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Time is something we've always been used to not having enough of but, if you're fortunate enough to be able to work from home with minimal adjustments, you've probably found yourself with a lot more of it on your hands. No more commute, no more social engagements, no more weekends away and so on. Now I'm a homebody against my will, I've been forced to slow my life right down and one of the things I'm trying to do is treat my skincare like a self-care experience as much as I can. I guess it's one thing we have control over right now! These are the products I've been reaching for during this time of social distancing.
Of course I like to start my day by cleansing the skin and my go-to at the moment is the Ordinary Squalane Cleanser | £5.50 | full review. The more I use it, the more I really appreciate this product for its no-frills, effective simplicity. It has a sort of melting balm-cream texture and turns into an oil as you massage it into the skin, before transforming into a milky emulsion on contact with water. Squalane is a great shout for dry skin types, as it won't cause sensitivity and provides deep nourishment. Every other day I've been following this with an oldie but a goodie! I recently cracked open a fresh tube of the Pixi Peel & Polish* | £26 | full review | and was reminded why I liked it so much a little while back. This treatment contains enzymes to eat away at dead skin cells as well as very slight physical exfoliation to buff them away. It only stays on for a couple of minutes, so even if / when you're going out to work, it isn't a totally unrealistic step in your routine. I find it gives my skin a nice glow and helps keep things smooth when used three times a week.
Either straight after the cleanser or after removing the Pixi treatment, I've been using the Versed Baby Cheeks All-in-One Hydrating Milk | £16.50 | full review. It's a basic but functional hydrating toner that locks in moisture and gives me softer skin without containing potentially irritating ingredients, like many similar products do. I've been following it up with the Volition Snow Mushroom Water Serum* | £52. I've been using this for the past few weeks now and really like it for my normal-dehydrated skin. It absorbs easily without tackiness and helps my skin look plumper and healthier with antioxidant plant extracts, nourishing argan oil and snow mushroom, which can help bind water to the skin's surface.
Whilst that absorbs, I like to use the Evolve 360 Eye & Lip Contour* | £26 | on my eye area. I know it's meant to be a multitasker but I personally like a fast-absorbing, lightweight cream like this around the eyes and something more heavy-duty on my lips. It contains hyaluronic acid to pull water into the skin and is packed full of antioxidants to hopefully slow down ageing in my eye area (I guess we'll find out in a few years!) It never feels heavy or greasy and it provides the perfect level of moisture. Finally for the morning, I have fallen hard for the REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream* | £36. This moisturiser is incredibly softening and nourishing without feeling at all thick or heavy on my skin. It's formulated with moisturising shea butter and plant oils like sesame seed, sunflower seed and cranberry seed, though unfortunately does contain some fragrant components further down the ingredient list, so I can't recommend it for sensitive skin types. However if you're normal through to dry and don't have reactive skin; this could very well be your new favourite moisturiser...
- PM -On the rare occasion I've worn makeup, I've been using the Beauty Pie Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleanser | £7.50. Why didn't I try this sooner?! I actually only threw it in my cart because they were giving it away as a free gift with any purchase and I like it more than whatever that other thing was I bought! It's a light, almost moussey cream cleanser that melts down into an oil consistency, which in turn lifts makeup without the need for tugging or scrubbing. Then, simply splash some water on to emulsify it and remove your face of makeup with a damp cloth, without any surface residue being left behind. It's so gentle and fragrance-free but effective and the formula feels very luxurious on my skin.
The newest cleanser to my collection is the HoliFrog Water Lily Nourishing Milky Wash | £35. So far, I'm enjoying this one! It's formulated with nourishing oils like sunflower seed and apricot kernel, as well as antioxidants like aloe and Vitamin B5. Whilst it's still more of a face wash as opposed to a true cream cleanser, I actually like that; particularly on no-makeup days (of which there are now many), because it not only moisturises, but gets in there and removes the dirt and grime of the day. A couple of times a week I'll pair it with my Foreo Luna Mini 2* | £99 | full review | cleansing device. This really works the product in so my skin feels incredibly soft and totally clean. Even when I'm not, though, I try to make sure I massage my cleanser in for 60 seconds to ensure the ingredients are taken in by my skin.
As a toner in the evening, I've been reaching for the Gallinee Face Vinegar* | £23 | which is kind of a do-it-all toner. Gallinee's entire range is built around prebiotics, which feed the skin's healthy bacteria with the aim of keeping its barrier healthy. It also contains lactic acid, an exfoliating AHA that also has humectant properties so doesn't dry the skin out, and hibiscus vinegar, an antioxidant that may also help reduce redness. I've been using this for the past few weeks and it's been helping keep my skin smooth and even. It's also very gentle and designed to maintain the skin's natural pH balance, making it the perfect if you want a product that will help maintain healthy skin but isn't a strong active. I've also been making my way through a pack of the Kerello Hydrating Face Masks* | £14.99 for 4. This brand only makes one kind of sheet mask: this one, which is made of a bio-cellulose material (which will biodegrade) to lock in that super-charged serum. It's formulated with my favourite ingredient: hyaluronic acid to pull water into the skin, as well as red quinoa to act as an antioxidant as it contains calming, skin-regulating Vitamin B3 (AKA niacinamide). Agave extract is another antioxidant to protect the skin against environmental damage and there's also matrixyl, a peptide that can help reduce signs of ageing and reduce sensitivity in the skin. I leave this on for 15 minutes before removing the mask and massaging the excess in. It seriously smooths and plumps my dehydrated skin, so it looks healthy and glowing, even if I've had a bit of testing day!
A sheet mask effectively acts like a serum, so afterwards I go right in with moisturising products. First I use the Beauty Pie Uber Youth Peptide Infused Eye Cream | £9.35 | full review | which is a nice, light almost gel-cream product that doesn't feel rich or overwhelm my skin. I then have been using the BeautyBio the Plump* | £95. Let me start by saying that generally, when I receive a product in PR I tend to check the ingredients seem ok and then just use it without overly researching it for a week or two before diving into the details. So, after digging it out of my PR box (where it had been sat since around Christmas, to be fair), I used and loved this night cream for a while before discovering it's £95! Whilst it's worked incredibly well for my skin, these are tough times for a lot of people so if you're a rich lady with lots of disposable income, you like investing in your skincare and this sounds right up your street: go for it (though definitely still shop around for a deal). Everyone else: please prioritise paying your bills! It contains a combination of BeautyBio's own hyaluronic acid and retinol formulations and this leaves my skin so plump, so smooth and so soft. Never has a product been more perfectly-named. As a side-note: obviously the Gallinee toner does contain lactic acid, however it's quite a small amount and this moisturiser contains a fairly small amount of retinol. Coupled with the fact there's a pretty big time gap between the two of them in my evening routine, combining these ingredients doesn't cause me issues. As the BeautyBio night cream has quite a light, absorbent texture that's not overly rich, I like to lock it in with a couple of drops of the Lixir Night Switch Essential Lipids | £24 | full review. This oil is full of fatty acids like ceramides to not only provide deep nourishment, but also to replenish and strengthen the skin.