Alpha H's 21st Birthday at the Ham Yard Hotel

The iconic Australian skincare line comes of age ...

Although I'm mainly about perfume on here, as a former Beauty Editor I still like to keep a hand in where skincare's concerned. There are plenty of overrated (not to mention extremely overpriced) skincare products out there, which are more about smoke and mirrors than eternal youth in a bottle. Alpha H is a different story entirely. It works hard for its money, thanks to the many actives and acids it's got in there (over the years I've discovered acids are everything where skincare is concerned). The brand most-deservedly reached its 21st year this year, so last week, they had a little bash on the roof terrace of the Ham Yard Hotel to celebrate...

The reason acids are such a big deal in skincare at the moment? They exfoliate non-abrasively (as opposed to scratchy face scrubs) and much more besides. Exfoliation is the key to decent skin - it gets rid of dirt, dead skin and debris; keeps spots and blackheads at bay; brightens the complexion and allows serums and moisturisers to absorb better. And few products do this more effectively than Alpha H's jewel-in-the-crown product Liquid Gold (which celebrated its 15-year anniversary last year). A toner and a serum in one, it's so potent you only need to use it a few nights a week - but will notice the effects of this do-all wonder potion the very next morning . With glycolic acid (which you can feel tingling on the skin after application), it works by slightly irritating the skin, triggering defence mechanisms which include speeding up the production of new skin cells for a more radiant glow - think of it as a mini 'work out' for your face. It also dissolves the bonds which hold dead skin cells together, lifting them away, as well as other gunk (which you can see on the cotton pad if you're so inclined). Plus, it stimulates collagen production (collagen is basically the 'stuffing' which keeps the skin looking plump and toned). So no need to apply a moisturiser on top. Oh and it helps reduce the appearance of acne scars and brown spots for a clearer complexion.  I love its sister product too - Instant Facial, a milder version which can be used daily and works wonders if you suffer from redness. If I could recommend skincare products that are worth parting with your hard-earned pennies for, these two would be definitely be up there.

Their founder, New Zealander Michelle Doherty suffered from acne and created the brand after being at the end of her tether (as a fellow former-sufferer I know the feeling). When you meet her and her team, there's no 'science waffle' with these guys - they're able to explain how everything works simply and clearly, which always helps where skincare is concerned. In developing Alpha H, she was one of the first people to champion glycolic and hyaluronic acids (the latter is a humectant, helping the skin to retain moisture), which before had been the preserve of dermatologists. And now it's safe to say that acids are the way forward where decent-looking skin is concerned. You can layer as many 'nourishing' ingredients on your skin until the cows come home - but using an acid now and again will wake the skin up and get things moving so it can stay looking its best. As a 30-something whose punim* isn't as peachy as it was in my twenties, I've found the Alpha H range to be a godsend.

I was also intrigued to find out about their latest addition to the Alpha H family - the Beauty Sleep Power Peel. Designed to be used a few nights a week, its got lots of lovely acids in there including 14% glycolic acid and fruit enzymes, together with 0.5% retinol - a wonder ingredient which works on firming and renewing the skin. It's also designed to be a mini aromatherapy treatment, with essential oils of neroli, sandalwood and rosemary which help to relax the mind as you apply it. Looking forward to trying this one out.

Alpha H products are sold online at Cult Beauty and QVC.

www.alpha-h.com

*Yiddish for 'face' FYI...