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Today I just wanted to share some of the products that have already knocked my socks off this year, though there are also some I discovered towards the end of 2020 but it felt a bit keeno to consider them for my year-end favourites at that stage! I haven't worried too much about categories, this is just an off-the-cuff look at what I've been loving...

First up, I have a standout toner, a standout mist and a standout essence; I've limited myself to one of each! The toner I haven't stopped reaching for is the Isntree Green Tea Fresh Toner | £18. I just apply this using my hands and it contains an amazing 80% green tea extract. It hydrates and calms my skin without leaving behind an excess. It softens and smooths my skin and is kind of the default product I reach for when I'm using something active and just want to soothe and hydrate my skin beforehand. The mist is my Allies of Skin Molecular Saviour Probiotics Treatment Mist | £57. No, it's not cheap for a face mist, but I've tried a lot of rubbish face mists in my time and this is absolutely not one of them. It's got some substance to it without being too heavy, as well has having some more active ingredients in there to calm the skin and strengthen its natural barrier like niacinamide and pre / probiotics. My essence of choice is the Apothaka Skin Quenching Essence* | £29. This product has a light, refreshing, non-sticky texture and is so hydrating, cooling and soothing on the skin with ingredients like natural moisturising factors, Vitamin B5 and cucumber extracts. These are all great for replenishing the skin and there's no fragrance or any other potential irritants in there so it's something I can use with strong actives or when my skin is feeling a bit tender. 

I'm actually surprised at how many great moisturisers I seem to have found in recent months! My go-to during winter was the RNW Ceramide Cream* | £30. I love this rich, thick but not at all greasy cream; it's formulated with ceramides, which contribute towards a healthy skin barrier (so you're not feeling irritated or dehydrated) and panthenol to soothe the skin and help retain water. This helped my dry skin so much over the colder months and left it soft and smooth. I used it both during the day and at night. In a similar vein, I also really loved the I'm From Rice Cream | £31 (15% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY (affiliate)). This is a nourishing but light and fluffy cream. I don't know how it does it but it gives my skin that deep moisture it craves without being heavy or greasy in any way. It's formulated with rice ceramides, hyaluronic acid (to draw water into the skin) and shea butter (for that softening moisture). This is a dry-skinned person's dream if you're not a fan of the feel of a very heavy moisturiser (again, I've used it AM and PM). 

The pairing I've really been loving lately starts with the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturiser* | £45. I'm not sure how I hadn't tried this product before, because I've been using Fresh products for a really long time now. This is such a lightweight moisturiser formula but it still softens my skin beautifully and gives it a natural glow. It's the sort of everyday staple that I can travel with and trust and is going to work for my skin pretty much all year round. It's formulated with Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and antioxidant fruit and plant extracts. In the evening, I haven't been able to stop reaching for the Omorovicza Rejuvenating Night Cream* | £125. This is expensive: I get it! But Omorovicza are really good at selling mini sizes of their products if you want to try before investing further or if you just want to save using them for special occasions. It's just so darn good! I hate how good it is... The texture is a dream, it softens and smooths my skin and just feels incredible. There are plant oils, shea butter and Vitamin E, so it's nothing groundbreaking, but the way it's formulated is dreamy.

I've primarily been using the Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Cream SPF 50 PA +++ | £18 | this year. After all the sunscreen testing drama, I've just stuck with a product that's been independently verified. This has a gorgeous, lightweight texture and melts into my skin, leaving no white cast. It gives my skin a dewy finish too, so I'd recommend it primarily for normal-to-dry skin types as an 'every single day' product. The only other sunscreen product I've reached for is the SVR Ampoule Protect Vitamin E Shield SPF 30* | £33. This is an oil-based product that combines the two things that are really going to help protect your skin from premature ageing and environmental damage: sunscreen and antioxidants. It's lightweight, moisturising and really seems to replenish my skin.

Towards the end of last year and at the start of this year, I discovered my now-favourite affordable Vitamin C: the Ordinary's Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F | £14.90. This is a derivative and it's oil-based, so is great for dry skin, but I personally find it works just as well for me as ascorbic acid whilst being very gentle. It gives my skin an overall glow-boost and (more importantly) really helps with hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. The other more treatment-based serum that's really impressed me this year is Facetheory's Exaglow Serum S10 | £18.99. This is formulated with tranexamic acid, Vitamin C, lactic acid, niacinamide and licorice, which are all great brightening ingredients that target uneven pigmentation. I love this as a multi-pronged approach that's still pretty affordable. I used this every night with no irritation and it worked! Lastly, for serums, I have a product that's less treatment-focused and more about hydration: the Beauty Pie Japanfusion Genius Lift Elixir* | £8.89 for members (get a £50 spending allowance booster if you're a new member with code JASMINESENTME). I was so torn between including this and the moisturiser from the same range, but I felt we had had enough moisturisers here already! This humectant and oil serum is just gorgeous: dewy, glowing skin in a bottle.

Let's move on to the 'once or twice a weekers'. First up is the Inkey List's Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment* | £6.99. This product kind of gave me an epiphany! What a lot of people don't realise is that harsh drying lotions can actually lead to hyperpigmentation if your skin is prone to it, although they might help in the short-term, they aren't always the best long-term option. This is a hydrating take on the spot treatment, formulated with trusty anti-blemish ingredients like salicylic acid and sulphur but also succinic acid (the new kid on the block - I'm interested to see some more research on the ingredient and what other brands might do with it in the future). However, there's also glycerin, hyaluronic acid and squalane to keep the skin hydrated. It comes out green but massages in to be clear and you can reapply it during the day if you aren't wearing makeup. I find this really effective at calming inflammation and reducing the size of spots without having that 'drying' effect. Another great option for a non-drying spot treatment is the Sunday Riley UFO Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil* | £68. This is formulated with salicylic acid to deeply exfoliate the pores, clear out any debris and get any congestion moving along. Last, but not least, I love love love my I'm From Honey Mask | £35 (get 15% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY (affiliate)). I'm sure its inclusion is no surprise to regular readers but this nourishing mask is a blend of propolis and honey, which provides natural antibacterial benefits, as well as leaving my skin soft, smooth and deeply moisturised after use, making it a winter essential for me.

You'll notice a few things are missing: I don't have a new favourite acid as I've been focusing on using up some overnight serums and toners I already have open, which is exactly the same when it comes to first cleansers, really. When it comes to second / morning cleansers, I've been using the Skingredients one I discussed in my year-end favourites. I also didn't include a retinoid because I've been using up my Medik8 (again, it's in the favourites post) and a prescription as discussed in my tretinoin post.

What do you think of my favourites so far? Have you tried any new products you've enjoyed this year yet?

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