“I’m a beauty editor and this £7.99 serum has become a staple in my skincare routine”

Written by Lucy Partington

Freelance beauty editor Lucy Partington is obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

More proof that hardworking and effective skincare doesn’t always have to break the bank.     

Anybody who knows me will be more than aware that I am a huge advocate for affordable skincare. The one caveat is that it has to be effective – and that’s why I scour the ingredient lists of products that I see on the shelves of Boots and Superdrug.

Of course, it goes without saying that not all skincare is made equal: just because a product is cheap, it absolutely doesn’t mean it’ll be rubbish; by the same token, just because a product is expensive, it doesn’t automatically mean it’ll be good.

However, as far as some serums are concerned, I was of the belief that it would be better to invest into a formula. That’s because serums are usually more concentrated in terms of active ingredients, so by opting to buy something more expensive from a trusted brand, you’re more likely to be using a higher – and more effective – spec of ingredients.

But then I discovered Simple Skin’s Booster Serums. I won’t lie; I’d never previously paid much attention to Simple as a brand – it’s not one that feels particularly exciting and it just reminds me of being a teenager – but for some reason, its 10% niacinamide serum caught my eye.

Now, first I need to tell you about niacinamide. It’s an ingredient that my skin really loves for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s great for calming skin, but it also helps to improve uneven skin tone, boost brightness and strengthening the barrier, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered just how good it was for me. 

I remember it clearly: it was during peak lockdown in 2020. My skin was having a complete meltdown; I had endless breakouts that wouldn’t clear up – you know, the painful, scabby, sore, angry red type – and nothing I tried had any effect at all. Until, somewhat unfortunately for me, the only thing that did eventually start to work was Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir, which comes in at a not insignificant £63.

The one thing I realised about that serum, though, is that niacinamide is second in the ingredients list – aka the INCI list, something found on all skincare labels where a formula’s ingredients are listed in order of concentration, starting with the highest. That basically told me all I needed to know about why it was working so well for me. So when I was glancing over the ingredients in Simple’s niacinamide serum and noticed the same thing, I was immediately sold.

Unlike some of the other more affordable serums I’ve tried, this one isn’t sticky or gloopy. It absorbs into skin quickly and easily and it’s made such a difference to the hormonal breakouts I’m prone to every month. It’s helped strengthen my skin and it layers well with the other skincare I use: in the mornings, that’s an antioxidant serum and sunscreen; in the evening, that’s a BHA toner and vitamin A cream. The other incredible thing is that it’s often on offer for less than four quid. It almost feels too good to be true, but having already used up two bottles and currently working my way through a third, I can safely say it isn’t. 

I’m honestly, truly in awe of it – and that’s why I’ve been doing the opposite of gatekeeping: recommending it to as many people as I can and writing about it here and now. You’re welcome.

  • Simple Booster Serum 10% Vitamin B3 Niacinamide Booster, £7.99

    buy now

Images: courtesy of brand

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