We are all guilty of having those nights where we’re more in the mood for snuggling up with a movie than bothering with a long drawn-out skin care regime, especially in winter! It’s times like these where it’s nice to have back-up set of easy-apply super-speedy products that don’t need any effort at all. With this in mind, it’s not difficult to see how the Alpha H Liquid Gold made the Cult Beauty Best of 2014 list and the amodelrecommends Cult Beauty Goody Bag, because it is so simple to use! Apply it to your face for toning, exfoliating and moisturising in just one application before bed to wake up to ready-for-the-world skin, but let’s see if the “Liquid Gold” lives up to our golden Beauty Geeks Science Standards!

Alpha H claim that their Liquid Gold bridges the gap between the beauty counter and invasive procedures in a “revolutionary” skin resurfacing treatment. Its key ingredients are glycolic acid, hydrolysed silk, Caprylyl Glycol and Glycyrrhiza Glabra (the posh name for liquorice root). Get your gloves out and your goggles on: it’s time to get geeky!

The Science Behind the Bottle

Glycolic acid is a common exfoliant found in skin care products to remove dead skin cells and maximise the impact of the other ingredients. This is the primary skin resurfacing agent in the Liquid Gold formula, and you’ll find a range of glycolic acid-containing products and peels promising to re-vamp your visage! Whilst these products are effective (and many of them have made their way on to The Geeks site!), this wasn’t quite the “revolutionary” ingredient we were hoping for in light of the promises of state-of-the-art beauty. Do bear in mind that it is HIGHLY recommended that you use a high SPF after this product because removing these outer skin layers reduces the barrier between the sun and your skin so it is vital to go the extra SPF-mile to protect your youthful looks! If you’re a sensitive-skinned gal, make sure to test products like these on small areas before going the whole hog, as acid peels can be a little too harsh for some!

Next the hydrolysed silk gets to work. These hydrolysed (broken down) skin proteins are conditioning agents for the skin (and hair), and are humectants. In cosmetics, humectants act to help retain moisture in the skin, keeping it plump and health. Moisturising the skin in this way helps smooth out fine lines that can begin to crop up over the years. These proteins are becoming commonly found in hair and skin care products these days, especially anti-ageing and moisturising lotions and potions. Watch out for the high-flying claims about these hydrolysed proteins, but there’s not a lot of research out there about them.

Teamed with hydrolysed silk is Caprylyl Glycol which has unfairly been slandered in the beauty world because it is a glycol. Not all glycols are bad and not all glycols are the same. The shape of a molecule can have a ginormous impact on its function. Although you would want to avoid propylene glycol, Caprylyl glycol is used as a completely safe antimicrobial agent and preservative (don’t get scared away by the word “preservative”, thorough testing has concluded this is safe!). As an added bonus, caprylyl glycol is an emollient, acting to soften and soothe the skin.

Last but not least, there is a snazzy mention on the front of the bottle about liquorice root. Liquorice root contains the molecule ‘licochalcone’, which bestows the liquorice root extract used in cosmetics with both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties when applied topically (it has different effects orally!). These are likely the root (excuse the pun!) of Liquid Gold’s reputation for reducing the appearance of acne and other pesky blemishes, as these conditions have an underlying inflammatory and microbial basis.

One very interesting property of liquiroice extract is its pigment-lightening properties. Dubbed “the safest pigment-lightening agent with the fewest side effects” in the scientific literature, the key component conveying this property is ‘glabridin’. Glabridin inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which is responsible for the first step of melanin production. Melanin is the skin’s pigment, and so hindering its production has lightening effects, making the skin look younger. That’s some hardcore Beauty Science right there! As an added extra, Feb ’15 edition of cosmopolitan named liquorice on their list of sexiest smells!

Sweeping the web, it seems there has been a complete spectrum of Liquid Gold reviews amongst beauty bloggers and the general public. The general consensus is that the product does reduce the appearance of acne scars and blemishes but overall, results dramatically depend on skin type. Kendra Lee backs Alpha H Liquid Gold even past the hype, using the product twice a week and swears her skins consistently looks healthier and refreshed the morning. On the other hand, beauty bloggers like Sophia Ford reported very little difference in her skin and not enough to support the hype. The product does boast a low pH which is good for exfoliation however can irritate sensitive skin. Miss Budget Beauty had mixed feelings on the subject and has done a number of follow-up reviews on this product, including a video blog. It seems she has the best advice: try and get your hands on a sample before committing to the £33.50 for 100ml of Liquid Gold!

The Verdict

Whilst we’re not sure this product lives up to the claims of “revolutionary” and “state of the art” visage revitalisation, from the science side of things it looks like this product has got a little something going on, and it’s certainly a little cheaper that some of the products out there that are charging us liquid gold! You never know, this might be the answer to the minimal effort masterpiece you’ve been longing for. If you like the sound of it, and want to treat yourself, you can purchase yours HERE!

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