Lots of people have been asking me for recommendations for extra-sensitive skin recently and there is one brand I always send them to – Avene. Today we’re looking at Avene PhysioLift, which is specially designed for its anti-ageing properties.
This French pharmacy range (pronounced Ah-venn and not Ah-veen) has a great range of modestly-priced skincare specially made to keep sensitive skin calm and not irritated.
The thinking behind the new PhysioLift range is that many anti-ageing products have quite harsh or strong ingredients which don’t work well for people with sensitive skin. So the idea is to take the best of skincare for older skin, but without adding in the sort of stuff that’s going to make you blush like a tomato. Gentle but effective is the aim here.
There are five products in the Avene PhysioLift range, with the emphasis most firmly on night care.
- Eye cream (for use at night only)
- Night balm
- Wrinkle filler
- Smoothing emulsion
- Smoothing cream
All are packed in nicely designed, very hygienic, airtight pump dispensers to keep the ingredients fresh.
The stars of the show in the PhysioLift ingredients are: collagen-replenishing Ascofilline™ and Hyaluronic acid fragments to help smooth the appearance of wrinkles and firm the skin. There’s also an added anti-oxidant, Pre-Tocopheryl, which aims to boost the skin’s luminosity.
There are no strong perfumes to irritate the skin, but that doesn’t mean that the range is unscented. It has a light, slightly medicinal scent which you will be familiar with if you’ve used French pharmacy products before. Think lab coats, not flowers.
The products I liked best out of this range were the eye cream and the smoothing emulsion. Not to be confused with Korean emulsions (which are more watery), the Avene PhysioLift Smoothing Emulsion is a light moisturiser for normal to combination sensitive skin.
If your skin is drier, then the thicker consistency of the Smoothing Cream will probably work best for you (not both at the same time). I switched between the two depending on how dry my skin was feeling that day, and it worked well. It reminded me of the two different versions Dr Hauschka have of their Rose Day Cream (regular and lighter).
With products for sensitive skin, you’re looking at what they don’t do as much as what they do, and what I liked about the PhysioLift Eye Cream was that it was moisturising and absorbed quickly, but was very light and didn’t irritate around the eyes at all.
The PhysioLift Night Balm is a good choice for overnight moisturising. It’s lighter than a lot of night creams and sinks into the skin pretty quickly, so if you don’t like thick, heavy creams then this would be great.
I was less keen on the Wrinkle Filler. I really couldn’t see any visible results from this at all in the same way that I could from the other cream filler I tried recently, Fillerina.
Nor did I experience any lifting effect that the name PhysioLift suggests – but then I’m not naive enough to think that any cream is going to give me a face lift. Smoothing, moisturising, brightening – yes, it can do all that. But actual lifting? It’s a moisturiser, not a fork-lift truck.
So (Wrinkle Filler aside) product-wise I have no trouble recommending Avene as a reliable brand for the sensitive of skin. However, the PhysioLift range is harder to recommend, and that’s entirely down to the packaging, which has Deep Wrinkles in big letters all over it.
Who does that really speak to? Keith Richards? Walnuts? I know lots of fab, glamorous women in their forties, fifties, sixties and beyond; and not one of them would I describe as having ‘deep wrinkles’. I feel like if I recommended this range to them then it could easily come across as an insult. I think if Avene could lose the “deep wrinkles” tag it would make a big difference. As it stands, I think it’s very off-putting for people who would really benefit from this range.
The good news is that at least some parts of the company know that this is a problem. Recently Avene hosted a fascinating debate on anti-ageing products in conjunction with the Thirty Plus Collective. The discussion looked at how anti-ageing products are sold to us; what we like and what we would prefer to see.
And whilst a horror of wrinkles, as if they were the most terrible thing in the world, may make sense to a twenty-something marketing exec; by the time you’ve actually got some wrinkles you realise they’re not that big a deal after all. Moisturising them isn’t the same as wishing them away.
PhysioLift is Avene’s anti-ageing range, so if you’re interested in products like that and have extra-sensitive skin do try it out. Just don’t look too long at the packaging, and throw the box away.