DR. SAM'S FLAWLESS SKINCARE
It's quite rare that I test out a brand whose entire collection of products exceeds expectations, but that's exactly what happened with Dr. Sam's Flawless Skincare. These elevated essentials slipped seamlessly into my testing routine, and my skin responded both quickly and positively. A few products in particular really stood out - more on that below!
The folks at Dr. Sam's were kind enough to send over their full range which includes a water-soluble cleanser, nighttime serum, sunscreen, lip balm, and two moisturizers. The products are all formulated without fragrance, dyes, essential oils, or mineral oil, and most of them would work for all skin types. Uniquely though, Dr. Sam has explained that she wanted to create a line of products that would offer both anti-blemish and 'anti-aging' benefits. I'd say she's definitely succeeded.
One of my favorite elements of the collection are the product textures. The use of various silicones is obvious - everything feels soft, silky, and smooth - but I never get that dreaded 'suffocated' feeling on my skin. Instead these are products that work well as a system, but also play nicely with other brands - so long as you apply them in an agreeable manner.
The overall product pricing is quite reasonable too, given the quality of the formulas and the integrity of the airtight jarless packaging. All of the pumps allow for precise application of product which is a detail that I really appreciate.
I was expecting the clinical nature of the brand to come across as bland, but instead the product performance and ease of application feels effortless and worthwhile. Everything just works as it should.
PS: American readers can click here for a currency converter!
This is the product that launched the brand, and has since developed a loyal following. It's one of those "perfect" cleansers that's balanced, non-drying, refreshing, and gentle.
Applied on dry skin, there's enough slip to break down daily grime, sunscreen, and light makeup, but I wouldn't replace my balm or oil cleansers with this. Applied on damp skin, this cleanser has a surprisingly low lather, and only becomes "foamy" when an excessive amount of water is added. This results in a cleanse that rinses clean, but doesn't pull moisture from the skin afterwards.
This is definitely a cleanser that would work well for most skin types, save for perhaps extremely dry or those who just prefer something greasier. With a skin-friendly pH of 5.0, this won't strip or irritate either, and I've definitely found that to be the case. The pump application and bottle size make it truly ideal as a daily, straightforward, uncomplicated facial cleanser. Definitely one of the products I'd start out with!
Aqua (Water), PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Poloxamer 188, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Disodium EDTA, BHT.
£16 for 200mL (6.8 fl oz)
Available from Dr. Sam's
FLAWLESS NIGHTLY SERUM
The Flawless Nightly Serum takes a powerful and complete approach to treatment. It combines 10% niacinamide with 2% retinol ester (our friend Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate!), *and* 1% retinol-alternative Bakuchiol. Plus 5% azelaic acid for even more tone-evening goodness. This ingredient blend makes this serum ideal for someone who is battling existing blemishes, pesky post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks and/or things like loss of firmness, sun damage, and fine lines. What makes this serum unique is its ability to tackle all of those concerns simultaneously. It's definitely a potent formula though, so extremely sensitive skins (especially if you can't tolerate strong topical vitamin B3) should keep this in mind.
The texture of this serum is thin and has a gel-like silkiness that absorbs evenly into the skin, leaving behind a plush finish. It can have a tendency to 'pill up' and 'roll' if left alone, so I like to apply my creams and oils before the serum has had a chance to set. I've found one pump of product covers my whole face and half of my neck, so I tend to use two pumps to include my entire neck and chest.
After a few weeks of testing, I noticed an improvement in skin smoothness and an increased feeling of firmness and strength. Most remarkably though, was the look of clarity and brightness the following morning. Throughout my trial period I tended to use this serum on alternating nights rather than nightly in case my skin didn't agree with a strong niacinamide + strong retinoid together, but I never noticed any dryness or peeling. I did, however, begin to see an almost immediate improvement in my skin after the first few uses.
*Keep in mind that applying the Flawless Moisturiser on top of this serum introduces another 5% niacinamide so some may want to aim for a less 'active' moisturizer depending on your skin type and concerns.
In all this is a knockout formula that has the ability to address a multitude of skin concerns in a single step. If your skin can handle it and it meets your needs, this is definitely a standout product in Dr. Sam's line!
Aqua (Water/Eau), Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Azelaic Acid, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Bakuchiol, Tapioca Starch, Benzyl Alcohol, Allantoin, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Polymethylsilsesquioxane.
£39 for 30mL (1 fl oz)
Available from Dr. Sam's
Flawless Moisturiser is the product that first made me want to write a review. And frankly, it takes a lot for a moisturizer to stand out amongst the many that I'm testing at any given time. The texture is creamy and balmy but thins out tremendously as its applied. Once absorbed, it sort of "hugs" the skin, and leaves behind an incredibly cushiony finish. With 5% niacinamide, hydrating sugars, hyaluronic acid, and Vitamin B5, I think this is great for someone who frankly just "wants a good moisturizer," and isn't particularly acne-prone.
This formula contains quite a bit of Shea Butter - it's the second ingredient - so keep that in mind if you know it clogs your pores. Other than that, this is a dreamy, creamy, plush moisturizer that feels wonderful to apply and really feels like it's getting the job done. I've especially loved using it at nighttime.
If you're also using a facial oil in your ritual, be sure to apply it before this cream has a chance to set, otherwise the silicones may pill up. You can also combat this by spritzing over the moisturizer with facial mist, then pressing the oil on top.
By the way, two pumps is enough product to cover my face, neck, and chest. This cream is buildable, and layers nicely on areas where my skin is particularly dry. I'll even take an extra half pump for my eye area because of how nourishing it feels. We love an all-in-one!
Aqua (Water/Eau), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Propanediol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Panthenol, Xylitylglucoside, Polysilicone-11, Stearic Acid, Anhydroxylitol, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xylitol, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citric Acid.
£25 for 50mL (1.7 fl oz)
Available from Dr. Sam's
FLAWLESS MOISTURISER LIGHT
Somewhere between a light gel-cream and a hydrating primer, Flawless Moisturiser Light has normal to combination skins covered. It absorbs almost instantly, leaving behind a softly blurred effect. Compared to the classic Flawless Moisturiser the Light version is significantly less dense and doesn't have the same occlusive quality, but does leave the skin feeling equally as smooth. My normal to dry and always dehydrated skin needs a hydrating serum underneath or an oil on top depending on the day, but those with more normal to combination skin may not find these steps necessary. Oily skin types will appreciate the airy nature of this cream's texture.
It's worth noting that the classic Flawless Moisturiser has 5% niacinamide while this Light version doesn't contain any niacinamide at all. From what I can gather, the Flawless Moisturiser is recommended for daytime use under sunscreen, while the Light Moisturiser is recommended for nighttime use over the Flawless Nightly Serum. I guess this explains why the Light version is solely focused on hydration. In a dream world I'd love to see a version that includes the 5% Niacinamide, because I personally prefer the Light Moisturiser for daytime use underneath the sunscreen!
Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Propanediol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Panthenol, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Carbomer, Xylitylglucoside, Polysilicone-11, Stearic Acid, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Anhydroxylitol, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xylitol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Phytosphingosine, Cholesterol, Xanthan Gum, Ceramide EOP, Citric Acid.
£22 for 50mL (1.7 fl oz)
Available from Dr. Sam's
FLAWLESS DAILY SUNSCREEN SPF 50
What I like most about this sunscreen is its finish. It's definitely a satin matte (likely thanks to the zinc), but it has that gorgeous "sunscreen glow" from the octinoxate which I think looks incredible. Coupled with the smoothing nature of the creamy, lotion-like texture and you've got yourself a really damn good daily sunscreen. Plus the addition of 5% Niacinamide offers a reparative vitamin boost that will help your sunscreen further protect your skin from oxidative damage.
According to their website, Flawless Daily Sunscreen contains 11.8% Zinc Oxide and 7% Octinoxate to deliver a Broad Spectrum SPF 50. Though this sunscreen goes on slightly (and I mean slightly) white to start, it dries down to an almost completely translucent finish. On my light-medium skintone the effect is subtly brightening, but deeper skintones may want to do a patch test first.
While certainly not drying, I personally need to apply a hydrating serum and cream underneath for extra moisture, but those with combination or oily skins could get away with just a thin layer of Flawless Moisturiser Light or even nothing at all.
Aqua (Water), Zinc Oxide (nano), Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Niacinamide, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Squalane, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Polysorbate 60, 1,2-Hexanediol, Disodium EDTA, Isostearic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbitan Isostearate, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Citric Acid.
£29 for 50mL (1.7 fl oz)
Available from Dr. Sam's
I didn't read the ingredient list before I tried Flawless Lip and was perplexed by its simplicity: lanolin and ceramide NP. An occlusive to trap moisture and a lipid-replenishing essential, yet somehow the texture and performance feels so much more advanced.
Maybe it's because I've never really used a purely lanolin-based balm before, or maybe it's because this is just a case of streamlined efficacy. Either way this is a rich, nourishing balm that doesn't move around or get gunky as it wears on the lips. It leaves the lips feeling comforted and repaired, but not slippery or overly glossy. Perfect for overnight use or early in the morning to soften lips before makeup application. I appreciate that this balm is petrolatum and mineral oil free, as it means I'm less likely to get clogged pores around my lips. It's also great for spot treating dry or itchy patches of skin, which for me has been on my elbows.
If you have a lip balm you already swear by, this may not be as essential as other products in the Dr. Sam's line, but certainly one to consider if you haven't found one you like yet OR you just appreciate when a lip balm is done well.
Lanolin, Ceramide NP
£12 for 15mL (0.5 fl oz)
Available from Dr. Sam's