The skincare products in my routine change all the time as I swap so many in and out, and I test out so many new products. However, my routine stays more or less the same – I use the same types of products, with the same key ingredients, in the same order. I want to share with you five products that I’ve found to really transform my skin and talk about what ingredient it is that makes them my heroes.Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Hydrating Mask* – £44 from SpaceNK
This cooling, thick (but weightless) moisturiser is essentially a sleeping mask that does its work overnight. It’s an intensive moisturising treatment and I use it after my serums, instead of a night cream. It’s deeply hydrating, so skin is plump and fresh in the morning. It also fortifies the skin barrier with electrolyes, antioxidants and omega fatty acids to prevent water loss and maintain the skin’s natural defenses. There are so many hero ingredients in here that I rely on in my daily routine, namely Squalane and Niacinamide. Both of these ingredients are essentials for my daily AM or PM skincare routine.
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Squalane is a key skin moisturising ingredient. It draws moisture from the air, to the skin and then keeps it locked in there. It also has great anti-inflammatory benefits. I find Squalane a better hydrator than Hyaluronic Acid. Having hydrated, plump skin also helps to diminish signs of ageing such as fine lines too. F-Balm also contains Niacinamide, another hero ingredient of mine that must be in my skincare routine every day. For me, it really minimises my pores and refines the texture of my skin. I would prefer to apply Niacinamide in the PM as a serum prior to Retinol for maximum effect (as Niacinamide is water-based and Retinol is oil-based) but I use a Niacinamide serum in the AM too, so having it on at night as a sleeping mask isn’t the only way my skin gets it. F-Balm is just a top-up. This sleeping mask just really makes your skin look fresh and healthy in the mornings, with plump skin and refined pores. It’s a product you can rely on!Saturday Skin Rub-a-Dub Refining Peel Gel – £22 from Cult Beauty
This is most definitely my go-to weekly intense facial exfoliator. I also love Huda Beauty’s Wishful; but only if I can’t get my hands on Rub-a-Dub Peel. I use an acid toner every morning that exfoliates my skin with AHAs & BHAs, but I also like to do a weekly intense chemical exfoliating peel. This one from Saturday Skin gently, but incredibly effectively, buffs off any dead skin cells to leave baby soft and smooth skin underneath. When you gently rub this over your face, you can see and feel the dead skin coming off (nice!). The glow you get is also major!
This peel uses natural Papaya Enzymes and Pineapple Enzymes to chemically exfoliate the skin, as well as fight free radicals and boost skin renewal. They are gentle but effective exfoliators as they also have anti-inflammatory properties. These give you super-soft and smooth skin, as well as seriously boost radiance; all without irritating the skin and causing redness. This is such a satisfying peel to use as you can see what is coming off of your skin!Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask* – £38 from SpaceNK
This has been a go-to mask of mine for years. I’m not typically a fan of clay masks as I find them harsh and drying on my skin; but this is not a typical clay mask. It has the texture of Sudocrem and doesn’t dry out and harden on the skin. It’s a clay mask that softens and comforts your skin without ever feeling uncomfortable. For me, this mask is essential to my routine twice-weekly to really refine the look of my pores and to really smooth my skin; helping makeup to look great.
There is no standout ingredient in this that I can attribute its effectiveness to. It really is just a magic potion from Charlotte Tilbury, that was an old Mediterraean recipe passed down to her. It refines pores, smooths skin, softens skin and brightens skin. If you want your skin to look its best without makeup, you need this mask in your life. There is Vitamin C in here to brighten the skin; Sweet Almond Oil to moisturise and soften with its Omega 3 fatty acids; Peptides to plump skin through their ability to stimulate Collagen production; Rosehip Oil to hydrate, reduce inflammation and boost Collagen; and Frangipani Flower Extract to moisturise and give the mask its lovely, relaxing fragrance.Volition Strawberry-C Brightening Serum* – £36 from Cult Beauty
Of course, Vitamin C is in my daily skincare routine, always in the morning; but sometimes also at night if it is already combined with a retinol in a product. Stawberries actually have more Vitamin C that oranges do, so this serum really packs a punch. It uses Strawberry Extracts to brighten the skin, help diminish dark spots/circles, help reduce the visibility of scarring and generally make your skin look more unified in terms of tone.
Vitamin C is also a great antioxidant and this serum also contains Kadaku Plum, another great Vitamin C source to help shield your skin from environmental pollution. This is a lovely smooth serum that really softens the skin as well as hydrating and plumping it. There’s Hyaluronic Acid and also soothing cucumber in there too. facetheory Reginacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum S1* – £18.99 from facetheory
There is a myth that you can’t apply Retinol and Vitamin C together as they cancel each other out. This isn’t the case, but you do need to be careful in terms of strengths and amounts. I like to always use a product that already has them together in it, carefully blended by the experts, rather than try to layer a Vitamin C product over/under a Retinol myself. This one from facetheory is a good one for those with sensitive skin, or for beginners with Retinol or those who haven’t used one for a while. The form of retinol this serum contains (Retinol Ester) is one of the weakest. It has too convert three times within the skin before becoming Retinoic Acid, making it a gentle choice. Any not used, the body will get rid of it too. You can then step up your Retinol/Retinoid levels as your skin learns to tolerate it.
Retinol increases collagen production to hold back some of the signs of ageing i.e. wrinkles and loss of elasticity. It can also stop pores from clogging easily. Vitamin C helps to brighten skin and acts as a powerful antioxidant. This serum also contains dill, which helps to regenerate the elastin that’s lost through ageing, and liquorice to calm the skin and counteract the potentially irritating effect of the Retinol Ester.
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