This year was going to be the year that I started to take my skin care seriously.
And guess what?
I DID. Ahhh, I bet you thought I was going to say that I didn’t keep it up, didn’t you? That I lost direction on the wayward path to make-up wipes and sleeping in foundation? I mean, technically those parts are at least ~ partially ~ true, but for the most part, I have been dedicating a lot more time and care to looking after my skin.
Let me set the scene. This reluctant romance started back in the late winter of 2018 (yes, it was this January), and one combination-skinned, large-pored gal found herself facing a harsh reality: there was no highlighter, primer or foundation on earth that could fake healthy skin if she couldn’t be arsed to take care of it properly. It was a bitter pill to swallow. “What, you mean that I can’t just put this £40 foundation over the top of my bumpy, oily, dry, dull skin and be transformed into a Glossier model?” “No, young Padawan, you cannot.”
And so it was that I had to start really giving a shit. A series of consistent shits, if you will. A healthy bowel’s worth of shits. Not just the occasional flurry with a new product that I loved but never repurchased, and not just damage control when my wine and sugar affliction had spun out of control and I looked like I’d been dredged up from the bottom of a lake; if I wanted Instagram glowing skin - which, annoyingly, is what most of us are after these days - I had to put some ~ werk ~ in.
Over the past year I’ve been dipping my toe into all sorts of skincare pools, but when it comes to my core products - the types of products I go back to time and time again, and the things I genuinely want to use each day - my favourites have stayed pretty much the same. I wanted to share a little update for anybody who is a reluctant skincare convert like moi, and also for anyone who has combination skin and finds that this change in weather can be an absolute bastard for a healthy complexion.
For the purpose of transparency, I was originally sent both of these products for separate sponsored campaigns, but the St. Ives scrubs I have repurchased three times now, and the Sanctuary Spa scrub I am already halfway through. Listen, when I find a scrub that I like, I’m smitten. I’ve tried the St. Ives scrubs in three different varieties, but the Green Tea option is by far my favourite. I’ve heard differing opinions over the years as to the benefit or detriment of exfoliating, but the results speak for themselves and I’ve found with regular exfoliation (every other day, normally), the texture and radiance of my skin is so much better.
As I mentioned, I have really large pores (as in they are actually noticeable if you’re standing next to me, but I’m trying to soothe my soul with the fact that there isn’t much I can do about that) and I wear fake tan and make-up regularly, so my skin gets clogged up like * click * that. A regular, light exfoliation helps to get rid of any dirt and grime, and also leaves the texture much smoother for make-up application. If my skin is looking particularly shit on any given day, a quick exfoliation usually helps to brighten things up. Don’t expect miracles - neither of these has completely banished my relentless nose blackheads or transformed me into a glossy goddess, but they do a good job on the radiance front and I’m always recommending a good exfoliator above anything else.
Click here for the Sanctuary Spa 1 Minute Glow Mask (Affiliate link)
I fucking love face masks. I know that somewhat violent introduction might come across as an exaggeration, but I really do. Peeling off a good mask and seeing the majority of my blackheads diminished is so, so satisfying, and since January I’ve found a few staples favourites which I’m forever harping on about on Instagram Stories.
When it comes to masks, the lazy girl in me always wins. I prefer a peel off, and I love a tissue mask. If I don’t have to spend 5 minutes picking bits of dried mud out of my baby hairs, then I’m more inclined to revisit.
So, onto my favourites. I was sent three of the GLAMGLOW Peel Off Masks in collaboration with My Little Pony around April, and I’ve been using them twice weekly ever since. Sadly, I’m nearly all out, but despite resisting the GLAMGLOW hype and despite not wanting to particularly like these confettied, star-speckled, glittery colour vomits, I must confess that I’m converted. I never go much on ingredients because, honestly, I don’t understand them, but based off of how clean, toned-balanced and smooth my skin feels afterwards, I’m a super fan of these sparkly babies. Unfortunately the My Little Pony range is no longer available, but from what I’ve read, it is the same formula as is used in the ever-popular GRAVITYMUD, so you should be able to get your paws on that.
Following on from that, I’m still a big fan of the Manuka Doctor ApiClear Purifying Face Peel too. Another great one for really ~ cleaning ~ your skin out of all the shit you’ve been feeding it (in my case, as admitted, it’s sugar and wine), this mask is a little more gentle and doesn’t smell so artificial. I find my skin can be quite sensitive to too many products, so just this in combination with a gel moisturiser works wonders if I’m looking tired and hungover. I’ve found this one is good for tackling redness, too, particularly beneath my nostrils and across my cheeks.
Finally, I couldn’t talk about masks without mentioning my beloved Garnier Moisture Bomb Tissue masks. I am a bit of a snob when it comes to high street skincare, and sometimes I’m guilty of thinking that cheaper products can’t deliver as much, but for a couple of quid, these babies are HANGOVER SAVIOURS. If you’ve been up until 7am because last night was your best friend’s birthday and you ~ had ~ to celebrate, slapping one of these onto your cold, nearly dead face can inject a little bit of life back into you. I always keep a couple of these in my beauty-and-other-crap-drawer, and Keir and I use them at least once a week.
Click here for the GLAMGLOW GRAVITYMUD (Affiliate link)
Moisturisers & Serums
This is where my skin gets particularly fussy. Oils, I’ve found, are an absolute no-go. I long for the glowy sheen of a freshly applied face oil, but I’ve yet to find one I can consistently use without breaking out the next morning. My skin just does not like them. Won’t tolerate them. Serums, if they’re on the lighter side, tend to be okay. I was sent the Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum duo for both the eye area and the face and I really like the texture of them both. I never get caught out in the supermarket because I’m always carrying two bags for life under my eyes, and whilst the eye serum isn’t WOW OMG 8 HOURS, it does refresh the area and lighten the intensity of the shadows. It also helps with applying concealer, which is probably the more important factor.
Moisturiser wise, the Clinique Moisture Surge still reigns supreme for me (I’ve run out, unfortunately, which is why it isn’t pictured, but I do love it!); it’s a light, gel texture, applies insanely smoothly and feels like it’s hydrating all of the right places without being too heavy or sticky. I’m also trying the GLAMGLOW WATERBURST at the moment, the smell of which is absolutely awful but the finish of which is lovely. Very similar to the Moisture Burst, I’d say, but a little more hydrating. I’d try and wing a sample of both if you want glowy hydration without the weight of a rich moisturiser.
Click here for the GLAMGLOW WATERBURST Moisturiser (Affiliate link)
Click here for the Clinique Moisture Surge Moisturiser (Affiliate link)