Intensely refreshing

They're luxe, they're pricey and they promise to do it all. We put four of the hottest superserums to the test

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 March, 2013, 10:51pm

Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Daily Serum
The claim: A blend of powerful ingredients - including antioxidants idebenone and arazine - protect the skin from environmental irritants that lead to inflammation, dryness, wrinkles and age spots. Continued use should also lead to reduced redness, increased radiance and firmer-looking skin while strengthening the skin's own collagen and elastin.
The review: This newly launched serum (HK$1,719) comes with an easy-to-use dropper that dispenses a pre-measured amount, although we found we needed to press twice to get enough to cover the face and neck. The colour is unusual, resembling sparkling orange juice, and the sweet-herbal scent can be a bit overpowering at first. But the liquid sinks into the skin quickly without leaving any shine or tint on the skin. What does remain is a faint veil of shimmer - we assume to reflect light and make wrinkles less noticeable. We started using this serum when our skin was dry and flaky from exposure to dry air, indoor heating and undoubtedly high levels of pollution. While it wasn't moisturising enough on its own, after a few weeks of use our skin did appear more even and a touch smoother. And for an "intensive" serum, it didn't cause irritation or appear to contain any harsh ingredients. TAMA LUNG


Helena Rubinstein Life Pearl Cellular Essence
The claim: Extracted from Mamaku and micronised pearls, a "cyto-pearl elixir" strengthens and regenerates the internal structure of cells to improve the complexion in terms of radiance, contour, density and surface - four criteria the brand has identified for "beautifully youthful skin". Daily use should result in smoother skin, diminished wrinkles and less noticeable imperfections.
The review: This 40ml serum (HK$5,800) is elaborately presented in a black bottle shaped like a test tube and placed in a special holder. It is presented in a pump form, making it easy to use, and while there were no specific instructions, three pumps were enough to cover the face and neck. The serum is a light pink colour and has a subtle scent of bergamot, iris and rose. Light and not very oily, it applies smoothly on the skin and is absorbed quickly, leaving a slight shine. After more than a week of use, our skin tone began to even out and scars were less visible. Using the serum in the winter also helped moisturise our skin, but it should hold up well in the hot and humid summer months as well. Our only complaint was the somewhat excessive packaging, with the special holder taking up precious real estate on our bathroom counter. BERNICE CHAN


Dior Capture Totale Multi-Perfection Concentrate
The claim: A unique botanical complex - drawn from Dior Gardens around the world - acts on hypodermal stem cells to regenerate the skin from deep within, correcting all visible signs of ageing. Benefits are said to include increased firmness and volume, enhanced radiance and visibly smoother skin.
The review: This brand-new serum (HK$1,390) is part of Dior's prestige Capture Totale range, which includes a perfecting cream, eye treatment and detoxifying essence. We tried the serum on its own and found the faint floral scent and light texture to be quite soothing. Despite its concentrated formula, it left a matte, almost powdery finish to the skin, making it equally effective as a make-up primer. While we can't speak for how deeply the serum penetrated into our skin cells, the light pink liquid was absorbed easily without causing irritation. It was moisturising enough for daytime use, but those with drier skin may prefer to use it with a heavier cream at night. After a few weeks of regular use, our skin felt nourished, although it was hard to gauge any real changes in terms of wrinkles or radiance. Perhaps it would be more effective used along with the complementary creams. TAMA LUNG


Natura Bisse Diamond Life Infusion
The claim: This "revolutionary" product contains a new ingredient - bio-magnet nanosomes - that works like a retinoid without the harsh side effects. It also regulates four skin age biomarkers by safeguarding and stimulating stem cells, maintaining protein levels, preserving chromosomes and boosting antioxidant mechanisms.
The review: Given its bold claims - "rejuvenates skin 3.9 years in only seven days" - and hefty price tag (HK$5,850), we approached this serum with a mix of optimism and scepticism. Luckily, we fit the target age group of 30+ with some visible ageing we were more than happy to erase. The serum is designed for nightly use and is a little thicker than others we tried. It also has a noticeable amount of shimmer (crushed diamonds, perhaps?) that felt a bit like reapplying make-up after we had just removed it. But the serum absorbed nicely with little fragrance and provided adequate moisture on its own. After seven days, it was hard to say if we had turned back the clock a few years. We were, however, enjoying the added luxury and waking up to smooth, soft skin. TAMA LUNG