* Prices may differ from that shown
As a poor student, I'm used to basics products and toiletries from the pound shop, so whenever I find myself on a day out in London, I like to treat myself to free samples from high-end beauty counters in the big department stores. On my last samples collecting trip I was lucky enough to be given a couple of weeks' supply of this Sisley Hydra-Global Intense Anti-Aging Hydration, which is essentially an anti-ageing moisturiser given an extremely fancy name. I was keen to try it as I'd heard so much about Sisley being a fantastic skincare brand - not to mention being intrigued as to whether the extortionate prices actually meant the products work better!
Sisley is a French cosmetics, skincare and perfume company, reputedly one of the best in the world. It was started in 1976 by Hubert d'Ornano, who, according to their website, "understood very early on that the plant world offers an extensive field of research" and was one of the first people to pioneer the concept of "botanical active ingredients and essential oils" in beauty products. Basically, they market themselves on using plants and technology to offer the most cutting-edge cosmetics.
I was given four 4ml sachets of Hydra-Global moisturiser, beautifully designed in silver and with a picture of the bottle of product on the front (as with so many of these high-end brands I do think you spend a lot on the packaging). The full-size product comes in a tall pump-action dispenser, pale blue in colour and with the Sisley fleur-de-lys logo and the name of the product in French and English.
On the back of the sachets is a list of ingredients and a step by step promise as to what the product is going to do: it says that it will "plump up the hydro cushion", whatever that means, "activates water circulation in the epidermis" and "keeps water in the stratum corneum". Sounds like pseudo-scientific guff to me, if I'm honest! According to the website, the cream contains a number of active botanical ingredients, which I'll list here so you can see the extent of the pseudo-science and just how big the company's claims are:
Chestnut: activates cell renewal, regulates barrier function of epidermis
Lavender: purifies, soothes
Malachite: reinforces the skin's defences against free radicals
Padina Pavonica: stimulates the production of glycoaminoglycans
Wild Pansy: boosts the synthesis of aquaporines
Sunflower: nourishes, softens, revitalizes.
I'm going to admit it, after all these claims I was expecting this cream to give me a new face. Maybe even Angelina Jolie's face, who knows?
THE PRODUCT ITSELF
Sisley Hydra-Global itself is off-white and fairly thin, more like a serum or runny cleanser texture than a thick moisturiser. It smells vaguely plant-like and a little bit medicinal, not particularly unpleasant but not all that special. It rubs in easily and sinks in quickly without leaving a greasy residue which is my absolute number one turn-off when it comes to moisturiser. I put it on my face before bed and also on my hands, which are the driest part of my body and as such are a good litmus test for the efficiency of creams and such.
Well, my face is reasonably moisturised but I don't notice much difference to my hands at all. I haven't come out in spots or become particularly greasy but at the same time it hasn't made much impact on me at all really. I gave this a fair trial and used it for about two weeks until all the samples ran out, but seriously, I haven't noticed any significant improvement in my skin. Perhaps it has magic anti-ageing properties that I'm just not going to be able to see at 22; but then again, call me suspicious but I suspect not. I'm also not keen on the fact that although it doesn't leave a greasy residue, it does kind of 'seal' your skin with a definite layer of something - it's a bit unpleasant and for that reason I'd be wary about using this on my face before I went out.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Here's the really insulting bit: Sisley Hydra-Global is £126 for 40ml. Yes, you read that correctly. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX POUNDS. And it didn't even give me Angelina Jolie's face.
If you're still keen, Sisley products are available anywhere with a concession, such as Selfridges, Harrods and other big department stores. You can also order online with Selfridges. I'd recommend trying to get some samples before you take the plunge - Sisley counters are usually very good about giving out samples so get hold of a few and see if this works for you.
Frankly, I've had better results from my trusted Simple light face cream. I was prepared to give this a try, but I must admit that I'm always going to be suspicious of something which costs this much and promises such over-inflated claims. Also, while it markets itself as being full of botanical ingredients, I'm not happy about some of the OTHER ingredients that aren't publicised so loudly: it contains mineral oil, which is basically a paraffin by-product and is really not great for your skin, plus it's also got silicones in it, which act to seal the skin and everything under it - these can cause spots and irritated skin.
It was a perfectly nice moisturiser to use at night, but I wouldn't use it in the day and I'm not keen on the sealant aspect of this product. There's no way you'd catch me shelling out £126 for a bottle of this - I can only conclude that they're banking on people having more money than sense! Two stars.