Now that I’m officially in my thirties (I turn 31 next month), I’ve decided that it’s about time that I start to take my skincare seriously.
I’ve worked as a beauty editor and blogger for the past 10 years, which means that I’ve tried and tested a tonne of skincare products, but since I’m continually chopping and changing and trying new products, my skin hasn’t had much of a chance to settle into any one routine or get used to a specific product or range. But after battling with unpredictable skin for years, I’ve decided that enough is enough: its time to show my skin a little love and to find skincare products that really work for my skin.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t be testing different products or ranges in future (because, let’s face it: skincare is a bit of an obsession), but I will allow my skin at least four weeks to get used to each product or range. That will ensure that the products have optimum time to start showing real results, and I can share a proper, thorough review with you all. With that said, it’s time to share my newest skincare discovery and the range that I have been using for over two months now: I started using the Sandton Aesthetic Institute’s homecare range at the beginning of December, and my skin has never looked (or felt) better.
The SAI homecare range was developed and formulated by Dr Alastair Clarke and Dr Genevieve Marks, the internationally acclaimed founders of the Sandton Aesthetic Institute in Johannesburg, who are both leading experts in their fields.
All the ingredients contained in each one of the SAI homecare products has been carefully selected by Dr Clarke and Dr Marks to ensure that each product within the range is of the highest possible quality, and – most importantly – that every single product actually works.
I ordered a handful of SAI homecare products via their online store (click here to browse all the products they have on offer – they also sell products from Neostrata, Heliocare, and Oxygenetix, to name just a few), and I was blown away at the amazing service and quick turnaround time offered.
My order arrived within two days (I placed my order late one Tuesday night, and the order arrived first thing on the following Thursday morning – so just a little over 30 hours turnaround time), and the products were beautifully and securely packaged, along with instructions detailing exactly how to use my products with a few handy samples to boot (I’d mentioned in my online skin assessment that I was concerned about puffiness and dark circles under my eyes, but I didn’t place an order for an eye cream this time, so they included a couple of samples of Neostrata’s eye cream).
Before I get into the actual products, I have to mention the free online skin assessment that the Sandton Aesthetic Institute offers on their website. Skincare isn’t one size fits all, so it’s vital that you develop a personalised approach to your skincare routine – and that’s where the Sandton Aesthetic Institute’s online skin assessment comes in. Not all of us have the time (or the money) to visit a dermatologist, so this is the next best thing in my opinion. All you have to do is fill in a quick, 10-minute questionnaire detailing your habits, lifestyle, and skincare concerns, and you’ll receive personal recommendations directly to your inbox – free of charge.
I ordered the SAI Glyco-Lactic Creamy Cleanser (R410), the SAI Hydrating Day Repair Cream (R610), the SAI Intense Night Repair Cream (R610), and the SAI SPF50 Facial Sunblock (R440). It’s very difficult to choose a favourite from the range, but if I had to choose one, I think I’d go with the SAI Glyco-Lactic Creamy Cleanser, which gives your skin a thorough, deep cleanse while also providing a gentle exfoliation at the same time. The skin consultant that sent me my personalised recommendations suggested that I start introducing this product slowly, as it contains glycolic and lactic acid that may cause a bit of a reaction if your skin isn’t used to it. I started off by using the cleanser once a day every second day for the first week, but found that it was gentle enough to begin using on a daily basis by the second week. By the 10th day of use, I’d started using the cleanser every day, morning and night, and I was blown away by the visible results. My skin looked brighter and clearer, and I noticed far less congestion on my nose and chin.
I apply a single pump of the cleanser to the palm of my hand, then massage it into my wet face to create a creamy lather. I then leave the product to sit on my skin for two minutes while brushing my teeth, applying a hair mask, shaving my legs… you get the picture. This allows the glycolic and lactic acids to gently and effectively eat away at the dead skin cells to reveal a smoother, more even-toned complexion. The gentle chemical exfoliation also strengthens your skin while upping the production of collagen and elastin, so it’s a must for every anti-ageing skin regime.
When left to sit on the skin for a couple of minutes, the cleanser starts to feel slightly tingly on the skin, but it’s a very gentle tingle and one that I’ve begun to crave… other cleansers just don’t do it for me any more!
In the mornings, I moisturise using the SAI Hydrating Day Repair Cream, which has a lovely, light texture that’s easily absorbed and sits really well underneath my makeup. It doesn’t feel oily or greasy in the slightest, and I actually found that it gives my skin quite a matte effect. The Hydrating Day Repair Cream contains pro vitamin B5, which is essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier function. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that helps to combat the damaging effects of the sun, pollution, and stress. Once I’ve applied my day cream, I like to follow it up with the SAI SPF50 Facial Sunblock. Over the past 6 months or so, I’ve started wearing a facial sunblock every single day and I’ve noticed massive improvements in the appearance of my skin since I started making this a habit. My skin is more even-toned and I haven’t developed any new sun spots, which is huge for me. I particularly like the SAI SPF50 Facial Sunblock as it comes in a huge pump bottle that could easily last you four or five months, even with daily use. I’ve been using it every day for two months (often with multiple applications per day – especially during the December holidays), and my bottle still has plenty of sunblock to go around. Even better is the great price tag – at just R440 for a estimated four month supply of facial sunblock, I’m not sure you’ll find a better deal elsewhere. It offers broad-spectrum, water resistant protection, and it also sits really comfortably on the skin – no greasiness or white residue in sight!
Last, but most certainly not least, is the SAI Intense Night Repair Cream, a deliciously nourishing night cream that helps to repair and restore your skin after a busy, stress-filled day. It contains ceramide, which helps to plump up your skin and restore moisture, while helping to strengthen your skin’s natural barrier function at the same time. It also contains omegas 3, 6 and 9, a powerful trio of fatty acids that help to protect your skin’s natural barrier function and also help to reverse the signs of premature ageing.
TIP: If you have a very dry skin type, you can also use the SAI Intense Night Repair Cream as a day cream – just don’t forget your sunblock!
I’ve really enjoyed using these products over the past two months and, although my job means that I’m likely to test other skincare products in future, I know that these products will become a permanent fixture on my list of ultimate skincare heroes. My skin has undergone such a massive change since I started using this range, which further highlights the fact that it really is time that I start taking my skincare seriously. No more fluffy, feel-good products – from now on, I’ll continue to invest in proper skincare that’s been developed by a team of experts and that really delivers on it’s promises. If you’re looking for the same thing in terms of skincare, you can’t go wrong with the SAI homecare range!
(Pssst – I also just had to slip in the fact that all of the Sandton Aesthetic Institute’s homecare products come in air-tight pump packaging, which is something that I’ve really started to look for when buying skincare products. My reasoning behind this? Many active ingredients lose their potency the minute they come into contact with air, which means that your very expensive tub of anti-ageing night cream isn’t actually working at all – not to mention the fact that all that finger-dipping into jars and tubs means that your night cream is now full of bacteria!)