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As we head into the colder months, I thought it was the perfect time to share my review of Curel, a fragrance-free Japanese brand focused on dry and sensitive skin (now available at Boots). They build their formulas around supporting the skin's lipid barrier. As someone whose barrier doesn't respond well to cold and wind; I've been reaching for products from Curel a lot and I know they're going to see me through winter when it hits. Here's why I love these products...

Let's talk cleansers: your morning or second cleanse option is the Foaming Face Wash* | £12.50. This isn't so much a foaming cleanser as it is a cleansing foam, if that makes sense? Effectively this is a liquid and the pump it comes out of whips it into this mousse-like consistency, rather than the product foaming with water due to surfactants in the formula. I hope that makes sense! It's a really simple formula with glycerin (a humectant that attracts water) and some gentle surfactants. It feels light on the skin (for those who don't like the feeling of a rich cream) but cleanses the skin without stripping it at all. The texture paired with how soft this leaves my skin and the fact it isn't at all harsh and is such a simple formulation means I'd recommend this for anyone experiencing sensitivity, regardless of skin type.

There are two makeup removal options; they're pretty similar, to be honest, so I'm a little surprised we have both in such a small range but the one that's right for you is really going to depend on which you find quicker, easier and more pleasant to slap on your face! The first I tried was the Makeup Cleansing Gel* | £12.50. This is nice and travel-friendly because it comes in a squeezy tube. It comes out like a thick jelly but as you massage it in, it melts down into more of an oil consistency, though it's still not as 'oily' as a true oil, making it a great option for those who need something that can cut through a full face but don't want to feel like they're rubbing an oil directly onto their skin. It effortlessly melts down face makeup, eye makeup and sunscreen, you can then emulsify it with water and wash it off or wipe it away with a damp face cloth. It's not harsh or drying, nor does it leave behind any excess. It's simple and functional, making it a great way to get someone into the double cleanse who isn't already a believer.

The other option is the Makeup Cleansing Oil* | £14.50. This is obviously a more traditional oil-oil with ingredients like castor oil and mineral oil. I would say this is more a formula that stays on the skin, so if you're very dry, you could use it in the morning for added moisture. It's a very light oil formula that makes quick work of makeup and sunscreen. The fact it's already a liquid means it's super quick to get this on your face when you just want your skin clean at the end of a long day. It does still emulsify off with water, but it leaves a bit more of a soft, moisturised feel after use. I'm not sure oily skin types would like it as much as the gel formula, but I personally appreciate all the moisture I can get!

The first product you'd apply after cleansing is the Moisture Facial Lotion Enrich* | £17.50. Lotions are a Japanese skincare step that it's hard to map directly onto Western skincare routines; I always say with these sorts of non-active hydrating layers: go in order of thickness. This has a definitely liquid feel that's a little heavier than a toner, but less heavy than an essence or a serum. If I was using an exfoliating toner, I'd apply that first and then this, but otherwise I'd use this right after cleansing. It's formulated with glycerin again, an amino acid to replenish and hydrate the skin, moisturising castor oil, allantoin to calm and soothe and succinic acid is in here. It's quite low down on the ingredient list and is sometimes used for stability purposes but it can give some antioxidant properties, protecting the skin from free radical damage. This is an amazing hydrator that really locks in moisture when applied right after cleansing to slightly damp skin. For how water-light the formula is, I was so impressed with how soft and hydrated my skin felt after using this.

The next leave-on product I have here is the Moisture Facial Milk* | £17.50. Confusingly, this has quite a light, lotion texture! I think if you're oily and experiencing a compromised barrier, you could use the lotion and the milk and that's all you'd need in terms of hydration (obviously during the day, layer your SPF over the top). This has such a light texture but it still really leaves my skin soft, hydrated and happy. Alternatively, you could apply this in place of a toner or as a serum step. It's formulated with some of the same ingredients as the lotion (so you can go with that if you prefer a lighter texture or this, if you want something more substantial) like glycerin, succinic acid, allantoin and castor oil but this also contains squalane, which is a plant-based skin-similar oil that's amazing for lightweight replenishment, fatty alcohols to replenish the skin and dimethicone. I don't know why or at what point 'free from silicones' became a thing, but I guess 'clean beauty' is just demonising things arbitrarily at this point! They're actually really good for not only leaving the skin feeling silky and nice, but also in terms of locking in moisture.

There's also the Moisture Eye Zone Essence* | £22.50. Do you desperately need a separate eye product? No. But, sometimes you may choose to use one. Whilst this doesn't contain lots of active ingredients or anything like that, I do appreciate this super-light gel consistency around the eye, and definitely recommend it if you find using richer formulas around the eye causes milia. As someone who gets sensitive eyes and has allergies and is prone to itch and puffiness, I love how calming this is. You can even put it in the fridge for that extra cooling effect. It's formulated with glycerin, allantoin, Vitamin E (to soothe and provide a boost of antioxidants) and also ginger root extract (which has anti-inflammatory benefits). I like it, but it's not going to be essential for everyone. You can definitely take their moisturiser around your eyes if you like the texture, and it's actually cheaper than this for a nice tub full.

Finally, we have a moisturiser: the Intensive Moisture Facial Cream* | £19.50. This is probably my favourite thing from the line and my must-have if you want to dip your toe in. It has your allantoin, squalane, silicones and Vitamin E in this super-light, almost whipped texture. It's definitely not a rich, heavy cream and I would personally use it during winter both in the AM and in the PM (topping it off with an oil in the evening for a bit of added goodness). However, despite this it still packs a punch; my skin feels deeply nourished, incredibly soft and hydration levels stay up there throughout the day. It's just beautiful! If you want a replenishing face cream that's not too rich and isn't going to smother your skin: this is it.

Have you tried anything from Curel?

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