Serum capsules seem an unnecessary gimmick, but other than being very convenient, there’s a strong argument for housing skincare actives in a single-dose, opaque casing, to keep them fresh and stable, away from light and air. Ingredients such as vitamin C (used for brightening) are frequently packaged in glass dropper bottles, where they’ll oxidise and become useless a week after unscrewing. It’s a bugbear of mine, and I wish airless opaque pumps weren’t so often the preserve of cult, expensive brands. Individual capsules, twisted open for a fresh, daily application, solve the same problem, and have the added benefit of taking up about as much space in your suitcase as an aspirin.
I rarely go anywhere overnight without an Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsule (£39 for 30). These were the first of their kind but, thanks to reformulation last year, remain the best. The contents – a blend of fatty acids, cholesterol and retinol to moisturise, protect and tackle wrinkles – is too rich for some (even I can skip night cream afterwards), though they do thin out as the serum melts on contact. Skin feels wonderfully soft in the morning and, because they’re fragrance-free, never irritated. I’m a huge fan.
Oily skins fare better with Elemis’ luxurious Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules (£66 for 60), colour-coded for morning and night, and used daily as an intensive course, to soften and smooth; or with the wildly popular (and vegan-friendly) M&S Absolute Time Capsules (£25 for 28).
If your concern is uneven tone, you’ll need a vitamin C formula, and I have just the thing: Beauty Pie’s Superactive Pure Double Capsules (£9.81 for 60 to members). While they’re less potent than some, at 10% concentration of vitamin C, they do instantly enliven dullness and should get cracking on dark spots. The inclusion of vitamin E makes them good for acne scarring, too. There’s an excellent hydrating version of the same product for £9.27 that, I can attest, is just the thing for a hangover after you’ve finished your Lucozade and fried egg bap. Before you rightly ponder the wastefulness and environmental impact of capsules, know that all of the above are made from algae and can simply be tossed into your compost to biodegrade fully over time.
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