Reader Review: Hydrators

Welcome to our Beauticate Reviewers “Beauticaters” section. We have chosen 15 lucky readers from around Australia to test and report back on a range of products (across all budgets) within selected beauty categories. And what a varied bunch of Beauticaters we have - from a doctor to a dermal aesthetician, an actress to a nutritionist; they come from all walks but with a common goal – to trial and report on the best beauty finds on the block - so you don’t have to.  

Beauticate loves...January Jones by Ben hassett for violet grey

Beauticate loves...January Jones by Ben hassett for violet grey

To kick off our reviews, we thought we’d go back to basics and look at one of the basic building blocks of skincare – moisturiser. So who better than to test out dermal thirst quenchers than our desert-based Beauticater Allanah Jansons from Alice Springs worked her way through a selection of hardworking hydrators. Here’s what she had to say… 

“It’s usually around this time of the year that I start declaring at least twice a day, “Okay, I need summer now!” As someone who lives in the heart of the Outback you may think my whining is unwarranted because our winters are more like English summers… guess again. When nightly temperatures dip into the minuses and it’s too cold to stand in the sun, you start praying for those 45 degree summer days (which says a lot because they’re not fun either). My skin is crying out for moisture louder than the vast stretches of sand around me so I was grateful for the following products – they made the season at least bearable.”


I’m now convinced that the nutrient-rich “Miracle Broth” that infuses La Mer’s Hydrating Facial is without a doubt, one of the most powerful ways to hydrate and regenerate lacklustre winter skin. The spa-inspired cotton mask needs to be left on for eight minutes and unlike other masks that can leave your skin feeling tight after rinsing, once you remove The Hydrating Facial you simply massage any excess into the skin. It left my skin supple and radiant, and transformed my patchy, thirsty complexion. Not that I needed any more confirmation but when my boyfriend declared, “Wow, your skin looks amazing”, it really sealed the deal. 


Practical Magic – PCA skin hydrator plus 


If you’ve noticed your skin getting drier over the winter months but you’re not quite willing to part with your preferred moisturiser, PCA Skin’s Hydrator Plus might just solve all your problems. I was a bit hesitant to add the Hydrator Plus into my morning beauty routine, as it contains high concentrations of zinc oxide that are renowned for their greasiness and whitish tint (hello cricket pitch). Instead, I found the fragrance-free moisturiser sunk into my skin and went undetected under my usual primer and foundation. The only difference was that my skin felt and looked noticeably more hydrated. For those with dry and/or sensitive skin, this product is a perfect way to add some moisture and extra SPF but may feel too heavy for those with oily skin if you are already using a hydrating product. And when the weather heats up, I’ll be combining the hydrator plus with foundation for dewy, sun-smart coverage.


Packaged in a beautiful light-blue frosted bottle, the HYDRA-GOBAL moisturiser by Sisley is surprisingly hydrating for a cream that feels so weightless and is absorbed so quickly. One of the things I was most impressed with was how firm my skin appeared after only a few days of using the product day and night. Being in my early 20s, firmness hasn’t ever been a concern of mine, so I found myself in front of the mirror in awe wondering, “What is it about my skin that seems so much better?” Besides the improved elasticity and hydration, my skin appeared less irritated, smoother and radiant. The HYDRA-GLOBAL didn’t clog my pores and due to it’s texture, would be perfect for those of all skin types. The numerous botanical extracts smell so divine you’ll almost believe it’s spring – and by the way your skin looks you might just believe it. 


There is something so nourishing about Aspect’s Super Moisturising Complex. Perhaps it is the fact that Aspect don’t use parabens, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulphate, propylene glycol or mineral oils, so the ingredients they have are much more concentrated. Or maybe it’s the warm notes of spice and citrus that envelope you upon use… This heavier cream comes in an easy-to-use and mess-free push button dispenser, and is the perfect anecdote for parched and/or aging skin. For intense hydration use it day and night, otherwise use it solely at night to wake up with revitalised, smooth skin. 


Sometimes it’s just our problem areas that need a little bit more TLC. So if the bags under your eyes are looking more like those from your local grocer than a Chanel 2.55, showing them a little love is a sure-fire way to turn things around. A closer look in the mirror than usual revealed a few lines I was relatively unaware of (or perhaps just in denial about). I was fairly shocked when the morning after first using one capsule my eye area looked so good I decided to skip my usual highlighting concealer (and I still haven’t used it since). Bonus points are also given as one capsule goes a surprisingly long way – sometimes getting me three uses from the one bud. Sold. 


I liked that this lightweight formula comes in several variations depending on your skin condition (dry, normal/combination) and can be used morning and/or night. Although the Hydrationist is soothing, it may not be suitable for those with particularly dehydrated skin as it didn’t penetrate deep into my thirsty dermis. However, it could work wonders for those who just need to ease dry skin on a superficial level without the heaviness of some other moisturisers. One of the most alluring aspects of the product is the scent – clean and fresh, it transported me back to my first memories of playing makeup at my friend’s mother’s house. There is something synonymous with mothers and Estee Lauder, and we all know our mums know best, so this feels like a safe option. 


The Dark Horse - Arcona Magic Dry Ice

Since Sephora launched in Australia, one of their brands, Arcona seems to have exploded onto the scene. Founded in L.A., Arcona had its beginnings in the luxury spa industry before expanding into readily accessible cosmeceuticals. Made without preservatives, the products are processed in small batches and most come with an expiry date, which is testament to the organic active ingredients and absence of chemical stabilizers, parabens, sulphates or dyes. The Magic Dry Ice is a daily moisturiser suitable for day and evening use. Super lightweight, one pump goes a long way and it left my skin calm, hydrated and glowing. Despite its hydrating abilities, the formula isn’t greasy so would work just as effectively in the warmer months. I was seriously impressed. Arcona is a brand I will most definitely be looking at in the future. 


Best Beauty Balm – Dr. Jart+ Bounce Beauty Balm

It sounds like a bad joke, but what do you get when you put 21 Korean dermatologists in the one room? Apparently one of the world’s best BB creams. Dr.Jart+ was founded in Korea in 2005 where women are renowned for their 12-step beauty regimes and super-hydrated, egg-shell worthy skin. The country did bring us BB and CC creams after all - Dr.Jart’s being one of which has been elevated to an almost cult-like status after it’s success in 2006. This product definitely delivers; my skin appeared smoother, radiant and even-toned without heavy coverage or any flakiness that can make itself apparent in this cooler weather when foundation is applied. Truth be told, my skin hasn’t looked quite so dewy and radiant since two summers ago. Now if only I had the same tan… 


Story by Allanah Jansons