Issue 126

Cruelty Free Skincare Brands: Zelens Review

If I could give a message to my 20-year-old self it would be this: 'Skincare matters. You don't have to go all guns blazing at the anti-ageing cream (yet) but make sure you're taking care of yourself on the outside and in.'

To be fair, I doubt I'd have been able to stop my hands wrinkling. I used to play the piano when I was a kid and thought I had old hands then, but I've always battled with my skin. It used to be oily, then it was dry and now it's combination (can't make up its mind). Now in my late 30s, it's changing again so I regularly rotate products and I'm always on the hunt for skincare that works and from brands that care about the same things I do: being cruelty-free and ethical, and creating products that do what they say they will.

A brand I recently discovered is Zelens. A real rising star, I first tried their lip oil and concealer (works very well concealing dark circles I have to say, the brush is very good) and decided to look into their skincare range. And so Hollyoaks' Sarah Jayne Dunn is joining me this month reviewing a few of Zelens best-known skincare products.

Here's Sarah...

This month rather than my Pug, Ming Ming getting all the treats and pampering from K9 Magazine it was mummy’s turn. I’ve been lucky enough to have been sent not one but two great beauty products from the brand Zelens to review for the wonderful K9 Magazine and have been using them both for the past few weeks to really test the products before writing up my opinions.

Kim was sent the 'Z Balance Prebiotic & Probiotic Facial Mist' (£48.00 for 50ml), 'Triple Action Advanced Eye Cream' (£80.00 for 15ml) and 'Extreme Velvet Lipstick' (£32.00 for 5ml) and I was sent the ‘Youth Concentrate Supreme Age-Defying Serum’ (£160.00 for 30ml) and ‘3t Complex Essential Anti-Aging Cream’ (‎£95.00 for 50ml).

Like Kim, I’m getting closer to 40 and I’m now very conscious that I need to look after my skin and preserve as much youthfulness as I can for as long as I can so I was keen to give these products a go to see if they did what they claim.

First of all, let me give you the low down on the brand. Zelens skincare range was founded by a plastic and reconstructive surgeon called Dr Marko Lens. Through his 20 years of research into skin ageing and lots of independent clinical testing, Zelens claims to represent the most advanced, most effective skin care technology available anywhere.

Key to the brand for me are the facts that Zelens uses no animal testing and no animal ingredients. Zelens uses no parabens and Zelens is committed to eco-responsibility. That’s a fantastic ethos for any brand and along with all their claims of smoother and plumper skin I was more than happy to give the brand a go.

The brand is based on botanicals, harnessing mother nature’s powers and ‘powerful high-performance active biotechnology ingredients’ (whatever they may be) with potent anti-ageing and healing properties.

The website is impressive with lots of information on the products, full lists of ingredients and clinical test results, including before and after pictures to show how the products might benefit your skin.

In Detail: K9 Magazine's Zelens Review & Swatches

The products I tested could be used together.

First, the Youth Serum followed by the 3t Anti-Aging Cream. I did this morning and night, and continue to do so for eight weeks ongoing.

The Youth Serum “is fortified with 8 potent peptides that work in synergy with other active ingredients to provide a powerful anti-ageing effect”.

The product’s packaging is simple and clean. I like this, I feel it means less money is spent by the brand on fancy packaging and more has gone into the research and development of the product. I feel it also reflects Zelens clinical, scientific background.

The Youth Serum is light and smells clean and fresh, and a little goes a long way. It’s not cheap at £160 per bottle (30ml) but I’ve been using it daily for months now and I’m still not at the end of my supply. It glides smoothly over the skin and doesn’t feel at all heavy or greasy.

Like Kim, my skin is combination. It’s often dry around my nose and cheeks but I get a greasy forehead and breakouts both there and on my chin when it’s that time of the month. This product is light enough to not make my skin feel like it’s getting clogged up with product and it is absorbed easily leaving no residue.

The 3t Anti-Aging Cream is of a thicker consistency but has the same clean, fresh smell and again you only need a small amount as it glides over the Youth Serum easily. The 2 products do seem to compliment each other.

This product is cheaper at £95 for 50ml and is lasting even longer than the Youth Serum. It “contains a unique 3t (triterpenoid) complex enriched with 15 precious botanical extracts, 5 marine algae and 7 herbal oils”.

Both products claim to be "hydrating, promote firmer, smoother skin and reduce/diminish lines and wrinkles".

This all sounds great and the clinical evidence sounds pretty convincing too with high results rates for both products from a clinical study conducted on women age 30 to 60 years using the products twice daily for four weeks.

What's the Verdict on Zelens?

It's a big thumbs up from Kim on the Z Balance Prebiotic & Probiotic Facial Mist.

It's infused with "with antioxidants from green Shiso leaves to help shield against daily environmental aggressors" and is designed to rebalance the skin, making it smoother and giving it a healthy glow. Zelens say you can use this throughout the day on clean skin or over the top of makeup. Kim used it morning and night after cleansing and before moisturising.

The balance of the ingredients seems to work well. Over the last two months, Kim says she's had more balanced skin, less dryness in certain areas and a better balance in the typical oily areas meaning fewer spots (think three-four monthly to one in two months).

Using twice a day, she still has about 2/3rds of the 50ml bottle left so on that basis, a £48 bottle should last six months with twice daily use.

And on the Triple Action Advanced Eye Cream where it is meant to tackle wrinkles and fine lines, puffiness and dark circles, she says her dark circles and puffy eyes have shown signs of improvement, on the puffiness specifically. Perhaps fewer differences in wrinkles? She's not sure.

Using twice a day for two months, she still has about 1/3rd of the 15ml pot left so using twice daily, an £80 pot should last somewhere up to four months.

Before: Kim (and Chris) eye redness, dark circles and puffiness


After two months: Kim (and Chris again) with still some redness, but less darkness and a noticeable reduction in puffiness

And the lipstick?

There are nine shades of lipstick in the Extreme Velvet Lipstick range.

It's one of the best she's ever tried. Silky but not drying.

Kim received it in Deep Red which is a bold colour with cerise undertones. If confidence had a lipstick shade, this is it. Loving the feel of it, she bought a more subtle day tone, a pinker shade, Tea Rose, afterwards too (as well as a Lip Enhancer which works with the natural colour of your lips to pull out a natural pink as well as their Transformer Instant Renewal Mask - well worth sampling).


L-R: Zelens Extreme Velvet Lipstick Tea Rose & Red


Zelens Extreme Velvet Lipstick Tea Rose swatches (a daytime pink)

Zelens Extreme Velvet Lipstick Red swatches in natural light (a striking deep red with cerise undertones)

As for me, I’m convinced on paper, but what did I think after using the products myself?

The clinical results for the anti-ageing cream and age-defying serum focused on the following so I thought I’d do the same.

Increase in skin moisture? Yes, my skin feels more hydrated when using these products and that feeling lasts, unlike some products that my skin instantly soaks up and I’m left feeling like I need to apply more.

Increase in skin firmness? It’s hard to really judge on this one, to be honest. Possibly but I’d need a before and after picture to really tell if there was any significant difference.


Sarah after two months using Zelens

Increase in skin smoothness? I’d say yes, my skin feels smoother, this could be down to the increased hydration I’m feeling.

Reduction in wrinkle depth? Again yes, due to my skin feeling more hydrated and therefore looking smoother my fine lines are less visible. Thumbs up!

I have noticed a plumping effect and my skin does feel less rough and more luminous, just some other finds from the clinical trials.

I can also experience sensitive skin, I think down to the amount of makeup I have applied and then reapplied when filming, and these products haven’t caused any aggravation or redness at all and have in fact felt like they’ve calmed my skin and helped it to recover after a full day under studio lights and heavy make up.

I love the complex simplicity of the products and that they’re derived from botanicals and from lots of research into what’s safe to use on our skin (Dr Lens continues to do active clinical research in the field of skin ageing, skin cancer and carcinogenesis). They look nice on my bathroom shelf, smell nice when I open the pot and feel nice on my skin and I’m seeing and feeling results. Yes, they’re a bit pricey but they are lasting and seemingly doing what they claim and I know, ingredient by ingredient, what I’m putting on to my skin and I don’t think you can put a price on that.

I hadn’t heard of Zelens prior to this but now I have I’ll be using them more (there are lots of products to try) and I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about them as people cotton on to the brand and their benefits.

Many thanks to Zelens for sharing their skincare (and lipstick) with us this month for the latest instalment of K9 Magazine's cruelty-free makeup and skincare reviews.

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