I’ve tried quite a few products from Marks & Spencer’s own brand Formula before, but it seems that the entire skincare line has recently had a complete overhaul. Packaging, ingredients, formulations, the whole caboodle. There are six collections within the line, including “Restore” for mature skin, “Daily” for sensitive skin and “Absolute”, which is the luxury offering, featuring the very best ingredients and formulations. Blatantly, when M&S asked if I would like to trial some products from the line-up, I was immediately drawn to the sleek black packaging of the luxe-looking Absolute – I’m a total magpie when it comes to beauty with a decadent edge!
I’m also irresistibly drawn to products that have the word “sleep” in their name – so much more evocative than the word “night”, don’t you think? Calling something a night cream just gives an instruction as to when the product should be applied; upgrade to a sleep cream and you’re instantly conjuring up thoughts of a deep, cosy slumber, of bed-socks and fresh white linen and a few chapters of a good book before lights-off. A sleep cream is just so much more appealing! The promise of rest and rejuvenation, an invitation to blissfully slide into dreamland.
So when the Formula Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream arrived on my desk I was positively beside myself with excitement. Had it not been three o’ clock in the afternoon, I’d have slathered it on and jumped straight into bed. The words on the outer box promised, Skin looks like you’ve had 8 hours sleep (even when you haven’t), which I thought was rather a bold claim, but it tickled me greatly that it had been so prominently placed, especially in these days when brands are tip-toeing around their claims carefully for fear of being hauled up in front of the ASA or what have you. Go M&S! I thought.
The Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream is pitched as the power-product in the revamped line – formulated with a combination of effective peptides (to firm skin and make it more elastic as well as reducing wrinkles) and Niacinamide (brighten the skin, reduce and help prevent dark spots) along with nourishing oils and Vitamin E for moisture and softness, it really does get to work on signs of tiredness and help to build up a fresher, plumper sort of complexion.
More instantly impressive though, I feel, is the non-greasy moisture boost that this cream gives. There’s a sort of moisturiser “time-release” system that keeps on working to hydrate the skin as you sleep, and I think it’s this clever little function that truly makes knackered skin look so much better in the morning. While the wrinkle-busting, dark-spot-tackling bits and bobs in the formulation work brilliantly over time (in independent trials, 71% of women agreed that their skin appeared transformed after just two weeks), the moisture hit is immediate – my skin feels and looks more elastic in the morning, less withered and sad. (I’m resisting, with all the bones in my body, using the word plumptious. I’m on a plumptious ban. Plumptious is such a good made-up word and it perfectly describes how my skin looks after a particularly good moisture-injection, but I’ve overused it and so it’s shelved for now – though I’ve just managed to write it twice, no thrice in the last paragraph, so…)
At the same time as receiving the Ultimate Sleep Cream I was sent a Skin Priming Booster – same slick, heavy packaging, same hi-tech sort of formula that’s the calling card of the Absolute collection. The booster has been inspired by the essences that are so important in South Korean beauty regimes – a skin-prepping fluid that is applied after cleansing and before serum to sort of rebalance the skin and optimise it for the active ingredients that will follow. The idea on the whole, with essences, is that they allow greater penetration of active ingredients but can also boost hydration with just a very fine, non-greasy layer.
The Absolute Skin Priming Booster from Formula has been created with this in mind, by the looks of things – a quick step to help maximise the effects of your serum or face cream or whatever it is that you’re applying afterwards. Their version is excellent, with added AHAs to exfoliate (albeit very gently, there’s no sting or tingle) and brighten. I’ve been using the booster instead of a serum, applying a couple of pumps (you actually only need one, really, it’s very liquid!) to the palms of my hands and then press-pressing it into my skin. You can apply using cotton wool, but why waste it needlessly on cotton wool that’ll be chucked away? It’s just as quick – quicker – to apply it the traditional South Korean way.
I’ll admit that the booster and the sleep cream have been enough for me, in terms of moisture – I think that a serum in-between would have tipped me over the edge, my face would have been like a living waterbed! Definitely a great little duo for those who are teetering onto the dry side as the weather gets colder – I’ve even been using the sleep cream as a day cream on my no-makeup days when I’m hunkered down in my garden studio. And, despite their luxury lean, they’re both brilliantly priced – the Formula Absolute Skin Priming Booster is £19 here and the Ultimate Sleep Cream is £22 here, both from Marks and Spencer online and M&S stores.
I’m looking forward to trying more bits from the line – let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions!
*this post has been sponsored by Marks and Spencer.