A fairly small and simple ingredient list. This is what I like to see when I’m looking at the ingredient list of a product. Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold has been very sought after for good reason. I always find it a bit daunting when a product has LOADS of ingredients, so it’s a good start to me that this one is kept short and sweet.
So let’s start there!
What’s in it?
The key ingredient in this product, as claimed by Alpha-H themselves, is 5% Glycolic Acid. This is an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) and is one of the most popular out of the AHAs out there for skincare. An AHA exfoliates and removes the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, but Glycolic Acid is made up of smaller molecules and is said to penetrate the surface that little bit deeper than other AHAs such as Latic Acid or Salicylic Acid. They are often paired up with BHAs to give a fuller exfoliation, but we’ll delve deeper into the different characteristics of these acids, along with others, another time. As the outer layer of the skin is being exfoliated and the dead skin cells broken down, you should always use SPF after using an AHA as the skin will be even more vulnerable to sun damage.
Alcohol denat, the second ingredient in this product after water, is an ingredient that causes some worry in many people but I will only comment on my experiences with it. I personally have never had any issues after using products with alcohol denat. You can definitely smell this in the Liquid Gold, as it has quite a strong alchohol-y , chemical-y smell. I personally didn’t have a problem with this as I prefer to use unscented products, so if it’s just that I can smell the ingredients that make up the whole thing I’m not too bothered. There aren’t really many (if any!) benefits to this ingredient, as it’s more use to the overall composition of the product, but it’s important to note when it’s in a product as it can be rather drying. I’m always conscious to increase the moisturiser after using anything with denatured alcohol in as I do find that my skin gets drier, which was certainly the case with the Liquid Gold.
On that note, fortunately the next ingredient is Glycerin which is a humectant which actually attracts moisture to the skin, thus providing extra hydration. Perfect to counteract those drying characteristics of alcohol denat!
Next up we have Hydrolyzed Silk – one of those ingredients that’s not quite as glamorous and thrown around as much as hyaluronic acid, AHAs & BHAs, Niacinamide etc, you have to delve a bit deeper to find out more about this little gem. There is a lot of evidence out there that skin and hair both benefit from silk. Hydrolyzed silk protein is said to help the skin’s barrier to retain moisture.
The rest of the ingredients are generally more targeted to the formulation of the product as opposed to any skincare benefits so I won’t bore you with those. The exception is Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract. This ingredient boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits among others, said to reduce irritation and provide some forms of protection from free radicals. However, take caution as this is at the end of the ingredients list, so while it may provide these wonderous benefits, they could well be outweighed by the harsher effects of Glycolic Acid and Alcohol Denat for example.
So, what do you do with it?
The brand advises to only use this product every other day. I first started using it only about twice a week due to my skin not being too familiar with AHAs, and I then built it up to every other day. My skin stung slightly upon application – not in an unpleasant way but in a way that definitely let me know it was having an effect!
I initially started to use it with a cotton wool pad, however I just find that my products get absorbed by the pads so I ended up patting the product on with my hands after a while. I doubt this makes any real difference, but I feel that more product goes on to my skin when I do that (this may be completely the wrong thing to do, perhaps I should actually look into it a bit and find out whether or not I should continue. I’ll get back to you!)
I used this after a full cleanse, and before any other products so that they had a fresh canvas. I did find that there was less residue and the products absorbed slightly faster after using this.
What were the results?
My skin was hands-down brighter and smoother than before I started using the Liquid Gold. It’s got a certain ‘glow’ to it that wasn’t there before.
The results weren’t instant, of course. As with any product, patience and consistency are key to achieving what you hear everyone else raving about. I would say that there was a noticeable improvement initially, but it was only after a few weeks my complexion was considerably more even and I would even go as far as to say it was clearer too! It also felt softer to touch as well, which is always a nice feeling. After a while of not using this, I noticed that the quality of my skin had deteriorated slightly (not drastically), but it was evident once I stopped using it.
The only thing I would highlight as a point to note is the drying element. I did find that my skin felt drier and needed a bit more TLC, so I would definitely suggest layering on some love afterwards to keep your skin happy all round. The description claims it hydrates, but for me this target wasn’t met.
Did it do what it said?
Alpha-H have on their site that this product does the following:
- Gently exfoliates to clear dead skin and pollution build-up
- Resurfaces and revitalises the complexion to improve luminosity and tone
- Strengthens the skin’s protective barrier
- Assists in stimulating collagen production
- Reduces congestion and promotes evenness
- Promotes hydration and moisture retention
- Minimises the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, open pores and sun damage
- pH of 2.8 – 3.0, which temporarily compromises the skin barrier to facilitate deeper penetration of active ingredients (trust us, it’s a good thing)
Whilst I may not be able to measure whether or not collagen production has been stimulated significantly, or the skin barrier strengthened, I can agree with the points around exfoliation, luminosity and tone in my complexion, minimised appearance of imperfections and my skin looking more even. I didn’t find that my skin was more hydrated afterwards – as I’ve gone on about this already I won’t go over it again – so my moisturising was upped!
I got my little duo from Marks and Spencer, who have some awesome skincare brands with economical sets I haven’t often found elsewhere. They also often have extra discounts/promotions going on so it’s worth keeping an eye out for what they have. A link to this particular set can be found here. The set wasn’t quite as pretty as it looks in the picture as it was basically just bundled together by some branded cardboard, but I wasn’t too fussed as I was more interested in getting down to business.
I’m fully aware that I haven’t covered the Liquid Gold Rose – this is very similar but a special edition more targeted to dry skin than the original Alpha-H Liquid Gold. I was pretty happy with that one too but I haven’t used it quite as much so I won’t give a detailed opinion.
I’ll be trying out some other Alpha-H products in the near future, but of course I started with the OG of the brand as what other option did I really have?!
I hope you enjoyed reading, and love this product as much as I do if you’ve tried it!