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 • Skincare  • Skincare Guides  • We’ve Put Together Your Sensitive Skin Routine (That Won’t Break the Bank)

We’ve Put Together Your Sensitive Skin Routine (That Won’t Break the Bank)

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Main image – Amorburakova/Stocksy

If you have sensitive skin, you’ll probably be used to common symptoms like redness, bumps, and/or a tendency to react to certain makeup, skincare products and ingredients.

In some cases, sensitive skin can even be the symptom of skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and contact dermatitis. This is where seeking a GP’s advice would be recommended, but you can still use products in your home regime to help keep flare ups at bay.

And whether you’ve been looking for a top rated moisturiser for sensitive skin or you’re ready to just start from scratch, the Live That Glow team have got all your sensitive skin bases covered.


The best cleansers for sensitive skin

Sally Underwood, Editor in Chief: I really like gentle oil or gel cleansers for my sensitive skin. My favourites are Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser (£15 from Look Fantastic UK /$16 from Fresh US) which is low-foaming and full of skin-calming ingredients like aloe vera and cucumber. While the full size may not be the cheapest, the travel size is surprisingly affordable and lasts me a couple of months.

For an oil cleanser, Byoma’s Melting Balm Cleanser (£14.99 from Boots UK /$15.99 from Ulta Beauty US) has a beautiful texture and takes off every bit of my makeup.


Image – Fresh


Philippa Pearne, Beauty Editor: When my skin’s feeling a tad vulnerable, I play it safe and turn to natural ingredients that I know won’t cause havoc with my skin’s overall balance. Balance Me Super Berry Cleansing Balm (£39 from Look Fantastic UK /$46.80 from Feel Unique US) is my go-to for a gentle cleanse. It’s not the cheapest, but knowing my skin is in safe hands when I use it makes it all worth it.


The best toners for sensitive skin

Sally: For when my skin is really sensitive I skip the actives completely and instead turn to ingredients that support my skin barrier like ceramides. Paula’s Choice Nourishing Milky Toner (£26 from Cult Beauty UK /$24 from Paula’s Choice US) is ridiculously soothing and has a lovely creamy texture which leaves my skin feeling hydrated. It’s also available in a travel size which means you can try it without investing too heavily in the brand.


Image – Paula’s Choice


Philippa: I’ve been using azelaic acid on my skin for acne which can sometimes trigger redness and make my skin feel a bit on edge. When this happens, I do what Sally does – avoid strong ingredients! A simple toner like Avene Gentle Toner for Sensitive Skin (£10.87 from Boots UK /$26 from Dermstore US) is super gentle yet still lifts any extra debris off my skin without disrupting it or making it burn.


Philippa: I turn to Liz Earle when I’m walking on egg shells with my skin too. Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic (£18 from John Lewis UK /$21.24 from Feel Unique US) contains soothing chamomile, calendula and aloe vera and smells of fresh cucumber. It won’t harm sensitive skin or be a trigger for any unnecessary reactions.


The best moisturisers for sensitive skin

Sally: I try to avoid any fragrance in my moisturisers, especially when my skin is sensitive. REN’s Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream (£42 from Sephora UK /$52 from REN US) is really soothing and moisturising but it’s not the cheapest.

For a more affordable option on my sensitive skin I’ll generally turn to a face oil that doesn’t contain any essential oils as I find these tend to go further than a moisturiser. Byoma’s Hydrating Recovery Oil (£13.99 from Boots UK /$18.99 from Ulta Beauty US) contains really nourishing ingredients like squalene.


Image – Byoma


Philippa: Oats are absolutely brilliant for soothing and repairing sensitive skin. Aveeno Face Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturiser (£11.59 from Boots UK /$26.99 from Ulta Beauty US) is beautifully lightweight so it doesn’t layer up too heavily on stressed skin.


The best face masks for sensitive skin

Sally: When my skin’s really sensitive I tend to avoid wash off masks and I find that all that washing and touching skin and just irritate it more. If I do go for one though, it will contain plenty of soothing, hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.

Fresh’s Rose Face Mask (£24 from Cult Beauty UK /$27 from Fresh US) is my favourite. Not only does it contain real rose petals, but it’s full of microalgae, which I find tends to calm my skin. It’s super hydrating and very gentle on skin but instead of washing it off (and potentially causing irritation) I tend to leave it on overnight.


Image – Fresh


Philippa: When my skin needs a long drink of something soothing, I turn to Avene Les Essentiels Soothing Radiance Mask (£16.25 from Look Fantastic UK /$32 from Ulta Beauty US). It’s super hydrating and feels like a comfort blanket for my skin.


The best SPFs for affordable skin

Sally: As someone with rosacea I only use mineral sunscreen as it tends to be far less irritating on my skin. The best affordable options I’ve found are from Avene, which has a good variety of mineral SPFs that are all pretty moisturising. Try Avene’s Very High Protection Mineral Fluid SPF50+ Sun Cream for Intolerant Skin (£17.80 from Boots UK /$36 from Avene US)


Image – La Roche Posay


Philippa: For SPF on sensitive skin, I would only recommend La Roche Posay as all their sunscreens have a really lovely consistency that isn’t too thick or white. Try La Roche Posay Anthelios UVMUNE 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50 (£20 from Boots UK).


The takeaway

Just because you have sensitive skin, doesn’t mean your skincare regime needs to suffer. There are plenty of products designed specifically for your skin type that do it the world of good and don’t trigger a reaction.

In fact, it’s easier to find products for sensitive skin than other skin types as sensitive skin isn’t as broad as ‘normal’ or ‘combination’ skin. Now there’s a bonus!

Opt for natural, gentle brands like Ren, Balance Me and Avene if you’re unsure. And try to lay off the active ingredients once in a while if your skin is going through a flare up.


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Beauty Editor

The former Beauty Editor of Glamour UK, Philippa has been a beauty and lifestyle journalist for over 16 years, picking up countless tips and tricks from makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists and celebrities. In that time she’s written for names like Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery 29 and Byrdie. Philippa lives in the UK with her husband, two children and their hyperactive cockapoo, Paddy.

Expertise: Makeup, hair care
Education: Oxford Brookes University

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