It might not seem like it from the photo above, but in my constant battle to combat my (relatively mild but annoyingly recurring) acne, I’ve recently pared back my skincare routine! I’ve been using some old favourites, as well as some new products, and today I’m sharing with you my thoughts on each – and how they work for my skin.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil* | Buy on Amazon
I wear pretty heavy makeup most days, and my favourite way to remove it is with a good oil cleanser. This is a very famous one – and for good reason! It does a stellar job of breaking down every scrap of makeup on my face, as well as melting away that daily grime… I can actually feel little gritty bits of dirt coming out of my pores (equally gross and satisfying).
It doesn’t sting my eyes, but it does remove even waterproof mascara with ease – I do have sensitive eyes so cleansers that don’t irritate them are a must for me!
I also don’t feel the need to double cleanse with this – even though the formula is very oily, there’s no residue left behind, and even if I just use this at night and skip moisturiser (sacrilege!) I wake up to plump, hydrated skin the next day. It’s a little bottle of magic!
Good Things Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser | Buy on Amazon
I used a different cleanser a few mornings in a row and my skin reacted by getting really dry and flaky! I reverted back to this and haven’t had a problem since. As it’s a cream cleanser, it helps to hydrate your skin rather than stripping it. It doesn’t foam up at all – just gently cleanses away dirt leaving your skin clean but not stripped. I think this would suit all skin types, but especially dry or dehydrated skin (I’m quite oily but my skin does dry out very easily).
I’ve tried quite a few products from the Good Things range now and I’ve come to view them as a really affordable but effective brand – I always find their products in TK Maxx priced around £2.99-£3.99.
Boots Botanics Hydration Burst 2 in 1 Micellar Cleanser | Buy at Boots
I thought I’d try out the Boots own brand lines and I’m so glad I did! This Micellar Cleanser is super affordable but it’s great for a gentle cleanse, to remove eye makeup or just to refresh your skin. It’s easily as good as my other bargain fave – the Nivea Micellar Water – and is arguably more soothing and hydrating. I often use this first thing in the morning in place of a traditional cleanser.
Albion Skin Conditioner Essential | Buy on Amazon
Ringing in at an eye-watering £38, this is the only non-affordable thing on the list – so you probably won’t be surprised to know it was a gift and brought back for me all the way from China! (Thanks Maomao ❤)
However, this product will last you a hell of a long time. I’ve been using it almost daily for a good few months and there’s more than 9/10ths of the bottle left.
As for the product itself, it’s a very watery essence that smells (not unpleasantly) of soap. It sinks in quickly and does a great job of hydrating and plumping the skin – I like to use it as the first product post-cleanse.
I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my skin’s texture and tone since using this – it also helps my skin stay hydrated throughout the day. Although I would never use this alone, it’s perfect to layer with other products, and you could go the extra mile and pat in several layers.
Lacura Icellage Intensive Serum
From expensive to bargain basement – this brand is stocked in Aldi, and for £4.99, you know I had to try it out!
This is a great no-fuss, everyday treatment, which I’ve been using every morning. It’s a light cream/lotion consistency and comes with a pump, which delivers just the right amount of product. It sinks into the skin quickly without leaving a white cast, and layers well with other products. Highly recommend this!
Elizavecca Witch Piggy Hell Pore Control Hyaluronic Acid 97% | Buy at iHerb
Hyaluronic Acid is a big thing in skincare right now, so when I saw this had a 97% concentration, I had to give it a try. The formula is a thin watery gel that’s easy to spread onto the skin and is quickly absorbed with no residue. It leaves skin hydrated and plump, without being sticky. I love it on it’s own, or layered with other products on dehydrated days.
L’Oreal Hydra Genius Aloe Water | Buy on Amazon
I used this throughout the summer and loved it – I really enjoy the light, watery formula that is unlike any other product I’ve tried. This is perfect for my oily skin, but might not work for dry skin as it’s pretty light. I use this alone or layered with other moisturisers and it really helps to lock in moisture while soothing my skin – I’ve seen a definite decrease in redness.
Lacura Icellage Night Cream
I’m a big fan of a heavier night cream and this one has really impressed me. It feels thick but the smallest amount massaged into skin leaves a smooth, plump finish that should keep my skin protected from the hot, dry air I seem to be surrounded by in the winter months. It’s not too heavy for the summer either – I used this on my recent trip to the South of France and didn’t wake up with any oily patches.
Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Blackhead Out Balm | Buy at Innisfree
If you haven’t heard, I’m a big fan of this – that’s my third tub right there, and yes, it’s a backup! I talked about this in my 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Skincare Routine post.
If you suffer from blackheads or clogged pores, you need to try this. It’s a cleansing balm that turns into an oil, and when massaged into the skin, actually dissolves blackheads. Yep – you can literally feel the grit coming out of your pores. Amazing – and much gentler than a pore strip.
The most effective way to use this is after a charcoal mask, which will yield particularly dramatic results (especially if you warm your face with a hot flannel beforehand) but I often will use this after my regular cleanser if I feel my pores need a deeper clean.
The best bit? You can get your hands on this for about £4.
Sebamed Clear Face Anti-Pimple Gel* | Buy on Amazon
This whole line from Sebamed is formulated at the same PH as your skin (5.5) to help reverse damage to your skin’s acid mantle – the unbalancing of which can often be the cause of or contribute to acne.
I do get acne – and have for about 12 years – and it’s always good to have a treatment in your arsenal for when you get a particularly troublesome blemish.
This particular treatment is quite gentle, and doesn’t sting on application or smell offensive (others I’ve tried can really make your eyes water) but still helps to speed up the healing process and reduce visible inflammation.
Lip & Eye
L’Oreal Age Perfect Intense Nutrition Eye Balm | Buy on Amazon
This stuff was my jam for about 3 years but it’s now been discontinued (excuse me while I cry) and even the jars I find on eBay are so ancient that the formula is not quite the same. I do still love it though – the thick balm really helps to plump and hydrate the skin around my eyes, and I see a visible difference in my lower eyelid creases after using this. It’s designed for women over 50, but I’ve been loving this since I discovered it during my last year of uni.
Boots Essentials Cucumber Eye Gel | Buy at Boots
On the other end of the formula spectrum, this is a light, clear gel that delivers fast hydration and is safe for my sensitive eyes. I also love that it’s in a tube – both more hygienic and convenient.
This is a great find – it’s similar to my favourite Elderflower Eye Gel from The Body Shop, but at 1/3rd of the price. The only difference I find is that The Body Shop version is slightly gentler on the eyes.
Primark Lemon Lip Jelly
I keep this on my makeup table and reach for it any time my lips need a little love – it’s great to apply under makeup or before bed for that much-needed moisture boost. It has a soft lemon scent, and is (as the name suggested) a soft clear jelly with no stickiness.
*Products marked with an asterisk are PR samples provided free of charge for consideration. I am under no obligation to feature them and all thoughts are my own.
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