In this country you don't need a load of people or a night out on the town to overindulge during the festive period, so although we're not having our usual Christmas parties and New Year's Eve festivities this year, I'm sure most of us are still eating and drinking a bit more and bit naughtier than usual and quite possibly sleeping a bit less than usual. This is how I like to give myself a bit of TLC after the festivities...
- BREAKOUTS -
I don't know about you, but I definitely indulge in selection boxes, a glass of wine or two (or three, or four...) and foods like cheese. I am also absolutely that person whose sins appear on their face the next day! It's not been so bad this year because I've not really been out having fun times, but if I'm hungover; you bet I've developed a breakout overnight and if I haven't done the perfect double cleanse; you know I'll have a smattering of spots by morning. Salicylic acid is an amazing ingredient for shrinking down angry, active breakouts and preventing stubborn scarring and hyperpigmentation afterwards. As someone with more normal-to-dry skin (especially during the winter) it's important for me to find it in a form that will treat these breakouts without leaving my skin stripped, tight and uncomfortable.
The only salicylic acid cleanser that doesn't dry out my skin is the Skingredients Sally Cleanse | £24 | full review. Though, I do have the Inkey List's to try, so I'll let you know how it compares. This formula comes out as a clear gel, but it doesn't foam up and strip my skin, which is the key for me. It's gentle and if I'm experiencing breakouts, I can just switch to using this in the morning and it really helps clear things up without stripping my skin at all. Another great option is the Sunday Riley UFO Ultra Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil* | £56. This is more of a dry oil, but it's still definitely an oil, which makes it great for skin like mine that's overall drier but can break out in certain areas. This works incredibly well for me; it's moisturising but not heavy and really helps to clear out congestion. It's fantastic on those sore under-the-skin spots (you know the ones!) and helps prevent scarring post-breakout.
I also really enjoy the Sunday Riley Sulfur Saturn Spot Treatment* | £20. I've seen some confusion on this ingredient / product and how to use it; it was actually reformulated for the EU market so it's in a tube to use as a spot treatment as opposed to a face mask, which also means it's a lot more affordable. This contains sulphur which is really a drying agent, so it's best for occasional whiteheads dotted about on the skin, as opposed to cystic, 'under the skin' red bumps covering a large surface area. You don't want to dry out your skin by using it for too long, all over your face or on skin conditions it won't really help. I pop this on for around 15 minutes and, if do this in the morning, the spot will have dried out by the afternoon, so the redness is reduced and the 'head' has vanished.
Lastly is something to use once the active breakout has subsided, to help your skin's overall clarity, tone and texture. It's the PSA Heroine Mandelic & Licorice Glow Toner | £28 | full review. This is a gentle exfoliating toner that's more suitable for regular use than salicylic (I think salicylic in wash-off product is fine for everyday if you have very oily skin, but for my skin type; I use it when the breakout is at its worse then switch to something gentler to keep things under control). Mandelic acid is an AHA with a large molecular size, meaning it's going to be less potentially irritating than something like glycolic. It's specifically great at targeting hyperpigmentation, which is generally the most long-term issue I have when I break out. There's a bit of lactic acid in there too to work with it, alongside licorice extract, as a brightening agent, and niacinamide to help regulate oil production in the skin, improve its overall tone and texture and contribute towards a healthy skin barrier. This formula works incredibly well with zero irritation.
- DRY / IRRITATED SKIN -
Another skin issue that's really common around this time of year is dry, irritated skin and I'm definitely in that camp. I think it's the central heating dehydrating the skin coupled with your skin being exposed to very cold temperatures then very hot temperatures, and of course we all love our hot showers during the winter, which can also be very harsh on the skin. I've noticed over the past couple of months that my skin gets quite red and can actually feel a little irritated by touching it and particularly when I use a face cloth in the morning. I'll walk through the products I use and some general tips and tricks to prevent water loss through the skin.
If you wake up in the morning with dry, tight skin; I do not recommend using a foaming cleanser. If you do want to use a cleansing product, and not just water, I recommend a cream formula like the Skingredients PreProbiotic Cleanse* | £24 | full review. This is a nourishing but also quite light and lotiony cleanser that can be used to remove light makeup too. It's formulated with prebiotics and probiotics which are really going to bring balance to the skin and support healthy barrier function, as well as PHAs, a gentle exfoliator that can also hydrate the skin. This cleanser leaves my skin looking and feeling soft, smooth and healthy after use.
Everyone correctly says you really shouldn't take very hot showers during the winter, because it dries out your skin. However, if you - like me - see this as totally non-negotiable; I recommend leaving on your cleanser (preferably a cream formula like the Skingredients one or a balm) or using a mask whilst you're in the shower, to seal in the moisture. One of my favourite products for this is the I'm From Honey Mask* | £8.20 (15% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY) (mini) | full review | which you can also get in my kit with Tonic 15. This is a super-nourishing mask with a dreamy texture that's formulated with a high percentage of honey. Honey is deeply moisturising but also has antibacterial properties to help calm down any post-festive breakouts. I love this stuff; it can be left on for up to an hour and leaves my skin so soft and moisturised after use.
I have a couple of replenishing serum that really help dry, irritated skin around this time of year. The first is the PSA the Most Hyaluronic Super Nutrient Hydration Serum | £34 | full review. This is formulated with hyaluronic acid to pull water into the skin, panthenol to help retain it and safflower oil to moisturise and seal in the hydration. There are also some really great antioxidants and fermented ingredients in here, making it an all-round fantastic skin replenisher. I really do recommend finding products that contain humectants like hyaluronic acid alongside ingredients that can help seal the moisture in, because you don't want it to evaporate off the skin. Another great option for replenishing the skin is the Ecooking Vitamin E Serum* | £43. This is a clear gel serum that melts beautifully on the skin as opposed to being sticky or filmy. Vitamin E is an amazing ingredient for protecting and repairing the skin, especially when the weather is cold outside. This serum also contains ceramides, which help repair the skin barrier, improving its ability to retain water and calming irritation. I've been loving this serum to really moisturise my skin and reduce sensitivity, and my only real negative is that you get 20ml in here and I think 30ml is really standard, especially for the price-point.
It's very expensive but if you do indulge in luxury skincare, I don't think the Venn Vitamin B All-in-One Concentrate* | £155 | will disappoint you! You get 50ml of product here and it has this lovely, rich texture so you can use it as an all-in-one face cream and serum, or as one or the other. I know everyone's all about eye cream after overdoing it, but honestly; the ingredients in here are great and the texture works around the eyes really nicely. The star ingredients here are niacinamide and panthenol. Niacinamide, as I've already discussed, is a great ingredient for a variety of reasons. In this context; I think it's great for a damaged skin barrier, helping the skin retain water and calming redness and irritation. Panthenol is going to attract and hold water in the skin and there are lots of antioxidants in the mix, which help protect the skin from environmental damage. This works incredibly well for my dry, reactive winter skin and it has a beautiful, elegant formula.
I'm not sure if it's my habit of burrowing in bed, but since we put the heating on a couple of months ago, I've often woken up with dry, flaky, peeling skin around my mouth. The product that's really helped me combat this is the Disciple Go-To Balm | £20 | full review. This is a solid balm that melts down into an oil-like consistency. I apply it to the lower part of my face before bed and it can be used on the body; I personally often put it in-between my fingers. I doesn't contain fragrance, so can be used on more sensitive dry skin and is formulated with shea butter and a couple of other oils. It's simple, but it really works!
- DULL / LACKLUSTRE SKIN -
Perhaps as a side-effect of the dryness (but probably not helped by Christmas food and drink, if we're being honest!) my skin can definitely look a bit dull and lifeless around this time of year. These are the ingredients and products I like to use to inject a bit of radiance back into my skin.
First up is a product I loved a few years back and recently repurchased; the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial | £34. This is a water-activated Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) treatment that gets to work in just 1 minute, for my fellow lazy people. Despite the short amount of time this sits on the skin (you massage it in with damp fingers for 60 seconds); it works! It gives my skin an instant, noticeable glow boost.
Mists are a great way to boost the hydration and glow in your skin and I'm currently really enjoying the Sunday Riley Pink Drink Firming Essence* | £42. I'm not sure it's 'firming' my skin as such but it does provide deep, lasting hydration and give my skin a fresh, juicy glow. It's formulated with hydrating and plumping peptides, lots of botanicals and of course the fermented extracts you'd expect with an essence. There are also ceramides and prebiotics to contribute towards a healthy skin barrier. The results? Fresh, hydrated, healthy-looking skin. And we all need a bit of that in a bottle around this time of year.
I have another all-in-one serum-moisturiser for dull and lacklustre skin that I'm loving: the U Beauty Super Smart Hydrator* | £65 | full review. I won't lie; this is steep for 15ml of product when it's intended to be used all over the face. It's lasted me for now, but we'll see... Anyway, in this product we have lots of lovely moisturisers like squalane, shea butter, jojoba esters and avocado oil, alongside more active ingredients to hydrate and brighten the skin like Vitamin C, glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid. It gives my skin a gorgeous glow when its lacking that vibrancy as well as nourishing it in the cold weather.
- BODY CARE -
Dry skin is obviously a side-effect of this time of year and, I don't know about you, but now I'm getting on a bit, my muscles literally ache when I drink a bit, as most of us do over Christmas. Instead of, like, not drinking; I like to treat the symptom!
First up let's talk about the Elemental Herbology Soothe Bath & Body Oil* | £28 (15% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY). I use this in a number of ways; for a good soak in the bath to moisturise and relieve aches and pains, but also as a nourishing body oil and it's great for massages. It's formulated with notes of relaxing lavender, ylang ylang and rose damask. Divine!
My other essential is the Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm | £19.50. I get such dry lips during the winter months and there's nothing better than slathering on a super nourishing product on them. My favourite is this balm from Summer Fridays, which never fails to leave my lips soft, smooth and nourished.
- HAIR REVIVAL -
I feel like when I'm busy getting my Christmas shopping done, doing lots of food prep and everything else associated with the festive period, I really neglect my hair. It just always feels like my last priority, so it's nice to give it some TLC as we wind down and head into the new year.
I recently discovered a new brand that's all about 'skincare for your hair' and their products are truly divine! I've been loving the Monpure Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo* | £36 | and their Strengthening Essence-Conditioner* | £36. They're not cheap but at the time of writing they're also on sale, so I'm very tempted to get some backups! These bottles look small but they're lasting me incredibly well and the formulas are luxury whilst also treating my main concerns; having dry hair and a scalp that can get flaky and irritated. The shampoo (formulated with vegan peptides and aloe) doesn't strip or dry out my hair (it doesn't foam massively either) but gently cleanses and clarifies. The conditioner can be used on both the hair and the scalp and it provides light, non-greasy hydration with peptides, argan oil and Vitamin B5. They keep my scalp problems under control and leave my hair looking healthier and shinier, as well as having that soft, silky feel. I'm truly in love! I've finally been swayed away from my Function of Beauty formula, it would appear...
A hair mask is one of those things that you're not going to do when you're rushing around, but is definitely worth it if you have a bit of extra time after the festive period. My go-to right now is the Davines Nounou Nourishing Repair Hair Mask* | £23. This is a gorgeous, buttery, oil-rich hair mask that you can leave on for around about 15 minutes to inject that extra nourishment to dry winter hair. It works a treat for me!
I hope you have a lovely New Year's Eve, despite the circumstances! See you on the other side for affordable beauty month, which kicks off next week. What are your post-festive recovery essentials?