There are lots of places in a skincare routine where a budget product can do the job perfectly well, but your serum often isn’t one of them; an effective, affordable serum is a rare thing. It’s no wonder, then, that a bottle of The Body Shop’s brilliant youth concentrate sells every 27 seconds.
The entire Drops of Youth range, of which youth concentrate is one of the stars, is formulated around the same quad of ingredients and, as well as the serum, includes a foaming cleanser, toner, eye cream, moisturiser, night-time mask, sheet mask, reformulated liquid peel and the new bouncy jelly mist.
As part of its launch, a trio of products from the Drops of Youth range – the new mist, the reformulated peel and the cult serum – have been rebranded for the lockdown age, emphasising their pollution clearing and blue light-fighting properties.
Now we are spending more time indoors than ever, you might expect that our skin’s exposure to environmental damage is much reduced. But indoor pollution is a problem, too. Confined to our houses, heating, ventilation, cooking, damp, dust and even the light from your phone have the potential to cause surface-level congestion (aka spots) and deep damage, leading to premature ageing and possible discolouration.
High-energy visible light (HEV light), often referred to as “blue light” are rays emitted from the screens of the devices – phones, tablets, laptops – on which we increasingly spend our days, and penetrates the skin more deeply than UV rays, in part due to how much closer its source is to our faces than the sun.
We put the new and improved range to the test to see if it lives up to expectations.
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The Drops of Youth bouncy jelly mist: £16, The Body Shop
The Drops of Youth bouncy jelly mist feels wetter and more substantial on first application than many similar hydrating sprays, and quickly absorbs and dries down to a silky, matte finish on the skin. We love it for a mid-afternoon refresh, when our skin is starting to feel dry, though we find the spritz a little too heavy to apply directly to the face, and so prefer to spray it into our hands first. If you want to spray it over make-up, make sure you hold the bottle an arm’s length away.
The formula contains a trio of plant stem cells: criste marine, sea holly and edelweiss, all of which are known for their resilience and regenerating powers in the wild. Edelweiss, sourced from the Italian Alps, is particularly interesting. The flower survives UV rays and extreme weather where it grows at altitude, and in skincare is a powerful antioxidant.
It contains leontopodic acid, which strengthens the skin’s barrier, encouraging regeneration and hydration, and reducing and soothing sensitive reactions, thus increasing your skin’s resistance to external pressures – including blue light and indoor pollution.
It also contains fair trade moringa oil, which is itself an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants, including quercetin and vitamins A, C and E, all of which further the protection against environmental aggressors offered by the Drops of Youth plant stem cell trio. Moringa oil is also a good source of amino acids and oleic acid, a fatty acid that helps restore the skin’s natural barrier and protects against moisture loss, and is a lighter weight than many other plant oils. You’ll find all these ingredients throughout the Drops of Youth range, making it a strong offering for both antioxidant protection and lasting hydration.
Drops of Youth concentrate serum: £28, The Body Shop
The cult youth concentrate serum is, of course, also a favourite. With its pipette applicator, slightly gloopy texture and excellent slip across the skin (a tiny drop goes a long way), it has the application experience of a far more expensive serum. It dries to a slightly tacky finish (which we don’t mind, as it’s rarely the final product in our routine) and feels like a fresh drink for your skin. For those who want a hydrating, protecting serum, it makes a happy two-in-one swap for hyaluronic acid and vitamin C serums, and at a very competitive price point.
Drops of Youth liquid peel: £18.50, The Body Shop
Completing the trio is the liquid peel, which has a gel-like consistency and is, curiously, massaged into dry skin. After a few seconds white peelings begin to lift away from the skin; it's quite a dramatic effect and the claim is that this is dead skin lifting away, but at least some of it will be the product itself.
The classic exfoliating ingredient in the peel is citric acid, though it's very low on the ingredients list, meaning it's included in small quantities. Skin is left soft and smooth, and it's a good option for those with sensitive skin or who are scared of the exfoliating heavyweights, but those who are after a more serious peel will find it underwhelming.
Drops of Youth eye concentrate: £20, The Body Shop
Another highlight from the range, this has a rolling metal ball applicator and a light, gel-like texture that is more like a serum than a traditional eye cream. It is gorgeously soothing and cooling – perfect on tired, irritated eyes and to alleviate morning puffiness – and leaves the skin plumped and smooth.
We also love the youth cream moisturiser (£25), which again has a light, whipped gel texture and leaves skin plump and silky smooth. It’s the perfect base for make-up.
Drops of Youth bouncy sleeping mask: £22, The Body Shop
A final favourite is the youth bouncy sleeping mask (£22), and not just for the name. We love the promise of night skincare – maximum time for the product to work on its skin, minimum effort involved – and this is a proper mask that requires rinsing off in the morning, unlike many night-time masks, which feel more like heavy moisturisers. It has a thick, jelly-like texture that you have to really dig into to break the surface; after each unceremonious scoop it magically settles into a smooth, level surface – infinitely satisfying. Skin is left brighter, nourished and glowing in the morning.
The verdict: The Body Shop Drops of Youth range
The range is a brilliant choice for skincare addicts after protection from environmental damage and bouncy, hydrated skin without the spend demanded by luxury products. The cult serum, youth concentrate, remains the star of the extended line-up, but your face will reward you for adding the new bouncy jelly mist to your cart, too. “Drops of Youth” is a bold marketing claim, but the plump, fresh, glowing skin it gives certainly helps.
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