Skinceuticals HA Intensifier review

I didn’t take any chances this year.

As soon as the temperatures turned a little chilly (almost a month ago here in London!), I popped hyaluronic acid back into my skincare routine.

I learned the hard way not to wait too long: harsh weather loves to suck all the moisture out your skin and if you don’t replenish it pronto, you’re gonna sport a red and flaky complexion all winter long. No, thank you.

This winter, I’m going with Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier. Despite its drawbacks (hey, no product is perfect), it packs quite the hydrating punch. Here’s what makes it work so well:

What’s In Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier?

SOODIUM HYALURONATE TO HYDRATE SKIN

That’s the hyaluronic acid. It’s a little moisture magnet that attracts moisture from the environment into the skin and binds it there. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. That’s a lot of moisture, ladies!

All that moisture makes your skin a very happy bunny: it plumps it up, which in turn makes your fine lines and wrinkles look smaller; makes it silky soft to the touch; and gives your complexion that dewy, wet-like glow we all love so much.

Before you get too excited, hyaluronic acid is too big to penetrate skin. It stays on its surface, hydrating only the most superficial layers.

That’s why Skinceuticals has brought in reinforcements…

Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine

HYDROXYPROPYL TETRAHYDROPYRANTRIOL (PRO-XYLANE) TO BOOST Hyaluronic Acid

Did you know that hyaluronic acid is part of your skin? It’s part of the “glue” (together with collagen, elastin and other stuff) that holds your skin together and gives it firmness.

Pro-Xylane, a new ingredient developed by L’Oreal, can boost the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid, which in turn helps keep your skin firm.

This makes it a bit more powerful than your average hyaluronic acid serum.


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ALCOHOL DENAT TO ENHANCE PENETRATION

And here’s the catch…

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I try to avoid anything that has a huge dollop of alcohol in it. In high concentrations, alcohol can be irritating and dry out the skin.

There’s a workaround: if you use it with serums and moisturisers that are very emollient (and this serum is), they can counteract the dryness of the alcohol.

It worked for me: I slather on a rich moisturiser after the serum and got no side effects at all. BUT, my skin has never been sensitive. If yours is, it may be best to leave anything with this much alcohol on the shelf anyway.

In case you’re wondering, alcohol here is a penetration enhancer: it helps other ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, to better penetrate your skin, so they can work even better.

Related: What Does Alcohol-Free In Skincare Really Mean?

Texture

The watery texture is a little tacky.

Fragrance

The fragrance isn’t the best either. Skinceuticals added no separate fragrance so what you’re smelling is the odour of the ingredients – and they have a slightly vinegar vibe. Still, I’d rather put up with an unpleasant smell for a few seconds than with the risk of irritation from an artificial fragrance.

How To Use It

Morning and/or night, right before moisturiser. If you’re using anti-aging serums, apply them first.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier is purplish. I know the colour doesn’t do anything special but it’s so cool. I like unusual details like this (FYI, apparently, it’s the purple rice extract that gives the serum its colour).

The texture is a little tacky, which surprised me. I thought the alcohol would have thinned it so much, you could barely feel it on your skin. But, it absorb into my skin fast, so I can’t complain about it.

Especially because it works. My skin is still pretty firm on its own, so I didn’t see a big improvement in this department, but it definitely turned my skin’s hydration levels up a notch or two.

Even on the chilliest days (and yes, we’ve had cold, sweater days here in London), my skin stays soft and plump all day. There’s no tightness, that tell-tale sign that the cold is winning the battle.

One more thing: Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier works well with the rest of your skincare routine and makeup. It doesn’t ball or cause any problems.

I still wouldn’t recommend it to sensitive skin, but if your skin reacts well to alcohol (I know plenty of women who don’t mind using it), I think you will like it.

Related: What To Do If Your Skincare Pills (Or Balls Up)

skinceuticals ha intensifier

Who Is This For?

Almost everyone can use it, but it’s best suitable for dehydrated skin.

Who Is This NOT For?

Sensitive skin.

Packaging

A dark black bottle with a dropper applicator. Sleek and practical.

Does Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier Live Up To Its Claims?

CLAIMTRUE?
Powerful corrective serum that helps amplify skin’s hyaluronic acid levels to improve appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin texture.True.
This new serum effectively delivers surface hydration to the skin, whilst improving the appearance of crow’s feet area, nasolabial folds and marionette lines for a more refined complexion.True. It improves the appearance of wrinkles by plumping up skin. Once the hydrating effect is over, your wrinkles look as deep as before.

Price & Availability

$100.00/£90.00 at Blue Mercury, Dermstore and Look Fantastic

Do You Need It?

I wouldn’t say “need”. There are many other hyaluronic acid serums out there that do the same thing at a fraction of the cost. But if you want to try it, I think you’ll like it.

[penci_review]

Dupes & Alternatives

Ingredients

Aqua/Water, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Hydroxypropyl Tetrahydropyrantriol (Pro-Xylane), Propylene Glycol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Polysilicone-11, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dimethicone, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Octyldodecanol, Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG 16/16 Dimethicone, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Dextrin, Oryza Sativa Extract/Rice Extract, Disodium EDTA, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Hydroxide, Adenosine, Citrus Nobilis Peel Oil/Mandarin Orange Peel Oil, Limonene, T-Butyl Alcohol, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate.