BEAUTY KNOWHOW: A true overnight skincare sensation

If you’ve been somewhat confused about your night-time skincare routine – not to mention how to include in it a retinol (which reverses signs of ageing by promoting skin renewal and collagen production) – then the answer may lie in cosmetic dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting’s latest launch. 

Her line, known as ‘Dr Sam’s’, is all about keeping things simple and thus far she had released just three products: a cleanser, a moisturiser and a sunscreen serum. Her latest is Flawless Nightly Serum and is the first of what she calls ‘amplified actives’ (actives are ingredients that target specific skin issues). More than that, if you suffer from adult acne, this has been created with you in mind. Bunting calls this her ‘sweet spot’ – women who want anti-ageing but are still troubled by breakouts. If you’re not affected, it doesn’t preclude you from using the serum as the ingredients are all serious multitaskers that work on many skin concerns. 

dr sam bunting flawless nightly serumBunting holds monthly skincare events on her Facebook page but found that ‘even in this highly educated group, there’s concern about using actives properly – how to layer and combine them and at what strength you should start using them’. So she’s created a one-stop shop night cream to make it as uncomplicated as possible. It centres on retinoids – derivatives of vitamin Athat are considered the gold standard of anti-ageing. ‘Retinoids have been around for ever but seem to be all anyone is talking about at the moment,’ she says. Her serum uses two per cent granactive retinoid – ‘one of the newest on the block’ – which is a retinoic acid ester, so much more gentle on the skin than retinol and can be used every night. But it has a similar effect, albeit at a lower concentration, and helps to clear pores, soften fine lines and improve clarity.

There’s also azelaic acid (at five per cent) to help with blemishes and redness; bakuchiol, a powerful plant-derived ingredient that acts like a retinol (‘I’m not a naturals kind of girl,’ says Bunting, but even she couldn’t dispute the power of this one); and lastly nicotinamide to boost barrier function and help the skin to tolerate retinoids better. Application is just one pump a night on cleansed skin. As all-round, keep-it-simple skincare goes, this is an impressive offering.


Find skin expertise online

Dr Bunting has her Facebook group, but for more help about skincare and ingredients, there are other brands that also offer advice. 

space nk

  • The Inkey List: the cult brand’s mission, say founders Colette Newberry and Mark Curry, is to ‘democratise skincare – we see ourselves as the beauty translators’. People send in photographs of their skin along with any questions. Colette and Mark answer and give impartial advice, recommending other manufacturers, too: ‘It’s not a selling mission and we’re not naive – we don’t imagine customers only have The Inkey List products at home.’
  • Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories (DCL): the US-based firm has its own line but also makes products for other brands. To chat to formulators in the lab DM them on Instagram and make an online appointment. They focus on giving impartial, fact-based and clinically proven answers.
  • Shiseido Global Innovation Center: OK, this is just outside Tokyo, but if you’re planning a trip (to the 2020 Olympics, perhaps), you can make an appointment to meet one of the research team.
  • Space NK: Niamh Butler (below), the beauty emporium’s training manager, presents videos on Instagram and at (under ‘Inside Space’). Videos are made according to volume of topic requests received on Instagram.

Column by Edwina Ings-Chambers. Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson