Since moving to the big city three years ago, I had to up my anti-pollution game. London is 10x more polluted than Senigallia, my beautiful hometown, so the threat here is a lot more serious.
It’s not just the smog I inhale on a daily basis or the soot that settles under my nails throughout a day out and about in the city. Pollution also attacks my skin with free radicals, the nasty buggers that give you wrinkles and dark spots.
There’s only one way to fight back: antioxidants, antioxidants and more antioxidants. You know my thoughts on them: you can never get enough.
A separate antioxidant serum is a must imo, but that’s not an excuse to skimp on antioxidants in the rest of your skincare routine. You know moisturisers, masks etc.
That’s why I’m so glad to see drugstore brands pimping their skincare with an extra dose of antioxidants. Case in point: Nivea Urban Skin. This small range uses the power of antioxidants, like green tea, to help us city girls protect our skin from urban enemy #1, pollution.
Here are my thoughts on this range:
Urban Skin Defence +48H Moisture Boost Day Cream SPF 20
First things first: all the products in this range (at least, the ones I’ve tried) have alcohol. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know this is an ingredient I’ve avoided for ages but in the past couple of years, my stance on it has softened.
Why? Most of the old studies I was basing my opinion on were done on people drinking alcohol. New studies show that when you put alcohol on your skin, instead, it’s not as drying. Turns out, how you get your fix matters.
While I still firmly stand behind my belief that alcohol-laden toners that have alcohol and little else do no good to the skin, the new evidence shows that, when properly formulated with antioxidants and emollients, alcohol isn’t bad for your skin (unless you have an allergy to it or something).
Cool? Ok. Let’s move on.
Nivea Urban Skin Defence +48H Moisture Boost Day Cream SPF 20 (what a mouthful!) also has glycerin and hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate skin and SPF to boost your sunscreen’s protection (yep, it’s not smart to rely only on moisturisers for sun protection, ladies!)
But the stars of the show (or should I say, of the moisturiser?) are licorice extract and green tea, two powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. They destroy free radicals before they can wreak their havoc on your skin and soothe inflammations and irritations (another cause of premature aging).
I’m not sure I’d call it a cream, though. Its green texture’s more like a gel. It’s very lightweight and absorbs instantly – perfect for combo and oily skin. Now the weather’s a bit warmer, it’s more than enough to keep my skin soft and hydrated all day but in the colder winter months, when my skin gets drier, I’d probably need something richer.
It also sits well under makeup. Granted, I’m not wearing much of it now. Being a skincare junkie means I said goodbye to full coverage foundations ages ago. These days, I either go foundation free (I just wear a touch of concealer here and there) or go with a very sheer formula. This cream works well with those.
Urban Skin Detox +48H Moisture Boost Night Gel Cream
Nivea Urban Skin Detox +48H Moisture Boost Night Gel Cream is upping the antioxidant game. It has double the antioxidants as the day cream. The four musketeers are green tea extract, licorice extract, isoquercetin and glucosylrutinYou don’t have to know what they are. Suffice to say they kick free radicals in the butt and kill them before they can destroy collagen, elastin and all the stuff that keeps your skin young and firm.
Texture-wise, there’s not much difference. The night cream has a green colour, a lightweight gel consistency and absorbs within seconds too. And nope, it doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue.
Another thing they have in common? Glycerin and hyaluronic acid. This duo keeps my skin soft and hydrated all night while the antioxidants do their wrinkle-fighting job.
This one is better suited for combo to oily skin too. If you have dry skin, you may get away with only this in the colder summer months but in winter, I’d pair it with an oil.
Related: How Green Tea Fights Premature Aging
1 Minute Urban Detox Mask
Anyone else hates the mud colour of clay masks or I’m the only weirdo here? I know they look like mud because they contain mud but they’re sooooo messy. More often than not, I don’t bother with clay masks because I can’t deal with the mess.
Nivea 1 Minute Urban Detox Mask is different. It’s green. I know it’s a gimmick and it doesn’t impact its performance but gosh, it feels so good not to see that mud all over my sink. This is a lot less messy. We’re off to a great start here.
The clay’s here is kaolin. It absorbs excess oil and other impurities from your skin, leaving it matte and clean. Yep, this one is for oily-skinned girls, too.
That’s not all this mask does. It has cellulose beads to exfoliate your skin. You know I’m partial to chemical exfoliation but when you only have a minute in the morning, a multitasking product like this is more practical. Plus, the beads are gentle on the skin so they don’t scratch it or irritate it.
I massage the mask on my t-zone for one minute right after cleansing. I wash it off quickly (no mess!). When I’m done, my skin is softer to the touch, shine-free yet with a subtle glow.
With that, I mean that the mask has absorbed all the excess oil on my t-zone (without drying it out) so it doesn’t look like a shiny frying pan anymore. But exfoliation has brought to the surface the newer, brighter cells that were hiding underneath, making my skin look like it was lit from within.
And isn’t that what we all want?
How do you protect your skin from pollution? Share your anti-pollution skincare routine in the comments below.
Urban Skin Defence Day Cream SPF 20 Ingredients: Aqua, Octocrylene, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Alcohol Denat., Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Methylpropanediol, Distarch Phosphate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Carbomer, Dimethiconol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Trisodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Benzyl Alcohol, BHT, Parfum, CI 47005, CI 42090
Urban Skin Detox Night Gel Cream Ingredients: Aqua, Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Distarch Phosphate, Methylpropanediol, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Glucosylrutin, Isoquercitrin, Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Sodium Polyacrylate, Trisodium EDTA, Dimethiconol, Sodium Hydroxide, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Benzyl Alcohol, Parfum, CI 47005, CI 42090
1 Minute Urban Detox Mask Ingredients: Aqua, Kaolin, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cellulose, Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract, Glyceryl Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Dimethicone, Trisodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Citronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene, Parfum, CI 77891, CI 42090, CI 47005