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Sometimes it can be really beneficial to just strip back your skincare routine and focus on recovery. Maybe you've overdone the acids or used a retinol that's a bit too strong for your skin. Or, something like this can really work if you're on an intensive skin treatment course and want the rest of your routine to be very simple. The focus for this routine is on protecting the skin, keeping things free of fragrance and potential irritants and strengthening the skin barrier. This is a an unofficial follow-up to last week's post so check that out for more of a deep-dive into the ingredients and why they're essential for maintaining healthy skin. But, for today, we're focusing on the products I've been using and why... 

In terms of cleansers, I have a morning cleanse, a makeup remover and a second cleanse here. In the morning, I regularly reach for the Ordinary's Squalane Cleanser | £5.50 | full review | anyway (it's been a bit of a slow burn for me but I've really fallen for it in recent months) and the basic but effective formula makes it great for when I'm giving my skin a break. As we all probably know by now, the Ordinary's products are very simple, so if you get on with an ingredient; there aren't really going to be a load of other hidden nasties in the formula to worry about. This cleanser is formulated with sensitive-skin-safe squalane, a plant-derived alternative to the natural oils our skin produces. I love this balm-cream texture and it emulsifies easily with water, whilst still feeling lovely and hydrating on skin in need of a bit of TLC.

In the evening, I've recently got back into using the Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm | £9.99 | full review. Again, this has a very simple, nourishing ingredient list that will help gently remove makeup. Obviously, the first cleanse isn't sat on your skin, but you still don't want to use something potentially irritating if you're putting your skin in recovery mode. This feels nice on the skin, emulsifies with water and effectively removes makeup. I then follow it up with the Kate Somerville DeliKate Soothing Cleanser* | £33 | which has been an absolute favourite of mine since it arrived. I've been using the entire range for the past month or so and it's actually designed for use on skin after it's undergone a chemical peel or another intensive treatment. It doesn't foam up or anything like that; it's just a milky emulsion that calms irritation with ingredients like aloe, helps restore the skin barrier with ceramides and provides lasting moisture, with nourishing oils such as sunflower seed oil. It's gentle and perfect for compromised skin.

Fragrance-free hydrating toners are actually really hard to come by, but I do personally prefer to avoid both parfum mixes and fragrant essential oils when my skin is angry with me; I just don't want to risk making things worse! However, earlier this year I picked up the Versed Baby Cheeks All-in-One Hydrating Milk | £16.50 | full review | and it ticks all the boxes for me. It moisturises and softens the skin without any potentially irritating ingredients, being formulated primarily with coconut oil. Next, we have the Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Serum* | £70. This is a really concentrated dose of different forms of ceramides, as well as some gentle oils. It feels like an instant relief when I put this on my skin after experiencing irritation, it also reduces redness and is incredibly moisturising.

For the eye area, I love the CeraVe Eye Repair Cream* | £12 | full review. You really can't go wrong with any CeraVe product if you have sensitive skin and this eye cream is formulated with niacinamide to protect the skin and ceramides for repair. It has a really lovely texture that's nothing too thick or greasy, but still does enough to moisturise my eyes. For moisturisers, I honestly couldn't choose, so we have two fantastic options! The first is the Dr Jart + Ceramidin Cream | £35.50 | full review | which is amazing for red and irritated skin. It's intensely nourishing, has an amazing smoothing effect on the skin, plus contains those skin-fortifying ceramides.  If you just want one product that's amazing as both a day cream and a night cream; I really recommend the Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturiser | £35 | full review. Whilst it doesn't contain specific reparative ingredients, it's just a very gentle and moisturising cream that's not too thick or heavy. It gives me lovely soft skin and keeps things calm when my skin is in recovery mode.

Overnight, I tend to reach for the Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream* | £69 | which is probably my favourite product from the entire range. It has such a gorgeous texture and leaves my skin feeling silky, whilst also having incredible skin-soothing properties. If you're dry-skinned; you could definitely wear this during the day too, and I will be when winter comes around again. For days when my skin is extra dry, I lock in all that moisture using the Typology Organic Jojoba Oil | £14.80 | full review coming soon. Jojoba oil is a really gentle emollient, meaning it softens the skin and helps keep moisture in. This formula is nothing too heavy or greasy; it just provides that extra layer of nourishment if you've dried out your skin by over-exfoliating, for example.

Then, last but certainly not least, we have the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF30 | £30 | full review coming soon. This is a really gentle sunscreen without irritating ingredients, though if you find chemical sunscreens aren't compatible with your skin; this might not be for you. This has a lightweight gel texture and is truly transparent. Whilst you should always be diligent with sunscreen, many active ingredients like retinol, acids and Vitamin C can increase your sun sensitivity, making it extra important to ensure you're protected if you've overdone it a little.

Have you ever had a bad reaction to an active? How do you recover your skin when it's not playing ball?

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