Whenever I think I’ve got my skincare routine all figured out, my skin goes and throws me a curveball.
Take last winter. When the first gusts of freezing winter winds hit my skin, they suck all the moisture out of it. My skin flaked like crazy. And got so sensitive, even my trusted holy grails irritated it.
Or that time of the month. My hormones are all over the place and never fail to give me a pimple or two.
And so, the search for new skincare products that can deal with these new issues starts all over again…
It’s terribly frustrating, isn’t it? That’s why I was so excited about skincare boosters when they started making their appearance last year.
Word has it, they help you customize your skincare routine to deal with this kind of emergencies. I had to give them a go and see what all the fuss is about.
So, what’s the deal with skincare boosters? Do they work or are they just another creative way for skincare brands to steal our hard earned money?
What The Heck Are Skincare Boosters?
Skincare boosters are highly concentrated concoctions that target one specific skincare woe. There are boosters to add extra moisture to the skin, boosters to get rid of dark spots, boosters to deal with wrinkles…
The whole idea here is that your skin changes all the time. It can get drier in winter, oilier in summer, get pimples when you’re on your period, develop wrinkles as you get older…
A booster is there to supercharge your skincare routine, creating just the right concoction your skin needs at any particular moment.
How Are Skincare Boosters Different From Serums?
Serums and boosters are close cousins. They both contain high concentrations of active ingredients, but a lot less (if any!) thickeners, emulsifiers, and all that other stuff that gives moisturizers their richer textures.
But boosters are even more concentrated than serums, so they work that little bit faster.
If you’ve found a serum that works wonders for you, there’s no need to get a booster too. A booster is for those times when your skin needs that little bit of extra help your usual skincare routine can’t give it.
What Are The Pros Of Using A Booster?
- DIY skincare: you can easily create your own DIY skincare products and transform you fave moisturizer into a super powerful anti-aging or anti-blemishes weapon.
- Bespoke daily skincare: you get to choose the strength of the treatment every time you use it. The more drops you use, the more powerful it is.
- An extra helping hand: thanks to their high concentration of active ingredients, they’ll help you fix any new skin woe faster than other skincare products.
What Are The Cons Of Using A Booster?
- Diluted efficacy: when you mix your skincare booster with any other skincare products, you dilute it. That means, it’ll take longer to work.
- Expensive: they usually come in smaller bottles and tubes that are priced almost as much as or even more than full-size serums and moisturizers.
How Are You Supposed To Use A Skincare Booster?
If you’ve decided you need a booster after all, here’s what you need to know to work it into your skincare routine:
- You can use a booster alone or mix it with your fave serum or moisturizer (never with sunscreen – you’ll just dilute it!).
- If you want to mix it with another product, pour a small amount of booster on your hand and add one or two drops of booster (the more drops you’ll use, the more powerful – and potentially irritating – the concoction you’re making is).
- The sooner you apply the booster, the better. For best results, pat it on after exfoliant or toner but always before serum.
- Most boosters can be used both morning and night. The exceptions? Vitamin C and retinol. High doses can irritate skin if it’s not used to them, so use them only every other night.
What Are The Best Skincare Boosters?
Ready to invest in a skincare booster? Here are my fave for every skin concern:
Best For Brightening Skin: Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder ($39.00)
This tiny little bottom of awesomeness contains 99.8% topical vitamin C powder, antioxidants, amino acids, aloe, and a few minerals. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-aging superstar that brightens dull skin, reduces dark spots, boosts collagen production, and even prevents wrinkles. This diva throws a tantrum whenever it’s exposed to light and air. When that happens, it loses a bit of its effectiveness. To avoid that, keep the bottle in its box and only use the exact amount of drops you need for each application. But don’t go crazy. One or two drops are more than enough. High doses can burn the skin! Available at Sephora.
Best For Dry Skin: Dr Dennis Gross Clinic Concentration Hydration Booster ($68.00)
When your skin needs some extra moisture, there’s only one guy to turn to: sodium hyaluronate. This guy can attract, and bind, to the skin up to 1000 times its weight in water. Your skin can’t get more moisture than that! What sets this serum apart is the addition of skin-repairing ceramides, soothing evening primrose extract and a bunch of wrinkle-preventing antioxidants. Dr Gross has really thought of everything! Available at Sephora.
Best For Treating Sun Damage: Paula’s Choice Resist 1% Retinol Booster ($52.00)
This serum has one of the highest concentrations of retinol you’ll find OTC. Yep, retinol is so powerful, even a 1% concentration packs a punch. So, what does it do? It accelerates cellular turnover and boosts collagen production, two things that help get rid of wrinkles. It also reduces dark spots and treats acne. Plus, the booster is also full of soothing and hydrating goodies to keep skin soft and supple and reduce inflammation. Available at Paula’s Choice.
Best For Sensitive Skin: Paula’s Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster ($42.00)
When you have sensitive skin, it’s incredibly hard to find anti-aging skincare products that don’t bother your skin. This booster is loaded with anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe irritations, antioxidants to prevent wrinkles, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin. But the star here is niacinamide: it reduces wrinkles and dark spots, hydrates skin, soothes inflammation, and even treats acne! Available at Paula’s Choice.
The Bottom Line
Skin boosters are those friends you call in your hour of need. Even if you haven’t kept in touch for ages, when you need them they’re always there to lend your skin a helping hand. If your skincare routine could need a boost, give them a call.
Do you use skincare boosters? Which ones are your favourites?