This time round we’re talking about the skincare that I repurchase time and time again…
A few week’s ago I posted a definitive list of my makeup favourites, from primer to lipstick and everything in-between (have a read of that post HERE). You lot seemed to approve and asked for skincare to be given a similar treatment, so here you go. It might have taken half a day to put this together, but it’s a hefty ol’ list of pretty much everything that’s currently in my bathroom skincare cupboard, or at least has filtered through it in recent years. I thought that as well as giving you the dish on my favourite products, it was also worth arming you with my complexion’s current temperament as well as instructions on how I lace these all together every morning and evening into some kind of routine (find a print out PDF here to pop in your bathroom cabinet). So have a read and a scroll across (there are more than just four picks to shop for each category, so press right to see them all!), and get ready to absorb my exhaustive skincare edit…
MY SKIN: My skin on the whole is pretty dehydrated and sensitive. It can get slightly oily and congested around my t-zone, with blackheads across my nose and chin and occasional breakouts around the chin or jawbone. I’m easily sunburnt and go red at the drop of the hat. I’m developing fine lines on my forehead and around my eyes. I look for glow, hydration and protection from my skincare routine.
Spray or Essence
Hydrating Serum + Vitamin C Serum
SPF 30 (or SPF 50 in the summer)
Spray or Essence
Hydrating Serum + Exfoliating Serum (no Exfoliating Serum if using a Retinol)
Face Oil (or Retinol twice a week)
ADDITIONAL STEPS: Exfoliating or Clarifying Face Mask (once or twice a week)
IF YOU WEAR WATERPROOF MASCARA YOU NEED THE CLARINS INSTANT EYE MAKEUP REMOVER* IN YOUR LIFE. That is all really. I could probably end this paragraph there. I’ve used it for the past five-ish or so years and nothing melts off tar-like mascara or heavy eye makeup quite like, with no aggravation, or stinging. If I had to pick a second place, the La Roche Posay Respectissime Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover* comes in a close second but just lacks the swift efficiency of the Clarins. If you’d rather a balm, I recently worked with and rediscovered the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm* (gifted), which takes off makeup and dissolves away waterproof mascara too, if that’s your preferred method.
SHOP THE MAKEUP REMOVER EDIT*
Much like the previous category I feel like I could drop in a link for the Kiehl’s Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser* here and just call it a day. It’s absolute perfection. A gel texture that feels more like a balm when you massage it into your skin; it leaves me clean and soft, with no redness and my cheeks feel comfortable, not dry like other cleanser that can strip off all the good stuff. I’ve used it solidly for the last year (I think this is my third tube). Previous favourites that come recommended though are the OSKIA Renaissance Cleansing Gel* which is great for drier skins or all skin types during the colder, drier months and Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser* which is a great basic, budget-friendly buy and suitable for everyone.
SHOP THE CLEANSER EDIT*
SPRAYS & ESSENCES
Perhaps my favourite step of my whole skincare routine is when I get to this part and completely douse myself by spraying away in the bathroom until Mark shouts something like ‘Do I need to bring in a mop?!!?’. Of course the Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator* is my favourite here; my skin completely drinks it up and it’s one of my favourite skincare brands. Great for sensitive skins that need a bit of extra love in the hydration department. If you’d rather have an essence that you pat on your face then can I recommend the Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence* (gifted), that leaves my skin soft and supple, or the Lancome Hydrating Milky Face Mist* (gifted), which is basically a liquid moisturiser that gives SO MUCH GLOW (although the spray is pants, so spray it into your hands rather than directly onto your face).
SHOP THE SPRAYS & ESSENCES EDIT*
I’m an eye cream floozy, so whilst I’ll happily recommend all the ones that I’ve linked up down below as I’ve used them up till their very last drop over the years, there’s not one that stands out in a ‘THIS IS THE *ONE*’ way. What I’m looking for is something that’s both light, but richly moisturising, and doesn’t feel too clogging or effect concealer application too much. I’m currently using the Olé Henrisken Banana Bright Eye Creme* (gifted), that ticks all the previously mentioned boxes and before that I was using the Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream* (gifted), which is one that I would definitely use again. More mature skins might want to try the Zelens 3t Complex Essential Anti-Aging Eye Cream*, which I remember to be extremely luxurious feeling and one of the most moisturising formulas I’ve tried.
SHOP THE EYE CREAM EDIT*
Right – here is where the skincare sandwich starts to be assembled. I tend to mix my hydrating serum with a treatment serum (as per the brand’s instructions) and my current pick is the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydrating Serum*. I thought it was good when I first used it, but when I ran out I missed it rotten and had to go out to make a repurchase swiftly. In fact there are so many decent serums out there that I’ve used over the years; the Lancome Advanced Génifique Serum* (gifted) and Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair* serums are classics and Glossier Bounce* is a nice more affordable option. All you’re looking for is something that’s packed with Hyaluronic Acid and applies in a light layer, so doesn’t ball up when you apply other products over the top.
SHOP THE HYDRATING SERUMS EDIT*
This is a relatively newish step for me and is one that I’ve introduced as I’ve attempted to up the preventative measures in my skincare routine. These days I always, always apply a Vitamin C serum in the morning, the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum* (gift), is brilliant and applies just like a serum-oil hybrid, unlike many Vitamin C products out there that feel like applying gravel on the skin. Then in the evenings I go for something that’s pretty hefty on the acid front to help with any textural issues that I might be having, and right now that’s the Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum* (gifted). I don’t tend to use whole-brand routines like this too often, but this combination works so well for me and my skin seems to thank me for it.
SHOP THE TREATMENT SERUMS EDIT*
Basically just get yourself an SPF product from Kiehl’s and thank me later. I’ve been using their Ultra Light Daily Defence SPF 50* for years – since I lived in London – and it’s the most un-SPF feeling SPF I’ve ever used. You can really slap on the recommended amount without it feeling sticky or heavy, or leaving a white cast on the skin and makeup applies like a dream over the top of it too. I use it everyday throughout the summer. Then for the winter months I go back to the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30*, which is their classic formula just with a boost of SPF. So lush. I’ve experimented a bit with sun protection and have found that mineral sunscreens work so much better for my sensitive skin – something to note if you find yourself getting a bit red and irritated by certain formulas; look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide on the ingredients list.
SHOP THE SUN PROTECTION EDIT*
FACIAL OILS & MOISTURISERS
Every evening I use the May Lindstrom Youth Dew* and have done for about the past 18 months. I’m on my fourth bottle and quite frankly I don’t want to do the maths, but nothing makes my skin look juicer. It’s practically the only oil I use because I know that I don’t personally find it clogs and it doesn’t feel too heavy, but is v.v moisturising. If I’m having a particularly dry moment then I slap on some of the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon* or the Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream*, both of which are extremely hydrating and rich. All of these are more nighttime options for me, but if I feel like I need a bit of extra moisture throughout the day under my SPF then I’ll either crack out the Weleda Skin Food Light* that does exactly what it says on the tin, or the Kiehl’s Glow Formula* (gifted), which is the perfect skincare/makeup hybrid.
SHOP THE FACIAL OILS & MOISTURISERS EDIT*
RETINOL & BLEMISH TREATMENTS
I know that it doesn’t really make sense to bundle these two categories together but I’ve thrown them in one because I don’t really have too many recommendations up my sleeve for either of them. I’m still relatively new to the world of retinol so don’t have much to say aside from ‘Watch Caroline’s retinol videos immediately‘. I’m currently using the Synergie Skin Ultimate A Essential Vitamin A Serum twice a week which is working out well for my sensitive chops, but I’ve used the A313 Pommade* in the past and had no problems with it and for those who find themselves sensitive to retinol the Indeed Labs Bakuchoil Retinol Reface Pads* (gifted) are brill. In terms of blemishes the Votary Blemish Oil* is the BEST. It works so well at dulling down any potential pimples and when I combo it with a few blasts of the blue LED light setting of the Dr Dennis Gross DrX SpectraLite FaceWare Pro* (I’m still yet to make my mind up yet as to whether this is worth the big bucks, but I’m guessing… no), it truly works wonders.
SHOP THE RETINOL & BLEMISH TREATMENTS EDIT*
EXFOLIATING & CLARIFYING MASKS
For the last month or so, my skin has been PLAYING GAMES with me big time. I know that in the grand scheme things when it comes to skincare I’m relatively ‘lucky’, but every single morning since what feels like the dawn of time, I’ve been waking up with a brand-new ‘shinny red bump that’s not quite a squeezable zit but will be in a couple of days and it HURTS’ pimple. The only thing that’s managed to put a stop to this? The May Lindstrom Problem Solver*. I’ve been slapping it on the affected area almost daily since we got back from holiday and WOW IT’S INCREDIBLE. I have turned many friends and family members onto this product. All I know is that by writing about this I will be greeted by a new face friend tomorrow morning I’m sure. For something that’s both exfoliating and clarifying, I enjoy the Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask* which does a bit of a both (I’m on my second tub in the past 12 months). And when my skin just needs straight up brightening there’s only one mask I turn to – the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask* which is the mutt’s nuts and has been sloughing away all my dry dead bits for the past four years.
SHOP THE EXFOLIATING & CLARIFYING MASK EDIT*
I don’t tend to use hydrating masks as much as I used to, mainly because these days I tend to prefer to slather on a cup of oil before bed and go to sleep looking like you could fry an egg on my forehead. I just find a classic overnight oil to be more effective and sometimes a less tacky-feeling option than sticking to your pillow because of the thick-ass hydrating mask you’ve just applied. However, I do find myself sitting around the flat wearing the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask* quite often. It’s such a nice one to throw on after a particularly intense mask if you have a long afternoon stretched out in front of you before your evening skincare routine. Then sheet mask-wise the Dr Dennis Gross C-Collagen Brightening Treatment Masks* are something else. It’s so rare to see an immediate difference with these kinds of things, but I looked like a shiny beach ball after using this. I’m saving my last one for a special occasion.
SHOP THE HYDRATION MASKS EDIT*
Photos by Mark Newton