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The Skincare Products to Make a Routine

The Skincare Essentials You Need in Your Life

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Main Image – Live That Glow

Like most people, while I do enjoy the thrill of the chase of trying out new brands and products, there are some definite favourites I come back to over and over again.

So here are 5 of my favourites.

Most of the products that have made their way onto this list are gentle yet offer really effective results – and I’ve bought them time and time again.


1. Fresh Soy Cleanser

Although I’m generally a cleansing balm/oil kind of girl, Soy Face Cleanser is possibly the gentlest foaming gel I’ve ever used.

Only lightly scented (cucumber, I’m afraid, if like me you’re not a fan), this gel contains coco-glucoside (a coconut oil-based fatty alcohol with glucose) to gently foam and remove makeup/SPF/anything I throw at it without stripping skin. PH-balanced, it also contains soybean oil, glycerin and aloe leaf juice to soothe and moisturise.

Great for: Pretty much every skin type, including rosacea, melasma and acne types.

Not-so-great for: Cucumber haters like me since the cucumber fruit extract here gives it a light scent.

Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser is from £15.00 for 50 ml, Cult Beauty UK and from $16.00 for 1.7 oz/ 50 ml, Sephora US


fresh soy face cleanser

Image – Cult Beauty


2. Drunk Elephant D Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops

While this product initially looks like a deep bronzer, D Bronzi is in fact an impressive antioxidant serum which contains a chronopeptide, as well as vitamin F and virgin marula and black currant seed oils.

The concentrated shot of colour here is a definite bonus too, helping to add a flattering warmth which is designed to be mixed in with moisturiser, serums, or SPF (or for some inspiration, have a look at my 6 ways to use D Bronzi).

Great for: Antioxidant protection to ward off free radical damage (read: ageing), as well as an instant burst of bronze warmth. I also think that despite the price this is pretty good value for money because of how concentrated it is.

Not-so-great for: Shade range. While D Bronzi is pretty adaptable shade-wise, depending on how much or little you dilute it, I don’t find it deep enough to suit every single skin colour so I’d love to see Drunk Elephant add a couple of other shade options here.

Drunk Elephant’s D Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops £34.00 for 30 ml, Cult Beauty UK and $38.00 for 1 oz/ 30 ml, Sephora US


drunk elephant d-bronzi

Image – Cult Beauty


3. Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer

If you’re lucky enough to have ever found a moisturiser that feels so comforting that it’s like it was made for your skin then you’ll understand how I feel about this product.

While I think finding the right moisturiser for your skin can be one of the most subjective (and tricky) parts of getting a grip on your skincare routine, my own skin just loves the essential fatty acids in the chia seed, olive fruit and passionfruit seed oils in this light cream. Even better, glycerin softens while guava fruit extract provides antioxidant protection and glycine, proline and arginine (amino acids) hydrate.

While it’s not cheap, it turns out that part of the beauty of finding the right moisturiser for your skin is that you don’t need to use a whole lot so this is probably better value than some cheaper moisturisers I’ve used on a cost-per-use basis.

Great for: Those who like their face cream to come down more on the moisture side (which builds up the skin’s barrier) with just enough hydration (ingredients attract water from the air and bring it to skin cells) for skin to feel comfortable.

Not-so-great for: The price, as I really wish this was a little cheaper so I could use it guilt-free.

Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer is £36 for 50 ml, Cult Beauty UK and $38 for 1.7 oz/ 50 ml, Paula’s Choice US


paula's choice

Image – Cult Beauty


4. Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum

While I’ve checked out (possibly more than) my fair share of retinol products and I’ve liked most of them, this little beauty from Sunday Riley has got to be one of the most moisturising and least irritating I’ve tried.

Containing three types of retinol and retinoid, a few months of use of this works to improve skin tone and firmness and get skin glowing (more serious acne cases or ageing might still benefit from a stronger, dermatologist-prescribed retinoid though).

Great for: A nourishing retinol because of the Hawaiian white honey and cactus extract here makes this pretty moisturising and I don’t find I need to use anything else on top of this.

Not-so-great for: Budgets as this product is seriously expensive. I use only the tiniest amount each night, however, so the overall value is slightly less eye-watering.

Sunday Riley’s A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum is £70 for 30 ml, Space NK UK and $85 for 1 oz/ 30 ml, Sephora US


sunday riley

Image – Space NK


5. Drunk Elephant C Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream

One of the most expensive eye creams I’ve ever bought, I do find this noticeably brightens and depuffs my under-eye circles while moisturising without irritating. For my full thoughts on how well this eye cream works, and the skin types most likely to benefit from it, browse my Drunk Elephant C Tango review.

Great for: A moisturising eye cream that also offers brightening, pigmentation tackling, and firming benefits.

Not-so-great for: Again, the price. This is genuinely a really expensive eye cream so for an alternative that is equally moisturising I also recommend Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado.

Drunk Elephant’s C Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream is £54 for 15 ml, Space NK UK and $64 for 0.5 oz/ 15 ml, Sephora US


The 3 causes of dark under eye circles and how to fix them

Image – Live That Glow


The takeaway

Finding the right skincare routine is such a personal thing, and even when I’ve found a product I really like I still occasionally mix it up with some new finds (just for science obviously).

If you can find a great cleanser, moisturiser and vitamin C product that really work for your skin though they’ll cover most issues and leave room for some fun stuff like a face mask (or two or three).

And, although I haven’t covered it here, SPF is essential too (yes, even in winter, even when it’s cloudy), both for helping to prevent skin cancer and also for blocking out those pesky UVA rays that want nothing more than to leave skin with fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation problems.

For some SPF recommendations, plus how to put together a skincare routine *suited to your exact skin type*, take a look at creating a skincare capsule wardrobe.



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Sally Underwood is a journalist, *serious* beauty fan, and Editor-in-Chief of Live That Glow. Formerly Editorial Director of one of Europe's largest newspaper groups, Sally has been a beauty obsessive since her teen years spent dragging her long-suffering (but immaculately-groomed) friends around every beauty counter in London. She now leads Live That Glow's editorial operations.

Expertise: Skincare, Body care
Education: University College London

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