Thankfully we're coming out of winter. Trouble is the lack of sunshine has left most of us with a dreary pallor that no amount of highlighter will fix. Sure it will cover up dullness, but what we all want is glowing, flawless skin, not just glowing, flawless makeup. Lucky then that Clinique has heard our desperate cries for something, anything, that will put life back into our complexions. Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C 10% ($27) is a handy little kit that comes in a lightproof bottle containing seven individual sachets of powder, which you pour into your palm, mix with a little water to create a paste and slather it over your face to thoroughly cleanse. It contains vitamin C to restore radiance but also kaolin clay to absorb oil and dirt, along with salicylic acid to break up dead skin cells.
You follow your cleanse with a punchy booster that contains 10% vitamin C, along with molasses to break up dark spots, antioxidant-rich grapefruit and mulberry root extracts to protect and algae extract to calm. You have to activate the booster tube on first use, and then it will stay fresh for the seven days. Both elements of the program have a zingy yet not overpowering citrus scent.
Why all the light-proof packaging and mixing? Vitamin C, a crucial ingredient that should be in all our skincare routines, is a pretty unstable molecule that degrades and loses its potency when it's left in daylight. Mixing it and using it ASAP is crucial to get the best results for your skin.
"Vitamin C, followed closely by vitamin A, is the champion of all medical skincare ingredients," says Dr. David Jack, an aesthetic doctor based on Harley Street. "When used on the skin, this strong antioxidant soaks up nasty free radicals (the damaging molecules our skin cells are constantly exposed to), reducing cell damage and aiding DNA repair. [It] also reduces melanin production in areas of hyperpigmentation (sun spots) and stimulates the collagen- and elastin-producing cells to up their game."
Think of this like a kick up the bum for your skin, which quite frankly gets pretty lazy and sluggish in winter. It's like a spring clean neatly packaged into a seven-day kit. I tried the seven-day system recently, and you can expect your skin to have a definite glow after. The daily exfoliation from the cleansing powder means by the end of the week no pesky, dulling dead skin cells remain, so your skin will reflect light. Essentially you'll start getting "you look well" and "what are you doing to your skin?" compliments. Your complexion will radiate as if you've been on holiday. Winter—what winter?