Sunday, 31 October 2010

Review - Neal's Yard Daily Brightening

Disclosure - PR sample

Neal's Yard is a brand that carries strong positive associations for me. I love the calming herbal smell that floats out of the shops, and the pretty Bristol blue glass bottles. The name "Neal's Yard" reminds me of visiting Covent Garden on trips to London with my mum. I also like the aura of peaceful craftsmanship that comes across from the white-aproned staff I've met at Neal's Yard - there's not a trace of pushy salesmanship to be found, just helpful service and advice if you need it. Recently I bought a packet of lavender from the Kings Road branch to keep on my desk at work (it's great for stress), and enjoyed seeing how carefully it was weighed out and hand-labelled.

When I received these samples, I'll admit that the dice were already loaded in their favour thanks to my soft spot for the brand. But we're nothing if not impartial here, so I put on my rational, unemotional tester's hat and tried them with a mind open to fault as well as merit. I tested them for just over a month.

There are two products in the Daily Brightening Range - a moisturiser and a serum. The moisturiser costs £22 for 100ml, while the serum is significantly more expensive at £39.50 for 30ml. The "hero" active ingredient is African Star Grass, and the claim is reduction of dark spots for a brighter, more even complexion.

First impressions - the products smell delightful. They're as fragrant and herbal as anything else from Neal's Yard, and if you like that sort of gentle floral-herbal smell then you won't be disappointed. If you prefer a more clean, clinical skincare scent you may be less keen. The fragrances arise naturally from the ingredients, so there's no issue with irritation from synthetic scents. The serum smells slightly different to the moisturiser, with a faintly tangy, hops-y undertone.

Consistency-wise, they're very different. The serum is a light, honey-coloured liquid that sinks into the skin almost instantly, leaving an immediately smoother, softer surface. It spreads fantastically well, and a small drop goes a long way, despite the absence of silicone. (Can I just say here how delighted I am to find a serum without silicone?)

The moisturiser is a thicker, white opaque cream that sits on the skin for a few minutes before drying and absorbing. A thin film of product is left on the skin, giving a slight tightening effect.

The moisturiser definitely loses a point on packaging, as the nozzle clogged frequently during my testing period. Firm pressing resulted in it squirting out dramatically as the congealed product was dislodged. In contrast, the serum bottle has a different (and better) nozzle design that dispenses a perfect amount of product each time.

I used these before the weather got chilly, and I found them light and comfortable to wear. They're totally non-greasy and I experienced near-zero breakouts while using them. I thought I might not get on well with the moisturiser due to the tightening effect, but I ended up quite liking it, and I can imagine it making more mature skin feel firmer and smoother too. For winter, a supplementary night cream might be a good idea, but for summer these were the perfect weight for my normal/dry skin.

Despite the iffy pump on the moisturiser, (really that's a minor gripe,) I enjoyed using these products very much indeed, and would absolutely return to Neal's Yard for more skincare based on the experience of using them.

However, I must be totally honest - I didn't see any evidence of my skin becoming brighter or more even-toned after a month of use. They made me happy and kept my skin well moisturised, and that's enough for me. But if I had been hoping for them to fade dark marks I think I would have been disappointed.

Your mileage may vary, and I do recommend trying the Daily Brightening range if you want a gorgeous cruelty-free organic skincare regimen at a reasonable price. Just treat the brightening as a possible added bonus rather than a guaranteed outcome.

I'll shortly be checking out Neal's Yard's White Tea Enriching Facial Mask I think. I'm a sucker for anything White Tea and I'd love to see NYR's take on it. It promises to be nice and hydrating for winter too.

Have you tried any Neal's Yard skincare? Any recommendations from their range?


  1. I've always been interested in this brand and have never tried anything from them.

    I told myself that when I finished my current slew of toners, I'd get some.

    The only problem I have is this, they have a store in Westfields. Whenever I go there, I always go with a male who ends up getting annoyed that I've spent so long in MAC and Inglot that I never get a chance to look in NY properly.

  2. I have tried this brightening serum religiously for about 2 years (around 10 bottles of it used). However, I had to give it up due to no effects at all on reducing any my pigmentation or freckles. What a lot of money waste!!! I am a 42-year old Chinese just for your reference.

  3. I do like Neal's Yard's products and I particularly like their Beauty Sleep Concentrate. It makes your skin soft and refreshed and your skin still feels very supple the next morning when you wake up. It's definitely a must-try, in my opinion. xx

  4. I've used this product for sun damaged skin on my face that gave me huge freckle like dark patches. It worked great for me, completely removing the dark patches. Would definitely recommend it for similar problems


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