TRIED AND TESTED | Super serums reviewed #2

Alpha H Liquid Gold Intensive Night Repair Serum Special Edition

AS A beauty writer, I rarely stay with a product to the bitter end. Only the truly amazing make it to the point where I've sawed open the container with a bread knife just to scrape out the last dollop before chucking it away.

Alpha-H's Liquid Gold Intensive Night Repair Serum has now been in my skincare routine since October -- already a feat of endurance for a product in my beauty cabinet.

It's a water-based serum with 14% Glycolic Acid (that's the key... HIGH % of the good stuff) along with Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate) and palmitoyl tripeptide-5 (aka PEPTIDES). It's like no Child Left Behind but for your skin -- no anti-ageing benefit left behind! 

The Triple Vitamin Threat (or, as they call it, Triple Vitamin Therapy, but I like 'threat' better) of Vites A, E and B3 accelerates cell turnover (Vitamin A diminishes fine lines, wrinkles and imperfections), eases redness, inflammation and acne (thank you, Mr. B3) and E moisturises and heals (none of that taut, tight feeling after this is applied). Your skin is elastic and comfy as it should be. Hyaluronic Acid attracts water to your parched skin, plumping it and, for you injectable junkies out there, it's the key ingredient in both Juvederm and Restylane.

The Glycolic is a teeny tiny AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid... remember when that was a buzz word in beauty?), so not only does it act as a resurfacer for your skin by breaking down dead skin cells and sloughing them away, it's also the carrier/delivery system for the other wonderful ingredients in this formula. 

And this stuff is pH balanced, because the skin needs to stay slightly acidic to be truly healthy (read all about the acid mantle here). Perfect.

[Editor's note: Apparently, nicotinic acid rather than Niacinamide helps with wound healing and hyper-pigmentation because it can bind to cells, according to a PR who emailed me. I don't have studies in front of me either way right now, but if any science types out there want to add their two cents, please do! For the time being, I sort of still believe Niacinamide helps, as I did hear it from the horse's mouth (Dr. Nick Lowe whose products also use Niacinamide) not more than a few months ago.]

It tingles when you apply it, but it doesn't actually irritate or inflame the skin, not even acne or Rosacea. And that warm, tingly sensation dissipates after the product absorbs and dries on the skin, leaving you with a good base to apply the rest of your beauty kit.

The Texture?

It's gel-like, although a bit slick... not unlike (don't cringe)... personal lube.

Thankfully, it does more for the wrinkles than slapping on a bit of Astroglide would around the eyes.

The directions say to use 2 to 3 pumps every other night. 3 is one too many for me. And remember: your face doesn't end at your jawline! Apply it all the way down your neck and chest too. Your face pretty much stops where your nipples start.

There are little beads suspended in the vivid orange gel (that would be the encapsulated, high-dose Vitamin E, then), and the serum comes in an airless pump that is clear so you can see how much is left. (Don't you just hate when you have NO IDEA how much of something is left? Drives me bonkers.) Plus, no air making contact with the formula means it'll stay fresher for longer. 

Long-Term Effect?

Let's start by saying this product should be used with regularity over time. Like exercise and a good diet will, over time, have a cumulative effect on your figure, so to will this product have such an effect on skin texture, appearance and overall evenness over time.

I have seen -- from October to February -- diminished fine lines, more even skin tone, less redness, acne that heals more rapidly, smoother to the touch, Rosacea less inflamed and a whole host of other good things.

The fine lines around my eyes -- quite visible a year ago -- are only apparent to the naked eye if I lean in really close to examine them... and smile. Not bad, huh?

Short-Term Effect?

Because, well, yes, the beauty of this (beauty) product is that there is, along with the cumulative long-term benefits, something to be gained in the short term as well. Hurrah! That almost never happens with skincare.

When I apply this at night, even on top of severely inflamed Rosacea or acne, I wake up the next morning with an even skin tone that looks smooth and calm (which certainly wasn't the case the night before) yet isn't taut, dry or flaking as it would with, say, Benzoyl Peroxide or a prescription Vitamin A cream. This promotes good change in the skin and doesn't make you pay for it dearly during the process with a complexion that's even more embarrassing than the one that prompted to you start using the product in the first place. 

In fact, Liquid Gold Intensive Night Serum is one of the only things that has ever helped my Rosacea. Even better than the s**t on the shelves that's marketed as being specifically formulated for Rosacea. Those products? Fail. This product? Winning (as Charlie Sheen would say).

Nothing else has had both such immediate and long-lasting results on my skin.

Must-have or Nice-to-have?

Absolutely, without a doubt, will-stockpile-if-they-threaten-to-discontinue MUST-HAVE product. Use it regularly and it will change your face for the better. It's taken a handful of years off of mine. I'm only sad I didn't come across it five years earlier.

I'd look like a teenager right now if I had. As it stands, I probably look about 26 and I'm in my 30s. That, my friends, suits me just fine.

Hot tip

Alpha-H is in Fern Skincare in Belsize Park on England's Lane. It's a lovely space in a lovely neighbourhood with amazing products and treatments. Go there. Now.

Where to buy

Available at virtually all online boutiques, including,,,, QVC et al.