With beauty products becoming more high tech than A.I, the rise of biotechnology in skin care has created a world within a world, a parallel universe if you like, plumping the gap between anodyne brands to a market that expects a double PhD in biochemistry.
The advent of cosmeceuticals, a synergistic blend of medicine and beauty, has been redefining the gold standard for the past decade or so. But it’s really been the last few years that the mass market has been invited to try a piece of the pie.
Brands such as Dr Lancer, Alegenist, Sarah Chapman and Rodial have all capitalised on the idea that today’s discerning client - prepared to wait 8 weeks for an appointment with the latest facialist du jour - expects nothing less than incontrovertible proof from the science lab that the elixirs in her bathroom cabinet are worthy of the Nobel.
Although this is not new, with skin care gurus to the stars Dr. Perricone & Dr. Sebagh (Cindy Crawford apparently has the latter to Thanksgiving dinner) launching their lines some years back, it introduced the concept that while you couldn’t have a celebrated skin surgeon on your speed dial, you could have a little of him in your bathroom.
The popularity of cosmeceutical brands, which combine high-end luxury with a science PhD, reveals just how far the market has evolved, with client expectation at the core. It is no longer enough for companies to extol the virtues of peptides, throw in some pleasant smelling neroli oil and create packaging to rival Faberge.
With consumers wise to the gimmickry and false promises of the beauty industry, a tougher audience has emerged, able to calibrate and corroborate every claim and ingredient list within a digital click.
In today's discerning, over saturated market, customers expect complete transparency, authenticity and integrity when choosing skincare. Efficacy alone no longer cuts it. The high-end beauty expectation is that products have not only been ethically sourced and tested, but they have also incorporated the latest advances in stem cell science, along with medical grade hyaluronic acid, retinol and some gold leaf as a finishing touch. It is alchemy after all!
Then there is Rodial who exploded onto the market with an alchemist’s dream of terrifyingly titled lines such as Glamtoxy Snake Serum, and my own personal favourite Dragons Blood Sculpting Gel.
Rodial soon became a cult name, and it’s cult product, the Dragons Blood Sculpting gel became a wait list product.
Obviously, we do not live in 16th Century China, so none of these products actually contain venom or blood, dragon’s or otherwise, but what they do combine are high-end botanicals with clinical ingredients known as cosmeceuticals.
Rodial’s dragon's blood complex is, in fact, a sap from the Croton Lechleri tree, which reduces redness and environmental sensitivity by creating a film like barrier on the skin.
Having sensitive skin myself I tried the Dragons Blood Sculpting Gel, which promises to calm, lift and contour, all in one magical pump.
Within a few hours my sensitive skin, continually affronted by its London life, had not only calmed & brightened, but a 10-hour sleep-like glow had transposed the fatigued city pallor.
Needless to say, I was a convert, and the Dragons Blood range is a firm stable (pun intended). Not quite ready for a one-dimensional face that injectables can give, I was also keen to try Rodial’s other celebrated line, the Glamtoxy Snake range.
Claiming to make the need for injections redundant (hurray), it works on the same pretex as botox. A line eraser in a bottle, essentially. I had high hopes, having been already hit by the dragon’s wand.
The main ingredients are Syn®-Ake Dipeptid, a synthetic peptide which inhibits, or ’freezes’ muscle contractions in the same way that botox performs, and Haloxyl, which drain toxins. It also contains the miracle plumper hyaluronic acid and oxygen to recharge worn out skin.
I applied the Snake eye cream after a particularly aggressive week of after shows and cocktails and held my breath for the alchemy to work.
Again, as if by magic, my sleep deprived face took on an almost ethereal hue, only achievable for the under 20s or after three weeks in St. Bart’s, and I was routinely asked in sly asides who my derm was.
What I like and respect about brands such a Rodial is that while they aren’t cheap, they are still accessible. Ok, so Harrods and Harvey Nichols have concessions, and SPACE NK are main stockists, but the way I look at it, a £80 jar of magic must be far cheaper than quarterly trips to the needle-ville.
The final thumbs up, which as a vegan is the most important to me, the brand are resolutely cruelty-free, which unlike other high-end brands means you can indulge knowing no snakes, dragons or any other animal has been harmed in the pursuit of timeless youth.
With beauty moving away from the frozen, or pillow-faced look, brands like Rodial really do give people realistic alternatives to invasive treatments, fillers and peels. Rodial is a product range worthy of its cult status and conspicuous names. In short, a real face-game changer.