When I was first introduced to AHC (a K-Beauty brand), I fell completely head over heels for it, see posts here and here. Naturally, I was thrilled to receive their new Youth Focus range, which uses Pro Retinal 11x, meaning that it has an 11 times faster conversion rate than retinol. Jasmine has a fantastic post on the differences between retinoids here, if you're confused by it all (and don't worry, you won't be the only one who is!). So, let me talk you through this new range....
There are four products in the range: a toner, an essence, an emulsion and a cream moisturiser. I personally only use the range at night, due to how powerful the retinal is, combined with how sensitive my skin is, and the medication that I have been on for a while, which also makes my skin more sensitive to the sun. That's not to say that the products couldn't be used in the morning, as long as you ensure you use a high SPF and top it up throughout the day if you are outside, or near a window. Because the products are so active, I've been using a gentle cleanser and a hydrating mist before proceeding with the four step routine.
AHC Youth Focus Pro Retinal Toner*: This doesn't have the usual toner texture - it's almost a light gel texture, which can be applied using a cotton pad, or with your hands. It feels instantly soothing, due to the Centella Asiatica it contains. If you have never used a retinoid product, or have ultra sensitive skin, this could be your introduction to the ingredient, but for my skin, this alone won't make any significant difference. That said, I like the K Beauty layering process and this doesn't pill and makes my skin feel comfortable.
AHC Youth Focus Pro Retinal Emulsion*: Ordinarily, I would use an essence after a toner, but with this range, it's recommended that the emulsion is used before the essence, in place of serums. It has a very light texture - ideal for layering, and packs a punch in terms of nourishing, soothing and softening the skin. For those with oily skin, this might replace the need for using a separate moisturiser, but for my dry skin, it works best when layered with the other three products.
AHC Youth Focus Pro Retinal Essence*: Again, this essence has a different texture to most that I have used. Instead of being watery, it's milky, but it absorbs very easily and quickly, without any pilling, which is one of my pet hates when it comes to skincare. This contains 0.05% retinal, and using a technology exclusive to AHC, it increases both the stability and the absorption of retinal, which in this range is 11 times more effective than retintol. This targets dull and sagging skin (if you're over 35, you're going to start seeing the effects of gravity on your skin!), but also minimises the appearance of pores. Dull and sagging skin are two of my main skincare concerns, so I'll use anything that will make an effective difference to both issues!
AHC Youth Focus Pro Retinal Cream*: The final step in the routine is this cream, which has a push down pump, which protects the efficacy of the moisturiser, and also prevents waste, as you only pump out the amount that you need. It has a light, gel-cream texture, that absorbs easily, doesn't pill, but also doesn't let the feeling of moisture disappear quickly after application. I massage this into my skin, and finish by patting any excess.
The four step routine has definitely improved the texture of my skin, and what I really love is how soft my skin feels every morning. I didn't experience any peeling, or adverse reaction of any kind (my skin is used to retinol, but this is more powerful than retinol, however all of the products also contain soothing ingredients). My skin feels smooth, elasticized, plump, soft and even in tone. It also looks brighter, which is basically all I can ask for from any products!
I hugely recommend this range. My only warning would be to start gently - maybe 1/2 times a week, if you are new to any type of retinoids, and build up from there (I can use it nightly), and don't forget your SPF!
I have yet to find a dud product from this brand, and have finished every last drop of every previous product that I've had, and will do the same with this range. That's no mean feat for a beauty blogger, who is regularly sent new products to try. I'd love to hear if you're an AHC fan and if you're tempted by this range?
Thanks for reading!
All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted, without obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used.