My skin improved so much in 2015, partly due to being given topical antibiotics by the doctor and having the contraceptive implant taken out, and partly because I’ve found a routine which seems to really work for my skin. I’ll probably always enjoy experimenting with new products but these are the things that I found to be best for my skin last year.
Cleanser: I have so many cleansers on the go and like them all, but for my favourites I went for the one that I always go back to when my skin is playing up in any way, be it sensitivity, blemishes, dry patches, etc. is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-cleanser. It’s a really simple formulation with a pretty small number of ingredients, designed to be suitable for the most sensitive skin. It calms everything down and leaves a really soothing film on my skin. I use it with a hot flannel but you can also just wipe it off with cotton wool if you can’t use water on your face.
Highly commended: Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel – it was in my 2014 favourites and I still use it and love it; Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip cleanser – I use this in the shower in the morning and it leaves my skin feeling really smooth and clear.
Exfoliator: I’ve tried lots of acid toners in the past couple of years, from the very gentle Aveda to the super spendy Zelens, and my favourite by far are the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. My experiences with Pixi Glow Tonic had convinced me that glycolic was not for me but these have changed my mind. They’re relatively gentle but really effective at getting rid of dry patches and keeping my skin smooth. I think they’ve also helped to fade some of the marks left over from past blemishes, which is always nice. I cut them in half and use a half per night, so you get four months from one tub.
Highly commended: Sunday Riley Good Genes is a lactic acid-based serum which leaves my face looking really rather fresh by the next morning; Naturally Radiant Glycolic Overnight Peel is also brilliant and just over fiver. Hooray.
Toner: My toner favourite has been a constant for a good three or four years now and I’m so glad that you can now get it in the UK. Serozinc is a zinc sulphate spray which soothes and helps to heal patches of grumpy skin. It’s marketed as a toner for oily skin but I definitely don’t find it drying on my combination-dehydrated face. It’s also great for spraying on shaving rash, FYI.
Highly commended: MV Organics Rose Hydrating Mist is really very lovely and stupidly expensive. I’ll still repurchase but maybe not until February…
Serum: Superdrug has been bringing it this year with it’s bargainous skincare beauties. My favourite serum is their Simply Pure Hydrating Serum, which is a rebrand of a serum that they tried to discontinue before there was a bit of an uproar from customers. It contains hyaluronic acid, which is great for dehydrated skin as it holds over 1,000 times its own weight in water, and a small concentration of lactic acid, for smoothness. My skin really loves it and because it’s under £3, you can slather it on with abandon.
Eye Cream: I usually have two eye creams on the go, one ‘treatment’ one for the daytime and a more heavy-duty and moisturising one in the evening, so it doesn’t make my (essential) concealer crease. I’m yet to find a morning cream that I love but my preference for the evening is definitely Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment. It has avocado oil and shea butter and is just the best thing I’ve found to stop my dry under eye area misbehaving. . It has a really odd texture – creamy until you rub it in when it suddenly seems to liquefy. I’ve had my little pot for about nine months and I’m only halfway through so it’s well-worth the money.
Moisturiser: This was a toss-up between the winner and my beloved MV Organics Rose Soothing Protective Moisturiser but in the end I went for Skinceuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF 50+, which I’ve been wearing as my daily SPF for most of the year, without moisturiser underneath in the warmer months (there were some in 2015, right?) and over the top of the MV Organics when it got colder. It’s not perfect but it’s the best sunscreen I’ve found so far, mainly due to it’s great texture which refuses to bobble under makeup or collect in my pores like most of the others I’ve tried (La Roche Posay, Vichy, Soap & Glory, Eucerin etc). It also has very good UVA protection, which not all do, and contains Mexoryl which means that I can get away with only applying (a generous amount) in the morning, as it doesn’t break down throughout the day.
Highly commended: MV Organics, obviously. I’ve also liked the been known to steal Mr Mouse’s La Roche-Posay Toleriane cream if I’m feeling particularly dry, and it’s lovely.
Oil: Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil might be the most hyped product of 2015, which made me really want it to be a bit crap. Sadly, or luckily, I guess, it isn’t; it’s marvellous. I will say that I didn’t have the almost instant results that YouTube would have you believe to be the norm, but after using it for a month or so I could definitely see a difference in my acne scarring and skin tone. I have a full review of it and Good Genes coming up but for now I’ll just say that it’s a very good retinol-based oil which doesn’t cause irritation on my relatively sensitive skin. The blue dye pisses me off though, and it’s ludicrously expensive.
Highly commended: Nude Progenius Rescue Oil is soothing and smoothing and, although spendy, lasts for bloody ages; I also really like the new Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil from The Body Shop.
Aaaand we’re done. Apologies for the length – I really do like skincare…
Here’s to finding a whole new load of things to subject my poor face to in 2016!