How Single-Dose Capsules of Skin Care Work

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

If you've been around the skin-care block, you've definitely noticed a big uptick in skin-care products that come in tiny little capsules. They're not the pill-like capsules you ingest for alleged internal skin health — instead, they’re full of serum you break open and apply directly to your face. Though this packaging method might seem of questionable necessity when compared to your run-of-the-mill pump bottle, skin experts love it for a multitude of reasons.

Ron Robinson, a cosmetic chemist based in New York City, says that "sensitive or unstable ingredients, like vitamin C and retinol, work well in this type of delivery system." When those ingredients are exposed to light and air, they can swiftly lose their potency, but capsules provide a sort of safe house for them. On top of that, Robinson notes, capsules prevent users from going overboard on product (which, yes, is a thing you can do) by providing "a controlled dose for the consumer."

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David E. Bank, a dermatologist in Westchester, New York, agrees. "They help to provide the perfect amount of serum to be used, giving you better results over time," she says. "Skin-care capsules can be beneficial since some products lose their potency over time and when exposed to air and/or sunlight."

So there you have it — skin-care capsules protect the most potent ingredients in your entire routine and prevent you from the irritation they can cause. Not to mention they're far more portable than your average pump or squeeze bottle, as Robinson points out. Though putting serums and concentrates in this form might seem like a trend at first glance, the experts predict it's more likely to become a common form of skin-care packaging in the future.

With all that in mind, we've rounded up six great skin-care products in capsules from brands such as Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder, Eve Lom, and more.

RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Night Serum Capsules

While fast-acting retinol in the Correxion Line Smoothing Night Serum Capsules from RoC fights fine lines, antioxidant-rich vitamin E hydrates skin and protects it from free radicals. If that weren't enough, the brand made its capsules biodegradable, so you won't feel any guilt tossing these guys into your trash can every night.

Rodan + Fields Intensive Renewing Serum Capsules

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The combination of retinol and protein-building peptides in the Intensive Renewing Serum Capsule basically reboots skin while you sleep by encouraging faster cell turnover. Rodan + Fields added a calcium complex called hydroxyapatite (say that five times fast) to further stabilize those ingredients and make them safer for sensitive skin types.

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum

Elizabeth Arden's take on capsules is a double whammy, containing both retinol, which smooths fine lines over time, and the hydrating effects of ceramides. Dermatologists adore these because they contain enough to product to cover both the face and neck — just be sure to use them exclusively at night time.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules

Anyone who lives in a crowded city and/or has a high-stress job is likely to see the results of that in dull skin that's prone to redness and dark circles. Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules dimish the signs of stress and environmental damage over time using the calming oils of rosemary, sunflower, and chamomile. Though you might not feel awake some days, the additional coffee extract in these capsules will at least make you look like it.

Darphin Ideal Resource Youth Retinol Oil Concentrate Capsules

Darphin's Ideal Resource Youth Retinol Oil Concentrate Capsules capsules work overnight to brighten and plump skin by promoting cell regeneration. The 60 capsules inside will last users one month or more.

Exuviance AF Vitamin C Serum Capsules

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Vitamin C is heralded in the skin-care industry for its powerful ability to brighten and firm the skin, and Exuviance brings the ingredient in a relatively high concentration with its 20 percent Vitamin C Serum Capsules. When using this product in the daytime, follow it up with sunscreen to avoid any irritation caused by heightened photosensitivity.

Beauty Pie Superactive Capsules Pure Double Vitamin C & Vitamin E Serum

If you're already a member of the Beauty Pie subscription service, you likely are already a big fan of its capsules, which feature a firming and brightening dose of vitamins C and E. Worry not, nonmembers, you can still purchase them without a paid monthly subscription.

Eve Lom Smoothing Treatment

Eve Lom uses a peptide complex containing six naturally occurring amino acids to banish any sign of dullness and reduce the appearance of scars and fine lines. All the while, collagen plumps skin and promotes elasticity, and tocotrienol protects against UV rays, a known source of fine lines.

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