No better time than the end of summer to start a new skincare routine and clear out the bathroom cabinet! An autumn clean is always great when you’re running out of space, but also when you’re eager to shake things up. So my last empties are a mix of all time staples and new products I experimented with in the spring and summer.
Bioderma Crealine H2O Make-up Removing Micelle Solution (£10.80/250ml)
I’ve been using this product for the last 10 years or so, and loving it just as much as on the first day. I only use it to remove eye makeup, so this bottle usually lasts me at least half a year, especially when I take make-up breaks on the weekends. I find it absolutely perfect for sensitive eyes and a lot easier to tolerate than creamy or oily formulas, plus it never leaves any residue and it is not too drying either. All in all, my all-time favourite eye cleanser and a permanent staple in my skincare routine. And an useful tip: Bioderma is much, much cheaper in France, where you can often get two 500ml bottles for the price of one, so don’t hesitate to buy it if you ever find yourself in a French pharmacy.
Nip + Fab Glycolic Cleansing Fix (£7.95/150ml)
I know I said it many times that foaming cleansers are too drying because of their high sulphates content and I do try to avoid them as much as possible. But summertime is when I like to be a rebel and break my own rules, so I wanted a fresh gel cleanser that would add a small dose of exfoliating glycolic acid to keep my skin smooth and neat. Paired with the refreshing grapefruit scent, this made a great morning cleansing fix this summer, as well as a perfect second cleanse in the evening and a quick refresher on hot afternoons, post- or pre-gym workouts etc.
Alpha-H Liquid Gold (£33.50/100ml)
I have already declared my love for Liquid Gold on a number of occasions, as this has been one of my top 3 discoveries of 2017. I do love exfoliating acids and glycolic in particular, and this simple, yet highly concentrated formula is worth every penny. I will definitely buy this one again.
Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment (£53/30ml)
Retinol has been the key active ingredient in my routine this year and this serum has been my go-to treatment for acne and breakouts since December 2016 – and it lasted even longer than I was expecting! I have already mentioned it here, and I am definitely still planning to write an extensive post on how, why and when to use retinol, so stay tuned. Currently I am considering experimenting with The Ordinary’s Retinol formulas, I’m really keen to compare them to Paula’s Choice.
NeoStrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel Pads (£52/36 pads)
As you might have already read in my older post on exfoliating acids, these pads are a convenient and highly concentrated formula that really works wonders at smoothing and clearing the skin. If you can forgive the slight rotten-egg-like smell and the temporary tingling, they are a great exfoliating step.
Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (£45/30ml)
My love for Caudalie is what led me to this serum, one of their most expensive and intense formulas aimed at removing dark spots and correcting the complexion’s radiance with Viniferine from grape vine and olive squalane. I used it as an evening serum alternating with Paula’s Choice retinol and in combination with exfoliating acids, so I loved the great effects it had on restoring radiance. I haven’t noticed any changes on dark spots or acne scarring though, so I wouldn’t use it for these purposes only.
Douglas Aqua Focus Hydrating Serum (€24.99/30ml)
I discovered this budget-friendly serum from the well-known German high-street brand Douglas a while ago and completely by accident. Made with Swiss glacier water and prickly pear extract, the formula is aimed at restoring moisture to dry skin and it comes with a metallic rolling applicator that helps spread the light gel on the face for a gentle massage and quicker absorption. I can’t say I spotted any radical effects, but it did contribute to keeping my skin well hydrated when used in combination with the morning and evening creams.
Herbivore Brighten Instant Glow Mask ($48/70ml)
What a brilliant mask this is! I was truly sad to finish it and I did my best to use it out till the very last drop as it’s not that cheap nor easy to find in the UK (this one has been bought in the US). A staple in my glowing skin routine, this natural formula with exfoliating pineapple and papaya enzymes, Brazilian white tourmaline gemstone, rice powder and rose distillate has helped clarify my skin even at stressful times, and it seemed to also help a lot with the breakouts. One major shortcoming though has been the rather uninspired glass jar, which despite being a natural material without the potential hormone-disrupting effects of plastic, hasn’t managed to keep the mask in place (mine leaked in the box and it kept hardening around the edge of the jar). I would have much preferred a pump bottle, although now I do get to keep the cute jar for my DIY masks.
La Théorie des Volcans Noir Eternae Purifying Youth Potion Mask Scrub (£25.40/30ml)
I love a good scrub and Glossybox pleasantly impressed me when they sent out this product. I hadn’t heard about this brand before, but I really likes the cute pack designed, as well as the formula with fine exfoliating particles and pink clay that turns grey on the skin. Based on volcanic rock and botanical extracts, and free of nasty ingredients like parabens, it also works as a purifying mask when left on the skin for 5-10 minutes. Not sure if I’d pay full price on this though (I’d much rather invest on the Herbivore mask again), but it was indeed a good product.
Benton Honest TT Mist (£9/40ml)
Two words: Korean mists! I love Korean products and I have tried Benton before, so I really wanted to test its cult mist – if anything, just for the great 85% tea tree water and extracts content, plus sodium hyaluronate. I like to apply it after my serums for a light hydrating layer, especially when my skin was recovering from the drying effect of stronger treatments. The small, slim pack makes it ideal for on the go use – after gym, at work etc. – but I also finished it really quickly for the same reason (turns out 40ml don’t really go a long way)…
Pink By Pure Beauty It’s Pore Perfection Essence
Speaking of Korean beauty, I came across this Watsons-exclusive essence which is impossible to find in Europe/US (so excuse the lack of price). I used it over the summer as a pre-BB Cream primer, given the light gel texture that helped smooth the skin and keep it hydrated. With a wide range of moisturising, glow inducing and antioxidant ingredients, this is a nice brightening formula for combination and oily skin – and a budget friendly option if you find yourself in Asia for skincare shopping.