The Beauty Holy Grail...Part Deux
This post features my current skincare favourites from my morning ritual to my evening routine and finally, my weekly treats. All the products featured I've been using for a while and genuinely love.
As usual, I've linked each product via their images so all you have to do is to click on the image and it'll open a new window and direct you to the vendor's site where you can buy them.
My Beauty Shelf
I'm a complete skincare addict. I love both my evening and morning rituals of removing my makeup and treating my skin and set aside a weekly 'me-time' session to have a bath and really treat myself. I love browsing Cult Beauty and Space NK for the latest innovations, especially the Korean brands (always way ahead the game). Equally as much, I enjoy wandering around Boots scoping out those high street beauty buys. The one on Oxford Street near Bond Street is my favourite as it's huge and carries a really wide selection of ranges. Finally, I take love reading some other bloggers I consider to be true authorities when it comes to beauty, my current favourites being Caroline Hirons and Estee Lalonde....check these girls out, they know their potions!
In terms of my skin I have three areas I really focus on; (1) hydration, condition and radiance, (2) anti-ageing and (3) blemish prevention, sun damage and pollution control. I'm lucky that most people think I'm a few years younger than I am but I have admit it's totally down to a genuine love of beauty products, good hydration, a healthy diet and regular exercise. I live in London so pollution can be an issue and I also really love the sun but I've learned to be liberal with my SPF both in the sun and ensure protection from the elements is within as much of my daily skincare and cosmetics routine as possible.
So that's my story, here's my pick of the top products by category, staring with my morning ritual.
I feel quite passionate that a good morning cleanse is just as important as the evening. Not only does it wakeup your skin and wash away any oils from your nightime products, it also creates a solid base for makeup application.
- I start by cleansing with the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. This stuff is literally genius: not only does it give my skin a really good clean but it leaves it feeling soft and radiant and reduces any inflammation or redness. I use straight after my shower. Pat your face dry with a fresh towel then massage a couple of pumps all over your skin. Add a little water to emulsify then wash off with warm water and pat dry.
- Once I'm dried off and in my dressing gown, I'll spritz my face with the Pixi Wakeup Mist which not only smells amazing but gives another boost of radiance and works perfectly after my cleanser. I love the citrus smell of this product and find it wakes up my mind as well as my skin!
Moisturise, Prep and Protect
- Once my skin is nicely dry I'll put on three drops of the Pixi Rose Oil Blend. I'm of the opinion that oils are the key to well-hydrated skin so this is a really important step. The texture is lovely (weirdly not too oily) and very quickly after initial use my skin appeared plumper and more youthful looking. Win!
- I then moisturise with the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre. This is a real cult French pharmacy product and for very good reason. It's gently moisturising, protects from the environment and my foundation loves it combined with my primer.
- Finally I use Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream under my eyes. I'm concerned with dark circles and puffiness under my eyes and discovered this product last year because I had a voucher for John Lewis. The staff at the origins counter were so lovely and dealt with my poor experiences with eye creams really well! This is so light and instantly lifts and seems to also keep any stray makeup at bay too. I tried a sample and was back within a week to purchase the full size.
Wash the Day Away
One of my key pieces advice when it comes to skincare is to "double cleanse". By this I mean remove all makeup then go back in with another cleanser to ensure all residue of product is removed. If you follow this, your moisturiser and treatment products go on to a more refined skin and won't have any 'blockages' to prevent them from working at their optimum level.
- I wear quite a bit of makeup on my eyes (see Capsule Makeup Bag post) so I'm careful to remove this first. I've been on a real hunt for a great eye makeup remover for a while and have tried several and I'm really loving the Pixi Lash Nourish Make Up Remover Pads. I've got quite sensitive eyes and like the fact I don't need rub these to get everything off. They are gentle yet effective and the thinness of the pads means I can get right into my lash line. My tip is to hold them onto your eyes for a few seconds before wiping from inner to outer corner.
- I then use the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water. I'd read quite a lot about the gentle yet effective multi-task cleanse that a micellar water can give. I tried the Garnier one in January and I'm a total convert. I had been a hot-cloth cleansing fan for years, very loyal to Eve Lom and Liz Earle but I found my skin was reacting to the richness of these products and needed a change. Micellar waters have been around the French pharmacy scene for a while and favoured by makeup artists due to their ability to clean the face really effectively without skin irritation, thanks to the tiny molecules that are designed to work like magnets to attract impurities and makeup away from the skin. I apply this to two cotton pads and wipe all over my skin, removing all makeup and leaving my face feeling really fresh.
- Next it's time for my part two of my double cleanse. I go back in with my Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel to remove any final residue and prep for toning.
- My last step is to apply a small amount of the Pixi Glow Tonic onto a cotton pad and sweep right across my skin. This is another cult classic and the original product from the Pixi family. It gently exfoliates, removing any dead skin cells and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and radiant.
Nourish and Condition
- Now it's time to moisturise and protect my skin whilst I sleep. I start with the Pixi Rose Oil Blend which is so nice and soothing after my cleanse and really plumps out my skin. The smell of it is divine and really relaxing.
- I tend to wait a few minutes and turn down the bed while the oil soaks in before applying my Origins Ginsing Refreshing Eye Cream. I find this product such a great multi tasker. In the morning it really brightens and plumps and in the evening the gel formula is so soothing and kind. I'm careful to apply it about an inch below my eyes and dab it into the skin back and forth with my finger tips.
- I then finish with my Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream. This is a relatively new addition but I was looking for a night cream that nourished my skin without waking up with too much of a greasy residue. I have an oily t-zone and find some night creams too rich, leaving me with breakouts. The Beauty Sleep Cream gives me the night-time moisture I need whilst balancing out my oilier areas.
Some Extra Care...
In addition to my bi-daily routine I have a range of treatments I regularly use. I'm a big fan of my Sunday evening 'me-time' sessions where I'll run a bath, put on a mask and relax with a book and a ton of candles...
I'm a huge fan of a face mask and each of these I use depending on what I need the result to be and also how my skin is feeling.
- The Lush Ayesha Fresh Face Mask has been a favourite of mine for years for very good reason. Lush recommend that all of their fresh masks are kept in the fridge, which gives an added bonus of a lovely cooling feeling. I tend to use Ayesha if I have an event or special occasion as part of my get ready routine as it has instant results! I apply and then relax for ten minutes before washing off and find I'm left with plumped, radiant skin that looks brighter and (dare I say?) a little younger....love this!
- For about three months now I've been using the L’Oreal Pure Clay Glow Mask once every couple of weeks. I like the fact that I feel I get a really lovely deep cleanse and am left with smaller pores and a nice even complexion as well as the perk of a gentle exfoliation on removal.
- I'm a big sheet mask fan after discovering them in Sephora whilst on a trip to New York last Spring. Sheet masks are face-shaped masks, enriched with product, that are very easy to apply and generally don't require rinse off as you simply pat in any extra residue on removal. My current favourite is the Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask in Soothing (Kale). Some sheet masks can be a little hard to untangle when you take them out of the packaging but thanks to the mesh covers on these, they are really easy to unravel and apply. The formula is calming and soothing and is great for stressed-out skin days when you just need some TLC. Farmacy recommend leaving it on for 20-25 minutes so they are again another bath time favourite for me. My tip is to wait about 10 minutes after removal before finishing with your normal skincare routine as this gives the serum a chance to really soak in.
For Those Bad Skin Days
Regardless of how well I take care of my skin there are always those days when you need some extra help. For me it's the odd hormonal blemish and blackhead that I need to take care off. These two products will be ever-present in my bathroom cabinet for those times when you just need to sort things out!
- The Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel has been a go-to spot fighter of mine since I managed one of the beauty halls in Harrods. The account manager for Origins had the most fantastic skin and was always on hand with remedies and tips. On a particularly bad skin day he saved the day with this product recommendation. Not only does it calm redness and speed up skin repair but it combats scarring and irritation. Apply with a clean cotton bud directly onto the effected area....magic! I keep it in my makeup bag for emergencies....it can even be applied (minimally) over makeup.
I may have mentioned I'm pretty fascinated by Korean beauty as they seem to pave the way for all the new innovations in skincare and cosmetics. It's therefore no surprise that they've come up with a genius way on removing black heads as well. These CoxRX Blackhead Silk Finger Balls are made from 100% natural silk cocoons which work to exfoliate target areas and remove grim build up gently. What I love is that the results are instantaneous plus my skin doesn't feel irritated or sore afterwards. Highly recommended.