The Pharmacy Skincare Line That Delivers – and It’s All Under €20 - The Gloss Magazine
1 month ago

The Pharmacy Skincare Line That Delivers – and It’s All Under €20


Loved by teens, championed by dermatologists – why is CeraVe so popular? …

Many people have become more interested in skincare during the past year. But sometimes the choice can be overwhelming and it’s hard to see the good stuff through the hype. Our recent beauty survey found that people really want to know about accessible skincare that doesn’t cost the earth.

US brand CeraVe (pronounced “sera-vee”) is a skincare brand that has quietly made a massive name for itself. I say quietly – if you are TikTok inclined, you’ll be well aware of its popularity. But it’s not just a teens and twenties brand. Its range of cleansers and body care is well-known now. Why? The packaging is pretty plain and medical-looking, and there’s nothing jazzy about it. But it is very accessible (at pharmacies), affordable (all under €20) and fuss-free – the formulas are not packed with fillers or fragrances. And crucially, as a dermatologist-founded brand, they are recommended by derms such as London-based New Yorker Dr Alexis Granite, who specialises in areas such as hormone-related skin conditions.

Dr Granite finds that many teenagers use CeraVe cleansers alongside their prescription medication for acne, which can be drying on the skin, as they are gentle and won’t irritate. “Every formula is developed with dermatologists from all over the world who weigh in on which ingredients and at what percentage to use, as well as the ones to avoid,” says CeraVe co-founder Tom Allison.

CeraVe have just taken their first step outside the cleansing and body ranges, and launched the Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum (€18). So how is this different from the many hyaluronic-based serums on our shelves? Dr Granite explains that it’s not just about the ingredients here (with a high level of actives, including three ceramides, which give the brand part of its name, and anti-inflammatory vitamin B5), but the key technology in this formula: the way the actives are layered means that you don’t just get a burst of actives but they are released over time so that your skin gets long-term hydration.

To demonstrate this, CeraVe sent a really creative press gift to recreate 24 hours in New York at home – with hotel slippers, pancake mix, a link to a movie (complete with popcorn) and even a fresh pretzel – and show how long the hydration of this serum lasts; their trials have shown that skin is 20 per cent more hydrated some 24 hours after applying. It was a really fun and clever way to illustrate this (and you can find pretzels, should you have a craving, at Auntie Annes in Blanchardstown Centre, or for click and collect at

What’s it like to use? Many hyaluronic acid serums are either gels or more liquidy in texture, but this is a more robust lightweight gel-cream that instantly disappears into the skin – I’ve only just started trying it out, but find it gives a great base for make-up, if you’re wearing it, and I like the fact it’s fragrance-free. This month I’ve been trying out a serum that costs nearly €1,800 for less than 30ml – seriously – and though it smells like the fanciest florists and comes in super-swanky (and distinctly un-environmentally friendly) packaging, honestly I would choose to buy the CeraVe one in terms of ingredients and what it has to offer my skin, just as I would choose one sunflower rather than a vast showy bouquet of fake flowers.

As we pull back and look to a “less is more” approach with skincare, as well as becoming savvy enough to look at ingredients and skin expert recommendations rather than marketing hype, I feel that more of us are going to be spending our hard-earned cash on pharmacy staples like this one. I would like to see the brand (now owned by L’Oréal) look at recycling options; while the airtight pump is neat, hygienic and easy to use, personally I like to see how much I have left, and open it to get the last drops out – and it would be difficult to recycle.

Irish alternatives include Pestle & Mortar’s Pure Hyaluronic Serum (€43 at, which contains 80 per cent hyaluronic acid along with vitamin E, aloe leaf juice and glycerine, and is vegan-friendly.

If you’re in the market for something that delivers hydration, whatever your age or skin type, the CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a robust, accessible option for under €20.

CeraVe is at pharmacies nationwide and online, €18.


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