As I often write about skincare brands and products, I always look at them in detail, trying to find an answer to the question what makes the product or skincare line unique and different from others, already established on the market.
S5 skincare was launched in the latter part of last year by Laura Rudoe ( who is UK based ) and Violaine Bargues ( who is currently based in France ). Laura’s interest in skincare arose from her own skin problems in the past and a strong desire to resolve them in a healthy, natural way. She has worked for Nude, as a founding employee, and when she left the company after many a successful product launches, she launched Evolve, a line of organic & affordable body and skincare. Violaine, on the other hand, is a very experienced formulator, who initially started her career at the spa brand Elemis, concentrating on the marketing side of things but later moving to the product development ( she and Laura met while working at Nude ). Laura and Violaine are different in character, with Laura a bit more serious, while Violaine seems to be very soothing and nurturing in her attitude, so in many ways I think that they compliment each other, thus making a pretty strong & effective team.
While studying and testing various ingredients, Laura and Violaine realised that those ingredients that came from plants living in harsh climates-the desert, the rainforest, the sea, the high altitude regions and the Arctic had many special & superior qualities, as they manage to survive and thrive in the harshest climates.
S5 skincare can be divided into the following product groups:
Cleanse: -neutralise cleanser –nourish cleanser
Moisturise: -restore cream –balance fluid
Treat: -renew serum –replenish serum –purity serum –calm serum –illuminate serum
When I first heard rumblings about S5 skincare there was palpable excitements and words like ‘amazing ingredients’ and ‘special products’ were very common. When products were launched at my ‘organic mecca’ Being Content, I attended the introduction lecture by the S5 team where we were also given a one-to-one skincare consultation by the team and were ‘matched’ to two serums that would work best for our skin. In my case they were ‘Purity’ and ‘Calm’-quite the opposite of what I am in general in real life .)
Laura talked in detail about her belief that organic ingredients are good, if not better on occasion than synthetics ( hence S5 products are Ecocert Certified Organic and use 100% natural, sustainably derived ingredients ). Each of S5 serums was developed to help address five causes of skin stress, which, if left untreated, can lead to development of skin’s chronic inflammation.
Sensitivity, redness and reactive skin are best served by marine ingredients. According to S5 research ‘40% of the population suffers from sensitive skin, which can be caused by ageing, hormones, stress, climate and certain cosmetics and skincare that we already use. Seaweed, that inhibits sea water, has to deal with the harshness of salt on the daily basis and that’s why it is a very potent ingredient to help and sooth sensitive/reactive skin. You can use Neutralise cleanser ( a gentle, non-foaming gel formula suitable for normal, oily and sensitive skin and enriched with marine & arctic bio-actives ) followed by Calm Serum ( aimed at soothing redness & sensitive skin with marine bio-actives. It has desert glycoproteins ( from a rare bacteria from the salt lakes of the Wadi desert ) which, together with forming a protective shield around the cell, will also increase hydration and reduce potential skin stress. It also has two marines ingredients which have been proven to deal with redness ( Neutralise Cleanser has one of them too) and Restore Cream ( an advanced anti-ageing moisturiser for normal & dry skin enriched with desert & marine bio-actives ).
Blemishes are helped by rainforest bio-actives, which constantly have to deal with very humid conditions. Purity Serum won’t clog pores, instead it will stop bacterial growth in its tracks. According to S5 skincare research, 33% of population suffer from adult acne. Stress and hormones ( from that point of view women are more prone to hormonal fluctuations than men ) are one of the primary causes of breakouts and excess oil production, so our skin becomes stressed and inflamed and often ends up looking unwell due to excessive oil, blocked pores and breakouts. In addition to Neutralise Cleanser you can use Purity Serum, followed by Balance Fluid ( an anti-ageing moisturiser with alpine and arctic bio-actives ). I have to say that while my skin really enjoys being pampered by the cleanser and serum, it didn’t take too well to the Balance Fluid, with my skin developing some redness and a slight powdery finish on my skin didn’t help either, so I swapped to Restore cream and things returned back to happy normal.
Dry skin responds well to Dessert ingredients that assist with increasing moisture levels and skin elasticity. You have a beautifully yellow Nourish Cleanser that smells so invitingly, I feel like slathering myself with it, like a bee with honey. It is a gentle oil based balm that wakes up your senses and envelopes your skin in soothing gentleness. Follow it with Replenish serum, which was developed as a targeted bio-retinol treatment for dry or scarred skin and Restore Cream that has a rich consistency, yet doesn’t feel greasy. Those products also offer the benefits of Omega 3, 6, 9, 5 & 7 derived from high-altitude rosehip oil, pomegranate and seabuckthorn, all of which are responsible for boosting regeneration of the skin.
Sun-damage and pigmentation are addressed with the help of alpine bio-actives, which at the same time help to boost luminosity. I think creation of this subsection of products gave S5 skincare team the biggest pleasant surprise. Their Illuminate Serum is a targeted lightening treatment for hyper-pigmentation. There is also a Vitality Mask which is due to be launched in March and will give your skin a refining and perfecting tool and a BB Shield that is due to be launched later in the year which will be mineral based SPF protection for all skin types.
Wrinkles & lines fall under the care of arctic bio-actives. According to S5 skincare statistics 80% of premature skin ageing is caused by skin stress, which stimulates enzymes in the skin that can damage collagen and elastin, causing visible loss of skin tone and volume. You use Renew Serum which is a targeted age-defying treatment for lines and wrinkles, while Restore Cream combines desert & alpine bio-actives to assist normal to dry skin.
What I like about S5 skincare is not only the ingredients that they use but also time taken to design the right bottles-serum bottles come with droppers and the bottles are made out of glass-in my case I dropped one while dancing in my bathroom post shower and even though the bottle broke into smithereens’, the bathroom itself smelled beautifully and helped to lift my mood while I cleaned up.
When Laura and Violaine started working on S5 skincare, their main aim was to develop the best range they could and they did a lot of very thorough research and testing, which all in all took about two years. Actual experiments with ingredients took about nine months and eventually some of them came consistently on top, like those that survive in extreme climates and the final idea was born. The range was tested in all kinds of environments from fridge to the oven.
The culmination of that extensive work is S5 skincare, which features highly concentrated actives and natural fragrances, as many fragrance ingredients can have high allergens ( and if you look at many skincare ranges you will notice how difficult it is to find one that is natural and hypoallergenic ). Personally I like that each product has its own, unique scent. It gives the product its identity and creates a very full sensory experience for you, be it in the morning or in the evening.
In addition to using the products for a few months now, I was also lucky to have tried S5 skincare mini facials at Selfridges, where the brand has a small corner and lovely facialists, with very nimble fingers. You get a through cleanse, a facial massage ( imagine yourself sitting on the chair, in the middle of Selfridges new, extended beauty hall, with people moving to and fro, as you lean your head back into the therapist and close you eyes, while you skin is pampered and senses relaxed. You also receive a lovely hand massage before serum and moisturiser are applied. And S5 skincare is due to launch a full facial shortly, so you will have a chance to experience the products before buying them.
For me it was also interesting to notice one of the customers, who came for a facial and who I met in passing before-her face looked visibly plumped, which I happily told her about. It’s one thing to see results on yourself, it is something else to notice it on someone who has also been using the products.
The range was created by two very thorough and experienced professionals who love what they do and also manage to combine their work, successfully, might I add, with raising a family each.
S5 Skincare is Ecocert certified organic, uses 100% natural sustainably derived ingredients ( though organic content of the products varies ) and is ideal for sensitive skin. It is free from parabens, SLD/SLES, DEA, mineral oil, silicon, propylene glycol, GMO & synthetic fragrances.
Prices from £28 to £52 for full sized products. You can also buy ‘try me sizes’: cleansers, 60 mls, £9; moisturisers, 15 mls, £12, calm or purity serum, 10 mls, £9 -very handy if you want to try the products first or need travel-sized ones for your make-up bag.