You’ve splurged on your first work bag, that quality omakase meal, hey, even an extra cup of bubble tea this week. No judgment here, you deserve it. So how about this — splurging on your face, your skin that is, it has to be worth it, right?
You see, quality comes at a price — in other words, it’s more likely that you’ll need to spend on reputable beauty brands, in order to achieve the consistent results you desire. The holy grail of glowing, hydrated, plump, youthful skin, et al. Yes, all beauty lovers adore drugstore miracles — we have to start from somewhere — but if you’ve ever considered investing in beauty, this one’s for you.
Do you have to reach for a $1,000 cream to transform your skin? Nope. But consider this, you’re not just splurging on a cream, you’re backing a brand that too has your back in terms of extensive, qualified research, along with innovative technology that works for your skin.
And if you’re going for luxury on your face, then Chanel Beauty has to be at the top of your mind. The brand’s not just synonymous with the 2.55, their makeup line boasts a cool Parisian attitude, while I’d say that their skincare’s pretty underrated for something that delivers so well. I’d know, because I gave the Chanel’s Hydra Beauty skincare range a go for a full month, or, an eternity in beauty editorial years. If it’s your first time encountering the ultra-hydrating line, read on so you know what to — deservingly — spend on.
CHANEL HYDRA BEAUTY — My Full Skincare Regime
After a consultation with a Chanel skincare professional, here’s my recommended regime:
1. Hydra Beauty Micro SÉrum, $200
2. Hydra Beauty Essence Mist, $114
3. Gommage Mircoperlé Éclat, $75
4. Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream, $96
5. Hydra Beauty Gel Créme, $120
6. Hydra Beauty Micro Gel Yeux, $98
7. Hydra Beauty Micro Liquid Essence, $143
8. Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care, $58
9. La Mousse, $64
[clockwise from top-left]
Review: Overall Impressions
Hands down, my favourite part of the regime has to be the amazing textures — clear standouts being the Micro Liquid Essence and Camellia Water Cream for their fresh, lightweight feel. If you don’t like that heavy — or worse, oily / slick — feeling on your face after your skincare, this is the place to start.
I have normal-dry skin, so the Hydra Beauty line, with its focus on hydration, suited my daily needs. The Camellia Water Cream, in particular, absorbed quickly while still feeling quite rich — like it won’t just disappear after a couple of hours. As for the Essence, the watery texture really contains micro-droplets of camellia extract that burst onto contact, which not only helps preserve the quality of the ingredients, but also makes it feel extra refreshing when applied.
I’m also a fan of suiting skincare to our climate, and since we’re all too familiar with “hot and humid”, you’d agree that lightweight creams and gels are key — items such as the Gel Créme (especially when compared to the other richer moisturisers) in my regime helped replenish, and also gently balance, my skin. Fyi, all the items are free of alcohol and surfactants, though there’s a distinct fruity-floral scent that’s key to the range; it didn’t react to my skin, and in fact, makes skincare application feel more luxe than usual.
After a full month’s use, here’s what I can vouch for: my skin felt plump and refreshed throughout, without any annoying breakouts that may happen when you switch whole regimes. It was a breeze to use throughout, so no crazy 10-step routines to deal with, while I realise I actually look forward to skincare in the morning. Even without much daily sleep, my tired skin always felt alive after. Clear and smooth skin, with a subtle glow. Isn’t that the dream?
What Is Hydra Beauty?
Before delving into the individual items though, here’s a quick overview of Hydra Beauty and why it delivers:
how hydra beauty works
The first thing you must know is what it can do for your skin — each item in the range aims to infuse your skin with hydration, which means giving it a hydration boost that lasts for a long while. This then leaves your skin smooth and glowing.
Key Ingredients: White Camellia, Blue Ginger
The Camellia flower has always been emblematic to the brand, so we’d expect it to feature here too. The Camellia Alba PFA is at the centre of the Hydra Beauty line, extracted from white camellia flowers that are handpicked from the fields in Gaujacq, southwestern France, and then crafted by the Chanel research labs into a pure, powerful active ingredient. It helps with moisturising — having our skin restored to a healthy state, while maintaining optimal moisture levels in the cells and preventing it from escaping.
As for Blue Ginger, this powerful antioxidant protects our skin from free radicals, and reinforces our cells’ natural defense system, so our skin can deal with environmental stressors on its own.
This has to do with the delivery of your skincare. The groundbreaking technology enables the brand to create droplets of pure ingredients; you’ll find this in the Essence and Serum, which suspend camellia micro-droplets in the formulas. The delicate micro-droplets protect the effectiveness of the active ingredients, ensuring that they remain intact up until the moment of application.
For a more in-depth breakdown, you can read an earlier article of ours.
BREAKDOWN: Each Item in the Skincare Regime
Cleansing — La Mousse
While not technically part of the Hydra Beauty range, I was still introduced to the La Mousse, mainly for its simple and effective formula… and I liked it so much that it’s now in my regular routine! Straight from the tube, you’ll see this rich cream texture (on the right) — what you’ll need to do then is to add a bit of water to see it instantly transform into fluffy, dense foam.
I find that most foam cleansers take some time to lather, or require a lot of water that then dilutes the product; this cream-to-foam one is effortless in comparison. As a foam cleanser, it didn’t feel stripping either, and left my skin with a clean feel. And it’s gentle enough, even after using a makeup remover before for all the heavy-duty stuff.
What I also like is its anti-pollution formula; sure, I can’t literally see it happen, but knowing that it deals with pollutants, dust, sweat and other irritants (along with excess sebum and traces of makeup) gives me that peace of mind.
Essence — Hydra Beauty Micro Liquid Essence
Meet the other addition to my regular routine. This is also arguably my favourite out of the Hydra Beauty range, and it’s once again, really down to the texture. Chanel says it’s “the strength of an essence and the texture of fresh water”, and as ridiculous as that sounds, it’s true!
You can barely see the essence pumped out (on the right), and when smoothed and patted onto my skin, it also feels fresh and watery. Being so lightweight, it sinks into the skin fairly quickly.
And that’s when the magic happens — the essence gets absorbed, and gives an immediate plumping effect, so I feel like my skin is revitalised again. With Chanel’s microfluidic technology, this means that the micro-droplets that contain the ultra-moisturising camellia ingredient, burst only upon application, so you know its working at its most effective.
Next: if something is this ultra-light, does it work? From my experience, the formula still stays put within your skin and does its work; it feels barely-there but you can feel its effects of smooth, hydrated skin. Works especially well when I need a good skin perk-me-up on tired mornings.
Serum — Hydra Beauty Micro SÉrum
At the centre of the Hydra Beauty line, you’ll find the Micro Sérum, and the pioneer item that reinvented hydration for the beauty brand — it’s the first serum that comprises of camellia micro-droplets and the microfluidic technology that I mentioned earlier.
What I noticed upon application is that same lightweight, refreshing effect, though of course its smooth consistency is more viscous than the essence. Good thing then that there’s a more intense plumping effect with this one — that surge of moisture it promises, even visibly. I’ve even tried it sans moisturiser (though layered with the essence) and can say that the hydration stays intact. The serum kept my skin continuously hydrated throughout the day. With both Camellia and Blue Ginger working in conjunction, you’ll feel your skin’s moisture levels restored and well-protected against free radicals.
Day Cream — Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream
Here, you’ve got the latest invention in the Hydra Beauty range, and it’s certainly unique. I love it as a day moisturiser! And you’ll see why.
First of all, it applies wonderfully. I previously mentioned loving the skincare line’s textures, and this in particular deserves mention — it’s a fluid cream that doesn’t feel heavy at all, absorbs quickly while still having that velvety, comforting texture after. It’s like your skin’s softly enveloped, evened out, protected. The white camellia floral water replenishes your skin, while that soft-skin effect lasts far beyond that moment of instant contact.
Next, here’s why the item’s touted as an “illuminating hydrating fluid”. How can a cream be illuminating? Chanel pushes the boundaries by imitating the way light shimmers on water — here, fine pearly particles, super fine ones, reflect light for an added radiance. Your skin will glow, very naturally by the way, along with the expert blurring effect of an Instagram filter. Combined with the dewy-matte finish, this makes for a good priming base for makeup!
Day / Night Cream — Hydra Beauty Gel Créme
I love gel creams, but I love luxe gel creams even more — they just get everything right! First off, gel creams are perfect for the day, and for our humid weather, because they don’t feel sticky on the skin and have a pleasant cooling effect when applied. However, I’ve tried my fair share of gel moisturisers, and can say that they’re not created equal; the more run-of-the-mill types, compared to richer creams, may not last as long on the skin while their hydrating effects tend to wear off after a while, which makes me feel like the hydration’s only surface-level. Not the most ideal.
This is where it may make more sense to invest in skincare. Good gel creams, like this Hydra Beauty Gel Créme, give you that lightweight feel, and manage to stay within your skin in order to keep it plump for longer. You’re guaranteed deep hydration here! Chanel talks about a “sorbet texture”, which I definitely experienced here — whenever I use this, day or night, there’s a fresh texture that feels luxurious when smoothed out on my skin, which slurps up the cream instantaneously. Despite it being of a gel texture though, I find that the hydration goes deep enough that it still lasts a night in an air-conditioned room, so you’ll eventually wake up to soft (and non-oily!) morning skin.
eyes — hydra beauty micro gel yeux
This feels very much like the Micro Sérum, and in fact, the technology of camellia micro-droplets is used here too. Camellia extract serves to firm and smoothen the fine, usually dehydrated, lines around the eye, while there’s also an anti-fatigue complex that acts on puffiness and dark circles. I’m usually more used to richer eye creams, but must say that the switch-up to a lighter texture works just as well. It feels comfortable on the sensitive skin around the eye, and get infused more easily, rather than sitting awkwardly on top.
Lips — hydra beauty nourishing lip care
Truth be told, I always ignore my lips when it comes to at-night skincare, simply because I feel any excess moisturiser can be used in place of a dedicated lip product. Plus, after a shower, my lips often feel more hydrated than usual (when they’re usually more flaky).
For the month, I decided to be a bit more hardworking with my lip care, and I must say, applying this day and night — when I do remember — obviously made a tremendous improvement. This lip treatment draws its power from protective waxes that coat camellia petals in Winter, and so, my lips did feel as smoothed and protected as a delicate flower petal. And what do you know, it boosted my lip colour to a more healthy flush of rose too!
Mist — Hydra Beauty Essence Mist
Our knowledge of beauty mists has definitely improved over the years — we know not to spray pure water on our faces, lest it dehydrates our skin more, and instead rely on mists that offer active ingredients that properly nourish our faces. With the amount of air-condition we subject our faces to on the daily, I feel that mists are becoming an absolute necessity on every working desk; I might have about 4 all the time.
Again, not all mists are created equal, and I feel the best ones often boil down to their delivery systems — I don’t want to fear pressing the nozzle, what comes out of the bottle should be a fine spray that disperses evenly. Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Essence Mist, thankfully, checks those boxes, and is in fact one of the more fine ones around, such that I have to give it a couple of extra spritzes. What it does though, is infuse the skin with Vitamins C & E, as well as hyaluronic acid, on top of the Hydra Beauty line’s core camellia and blue ginger extracts.
Exfoliator — Gommage Mircoperlé Éclat
With every regular skincare routine, you’ll also need masks and an exfoliating product to round it up. Of course, the latter should only be used once a week in order to avoid stripping the skin of essential nutrients and oils. What an exfoliating product like the Chanel one does is to give you a deeper cleanse than your daily one, lifting away dead skin cells and other impurities to unveil a new layer of clean skin.
Gone are the days of micro-beads, of course! This gommage uses a combination of pearl powders (very fine ones) and natural jojoba beads (biodegradable!) to smooth the skin surface. I find this especially refreshing to use, but still very gentle on the skin when gently massaged. My skin’s always still hydrated after, while it feels smooth, I noticed that my complexion’s a tad more radiant too.
Chanel Hydra Beauty, available at Chanel boutiques and counters.