I’m not a natural serum lover. I love to cleanse, I love a rich moisturiser, I love the instant gratification of a gentle exfoliation. Serums – often sticky, filmy or watery – generally aren’t my jam. And so I tended to gravitate to the anti-serum texture, like Sunday Riley’s Good Genes or Sarah Chapman’s Age Repair, which feel lotion-like and creamy. Alas, I began to notice the signs of skin aging were upon me and I accepted that I needed to up my serum game. Enter the Josh Rosebrook Hydration Boost Concentrate – the product that I hoped would make my serum dreams comes true.
I am all about the hydration. My skin is generally normal, but dehydration is an ever-present threat. My goal is plumping, strengthening and hydrating the skin, and building up that protective barrier. While I mix and match products, adding in some exfoliation here and some retinol there, it is a hydrating serum that I’ve been on the hunt for – one that I can use daily, religiously – really commit to.
A quick mention has to be given to Josh Rosebrook skincare in general. If you’re new to it, I discussed a couple of my favourite products last year and they continue to be regulars in my routine. A lighter touch serum was definitely missing from the range, so I was so excited when I got my hands on the Hydration Boost Concentrate. Oil-fearing people will love that this serum is oil free – not always an easy thing to find in skincare – and the line is organic and natural.
There are lots of ingredients in this serum that are going to help increase hydration, calm, support circulation, brighten, and soothe inflammation. Lovers of Aloe Vera will note it’s presence up front. The first thing I noticed was the tiny 15ml bottle – yes it’s going to be good for travel but there’s no denying this product is small. However, when you consider that you only need two drops of this per application, it is going to last you a reasonable amount of time. Speaking of application, I like to apply this serum exactly as is recommended – in conjunction wit the Hydrating Accelerator. Josh Rosebrook’s facial mist is a beauty, and one that I have repurchased again and again. This isn’t just a face spritz that smells nice and looks pretty on your dressing table, but is truly skincare in spray form. While my Chantecaille Rose Water looks more beautiful, this one packs more of a hydrating punch. I spritz the Hydrating Accelerator liberally, and while still damp I press in two drops of the serum. The dampness of your skin not only helps the product dispense easily around the face and neck but also aids with penetrating into those deeper layers.
I don’t find the serum feels sticky or tacky on the skin, and it soaks in nicely. It’s quite a joy to apply really. My makeup applies well on top of it without any pilling and in the evenings I love following it with the Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm.
If you’re an ingredients list reader, you’ll see front and centre (after water) is glycerin, aloe vera leaf juice and cassia angustifolia seed extract. My understanding of the reason this serum provides such a hydrating boost is essentially this: the glycerin attracts water, and cassia angustifolia locks it in. Cassia angustifolia is sourced from the Indian native plant Senna, and is a water binding sugar with a similar structure to hyaluronic acid. I know – cue the science lesson yawn. It binds up to 1000 times it’s weight in water, and also creates an emollient barrier on the skin to lock moisture in. It works together with the glycerin, which attracts water to your skin, locking it in and plumping the skin – creating a lovely barrier to prevent more water loss.
Visually, the Hydration Boost Concentrate is a little different to what I expected. It’s a deep, golden caramel colour and while the texture is very thin, it’s not overly runny on the skin. Now, let’s get to the smell – I have to go there. I wish, oh how I wish, this had a different fragrance. Perhaps then I would love this serum. I’ve heard it described as herbal tea, and I can see that – sort of. For me personally, this gives serious vibes of intense golden syrup meets ear drops – if you have had the joy of ear infections as a child you’ll know the smell I mean. It even leans towards the syrupy smell that accompanies some self tanning drops – the sort you add into your own moisturiser – not ideal. Perhaps it’s the cassia seed extract giving off those wannabe buttered popcorn vibes. It’s definitely not a scent that I’m crazy about, and is perhaps the only thing that prevents me from reaching for this serum regularly. It’s also the only thing I see preventing this serum from soaring success and achieving cult status among beauty lovers.
But does it work? Ear drop fragrance aside, I really like the effects of this serum – both when I’ve used it once off and over a period of months. When used sporadically, it’s felt soothing, lightly hydrating and protective, but used over longer stints I’ve definitely noticed a difference in the hydration and plumpness of my skin.
Have you tried any Josh Rosebrook skincare? I’d love to hear about your recommendations on Instagram.