RATIONALE is somewhat of a cult in beauty land. Ask those who use it, and they will gush about the product with words like “obsessed” and “amazing”. Talk to those who are yet to try it, and they have this kind of burning desire to know what makes it so special. It has this mystery, this hype, which unless you have really tried the products is hard to quantify. As one of the converted, I fall into the first category: the obsessed. I now can’t even fathom my life without that precious golden elixir, the Antioxidant Lipid Concentrate, or the creamy ProCeramide Cleanser, which smells like sweet orange and feels like heaven. And don’t even get me started on the Beautiful Skin Superfluid – arguably the secret to that famous ‘Rationale Glow’. To believe is to see, and results I do. So when the shiny new Antioxidant Hydrogel landed on my desk, I shrieked with joy. More Rationale to bunk into my beauty routine, how grand! But, would I love this too?

In short, yes. But the RATIONALE Antioxidant Hydrogel is different to other Rationale products I have tried. Its consistency, for a start, is different, with a water-light, gel texture. It is so light, it almost feels like water, like a sheer veil when applied to the skin, and rather than drink it up instantaneously it sits a little glowy on the surface. It’s a skin identical hydrator, meaning it basically mimics your skin (so your skin still feels itself – just a better version). But despite its sheer appearance, it’s a powerful little emulsion. Offering supreme environmental protection and pollution defence, it acts like a shield against environmental aggressors and nasty pollutants – and it all came about because of a trip to Tokyo.

When travelling to Asia, Richard Parker, Founder and Director of RATIONALE Research, found his skin growing increasingly sensitive. But it was a recent visit to Tokyo which really left its mark. “On a recent trip to Asia, I was aware that my skin was becoming increasingly sensitive in each city I visited…resulting in pronounced irritation when I reached Tokyo — an environmentally challenging city,” he explains. “My skin’s resilience needed boosting, not just from within but also from above…I literally needed a 3-D shield between my skin and the world. On returning to Australia, I hit the Lab hard. My imperative was to create a Ceramic Shield comprised of skin identical Minerals that augmented the resilience provided of our skin identical Antioxidants to offer the ultimate protection against environmental aggressors.”

That Ceramic Shield is the new Antioxidant Gel; an ultra-fine mesh of ceramic mineral microspheres that provide an impenetrable physical barrier against pollution and irritants. Basically, it’s an armour for the surface of the skin. A lovely, light gel-ly armour. Inside, there’s also a curation of Australian SolarProtective Botanicals which defend against InfraRed Radiation, while Essential Skin Minerals restore hydration levels and clarity. Skin is taught to be resilient while radiance is reactivated.

A new frontier in environmental defence, I’ve been arming my skin with this every morning and already loving its pollutant-protecting, brightness-boosting properties. Welcome to the club, Antioxidant Hydrogel, I think you’ll fit in just fine.

Rationale Antioxidant Hydrogel 100ml, $175. shop now