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There are plenty of people out there who want good skin, they want the actives but they just don't have the time to be doing all these different steps with all these different products. No matter how much you want to be that person, if you don't have time to do it all then you're not going to reap the benefits of the amazing products you've just dropped your cash on. So, today I'm going to talk through products that condense everything down into a few effective steps...
My go-to multitasking cleanser is the Ordinary's Squalane Cleanser | £14.20 (supersize). It's an amazing, gentle, moisturising option for in the morning but the oil base means it can melt down makeup and sunscreen (just massage it in, splash with cold water to emulsify and use a damp cloth to remove everything). Squalane is a skin-similar plant-based oil that's really replenishing for the skin, so this is great if you're dry or sensitive. I personally find this removes everything (though I'd probably go in twice around the eye area if I was wearing heavy makeup) but if you don't mind the extra product in your life, you can get a water-based cleanser and use that after. If you're more on the oily side, your go-to do-it-all cleanser is probably going to be a foaming lather. Look, I don't feel a face mist or toner is 100% necessary, but the reason I like the Allies of Skin Molecular Saviour Probiotics Treatment Mist | £57 | is because it offers something more: it isn't heavy or sticky, but it has a bit more weight to it, so it's kind of like a serum-mist, providing hydration that really lasts with rosewater. This mist is packed full of antioxidants, to help protect the skin against environmental damage and also probiotics to help build a stronger skin barrier. It just resurrects dry, tired skin in an instant!
The U Beauty Super Smart Hydrator* | £65 | is designed to be your one-step solution, packed with hydration, moisture and active ingredients. You can use it around the eyes too, so there's no need for a separate eye cream. It's formulated with nourishing ingredients that give my skin a dewy glow, like shea butter, squalane and avocado oil, then we have hyaluronic acid to draw water into the skin, and panthenol, which helps with water retention. There are also some mild exfoliants with a low percentage of glycolic and mandelic acids to gently brighten the skin over time, evening out its tone. This is also formulated with peptides, to plump and hydrate the skin, making it an amazing all-rounder. Then you just need to follow it with sunscreen: my recommendation is the Ultra Violette Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF 50 | £34. It's a formula that's nothing too irritating around my eyes and I can apply the correct amount of it (around 5 pumps) and it gives me no white cast. It never pills up and it's designed to work well under makeup, as well as giving my skin a gorgeous glow.
When it comes to exfoliation, I actually don't necessarily recommend using a toner every day or every other day, especially if you don't like lots of steps: just do something like the Algenist Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel* | £80 | once a week. It contains glycolic, mandelic and salicylic acids. It's also formulated with Vitamin C (in its most effective form: ascorbic acid), so you're getting that fix, and other ingredients that are amazing for tackling hyperpigmentation like tranexamic acid and azelaic acid (also great for redness and inflammation). It's packed full of glycerin to buffer some of the stronger ingredients, so it's pretty gentle on my skin despite being so effective at smoothing, brightening and evening things out. So on the one night a week using that, I'd just go in with the Allies mist and the cream I'm about to discuss, but on every other night of the week I'd use the Medik8 Crystal Retinal 3* | £45. I'd encourage you to read up on my other retinoid content, starting here to get a bit more information on how to safely use this ingredient and slowly introduce it into your routine. This is the most direct and effective retinoid that you can get without a prescription (better than retinol) and is the most important step (alongside sunscreen) of this routine. Retinoids are the only class of topical skincare ingredient proven time and time again to reverse skin damage, improve the signs of ageing and also help with skin texture and acne scarring. Sunscreen is your prevention and your retinoid is your insurance: if you do nothing else, I'd recommend these two steps if you want your skin to stay looking great without the need to do anything invasive further down the line. This particular formula is so gentle and so effective at smoothing out fine lines.
Lastly, I have the DeliKate Recovery Cream* | £69. This is the nourishing cream that's perfect for overnight and is flexible enough to use during the day if your skin is sensitised or compromised or even just if it's just winter and the weather is playing havoc with your face! It's packed full of ceramides and shea butter to nourish and replenish the skin. I love it and it's perfect if you don't want to use a face cream and then an oil because it's really occlusive and locks everything in.
Are you one for the 10-step routine or do you prefer as few products as possible?