clarification that makes a big difference after a smoggy day – the first time I used it I couldn’t believe how clear and fresh my face looked after London, the place where your boogers are black after 5 minutes on the tube (soz).
I’ve gone on a lot about Herbivore recently, but I just love the quality of their products – their ingredients are formulated to be free of toxins and as naturally active as possible (or they wouldn’t sell it) and everything contains ‘natural ingredients, plant-based food-grade cold-pressed oils, steam distilled therapeutic-grade essential oils, GMO free soy wax, recyclable and reusable packaging, many certified organic ingredients’ – Herbivore website. Their Lapis oil contains Blue Tansy which is a known calming property so is great for redness, plus plant-based Squalene helps provide a hydrating barrier that also protects against radicals. It’s noncomedogenic too so great if you have acne prone skin!
My holy grail of the range is the Blue Tansy Mask which uses naturally occurring AHA and BHA acids to dissolve dead skin cells and renew the epidermis, plus Aloe to calm and clear sebum in the pores. I’ve used this every other night lately and my smooth looks in-cred-ible, it’s like the last piece of the puzzle that really boosts all the other products further – by exfoliating, you allow your skincare to penetrate deeper which means your anti-pollution skincare will work further and protect deeper each time (plus you’ll have even less blackheads and minimal breakouts, which is awesome!)
My final non-toxic highlight is W3LL PEOPLE, a makeup brand I discovered on Cult Beauty last year but has since been pulled from the UK (please come back). The brand was founded by a makeup artist, dermatologist, and treehugging entrepreneur who wanted to create products that when absorbed by our largest organ (our skin) wouldn’t cause harm or irritation. It’s simple, natural, and non-toxic beauty at its best, and I wish I could get my hands on more of the range as I love the quality! Their Bio Correct Concealer has not only been made with sustainable energy, but contains coffee and algae to help brighten and de-puff skin all day long – I personally like it because the shades blend in easily a shade or two either side of their colour, has a large amount of coverage for a small amount of product, and is vegan too!
The product I really rate is their Nudist Lipbutter which boasts a lot of hydration thanks to aloe vera and also a lot of pigment for a balm – the shade Cherry is a bold ass red, which is faba s you can keep the colour topped up easily all day and have soft lips, which is what we all want! It’s like Glossier’s hydrating and, tbh, better older sister ingredient wise – great application, adaptable colour, but most importantly it’s free of all the bad ingredients we end up ingesting when wearing lippy (if you sit and think about how much lip product you eat, it’s pretty grim – but I bet my stomach looks good)
1400 words, wowee! I hope this was helpful and has opened your eyes more to anti-pollution skincare; I think it’s a trend we’ll be seeing a lot more of – make sure you take note of the percentage of ingredients and concentration of formulas, the cheaper the anti-pollution product, the more likely it’s a small concentration of anti-pollution protection, so bare in mind. Now I’m off to slather myself in holographic space mask – come to me clear pores!