Confession: I have a bit of an ambivalent relationship with beauty. Having worked in magazine journalism for around 8 years, I've been exposed to the inner workings of this lucrative industry, and even now, as I watch it from the safety of my fashion bubble, it can feel somewhat intimidating. The sheer number of products is overwhelming, the price points so wildly varying and the advice so often conflicting. Do I need to double cleanse? What's the right SPF to wear? What's the deal with toners? It's a lot to take in.
Personally, I've always been quite lazy when it comes to makeup (which, I appreciate, is a luxury) and for about a decade now under-eye concealer, mascara and eyebrow pencil have been my go-tos. This has, however, meant that I've ended up becoming more invested in skincare, specifically creating a routine which allows me to spend as little time as possible applying product in the morning. It's also worth noting that I am a bad sleeper, so it's often a battle to keep my skin from looking dull and tired, and in the past have struggled with the odd low-level, stress-induced bout of acne (mostly on my cheeks). Although these days this is mostly caused by wearing face masks.
It's only in the last year or so that I have refined my routine down to a winning edit. I do tend to rotate certain products every month or so, hence the reasonable number of products below. However, I feel like I have finally worked out what my skin does and doesn't like. What has been the biggest revelation has been discovering the holy grail of vitamin C, retinol and SPF. Since I've incorporated this trio into my routine, I've found that my skin has been more consistently happy.
Of course, while we don't like to admit it, a lot of how our skin behaves is down to genes, and I am conscious that I am lucky that, on the whole, mine is quite well behaved. Essentially, everyone needs to use products that work for them and their needs. However, all of the below are tried and tested by yours truly, and I've purposefully included a selection of buys that I've loved over the last year, so you can pick and choose according to what your skin needs right now. Scroll down to see my full edit.
Scroll down to shop my beauty essentials
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + Egcg (£6)
With its light, serum-like consistency, this feels so nice on tired morning eyes.
Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter (£11)
Rich and creamy, this Body Shop hero is fab for a good facial massage.
Liz Earle Muslin Pack of 2 (£5)
I'll use these muslin cloths in conjunction with my favourite Body Shop cream cleanser in the morning and evening.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo[+] Unifiant 40ml (£18)
This is one of my hero products. I use it whenever I have a breakout and it works every time.
The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion Spf 50+ Pa++++ (£22)
It took me years to find an SPF that doesn't make me look either super-shiny or ghost-like. This formula is light and has all the right credentials.
Lumene Nordic C [Valo] Glow Boost Essence 30ml (£30)
WWW's beauty editor recommended this vit C serum to me, and I'm now obsessed. I apply in the morning before moisturiser and SPF.
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum 30ml (£6)
Another recent discovery. I'll use this just before bed and sometimes in the morning for a moisture-boost.
Clinique Id Dramatically Different Hydrating Clearing Jelly 115ml (£28)
My friend bought this for me when I was experiencing maskne and I'm now a convert.
Clinique Id Active Cartridge Concentrate Imperfections 10ml (£10)
This is the cartridge I've been using with the above moisturiser to combat breakouts.
Pixi Glow Tonic (£17)
My skin can be a little sensitive, so I only use this once a week to exfoliate.
Sarah Chapman Skinesis Sarah Chapman Skinesis Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer (£119)
I used this once a week throughout lockdown before I applied my face masks.
Garnier Micellar Water Facial Cleanser Sensitive Skin 400ml (£6)
Affordable and effective, I use this before cleansing and applying serum.
Origins Clear Improvement™ Charcoal Honey Mask 75ml (£30)
This smells heavenly and feels so good afterwards. I usually steam my face first then leave on for 20 minutes as a weekend treat.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil (£45)
Retinol has been another game-changer in my beauty routine. I'll use this once or twice a week just before bed.
Kate Somerville +Retinol Vitamin C Moisturizer (£77)
This is another retinol product that I've used and loved in the past.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Oil 15ml (£67)
I never thought that oil would be good for combination skin, but this little gem proved me wrong. I'll use once a week and massage in just before bed.
Emma Hardie Purifying Detox Pink Clay Mask with Dual-Action Cleansing Cloth (£40)
I used Emma Hardie's cleanser last year and loved it, so I wanted to test out this clay mask. It's tingly when applied but works like a dream.
Versed Keep The Peace Blemish-Calming Cream Cleanse (£16)
Another winning product in my fight against maskne.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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