All-in-one skincare products have always been touted either as solutions to streamline your morning routines, must-haves for travel, or as entry-level products aimed at beginners (particularly at dudes, whom many skincare companies often assume won’t be able to understand the intricate steps of a lady’s routine). That’s all very well if you prefer to appear low-maintenance, but as famous cosmetics businesswoman Helena Rubinstein once quipped, “there are no ugly women, just lazy ones,” and if you’re looking to have the healthiest skin you can have, why sell yourself short with a shorter skincare regime — one that likely blends together lower concentrations of individual actives — rather than having separate, highly potent serums at your disposal?

Predominantly in western skincare, the notion is often that all-in-one skincare is better (it’s targeting all your skin concerns at the same time, it must be!), though in many cases you’ll need to do your research to see whether the ingredients really work well for you. It’s a matter of knowing what your skin really needs, much like going to a doctor to treat individual problems. You won’t be treating a broken arm with a cough and cold cure, would you?

Of course, there are plenty of ways to mix and match products from different brands for your tailor-made regimen, but for a no-brainer way to start this approach, you might want to look to Hong Kong newcomer viliv, a Swiss biomedical brand which makes a diverse range of concentrated serums that each target a different skin concern.

viliv serums - felix bertram

Six years in the making, viliv is leading the way on the trend of customised skincare. As founder and dermatologist Dr. Felix Bertram says, “The skin is very individual. Its ageing story unfolds in many parallel processes — wrinkles, age spots, redness, enlarged pores, loss of elasticity and a tired complexion. These signs can appear in a different combination at a different time in every person. Logically then, every person’s skincare needs to be just as individual.”

Currently available at Harvey Nichols’ Beyond Beauty counters, viliv offers eight different high tech serums that run the gamut of targeting what everybody wants, like getting rid of wrinkles or brightened eyes, to being awfully specific, like helping to soothe post-laser skin.

viliv serums - b for boost

With cheerful yet minimalistic packaging, the serums are each named after a single letter that stands for a particular skincare concern or target treatment. ‘B’ stands for boost (HK$750/30ml), which Bertram recommends for those who want an enhanced glow for tired complexions. The deep rejuvenation serum energises the skin with just one very important active: stem cells from the rare Swiss Uttwiler Spatlauber apple, lauded for its anti-ageing properties. 

To shrink large pores as well as pores prone to trapping impurities, the ‘p’ pore refining cream (HK$800/30ml) is your jam — it uses a resin from the pistachio tree which inhibits an enzyme that influences sebum production. Pores are smoothed, and the mattifying formula makes it a great primer for your makeup base too.

‘S’ stands for spots (HK$780/30ml), a skin-brightening cream to target hyperpigmentation in all its forms, with a formula that suppresses melanin overproduction, protecting against light-induced skin ageing. It’s not a conventional whitening treatment, but more of a preventative measure against light damage.

viliv serums - s for spots

‘E’ for eyes is a smoothing eye serum (HK$780/30ml) that helps improve circulation and dark circles, and is made for softening expression lines. There is a richer ‘e’ formulation available as a rich eye cream for those who need the extra help, but if you’re looking for an overall solution to lines, ‘w’ for wipe (HK$830/30ml) features soy isoflavone to stimulate your skin to produce new elastic fibres for firmer and smoother — and more youthful — skin.

For those who regularly do laser treatments such as Skin Laundry or hair removal, ‘r’ for regenerate (HK$780/30ml) will be useful in your arsenal. It’s a cream for regenerating skin post-laser, post-chemical-peel, or even as an after-sun cream and something to soothe severely allergic and irritated skin. For skin that’s been stressed out by any external, chemical or physical factors, this is the cream to get.

Don’t misconstrue this with P for Protect (HK$780/30ml) — which is a cell defence serum featuring argan tree stem cells that protects the skin against UV stress — any damage done to your skin at the cellular and DNA level via pollution or harmful rays. Think of it as ‘invisible’ day to day damage. Using this daily allegedly stops your skin from getting fatigued from the environment.

viliv serums - r for red

And speaking of sensitive skin, the very specific condition of red, irritated skin such as with inflamed capillaries, ‘r’ for red (HK$750/30ml) alleviates all kinds of redness and stops it from coming back with the help from grapefruit peel extract and magnolia extract to soothe fine veins.

What’s great about the viliv range is that it’s quite simple to use — despite the huge number of individual products you might get tempted to add to your bathroom counter, you only have to apply serums once in the morning and evening after cleansing. Dr. Bertram even suggests to never use more than one or two serums at a time, and he welcomes customers to mix and match his serums with other brand products. What’s excellent about viliv products is that the formulas are so clean: they’re free from parabens, mineral oils, colourants, and for the most part, free from preservatives such as irritating PEGs, allegedly carcinogenic BHT and the sometimes-toxic EDTA as well as fragrances. Every product is vegan-safe and gluten-free.

viliv serums - group products

The drawback is that you’ll have to shell out HK$700-plus on each skincare concern you’re targeting, but would you rather shell out on two high-powered serums or a couple thousand dollars on a weaker alternative that tries half as hard to cover all bases? If you’ve had a lasting skin concern that’s been bothering you, and nothing else seems to do the trick, you’ll want to give viliv’s serums a spin.

Shop viliv at Harvey Nichols, Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 3968 2668; and Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols, The ONE, 100 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3906 2388

Evelyn Lok
Managing Editor
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.