the science of skincare for beautiful skin

SAVE or SPEND: Aldi Cuvee 2016 Moisturisers

Skin Feel Perception Study, summer 2016

We ran a small perception study on the 2016 Cuvee moisturisers. This was an independent study [not funded by Aldi or any other 3rd party]. Please note that Aldi have independent data on improvement of skin parameters. The participants were unaware of this as well as the packaging; they were only evaluating “skin feel”. 

The age and skin types of my participants are below – they are a group of skincare connoisseurs – enjoying a spectrum of brands – natural, professional, medical to prestige. All based in Yorkshire, Caucasian and like a bargain too!


Connotations: The Neck Mousse

KS: Good connotations [with the limitation of any mass-market offering]. The British are yet to learn to use neck creams. This product might be an introduction.. 

The product texture is right for hydration of the neck area. Different skin types respond differently – for some too rich, for others not enough but the product absorbs well and that is important. Recommended for all skin types aged 45 +. Great gift for your mother or aunt. SPEND [FOR YOURSELF AND THE FAMILY].

  • I loved the neck cream, it did make a difference. 
  • “I felt I was using something nourishing. It felt good on my skin, silky, creamy, even like an “expensive” product.”
  • I am not sure without any packaging but feel it should be “luxurious”.
  • It was pleasant. I did very much like the scent but there was nothing different or exceptional about it. But again, I expect it will be inexpensive and, therefore, when using it I might find a better effect than can be achieved with a limited trial.
  • I prefer a separate cream for the neck to the face cream. 
  • I like the fact that it is specifically for neck/decolete. It is possibly too rich to be used on the face. 

Texture & Absorption:

  • I liked the texture, it felt just right.
  • My skin felt well nourished and soft. Not too oily or rich, just right.
  • This product is ok for me.
  • The texture and feel of the cream was fine. I thought it could have been a little richer.
  • Feels just right.
  • Nice, light texture. Much nicer than the face cream.
  • I quite liked the texture, it wasn’t too oily.

Comments on absorption: all participants felt it absorbed well. They could slide fingers to rub it in, without any pulling at all.


Connotations of the DAY/NIGHT CREAM: INTENSIVE 24 hrs CREAM Mousse

KS: The expectation of a “cream/mousse” is lighter, this is a buttery, nourishing cream that leaves a protective film. Suited for mature to dry skin types – people working outdoors and spending a long time in cold weather. The cream has no SPF and can be used as both day & night moisturiser. Dermatologists do recommend SPF 15 in daycare. Age 45 +. SPEND [AS A GIFT FOR YOUR OUTDOORS FRIEND].

  • In an ideal world I could put it on at night, just swish with water in the morning and then pop it on again at night.
  • The first time I used the product, it felt like a ‘high price’ product. It felt so good on my skin.
  • I think a mousse should be light and fluffy and this seems quite heavy.
  • Fresh, brightening. I suspect it will be quite inexpensive and therefore I anticipate it will be quite good value for money.
  • I feel it suggests that you don’t need a different night cream.
  • It didn’t feel light, like a mousse..
  • Should it be mousse? It implies that you need only apply once a day and that it has a light whipped texture.

Texture & Absorption:

  • The texture was slightly too solid.
  • Texture is lovely. I would describe it as a cream more than a mousse? It didn’t feel at ‘airy’ as a mousse. I loved it and didn’t find it too oily or too rich. Perfect.
  • I feel it is not quite light enough for a mousse and is a bit too rich for me.
  • The texture was good. It was quite thick/rich without being heavy and felt good when I warmed it in my hands before massaging into my skin. I did feel it left a light dewy effect on the skin giving a radiance.
  • I love this cream. It’s thicker than usual moisturiser but not heavy on the face.
  • Feels nice – just right.
  • It was a little too thick for me, though once on it didn’t feel too rich or oily

Comments on absorption: 3 participants felt it absorbed really well, fingers sliding well. 4 felt it was not totally absorbed – not the best product they had used for absorption [but it was OK] or felt it was dragging a little as spread it over their skin.


Overall Rating: Neck > 24 Hrs Mousse for Face. The face cream can feel a little too rich – if you are accustomed to prestige skincare or have oily, combination or normal skin type. Preferences in scent and colour vary. It is not a custom in Britain to have 2 separate creams – for the neck and face – but Aldi offer a nice way in..



Aldi Special Buys: Skincare October 2016

In the clinic, I favour skincare product purchases that can be a) repeated and b) returned and refunded in case of sensitisation. I also appreciate a brand portfolio which allows for creating skin-type-specific skincare routines. However, the mass-market Aldi Special Buys can be a good one-off purchase or a gift; and some will make it back to the all-time portfolio.


Me-too brands copy an existing brand, either a luxury brand e.g. La Prairie or the multinationals e.g. Nivea, L’Oreal. Aldi Special Buys generate wonderful momentum and a surge of emotion that appeals to bargain hunters – as does having a pre-order waiting lists [see Olay, Aurelia etc.], a specific launch date and a limited number of products that can be bought on the day. 

Hand-picked from the NEW Launches [October 2016]:

  • Cuvee. I am not in favour of all Aldi products, however, I believe that the Cuvee 2016 range is good for the price you are paying. We have run a small trial on the perception of the two creams within the Cuvee range – day/night moisturiser and the neck cream. They also have independent clinical data to support their claims. 
  • Caviar Mask. My clients like the new lifting mask. It is a great pre-party pick-me up [although not for very sensitive skin types]! 
  • Last but not least, the Christmas Calendar – full of high-end active ingredients! However, you need to know how to personalise your routine. Again, we run a small study to see how these active ingredients work in a real life. 

The Caviar Night Cream was recently criticised in Sunday Times.. It is worth remembering that if you pay under £10 instead of £100, your expectations cannot be the same.

I believe that it is not the packaging, neither the key active ingredients [although often present in lower concentrations]. The difference is in sensory properties [the cheaper brand will have a stronger scent and less refined textures] and also in combinations of ingredients [that might be protected by patents].

‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’. SAVE or SPEND? The trial results to be released on the day of the launch – subscribe to this blog!

Skin Supplements: Acne/Rosacea, Anti-ageing

My clinical experience with supplements to improve skin health is empirical. I work in an affluent area of East Yorkshire, yet the number of my clients that are: a) dedicated enough to adjust their lifestyle and food choices and  b) able to invest in a skin supplement are limited. They get results when compliant.

Having reviewed the impact of diet on acne (link to the publication), I strongly believe diet has an impact on inflammatory skin conditions – and clinically I see an improvement when my clients stick to these dietary recommendations every day.

In terms of supplements, I used to recommend Oenobiol  Pure Skin (no longer available) and any probiotics with diverse bacterial species, however, Symprove has proven to work best for my clients. Symprove is a water-based multi-strain supplement that contains 4 unique strains of live activated bacteria, they have trialled the supplement at UCL. The strains include:  L. rhamnosus, E. faecium, L. acidophilus, and L. plantarumNormally a healthy gut would already contain all four of these, however when it doesn’t, it can soon become unbalanced. 

In my view, the gut in inflammatory skin conditions is unbalanced. My hypothesis agrees with Whitney P Bowe, et al. Gut Pathog. 2011;3:1-1.

  • Psychological stress alone [or in combination with high fat diet and/or processed comfort foods devoid of fiber] cause alterations to gut motility and microbiota profile. Loss of normal microbial biofilm causes intestinal permeability and endotoxins gain systemic access, increasing inflammation and oxidative stress, elevating substance P and decreasing insulin sensitivity.
  • In those genetically susceptible to acne vulgaris, this cascade increases the likelihood of excess sebum production, exacerbations in acne and additional psychological distress. Both probiotics and antimicrobials may play a role in cutting off this cycle at the gut level.

I work with my clients to edit their lifestyle: enhance their ability to relax, optimise diet and design a personalised skincare routine. Consumers should have choices. Acne/rosacea impact greatly in people’s self-esteem, are visible and, therefore, improvement can be assessed easier than in anti-ageing.

What My Clients Said About Symprove: 

  •  I would say Symprove has had the biggest single effect on my skin. My skin is significantly calmer, clearer and less sensitive. It’s definitely worth the cost and the pungent taste! Easy to take, easy to store. AD (2016)
  • The benefits of Symprove: it improved my skin and most certainly helped my IBS symptoms! The down sides to the product are definitely the taste but also the fact you have to keep it in the fridge – this is more difficult if you travel a lot. It also isn’t great having to drink it before you have anything else to eat or drink in the morning. I would, however, use this product again! It is expensive but I don’t think it is something you need to take forever, and therefore, is a one-off as and when you need it. AM (2016)

Clinical Results supersede inconvenience – yet, Symprove would benefit from R&D investment – in terms of ease of use, lower cost and clinical evidence in inflammatory skin conditions. 

New anti-ageing supplements & foods are entering the market, next to the tried&tested evidence-based staples [Imedeen; Unilever Strength Within Anti-Wrinkle Supplement]. These have caught my attention and when I feel I understand the offering & evidence – beyond the words of impressionable bloggers – I will introduce them to my clients: Huel, Gold Collagen, Ingenious Beauty, Skinade, Lumity.. 

Feel free to subscribe to this BLOG to learn more.  I would like to appeal to supplement manufacturers to contact me for insights, case studies and pilot trials.  

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