The Skincare Essentials I Can’t Live Without
Like most people, while I do enjoy the thrill of the chase trying out new brands and products, there are some definite favourites I come back to over and over again.
So here are 7 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 gels 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 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.
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).
I especially love that you can adapt the shade yourself depending on how much of this you add, as well as how well this does the job of avoiding a white case when I’m using mineral sunscreen.
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.
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.
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 Hawaian 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.
5. Drunk Elephant C Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
One of the most expensive eye cream 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 Elelphant 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.
6. Lixirskin Vitamin C Paste*
I’m a big vitamin C fan for it’s abilities to deal with most skincare issues (hyperpigmentation, texture, loss of radiance and firmness) whilst still being quite a lot gentler on skin than something like retinol.
The fact that it is also a powerful antioxidant and helps to prevent pollution and UV-based premature ageing is also a definite bonus. I like most vitamin C products I try but for sheer ease of use and speed of results I really like this paste designed to be used for between one and five minutes in the mornings in place of a cleanser.
Containing 10 per cent L-Ascorbic Acid (the most unstable yet effective for of vitamin C) this paste is activated by water and leaves my skin more even-toned and brighter after every use.
Great for: Instant brightening.
Not-so-great for: Serious hyperpigmentation issues since I find this one is better for gentle evening out skin tone rather than tackling individual sun spots.
7. Bybi Babe Balm Bronze
Ok so this one’s a bit of a cheat because like D Bronzi technically it’s part skincare, part makeup. But the coppery shimmer of this beautiful highlighter balm is so ridicuouly flattering and versatile that I’m happy to bend my own rules a bit (plus the shea butter, pequi seed oil and vitamin E base offers plenty of moisturising skin benefits).
Wear this on cheekbones, eyelids or collarbones for a Grecian goddess look that I doubt any highlighter palette could beat- and I love that this takes literally seconds to apply with fingers for fool-proof results every time.
Great for: Lovers of a really warm bronze shade and anyone lazy enough (that’s me!) to like using the same shade on various parts of the face.
Not-so-great for: Size expectations…The only niggle I have about this one is that the pot is really (really) tiny. It’s still good value- it’s just a bit of a surprise when you first open it.
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 you skin though they’ll cover most issues and leave room for some fun stuff like a mask (or two or three). And although I haven’t covered it here SPF is an 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 han to leave skin with fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentaion 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.