I’ll hold my hands up straight away and admit to you that I had to make a little leap of faith in order to start using Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold. Although I trust Michelle Doherty and Tom Ogden from Alpha-H unreservedly when it comes to skin advice, it still took a little persuading to get me to give up my night-cream and swap it for a quick wipe of tingly Glycolic Acid three times a week!
So why did it take me so long to try out Liquid Gold? Conventions. Beauty traditions. We’re told we need to moisturise at night to keep wrinkles at bay and so that is what I have always done. The thought of sweeping a cotton wool pad soaked in Glycolic Acid (just the word ‘acid’ is a no-no!) over my skin and forgoing moisturiser?! It’s horrendous! Surely my skin will thin out, get dry and flaky and tight? Surely if I do this on a regular basis, I won’t be moisturising enough and the wrinkles will pop out more quickly?!
Absolutely not, say Michelle and Tom of Alpha-H. The Glycolic acid in the Liquid Gold works in many different ways to improve the tone, texture and long-term condition of the skin far better than any simple moisturiser could ever hope to. Firstly, the glycolic acid drops the PH of the skin overnight so that the skin has to work hard to raise it back up – this gives the skin a huge workout and leaves it tighter and firmer in the morning. The acid loosens dead skin cells from the skin’s surface which makes the skin look more radiant and bright anyway, but it also increases the skin’s own production of hyaluronic acid (an agent which helps ‘trap’ moisture into the skin) and Collagen. So, on the whole Moisturiser vs Glycolic Acid front, the Glycolic is the equivalent of taking your skin for a full-on gym session followed by a hearty, healthy, re-fuelling lunch whereas the moisturiser, if you’ll excuse the very crap analogy, is the equivalent of reading the Sunday papers in a towelling robe sat by the pool in the spa area.
That’s not to say that using a moisturiser is pointless – it’s a wonderful thing and we do need it to make sure our moisture levels are good for our skin to look and feel great… I suppose what I’m saying is this: if we only ever visited the gym to sit by the pool and chill then we’d be happy and relaxed, content, pampered. We’d grow old gracefully and accept our body changes. Get slack and a little saggy. But much better in the long-run to be doing some skin ‘gym sessions’, no? Toning it up a bit, re-fuelling it, fine-tuning it, making it do some work? Especially when the only actual effort required involved wiping some wet cotton wool over your face! (I’m not saying that you can’t ever sit by the pool – you can do it every day if you like, slather on that moisturiser every morning! Just make sure that you get a few sessions a week in with that stair-climber and weights machine. OK, analogy over now, I got slightly carried away.)
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and here are my results. (Bear in mind, please, that I had excellent skin to start with – and I’m not boasting, just being frank.) Usage and results: applied with a cotton wool pad – just a small amount of the liquid poured onto it soaked the pad enough for a full application. Swept over entire face, neck and chest area, avoiding eyes and lips. There was a slight tingling upon application and a tightening feeling. Nothing uncomfortable, but it is, I suppose, a strange sensation at night when you’re used to slathering on cool, juicy moisturiser! Smooth, firm skin the morning after treatment, reduced pore size, increased brightness and radiance. Long-term results (I have been using this since May) are that I have been almost entirely blemish-free and I have hardly needed to use any foundation, ever. My pores look smaller, my skin looks clearer and brighter. I’ll tell you that it still feels weird, even after all of these months, not using a moisturiser on my ‘Liquid Gold’ nights, but my skin looks and feels great!
I really believe that my skin has always benefitted from regular exfoliation of the non-mechanical kind. So I’m not talking ‘scrubs’ here, I’m referring to enzymes and exfoliating agents, things that take off the dead cells without having to scratch or traumatise the skin. Products containing effective levels of enzymes or exfoliating acids – whether in the form of a mask, a face-wash or diluted in a moisturiser, I have always performed some kind of regular exfoliation. The difference with the Liquid Gold, I suppose, is that it’s a straightforward injection of glycolic into the skin – no moisturiser to dilute the effects. The instructions state that you can follow Liquid Gold with a moisturiser, but Tom and Michelle recommend that you don’t – it raises the PH of the skin and basically counterbalances the effects of the glycolic.
Some points to note:
1) I haven’t ‘given up’ any part of my regime – all other skincare is ‘as normal’ but I use the Liquid Gold every other night. I don’t feel as though I’m ‘missing out’ on my usual night creams and I have continued to use my usual eye creams.
2) I don’t use any other form of exfoliation on my ‘Liquid Gold Day’. No enzyme peels, cleansers, Clarisonic – I think that mixing exfoliants is never a good idea – the skin can only take so much!
3) The Liquid Gold tingles. It’s not a painful sensation, and I would say that if you feel anything more than a mild sting then discontinue use. It shouldn’t be painful! Some people will be more sensitive than others, so if you feel any sensitivity then perhaps start gently by applying a nice moisturiser after the Liquid Gold or by using the Liquid Gold serum which is a different glycolic formula.
Liquid Gold has become, without a doubt, one of my top “can’t live without” (HATE that phrase!) products. I’m almost scared not to use it now in case something dreadful happens and I age by twenty years overnight! I love that I can still use (and test!) whatever products I want for most of the time and then just have to do this one simple act of wiping some liquid onto my face every other night!
Liquid Gold is £33.50 for a whacking great 100ml bottle. You can get at Cult Beauty here.