April 1st 2021
How fresh is your skincare? Conserving and preserving it guarantees that you’ll get the most of the ingredients, and this is never more true than for a serum, which has high levels of precious actives. Capsules keep your skincare stable away from air and sunlight, which can damage them, ensuring that the last capsule you use is every bit as potent as the first. That's not the only reason to love these mono-dose marvels. What's inside is generally water-free (anything with water in needs a preservative), the capsules themselves are environmentally responsible – you can flush them down the loo, or in the case of Bolt, below, they dissolve in water. If it's a glass ampoule, you simply snap the top off and it can go into your recycling. They're travel-friendly and can target individual skincare concerns enabling you to switch up your skincare as you need it. They're also perfectly micro-dosed (most have enough for face and neck) creating less waste. From hyaluronic acid to retinol, vitamin C and even a cleanser, here's our 'capsule' edit…
Great for: Hydrating and plumping the skin
These pearly pods use a shrinking technology which makes the hyaluronic acid molecule 500 times smaller than traditional HA meaning it can go into the skin up to four times deeper to really hydrate, the ceramides also work hard to strengthen the skin barrier. As well as HA and ceramides, these pearly pods also include ginger extract for a firmer appearance and emollient oils to moisturise and condition the skin. The emollient oils makes this particularly good as a primer too to make the skin appear extra smooth.
Great for: Managing shine, blemishes and maskne
Bolt Beauty arrived on the skincare scene in March 2020 and immediately piqued our interest. It was created by former lawyer Lisa Sexton following her desire for high-quality skincare designed to be used on the go. All of Bolt Beauty's range - including a cleanser, a retinol, a moisturiser and a blemish fighter - is in capsule form made from biodegradable seaweed; once you've used the capsule it can be put in your compost bin or dissolved in water. The cleanser is in fact the first such in capsule form.
The Glow Don't Shine capsules are packed with blemish-fighting, oil-reducing ingredients to target imperfections and reduce the appearance of pores, designed to reduce excess oils while simultaneously boosting your glow. Pumpkin seed oil has been selected for its ability to trap in moisture while other nutrients including rosemary, peppermint and clary sage oil act as natural anti-inflammatory agents to reduce redness and even out the complexion.
Great for: brightening and protecting with 10% vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants out there and deemed essential for skin health by dermatologists, but it’s notoriously difficult to stabilise - its brightening, free-radical fighting benefits diminish fast in UV light. For this reason, single-use vitamin C capsules are a goer for ensuring that the skin-gredients you’ve paid for are as robust as possible. These Super Active Capsules combining 10 per cent vitamin C with moisturising, reparative vitamin E. The outer shell is made from biodegradable red seaweed. A daily dose will help to improve radiance, firmness and elasticity over time. Texture-wise, the serum here is one of the thickest and creamiest of the bunch. Not a member of Beauty Pie? Sign up with our code GTGSENTME to get an extra £50 to spend.
Great for: pint sized peptide power.
This gel serum goes big on skin strengthening peptides, namely patented hexapeptides, an amino acid blend that helps to strengthen skin and slow down collagen and elastin breakdown. Vitamin E adds antioxidant clout and the fragrance-free formula is lightweight, easily absorbed and non-sticky. It certainly won’t suit everyone one from a price point perspective, but skin type wise it covers most bases.
Great for: dry, dehydrated or mature skin.
If your skin is in serious need of a moisture hit, these golden orbs of vitamin E, A and barrier fortifying lipids will soothe, smooth and repair on contact, and they’re particularly brilliant if you’ve got sensitive skin or eczema- they’re deeply hydrating yet silky-textured and fragrance-free. Packaging wise they’re also very light, making them the ideal skin fix for dehydrated faces post-flight. The original launched in 1990, and the capsules were reformulated last year to up the fatty acid count and add in cholesterol to bind moisture to the skin. Possibly swerve if you’ve got oily skin, but otherwise you can’t go wrong.
Great for: facial oil fans.
This nightly concentrate delivers a shot of emollients, well-preserved antioxidants and fragrance-free, nourishing plant oils to restore bounce to skin that feels a bit blah- dry, dehydrated and dull skin serve to benefit in particular. The lipid blend helps to prop up the skin barrier, and this elixir may well deliver enough juicy moisture to skip moisturiser or night cream over the top, especially during the summer months. An airtight ANR option that’s steep in terms of price tag, but a bestseller all the same.
Great for: Antioxidants around the clock.
With colour coded capsules for day and night use, these pink and green pods deliver glow by day thanks to a rose and moringa oil blend (pink), with a lavender based night oil to encourage relaxing, circulation boosting facial massage before bed. These aren’t newbies by any means- they’re currently in their fourteenth year of sale, but if you’re got dry, tired skin that could do with a plant-based antioxidant hint and plumping massage, they’re as good as ever. Beware if you’re breakout prone or have sensitive skin- they’re fairly heavy and fragranced.
Great for: An instant lift (...at a price)
A breakout bestseller at Net a Porter and skincare brand of choice of Poppy Delevingne and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to name but a few star Dr Sturm customers, Dr Barbara Sturm’s ‘molecular cosmetics’ centre around the use of purslane, an apparently very potent antioxidant that activates enzymes in our skin that defend against damage and inflammation. As you might imagine, these ampoules also major on hyaluronic acid to plump out fine lines and increase the skin’s moisture levels both immediately and in the long term. The effects are indeed quick to materialise, but if you can’t afford to pop these weekly (who can?!), save them for special occasions, post sun-exposure or after a savage episode of jet lag.
Great for: Achieving younger-looking skin
We loved the Advanced Ceramide Capsules so much we couldn't resist including the retinol night version in our round-up.
Capsules are particularly good for retinol, as it’s very sensitive to light and air, which can affect its stability. The capsule format delivers a targeted and precide dosage to ensure the potency of the application - in a study these capsules were 76 per cent more potent compared to non-capsule equivalents!
As for the formula itself, it combines the line-erasing benefits of retinol with the moisture-boosting and skin barrier repair benefits of ceramides. to diminish the look of lines and wrinkles and improve skin texture and tone.
If you like these as much as we do, they're also available in a pack of 90 for £90.
Great for: Brightening powers
Oskia’s single-dose oil serum capsules are biodegradable and vegan; they combine a dose of two per cent vitamin C with something called ‘smart vitamin E’ (tocotrienols) which is supposed to be a more powerful anti-oxidant version of vitamin E as well as other free-radical fighting goodies such as tomato lycopene as well as squalane, which is a hydrating and softening ingredient. These little orange capsules promise to boost skin health by protecting, hydrating and nourishing for a healthy radiant complexion.