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Today I wanted to share the skincare products that are getting me through this winter! In about 6 weeks we should be on our way towards spring, but currently the temperatures are low and cold weather combined with central heating indoors can wreak havoc with our skin and leave it parched. These products have really helped me to counteract all of that...
The cleanser I've not stopped reaching for since around October time is the Skingredients PreProbiotic Cleanse* | £23. This a non-foaming creamy cleanser, which is probably why it's been my default throughout the colder months when I've just wanted something gentle and non-stripping. It just has this gorgeous softening effect on my skin. It's formulated with PHAs to offer a very mild exfoliation action, as well as hydration, alongside pre and probiotics, to balance the colonies of bacteria on the skin to promote healthy barrier function. It's an absolute dream!
For makeup removal, on those rare occasions I've worn any, I've been reaching for the Curel Makeup Cleansing Gel* | £12.50. This is a gentle, effective, non-stripping formula that comes out like a jelly cleanser, however as you massage it onto dry skin, it becomes more oil-based so really lifts up that makeup and sunscreen. Emulsify it with water and wipe it away with a damp cloth. It removes everything for me and - whilst I know it's not the #1 product that you're worried about having good ingredients in, because it's not sat on the skin - I like that this is an effective product with minimal ingredients. It contains lots of nice hydrators and, most importantly is very gentle around my eye area, which often gets irritated by makeup removers. It just works and I really recommend it.
- TONERS, ESSENCES & EXFOLIANTS -
I have a few products in this category; winter is when I think my love of toners and essence really comes out because it's just another opportunity to layer on that hydration. The first product I really got into this winter was the Skincity Milky Essence | £20. If you have dry skin and you often find traditional toners and mists just sort of evaporate off your skin into nothingness and don't do a great deal; try this product! It's formulated with amazing ingredients: hyaluronic acid to draw water into the skin, fatty acid-rich Vitamin F, moisturising oat oil, panthenol to help retain water in the skin and chamomile and centella to really calm any irritation. There's no fragrance in this formula and it provides deep moisture without having a sticky texture.
For something a little lighter and more leaning towards a water-gel than a lotion, try the Apothaka Skin Quenching Essence with NMF, Vitamin B5 & Cucumber Extract* | £29. 'Quenching' is the perfect word to describe this product because that's exactly what it feels like; a refreshing glass of water for your face when it's parched! It's formulated with natural moisturising factors, which replenish components our skin produces itself, making them safe for sensitive skin. We have panthenol, we have moisturising shea butter, urea, lactic acid (this is an AHA but in low concentrations like this, it's actually going to act more like a hydrator) and there's niacinamide in here too, which (again) has slightly different properties at a low concentration; in this context it's really going to calm inflammation and strengthen the skin barrier. That's all the stuff I want from my skincare at this time of year! I love that the texture isn't sticky and that this has enough substance that it doesn't evaporate off into the aether; it's a true hydrating layer.
Let's talk about an exfoliating option. I really recommend keeping things gentle when exfoliating during winter, because your skin barrier is so easily compromised. My recommendation is the Medik8 Press & Glow Daily Exfoliating PHA Tonic with Enzyme Activator* | £25. This formula contains some really nice calming ingredients like aloe and acai extracts alongside the gentlest class of exfoliants: PHAs. They exfoliate the surface of the skin with their large molecular size, meaning they're less likely to cause irritation. PHAs, as I mentioned, can also have hydrating properties. True to form; this softens and smooths my skin without being drying or causing any irritation, making a great option for my skin which is prone to dryness and sometimes even sensitivity during the colder months.
- SERUMS -
Of course I'm all about calming, moisturising and replenishing serums around this time of year and there are definitely a few core ingredients I've gravitated towards. First let's talk about the Ecooking Vitamin E Serum* | £43. This has been a surprise can't-live-without product for me. It's a gel-serum but doesn't dry down to that sticky, tacky, filmy feel that so many water-based serums do. This is so moisturising, softening and hydrating and contains great ingredients to replenish and strengthen the skin. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radical damage, and also has the ability to repair and soothe the skin. There are also ceramides in the mix to strengthen the skin barrier, which is extra-important during the winter. It's a lovely formulation with great ingredients and it's been my go-to product to use after my exfoliating acid to keep things calm and balanced.
I've also really been enjoying the Acwell Betaglution Ultra Moisture Milk Oil* | £28.99. This one was kindly sent over to me to try by the people at Skin Library, who stock some really cool K-Beauty brands that you can't really find in many other places. This has an interesting texture, definitely a little thicker than your usual serum, but don't be put off by the 'oil' component; you can definitely use this during the daytime and not get a shiny face! It's really moisturising and softening, formulated with beta glucan snow mushroom, to act as humectants, and plenty of plant oils to lock hydration into the skin. I've been loving using this to stop my skin drying out during the day when I'm sat working from home with the heating on!
My next serum pick features one of my essential ingredients for winter skincare: niacinamide. We often talk about it in the context of helping oily skin but it's a great barrier-booster when it's in a concentration of under 10%, which is exactly what the Dr. Dennis Gross B3Adaptive Superfoods Stress Rescue Super Serum* | £75 | offers. It blends this with moisturising, antioxidant-rich non-fragrant plant extracts in a lovely light, milky formula. It's gentle and really calms, soothes and moisturises my skin. Another one I really like is the REN Evercalm Anti-Redness Serum* | £36. This is so moisturising! It again has a milky texture that absorbs nicely and leaves my skin soft and takes care of any dryness. It's rich in lipids to replenish and nourish the skin, there are plant oils in here too and a little lactic acid for those hydrating properties. It does contain linaloo, which is a fragrant component; I didn't originally realise this and it's caused me no problems but I thought I'd flag it given it's marketed as an anti-redness serum that might attract people with more sensitive skin. For me, this is a solid everyday option for winter skin that gives my skin the moisture it craves.
Speaking of cravings, let's segway into my final serum pick, which is what I reach for when my skin is really acting up: the Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relief | £35.99. My skin is quite reactive to external factors like the temperature and weather and this is one of those products I can trust to both not worsen the situation, but to also help calm it down. There's a little of that niacinamide in there, there's squalane (a skin-similar plant-based oil), ceramides, rosehip and safflower oils for moisture and tamanu oil, which has calming properties as well as moisturising the skin. This has a lovely, creamy nourishing formula that's perfect for dry winter skin; if you're finding your skin is flaring up this winter then I really recommend checking this one out.
- CREAMS & OILS -
Let's get into moisturisers; there are really two products I've been reaching for a lot since a little before Christmas. The first is my daytime option; the RNW Ceramide Cream* | £30. This is pretty similar to the Dr. Jart Ceramide Cream that I used up last year. It is marketed as fragrance-free, but I think that refers to parfum because there is lavender oil, orange peel oil and rosemary leaf oil in here, but they are a lot easier to navigate; if you know these essential oils cause you problems, you can avoid them. I know they cause me no issues, so I'm fine with this cream and overall actually find it a very calming option for my skin. I love the texture of this moisturiser and how it melts into my skin, leaves it soft and smooth and just locks in the layers of hydration. It feels gorgeous on my skin, it's nothing too greasy and it provides lasting, deep nourishment to my skin. This contains amazing ingredients like shea butter, ceramides (obvs!), panthenol and hyaluronic acid.
For my night cream, I've been back on an old favourite: the DeliKate Recovery Cream* | £69 | which I've just finished up. I honestly can't rave about this enough; it's like an elevated version of the sorts of creams you know are good for your skin! I know that medical-looking creams are good for my skin, but I love the elegance of this formula, how it feels on my skin and how soft it leaves things after use! It's fragrance-free and packed full of ceramides, plant oils and shea butter, to give you that sensitive-skin-safe, occlusive night cream in an elegant form.
Let's talk oils! My multi-purpose skin hero is the Biossance 100% Squalane Oil* | £27. This supersized version isn't available any more, but you can still get 100ml. When I travel, I tend to just take this because it's great for my extremely-dry body skin, it works as a scalp treatment (apply it the night before you wash your hair to combat dryness and flakiness) and, of course, it's a gorgeous face oil that doesn't feel overly greasy. This plant-based oil mimics the oils our skin naturally produces to add deep moisture with no risk of irritation. I've already been through one bottle of this and will definitely pick it up again when I run out. I love this formula and Biossance have honestly never done me wrong! For something a bit fancier on my face, it has to be the Apothaka Comforting Oil Booster | £40. This is just gorgeous and I had to get a full-sized bottle after finishing up my mini of it. It's a fragrance and essential oil-free blend with cucumber and calendula oils, as well as Q10, a powerful antioxidant. It deeply nourishes and replenishes my dry winter skin without feeling too oily.
This is a solid balm, but it melts into an oil, so let's talk about it here! I haven't stopped reaching for the Disciple Go-To Balm | £20 | since the start of December. Since turning on the heating, I've found that the skin around my mouth has been dry and flaky when I've woken up in the morning. It's definitely a combination of factors; the dry heat but also the way I sleep (I can only seem to get comfortable when I'm burrowed in!) However, since applying this around my mouth before bed, I haven't had that issue, and on the nights I just forget; the dryness immediately returns. This blend of calendula, shea butter and non-fragrant plant oils just adds that extra layer onto my skin to seal in the moisture. It's also great on dry knuckles or if you find the skin between your fingers gets very dry, or even on cracked heels. There's absolutely loads in here for £20 and you need so little that it's going to last me for ages!
I also love the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 | £7.50. This is a great product for irritated skin, formulated with panthenol, shea butter and glycerin. It's deeply moisturising and just calms, softens and moisturises my skin. I think this is a pretty universal product safe for most skin types when it's freaking out and feeling really sensitive. It's so soothing and amazing on patches of dryness or even if you sometimes get recurrent eczema (I get this sometimes, even though I've not suffered with it badly for a very long time) to calm things down and bring it all back into balance.
- BODY -
The product I have all over my flat that I reach for several times a day is the CeraVe Moisturising Cream | £9. I can't recommend adding this product to your life enough; it just always comes in handy! You can use it everywhere, a gigantic bottle like this is only £9 and it works so well on dry skin. You can apply it to specific patches of dry skin to replenish them and return them to normality, though you can definitely use it as an all-over body cream if you're really suffering this winter. It's free from fragrance, so can be used on more sensitive skin, and is formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
I was kindly sent over some products to try from a French pharmacy brand that's new to me by Escentual and my standout is the Uriage Xemose Anti-Itch Soothing Oil Balm* | £20.89. I love this formula; it comes out like a cream but sort of melts into this oil / ointment texture. It's also formulated with shea butter and no fragrance. This is amazing all over body option for me, because I have such dry skin on my body that I really need something to soften and smooth my skin, as well as to create that barrier, stopping it from drying out. If you don't need something quite as heavy duty; this is an amazing treatment for specific areas that you want to nourish and protect. It's a really unique formula and I'm already thinking I'll probably get a mini tube for my bag when I'm leaving the house regularly again so I can use it on my hands. Lastly is my most loved lip balm of the winter: the Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm | £19.50. You only need the tiniest dot of this lip balm before bed and it's seriously helped keep my lips soft, smooth and moisturised, when they're usually the first thing to go when the weather gets cold!
What are your winter skin heroes?