My Skincare Guide – Products, Tips &Tricks

I’m so excited to finally share this blog post. Skincare is one of the most common questions that I get asked about, which I take as a massive compliment. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am so rigorous and particular when it comes to my skin and skincare. So let’s start from the very beginning. I decided to structure this blogpost in order of product type, as opposed to by branded products. I’m lucky that I get to sample lots of gorgeous brands through my job, so I’ve trialled lots and I’m excited to share them with you. In reality, a lot of products are quite similar and do essentially the same thing, but they can vary massively in price – so I’m sharing a number of options. I don’t think any woman has just one brand in their skincare or makeup bags, so there’s a huge mix below.

PREFACE

I had to preface this post with two points that I think are so important.

You get what you pay for

  • When it comes to skincare (and candles!) this couldn’t be more accurate in my opinion.

Identify what your skin actually needs

  • There is honestly no point in anyone going out and buying products on other people’s opinions, mine included! If the products you’re spending good money on, don’t suit your skin, it’s a complete waste. For ages (probably years) I thought I had combination skin because I would get hormonal breakouts, and makeup would go oily on my T-zone and patchy on my cheeks…so I self-diagnosed my skin as ‘combination’. In reality, after I got a skin analysis done in Lloyd’s Pharmacy (a free service in select locations!) it transpired that my skin was and is in fact completely dehydrated and sensitive. Since I started using the right skincare & makeup products for my skin, it’s honestly never looked better…and I’ve never been happier or more confident going makeup free.

 

MAKE UP REMOVER

Can I start by saying that cleanser is not makeup remover, and makeup remover is not cleanser. There is a big difference and you need both in your routine!

Products

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm – this is gorgeous product that literally melts your makeup right off once you warm it and rub it into your skin. It smells great and feels really luxurious.

My Clarins ReMove Purifying Cleansing Milk – I love this product. It’s creamy so it feels gentle and hydrating. I usually use with the Cleanse Off Mitt to save going through copious amounts of cotton pads.

Cleanse Off Mitt – I promised myself I’m not buying cotton pads anymore, it just creates more waste than I already produce. The Cleanse Off Mitt is perfect for using to remove makeup with just warm water, but I like to also use it with the likes of the MyClarins Makeup Remover too.

 

CLEANSER

I’m a foaming cleanser girl through and through. I hate when a cleanser doesn’t foam up and feel soapy on my face, I feel as though I’m not getting as deep a clean as I’d like.

Products

La Roche-Posay Gentle Foaming Cleanser – (I can’t find a link to this product but the last time I picked it up, was in Lloyd’s Pharmacy. I’m starting to get increasingly worried that it’s been discontinued…)

Avene Gentle Foaming Cleaner

(These first two products are really similar in my opinion, I’ll usually just pick up whatever is closest to me or available in store. I always get the gentlest one for sensitive skin.)

Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Foam Cleanser – I adore this cleanser and have done for so long. I originally discovered it because a sample size came free with a lipstick, and I loved it the first time I tried it. It leaves your skin feeling so so so clean and fresh.

 

SERUMS

Ok, so serums are a whole beast of a section. There are so many different types, and these will completely depend on your skin’s needs. Personally, my skin needs hydration, and I’ve started focusing on anti-ageing because I read that your skin starts to age in your late twenties.

Products for Hydration

Vichy Mineral 89 – This serum is so hydrating. When I used it all last summer, my skin scored much higher in the hydration test that was carried out in the Lloyd’s Pharmacy skin analysis. It’s probably the best hydrating serum when it comes to value for money, in my opinion.

Clarins Plant Gold – I think this serum is GORGEOUS! It feels so luxurious on my skin. I was always hesitant about any product that felt a little oilier because I was convinced that I would break out, but this set me straight that I had nothing to fear.

La Mer The Regenerating Serum – Definitely the priciest option on my list, but it’s here for a good reason.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid – By far the most affordable, and while I don’t use it too often anymore because it makes my skin feel sticky when I first apply it, it is a good one to go for if you don’t have the budget to go wild with.

Products for Fine Lines / Anti Ageing

Advanced Night Repair Recovery II – This is my hands down holy grail skincare product. I don’t think I’ll ever let myself run out of this magic serum. I’m head over heels in love. Since using it, I’ve noticed my skin is smoother, has an improved texture, and is overall more hydrated.

Products for Retinol

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum – Opinion pending on this as I’ve only just started using it,  but I’ll update this in due course…

 

EYE CREAMS

A skincare professional once told me that skincare brands take their standard moisturiser and put them into smaller packaging, hike up the prices, and eye creams are the result. It’s stuck in my head so much so I always go for an affordable option with this product.

Products

Vichy Mineral 89 – this product is fab. Again, like it’s serum counterpart, really affordable and good value for money.

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream – I love this because the applicator is so handy and easy to use. I can’t find a link for the one I use, but this one is the same formula… Just minus the handy lipgloss style packaging. (I’ll update once I find it!)

 

SPFS

It still traumatises me when people tell me that they don’t use SPF. I honestly gasp when I hear it, ha! I think it’s absolutely insane to leave the house without it. Having SPF in your foundation, BB or CC cream is not enough. You need to apply before your makeup so that it can get right into your skin and protect against UV rays.

Products

Image 32 Matte – this product is my go-to-I-will-never-let-myself-not-have-a-tube-of-you favourite SPF.

Caudalie SPF – aside from being gorgeously smooth and hydrating, this product is also highly biodegradable and non-toxic to the marine ecosystem…a key feature for Caudalie SPFs!

Other brands that I rate highly for good SPF products are Avene & La Roche-Posay.

 

DAY CREAMS

I find that I alternate between applying my day cream before or after my SPF… I love to get an extra layer of moisture in when I can because my skin is usually crying out for it.

Products

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base – I’ve used this on and off for about 2 years now and whenever I come back to it, I question why I ever stopped.

Charlotte’s Magic Cream – this cream is gorgeously smooth and nourishing. Definitely worth the hype!

Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Illuminating Hydrating Water Cream – I adore all things Chanel, and this cream is no different. It smells stunning and feels really light and hydrating.

 

NIGHT CREAMS

Ohhh where do I begin with my love for night creams. I find the ones I’ve listed below are absolutely gorgeous on my skin and I wake up with a noticeable hydrated glow. These ones are top of the line in my opinion, so now I can never go back to anything sub par. I sometimes will pop night cream on during the day if my dehydrated skin is looking or feeling particularly dry. I’ve also started applying night cream to patchy areas of skin before walks or runs when the weather is blustery or cold, just to give myself an added barrier and protection against the elements.

Products

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ Night – I don’t think I’ll ever let myself run out of this one, it has a subtle fresh smell and feels so smooth when you apply, not to mention how glorious my skin feels the morning after.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Rosy Tone Moisturiser – I’m a big fan of all IT Cosmetics products, and this one is no different. It has a pinky tone but it doesn’t show up pink when rubbed into your skin.

Lancôme Absolue Rich Face Cream with Grand Rose Extract – this one is pricey, but if you can afford it, it’s honestly divine.

Elemis Superfood Night Cream  – I’m a huge Elemis fan, and this superfood night cream feels like I’m feeding my skin everything it needs. It has a gorgeous fresh smell too that makes you feel like you’re just out of a facial.

La Mer Creme De La Mer – another pricey option, but if you’re familiar with La Mer, you’ll know how gorgeously luxurious and effective their products are.

 

SPOT TREATMENTS

Don’t touch your spots, but if you do, do it right. That’s my motto anyway when it comes to breakouts! I can’t leave a white head on my face, and I applaud anyone who has the self restraint to stop themselves. Despite inevitable scarring, I just can’t stop myself. I always clean my face thoroughly, and have the experience at this stage to know if a spot is ready to be tackled. If it is, I go in with clean hands and a clean tissue and plead with the spot to come out. Once I’m done, I’ll use the below products.

Products

MyClarins Targeted – I swear by this stuff. Honestly, just go and buy it right now. I know I said that this post wasn’t about pushing products, but if you are someone who gets random breakouts, this is going to be your best friend. Just last night I felt a shallow (as in, not deep) spot below my lip. I popped this on immediately, felt the ‘I-can-tell-this-is-working’ tingle, and the spot was nowhere to be seen this morning. It’s a complete game changer.

Image Clear Cell Cleanser – I find this cleanser way too harsh for every day use. I literally only use it if I have a bad breakout, and even still, I’ll only apply it to the affected area on my face and let it sit for a minute or two before lathering in and rinsing off. It’s great for drying a breakout when needed.

 

MASKS

I used to love sheet masks, but as I try and decrease my levels of waste, I’ve decided they’re no longer something I’m buying anymore.

Products

Rituals Glow Mask – this is a gorgeous mask that I apply to my cheeks to get a nice plump glow.

Elemis Superfood Green & Purple Masks – Elemis products are fab all round, but I love these masks in particular because they feel really natural, and serve both of their purposes perfectly.

The Body Shop Clarifying Mask – this is a great one for when your skin feels clogged and need’s a good cleaning.

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask– this is an oldie but a goodie in my eyes. I worked with Clinique while I was living in New York and learned all about their products. This mask is so hydrating – 10/10.

 

MISTS

MyClarins & Evelom – I love having a mist on my desk or in my car to refresh my face, with or without make up on.

 

EXFOLIATORS 

I’m not a very regular user of exfoliators, but if I do reach for one, it’s usually this Fresh Scrub from Clarins.

 

BODY

Nuxe Dry Oil & Tan Organic Dry Oil – to me, these two are very similar and both fab.

Clarins Toning Body Balm – I love the smell of this moisturiser, it smells really clean, it’s quick drying & super hydrating.

 

SUPPLEMENTS

I had to include supplements in this blog post, because I’m a firm believer in having the foundations right when it comes to skincare. I swear to god, when I’m stressed, or sleep deprived, I break out – not when I’ve forgotten to use a certain serum. For me, not everyone because I know it’s not ok to assume, but for me, my skin is a tell tale sign of what my diet is like, how I’m sleeping, or if I’m stressed. A balanced diet and exercise is always the priority, but I also think that other things can help too – tackling problems from the inside out is key.

Products

Skin Accumax – shamelessly copying and pasting the blurb I wrote on these in my last blog post….:

I’ve purposely been mute about these capsules, because I wanted to be so sure that they worked for me. I didn’t want to plug them prematurely because I know how hard it is to try and navigate through all the products being pushed at you from every angle these days. These were recommended to me by a skin expert over a year ago, so I trusted that they were the bees knees. The online reviews would suggest the same! I used them for about 6 months, and then went off them for about 3 months and am now fully converted and back onto them again. Personally, for me, I noticed that the texture of my skin was noticeably better (clearer & healthier looking) when I was taking them… Breakouts are few and far between, even when I’m on my period. They contain vitamins A, C & E which support healthy skin and I genuinely believe that they are worth every cent. These seem pricier than they actually are. A box of 180 capsules, which will do you for about 3 months (when you take 2 per day), costs 98 pounds, broken down is a cost of about 32 pounds per month. I promise you it’s worth it. Alongside a predominantly healthy diet, regular exercise & good quality sleep, I would be really surprised if you didn’t notice healthier looking skin when taking these.

Including probiotics and a multivitamin in your daily routine is so important to me too – I usually go for Alflorex & Zest Active.

 

Tips

Keep your face clean. I am so careful with touching my face, and having anything else touch it. When I apply my night creams, I’m really cautious not to touch any door handles or my phone in between applying products. The thoughts of germs being rubbed into my skin turns my stomach.

Remove makeup as soon as possible. The second I come home and know that I won’t be heading out again for anything other than a trip to the shop or to see my friends, I clean my face immediately. I love doing this because it limits the time that your pores might be clogged from makeup, and it gives you more time to allow your night creams to set in and get to work. If you’re like me and don’t sleep on your back, make sure not to apply your creams right before bed, because they’ll just end up transferring onto your pillow and being wasted.

Echoing on from the first paragraph in this post…Find the products that suit your skin type & that meet your concerns and you’ll be set for gorgeous skin.

Similarly with makeup, make sure you’re using products that suit your skin type and aren’t unnecessarily drying it out or aggravating it.

Needless to say, drinking 3 litres of water a day will do wonders for your complexion.

Reduce caffeine intake – I found when I drank 3-4 coffees a day, my skin felt more dehydrated in comparison to now when I would just have one a day.

Clean sheets – another no brainer, but changing your sheets regularly is non negotiable when it comes to general hygiene and keeping your skin as clean as possible.

 

Ok, so there you have it. I don’t think I could have squeezed more into this post if I tried. To be honest, I’m glad to see the back of it now!

Hope you really enjoyed it, and if you have any questions, just shout!

Niamh xx

@niamh_osullivan

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