Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Edward Bess Radiant Lifting Serum

This post is so overdue, I feel a little embarrassed. I try and use any new skin care product for 28 days before reviewing. In this case, I 'tested' the Edward Bess Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum for a month, started a new cycle with another serum and I'm almost ready to review the new one. So, if it seems like I'm reviewing a lot of skin care all at once, I am but I promise I'm not cheating on my 'rules'. I'm just slow!

Anyway, with that confession out of the way, let's talk about the Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum. I'm rather taken with the packaging, it's stylish in a masculine kind of way. The pump dispenser makes it easy not to waste product too. The texture is like a slightly milky gel which becomes more watery on contact with the skin. The more watery texture allows it to glide on the skin and it feels pleasantly cooling. I do find that it sometimes feels slightly tacky as it dries: I like to wait for a minute or too between applying serum and moisturiser to allow it to absorb and minimise dilution of any active ingredients. This sticky feeling disappears as soon as I apply my moisturiser. 



I wouldn't say this serum made my skin more radiant. I think you either need something with a slight peeling effect or light reflective particles to do that. However, what it did do was hydrate my skin sufficiently to plump out my fine lines so that they looked less obvious. It is perhaps unsurprising that the only active ingredient that I really recognise on the ingredients list is sodium hyaluronate, which does help skin hold onto water.
The benefits of the Black Sea Serum are transient but I like how it feels and, as someone that suffers with dehydrated but not dry skin, I really appreciate a product that hydrates my skin without leaving me with a greasy face.  I also like that it doesn't include any silicones, instead they use ethylhexyl palmitate as an ingredient to provide slip. I do think it is a little on the expensive side at £50 but on a positive note, it is £50 for 47ml so the bottle will last quite a while.


It's hard for me not to feel the urge to compare the Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum to the Dr. Perricone Advanced Face Firming Activator that I'm currently using but this is an unfair comparison. The two serums have quite different functions. The Perricone is a lot more active, refining the skin and improving existing signs of ageing whereas the Black Sea Serum is good for hydrating the skin and cosmetically improves the appearance using 'natural' extracts rather than refined active ingredients*. In fact, I have started to use the Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum on the days which I do not use the Advanced Face Firming Activator and this seems to suit my skin well.

EDIT: I've brooded on this one overnight and really wanted to come back and add a few more thoughts. This serum is OK but the ingredients list is not really worthy of a £50 price tag. I was also really disappointed to find the Made in Taiwan sticker on a product from a luxury brand. I think you can find better products in this price bracket. 

The Edward Bess Black Sea Radiant Lifting Serum is available from Zuneta and costs £50.

Disclosure: This items were sent to me without cost for review purposes.

* I really hesitate to use the word natural. I desperately need to find an alternative as I think the word natural is frequently misused in the beauty industry. In this case, I'm referring to the fact they use extracts rather than purified chemicals. It is worth noting how far the ingredients list these extracts appear.


  1. Thanks for the review Jane. Have you tried the EB moisturizer? I'm looking forward to trying his shadow base but haven't ordered it yet as I seem to be on some kind of a Tom Ford binge at the moment!

    1. Hi Stacy, I've not tried the moisturizer. I'm not sure the EB skincare is really worth it tbh, I think you can find better products in this price bracket. You can carry on with the Tom Ford binge without feeling like you're missing out ;)

  2. I'm not terribly impressed with the ingredients list. I've had a look on Zuneta, and the description underneath this product appears to be for the cream rather than the serum.

    The only 'Black Sea' ingredient I can see is the algae extract, which is below both fragrance (which is above all the plant etc extracts) and colour.

    Not feeling Mr Bess on this one, I'm afraid.

    1. The brand says luxury, the label says not. I agree that the ingredients list isn't impressive. I would have expected more actives and less filler both for the price and the description. I found the Made in Taiwan sticker yesterday too and I don't think that fits well with brand image or the 'mystical healing properties of the Black Sea'.

      I've brooded on this one overnight and need to add a little edit to the post.

  3. 'Mystical Healing Properties of the Black Sea' my arse.

    The only time that product sees the Black Sea is when it passes over it on a plane from Taiwan.

    Image and advertising over substance - I wonder if Mr Bess has recently taken on investors who have made him reduce his product costs - I can't see how he is happy about that?

    I guarantee that product cost around £1.50 to make. The packaging probably costs more.

    And yes I'm in a bad mood now. :)

    1. The ingredients list is definitely disappointing and scarily basic considering this is marketed as a luxury line. I think the face cream is even more shocking. I would have expected more from Edward Bess to be honest.

      Apologies for putting you in a bad mood, oh wise one x

  4. Mrs Hirons, that made me laugh out loud.

    MB, I'm looking forward to your review of the Perricone Advanced Face Firming Activator. I've been hovering over this for a while and I've seen some good reviews. I've had a recent overhaul of my skincare routine (thanks to Mrs Hirons here), and this could be my next investment :)

    1. Hi Gillian. I will be guest reviewing the Perricone Activator but I will make sure I post a link. It's great stuff and I would heartily recommend it. Have a look at some of the sets that include it, you can usually get a discount on the Perricone site if you fill in the skin quiz, I think that's the best way to give it a try.

  5. I also like to give a skincare product about a month before I review it, otherwise how can you know you're writing about the full effect? I've yet to find a serum that doesn't feel tacky after a while - so i'm not surprised to read that. Thanks for the honest review!

    1. You're welcome. I agree completely about needing to give skincare a month. It's hard enough as a single individual testing to know it the effects are a direct result of a product, without factoring in insufficient time.

  6. Thank you for your honest review, Jane, as well as a peek at the ingredients. I was once one of the biggest Bess fans around, but I have fallen completely out of love with his entire line. Quality has gone downhill, and the new stuff doesn't seem to be any better. I don't expect, for example, my concealer to become completely useless within three months, you know?

    This one made me spew water at the monitor:

    "The only time that product sees the Black Sea is when it passes over it on a plane from Taiwan."

    1. I haven't bought any makeup since the change in manufacture but it is disappointing to hear the quality is not as it once was. Caroline's comment made me laugh out loud too!


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