Single-dose skincare – in the form of pill-like capsules or teeny glass vials – is a beauty minimalist’s dream.
It simplifies your routine in much the same way that detergent pods simplify laundry, when you think about it.
Full of serum you break open and apply directly to your face, this delivery system dispenses only the exact amount of product you need. All with a twist, squeeze or tap, while taking up next-to-no space on your bathroom shelf.
Suddenly a skincare arsenal to rival our shoe collection no longer seems quite so suited to the cause.
You could say Elizabeth Arden’s Advanced Ceramide Capsules were the original ‘one shot’ capsules back in 1990. But now, thanks to K Beauty, they are having a beauty renaissance.
One reason is that single-dose capsules provide a safe haven for effective ingredients such as vitamin C and retinol. (Though they aren’t quite replacements for your best vitamin c serums and retinol treatments.)
‘Both are notoriously unstable ingredients,’ says dermatologist Dr Rachael Eckel. ‘They swiftly lose their potency when exposed to sunlight and air.’
These little containers are also a sterile means of delivering hyaluronic acid, a gold-standard skin-plumping ingredient. As there’s no bacteria from sticking fingers into tubs, the efficacy of the formula is never compromised.
On top of that, single-dose capsules de-mystify skincare like nothing else. Crucially, they take the guess work out of certain anti-ageing ingredients.
‘Active ingredients like retinol and glycolic acid can cause irritation if they’re overused,’ says Eckel.
You’re less likely to go OTT with capsules as you know you’re applying the optimal amount each time.
Oh, and did we mention that these mini doses are ideal for hand-luggage, too? Weighing in at under 100ml each, they’re a simple solution for keeping skin soothed and hydrated at 36,000 feet.
With so much to love about skincare capsules, scroll down for our pick of the best…
A daily dose of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and peptides supercharges your skincare routine for 20 days. Use half of the glass ampoule in the morning and half at night – the reduction in packaging means the planet will thank you, too.
Recyclable one-a-day ampoules of glycolic acid buff away dead skin cells for brighter skin when you wake up.
There’s a very good reason not to leave home without these ampoules. The tricky thing about hyaluronic acid is that the molecule is huge, making it a challenge to penetrate into skin. Dr Sturm uses different sizes of hyaluronic acid so it is readily absorbed into deeper layers of skin while also plumping up the surface.
Mid-flight skin is prone to dehydration and redness. These handy ampoules use calming oils of rosemary, sunflower and chamomile to reset your skin before you’ve touched down at your final destination.
An intensive 9-day programme to reset tired, stressed skin. The first three days involve treating skin to resurfacing glycolic and mandelic acids; three days of skin soothing and detox follow before squalane and chia seed oils get to work nourishing and repairing skin. Like the best facial you’ve ever had – but in vial form.
In a bit of a skin slump? This 5-day course promises to rev up skin's radiance with vitamin C, lactic acid, glycolic acid and a mega hit of hyaluronic acid, even if you don't have eight hours sleep/2 litres of water/well-balanced chakras.
Vitamin C meets vitamin E for a double hit of moisture and antioxidants. Think firmer, smoother, brighter skin into the bargain.