I will be the first to admit that I had never heard of Alessandra Steinherr before her collaboration with Primark, but the way the beauty world buzzed about this launch meant I knew I had to find out. If, like me, you are a little late to the party, Alex has been a beauty journalist for over fifteen years including a ten years stint as beauty editor for GLAMOUR magazine. She now has a 183K follower count on Instagram and has her own beauty blog which seems to centre mostly around skin care. In other words, this woman knows what she is talking about.
The aim of her collaboration with Primark was to bring good quality skin care to everybody. It wasn’t just about it being affordable, it was about it being good and accessible. In interviews I have read, Alex states that this was a full on collaboration that has taken two years. She has been involved in every part of the process and hasn’t just stuck her name on some products. That was all I needed to hear. I was wandering around my local Penneys in Dundrum, spotted the stand and was at the till with five products in a matter of minutes. It seems I got lucky as I have heard the products have become a lot more elusive since then but I was greeted with a fairly full stand.
There are twenty products in the range, divided into five categories: Plump & Glow, Maximum Moisture, Pollution Solution, Pore Balance and Sleep Spa. All products are cruelty-free, vegan and fragrance-free and contain no parabens, phtalates, essential oils or sulfates. I am lucky enough to have pretty normal skin since having Indie so I dipped into a few different categories within the range.
The first product that caught my eye was the Super Detox Clay Mousse Face Mask (€6) from the Pore Balance range. While my skin is normal, I sometimes feel like my pores get clogged from wearing makeup and I love a good clay mask to draw out impurities. The fact that this is labelled a ‘clay mousse’ mask really intrigued me as it sounded quite unique.
The mask is a light green-grey colour, is lightweight in texture and has no discernible scent. I know the range is labelled ‘fragrance-free’ but sometimes that can mean the products have an unmasked chemical scent while this smells like nothing at all.
The official blurb claims that the mask:
– is a high performance purifying and balancing deep skin cleanse
– latches on to dirt, unclogs pores and targets imperfections to help prevent future breakouts
– contains Kaolin Clay (which has natural absorbency properties to soak up excess oils), Niacinamide Charcoal (which reduces redness and the appearance of large pores) and Raspberry Leaf (which is said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, making it ideal for acne prone skin).
A few pumps of the mask covered my entire face and while I didn’t find it reminiscent of a mousse in any way, I found it spread easier than some other, thicker clay masks I have used in the past. This mask is to be left on for twenty minutes, in which time it hardens and then can be washed off. I love clay masks because usually you can see darker spots where impurities have been drawn out of the skin. With this mask, there are no darker spots but if you look very closely in a mirror, you can see tiny bumps where that has occurred. I could feel some blackheads and congestion on my nose and chin before I used the mask for the first time and after one use, they had completely gone which really impressed me.
I found the mask washed off very easily with a face cloth (which I always use to remove masks) but was quite messy when I attempted to wash it off with only my hands after my second use.
Overall, after using it twice, I am a huge fan. If you suffer from congested skin and blackheads, I definitely think this is worth a look and at a great price-point too!
I had just finished my Garnier Micellar Water which I constantly repurchase so when I spotted the Micellar Cleansing Gel (€6) from the Maximum Moisture range, I decided to give it a go instead. The Garnier water retails for €7.69 for the big 400ml bottle so these are similar enough in value. While my skin is normal, I love a glow so I am always trying to hydrate and moisturise as much as possible.
This clear gel, again, has no scent.
The blurb claims this:
– is a multi-tasking, every day cleanser
– gently removes impurities & light makeup, leaving skin soft and replenished
– contains a moisture complex and fig extract (which is an emollient that leaves skin soft and smooth)
I usually use a micellar water as part of my cleansing routine. I would start with a makeup wipe to take off the heavy makeup, before going in with micellar water to remove the rest and then an acidic toner like Pixi Glow Tonic or Alpha-H Liquid Gold.
To truly test the gel, I decided to try to remove all of my makeup with it as a first step. I wouldn’t usually do that but I wanted to experiment. I was only wearing foundation, concealer , mascara, brows and a red lip that day. The bottle claims it removes ‘light makeup’ so I thought it was a fair trial as it wasn’t a full face for me. I was impressed with how much it erased. The only real issue was around my eyes where I had powdered so if you had a full powdered face, it may not be as effective.
After my initial experiment, I added it to my regular routine in place of micellar water and have found it just as effective BUT (and it’s a big but!) the gel leaves your skin so sticky. I can’t even express how sticky!
I mean, this sticky! It is definitely a level that is too uncomfortable to live with. So as not to waste it, I have been using it and then going in with a regular micellar water afterwards to take the tackiness away. It is just so bizarre to me that it has gone into production with such a side effect. I cannot recommend it.
The next product that piqued my interest was the Overnight Lip Mask (€5) from the Sleep Spa range. I constantly have some sort of product on my lips. It is always Carmex at night or on no-makeup days, and some sort of lipstick or gloss during the day. If I go a few hours with nothing on my lips, they get painfully dry and chapped so a good lip product is a must for me. The words ‘sleep spa’ and ‘lip mask’ really sold me. This sounded lush.
This is said to:
– be an intensive restoring balm
– nourish, soften and protect against dryness
– contain Hyaluronic Acid (which alleviates dry skin and reduces the appearance of lines), Willowherb (which is said to be effective against acne-bacteria, as well as being anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-viral, cleansing and soothing discomfort) and Chamomile (which soothes and reduces skin irritants).
Alex refers to it as a non-sticky, fleshy-pink lip perfector which can also be worn during the day.
When it comes to lip care, I am incredibly fussy. I have tried a myriad of chapsticks, balms and butters over the years and the only one I have gone back to again and again is Carmex. I find it is the only one that actively heals my lips when they are chapped, and it doesn’t have that oily, slippy texture that a lot of balms have which leave your lips feeling drier in the long run. This lip mask had a lot to live up to as it is genuinely very rare for me to like another balm.
My first impressions were good. The pink colour isn’t obvious at all. In fact, it just makes lips look plump, juicy and healthy as opposed to painted. It feels really cushion-y and luxurious. In fact, texture-wise, it is almost reminiscent of Carmex but without the medicinal tingle.
Against all odds, I have really been enjoying using the lip mask and would definitely recommend trying it. I like it so much that I have worn it during the day a few times with just a little MAC Lip Pencil in Soar underneath to perfect my lip shape.
Next up, I tried the Hydration On-the-Go (€5) from the Maximum Moisture range. As I mentioned already, I love anything that adds hydration or moisture to my skin so this sounded right up my street.
This little tube of wonder claims to:
– be a super-concentrated dose of hydration
– deliver a fast-absorbing shot of highly potent moisture actives any time you need it
– contain a moisture complex, Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin B5 (which increases skin’s hydration).
They say you can use it alone as a serum, mix it with your moisturiser or add it to foundation for a super dewy finish.
The first time I used it, I applied a generous layer straight after removing the Clay Mousse Mask. Almost immediately I noticed my skin turn bright red and begin to burn. I was unsure if it was a reaction to the mask or the serum but having used both since with no ill effect, I believe it was some kind of reaction from using both in succession.
After applying this as a serum all over, I noticed it dried down very quickly as promised but that it left a sort of tight layer on the skin. My skin definitely didn’t feel particularly hydrated or nourished. I used this for several consecutive nights in place of a moisturiser or night cream but found my skin got quite dry and flaky around my nose.
Not impressed with it as a hydrating serum, I decided to mix it with my foundation. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed my sudden obsession with dewy, glowy skin so this sounded like the dream. I applied a good few drops to my already hydrating LA Girl Pro Coverage Foundation expecting a beaming glow but was disappointed to find that my skin looked a little more matte!
I can’t understand this product at all. As somebody who doesn’t even suffer dry skin, I found this had zero hydrating effects for me so it is hard to imagine it doing much for someone who is dry.
The final product I picked up was The Power Mask (€4) from the Plump & Glow range. I love a good sheet mask and as I edge ever closer to thirty, I love the sound of anything that promises to plump.
This mask is said to:
– be an intense re-plumping dose of hydration
– be a two-step concentrated skin refresher
– contain Amino Acid (which supports natural skin function and stimulates cells to produce more collagen and elastin), Hyaluronic Acid and Korean Camellia (for hydration)
Step One is the Essence, a clear serum you apply all over your face. There is quite a lot of the essence in the packet and I drowned myself in it and still had some left over. I presumed that because of the essence, the mask would be dry but Step Two is the sheet mask which is actually very wet. It was easy enough to open out and apply but it was a little drippy. I left it on for the twenty minutes, pulled it off and massaged the remaining essence into my skin. The mask felt cooling and hydrating and after I removed it my skin felt nourished and soft to the touch.
Much like any other sheet mask I have ever used, it was relaxing and pleasant but didn’t leave me absolutely blown away by its effects. However, maybe somebody with a drier skin would notice a more obvious difference after use.
Overall, like with any other range, there are hits and misses. I would definitely be interested in trying more products if I could get my hands on them! I have my eye on the Pollution Solution Dual Texture Exfoliating Pads and the Sleep Spa One-Step Night Cleanse.
If you want to see my genuine first impressions, I recorded it all on my Instagram stories and have them saved in my highlights.
Have you tried anything from the collection? What has caught your eye?
Nothing to declare. I bought all products myself. No affiliate links were used.
All products are cruelty free and vegan.