Cosmeceuticals: Five To Try From Neostrata, Skinceuticals, BLiv, Philosophy and Nimue

By Emma | January 18 2013 | 21 Comments

You know those times in life when your skin just won’t play ball? When your normal skincare just isn’t cutting it? (If the answer’s no, stop reading – there’s nothing for you here, ‘cept a whole big pile of envy). Well at those times I like to bring out the big guns: cosmeceuticals.


These are products that contain a combination of active ingredients, at concentrations that claim to be so potent that they actually bridge the gap between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.  Sometimes you need to take those claims with a pinch of salt, but the best products in this category will contain anti-ageing ingredients such as vitamins A, C and E, with glycolic, lactic or salycilic acid (and we’ve talked about what these ingredients actually are – and do – in this post here).

Used in the right way they can have a dramatic effect on the condition of your skin – smoothing, softening, plumping and even reducing acne scarring and fine lines. They’re expensive though, and there are heaps to choose from, so today’s post is a roundup of tried and tested products that have worked for me. But first, a cautionary tale – the first time I used glycolic acid on my face, I jumped straight into using it twice a day and had a really bad reaction. I’ve since learned that the best approach is to take it slow- if you’re incorporating a cosmeceutical into your routine, try it once a week, then twice, and build up to everyday use.


That word of warning aside, here are some of my favourite products in this category.

ONE Neostrata is probably one of the best known cosmeceutical brands: we’re big fans and we’ve talked about them loads here on the site. The winning formula of powerful ingredients and cutting-edge science means their products really deliver – just make sure you’re using the right combination for your skintype. I love their Foaming Glycolic Facewash but I only use it a few times a week – it’s all my slightly sensitive skin can handle. It’s around the €30 mark and it really works to declog the pores and refine the texture of my skin.

Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Defense

TWO Skinceuticals are another science-led, extremely potent skincare brand that I’ve found to be very effective – particularly their Blemish and Age range. The star product is the blemish and Age Defense, an oil-free serum that combines 2% dioic acid with an alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid formulation. It’s expensive at €88, but I would happily pay that to fight spots, even out my skintone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

BLiv Cellnique

THREE BLiv is the little sister brand of Cellnique Cosmeceuticals  – at the moment we can only get hold of both brands here in Ireland through their website, and prices are in US dollars. They sent me a few products to try and I really liked their blackhead clearing gel, Off With Their Heads ($49.00) along with their pearl silk mask, Bright Is Right.  This is perfect for my dehydrated skin – it smooths, restores radiance and adds moisture. The key active is black pearl powder ($30),  which is a source of amino acids and minerals. It does look fairly ridiculous, but hey, it works!

Philosophy Help Me

FOUR When my prescribed Retin-A ran out, I turned to Philosophy’s Help Me (€47.50), a night treatment with time-released retinol. While the concentrations will obviously be much lower than a prescription retinol cream, so too are the side effects – this isn’t harsh on my skin but does a good job in clearing congested pores and smoothing skin texture. I’m also a fan of the brand’s exfoliators and peels.

Nimue Day and Nimue Conditioner

FIVE Nimue is the most recent brand of cosmeceuticals I’ve tried  – they specialise in treating skin that’s environmentally damaged, problematic, hyperpigmented or sensitive, and their products are backed up by extensive research and clinical data. I was given the day cream and conditioner and I’m using ‘em daily – after just a few days I saw an improvement in the clarity of my skin. They both contain AHAs – Nimue Day (52.30)  has replaced my regular moisturiser, while I use the conditioner (€41.50) as a toner, sweeping it over my face with a cotton pad before the day cream.


Remember, these products all work to resurface your skin so it’s VERY important that you use a decent SPF with them – I’d recommend Philosophy, Skinceuticals or Clinique’s City Block, which I’ve found all work well under makeup.

Tried any of these, or do you have any cosmeceutical recommendations of your own?


Anti-ageing, Reviews, Skin , , , ,

21 Replies to "Cosmeceuticals: Five To Try From Neostrata, Skinceuticals, BLiv, Philosophy and Nimue"

  • Shygirl says:

    These all sound great. I’m using Soap and Glory wish upon a jar, I started it yesterday. My skin was feeling a bit dull and dehydrated, but congested at the same time. It was on sale in Boots. Teres a lovely feel to it. Its great when you are on a budget.

  • Emma says:

    Another great name there from Soap and Glory!

  • Macloon says:

    Emma, what age are you?

    Just wondering why you would be using prescribed Retin A

  • Emma says:

    Macloon, I was prescribed it to clear up my skin, not for anti-ageing purposes. I wrote about it here:

  • Atkin says:

    Over the counter, I use Image. One spot is cleared overnight with their products. If I’m having a full blown acne flare up, the only thing that works for me is Duac. It is prescription but is excellent. Emma, you are so right to highlight sunblock. It is so important to use it if you are using any type of blemish control products.

  • hamillam says:

    I am thinking about picking up the neoatrata eye cream i heard it was amazing. I bought jan marini bioglycolic cream and use it just at night. It got rid of a baby wrinkle and smoothed out my congested pores. I find the overnight treatment more effective than the glycolic cleanser. Havent had a spot in months. . . Long may it last ;)

  • fififinx says:

    Medik8 is another cosmeceutical brand that’s pretty good an not too pricey. It’s available on Feel Unique. Prices are relatively low too – 30 to 40 EUR mark.

  • Macloon says:

    Emma – That’s really interesting. I’m getting breakouts and constant congestion too on the sides of my face below my mouth and on my jawline.

    I’m in my 30’s. It’s really annoying but I just thought that it was hormonal and that nothing could be done. I never thought of seeking help for it

    Do you find the course of treatment working?

  • Cait says:

    I’m 32 and getting really bad breakouts along my jawline and into my cheeks. Big angry spots. These products all look great but I absolutely cannot wear sunblock. I’ve tried just about every type, including those sunblocks recommended for oily skin, but if I even use a moisturiser with sunblock in it my skin will seep oil all day and I will instantly break out in spots everywhere. It is so frustrating. Every time I read here about using sunblock I feel so guilty because I don’t, but I really have tried. So even though these products look like they’d really work for me I’m not going to invest loads of money in potent skincare to battle acne only to slap on instant acne in the form of SPF. I’ve resigned myself to fairly gentle oil-free skincare, good make-up, and dealing with the spots I have.

  • Atkin says:

    Cait, have you tried No7? I use the one below if I’m using acne treatment and it never irritates me. I went for so many facials, diets and health stores that eventually one lady in a health store told me to go to the doctor. She was so right! I went, spent €55 (cheaper than a facial) on the appointment, €25 on Duac every 6 weeks and I haven’t looked back.

  • Cait says:

    Atkin, I haven’t tried the No. 7 but I’m reluctant to spend any more money on SPF. I’ve tried the Elizabeth Arden one (disaster), Clinique, La Roche Posay antithelios matte fluid etc. etc. nothing worked. I also tried Duac – I used it every night until the tube was empty and didn’t notice any improvement. I’ve given up.

  • Shygirl says:

    Cait, I’m up the north and at the moment No 7 are doing 3 for 2 until Monday. Maybe someone else might know if its the same down the south? That way you could get other products, or if you knew someone else who used No 7 you could club in together?

  • jenlala says:

    Hi Cait – have you tried using a mineral make-up with a SPF – I have the Jane Iredale Pressed Powder and its SPF 20 and is really good over sensitive or acne prone skin as it doesn’t clog pores – I was recommended it to use after a course of skin peels as you can put it on straight away as its so kind to skin and I have to say as a gal that only really uses a liquid foundation, I found it really good – easy to use and very buildable coverage wise – might be worth a go :-)

  • ladyelvis says:

    Cait my tuppance for what is worth is to consider seeing a dermatologist, if you can afford it. I suffered with my skin from age 14 until I was 31, then saw a dermatologist. I too spent a fortune on stuff for my skin for years, but at least with a dermatologist you’ve got a specialist who will steer you away from those ingredients and treatments that don’t suit you.
    Best money I ever spent.

  • Bambi says:

    Where can you buy Philosophy online does anyone know?

  • EvieM says:

    Emma I just can’t believe you showed us a picture of yourself with that yoke on your face, fair play to you, that’s dedication to your job right there.

  • ladyelvis says:

    Evie I agree-but Emma you do remind me of Hannibal Lecter (sp.) a bit. Hope the postman doesn’t call with a package when you’ve that on!
    My skin has responded well this week to MD Forumations Glycolic Cream-sorted my blocked pores and dry patches. Defo need a cosmeceutical product for skin this weather. Dying for a facial though-booking a Dr Murad one as soon as payday comes.

  • Aoife says:

    This is scarily timely-I was in talking to a girl in Clarins today as I wanted to try the hydrating serum, explained my skin woes (congested chin, constant spots on chin, enlarged pores on nose, combination skin with dehydrated forehead-not even joking) and she sent me upstairs to McCabes to get something from the Neostrata range-I’d never even heard of it. I’ve picked up some samples as I didn’t want to rush into an expensive purchase. Not keen on using products that are too harsh but I’d like to clear up congestion and reduce pores!

    I’m also a fan of Duac and always have some in the fridge. It’s brilliant. I’m a acned teenager dermatologist alum.

  • Atkin says:

    Aoife, don’t you love it when you meet an honest skin care rep!

  • Shygirl says:

    Aoife that was decent of her, most would of pushed a Clarins product on you.

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