Today, I just fancied a bit of a chit-chatty post on the products I'm using and enjoying at the moment - there's no particular rhyme or reason or a step-by-step routine, this is just a snapshot of the new and the noteworthy, plus some existing staples I've circled back to!
We have two cleansers, here: the first is one I've spoken about before but recently threw back into my rotation. The Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm* | £37 | full review | is pretty much everything I want from a first cleanse. It just has this buttery-soft texture that means you don't even really have to work it in much to get it into an oil that lifts makeup and sunscreen effortlessly. It emulsifies clean off the skin, though I personally do like to remove it with a cloth. There's no excess left behind on the skin; it's effective but a sensorial treat at the same time! The other is what I reach for in the morning and as a second cleanse: the new Monday Muse the Cleanser Soft Milky Gel* | £28. It can remove makeup if I need it to, but I do prefer something oil-based for that when I'm at home and have lots of options at my disposal. It's like a light, creamy emulsion, it's non-foaming (which is my personal preference) and melts really beautifully onto the skin. There are some great ingredients in here, which you can still get some benefits from if you take your time with your cleanse. Red algae is a good source of antioxidants, prebiotics can help encourage a healthy skin barrier, sweet almond and hemp seed oils are nice and moisturising, plus aloe vera feels soothing on the skin. The cleansing agents used are glycolipids so it's a really nice, gentle option for dry winter skin.
I love a hydrating toner, and my current go-to is the Aveeno Soothing Oat Toning Lotion* | £7.99. I'm going to review the entire range in more depth during Affordable Beauty Month (coming in January) but so far: this is a standout. I love a heavier toner, especially at this time of year, and this formula provides a light-but-substantial (if that makes any sense!) layer of hydration and it has a nice, calming effect with simple, effective ingredients like oat and Vitamin E.
There are two serums I've been testing out, and I have more solid thoughts on one over the other. The first is the Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C + Ferulic Dark Spot Serum | £41. I've been using this every morning for around about 4 weeks now; it's light, hydrating and packed full of really good ingredients. I am going to do an in-depth comparison between this and the other Vitamin C from Glow Recipe once I've tried this for a few more weeks. I've experienced no irritation, which is great, and I'll let you know once I've decided if it delivers the results the product name suggests it will. However, it seems promising; we have three forms of Vitamin C derivatives, tranexamic acid, Vitamin E and ferulic acid for stability and so you can benefit from their antioxidant properties, and of course we have the fruit extracts Glow Recipe is known for. I really like that this basically combines my multi-active serum for an even skin tone with my Vitamin C. Really, the only thing I'm missing is niacinamide, but I can honestly get that elsewhere in my routine. Full thoughts loading...
My other option is the REN Evercalm Redness Relief Serum* | £45. This is a reformulation of the original version I loved, and of course REN have repackaged it in line with their sustainability goals. I'm going to review the entire line, probably in the new year, but so far: I do think this is an upgrade! It's a little bit more substantial than the original serum and really softens and calms my skin. It does actually contain some potentially-fragrant extracts, but I've tried this entire line and it works for me, even if my skin is sensitive, so I continue to use it! There are plenty of moisturising oils from squalane to soybean, plus fatty alcohol, glycerin and snow mushroom to act as humectants and soothing Vitamin E. I love the texture and as the weather gets cold, this has really been a help!
A product I recently rotated in, that's already working so well for me is the Avene Tolerance Soothing Skin Recovery Cream* | £17.50. I think this is a reformulation of an existing product and I love that it comes in this packaging; there's just something about a pump tube that's always welcome in my skincare lineup! I'm kind of using this as a preventative measure right now; my skin tends to freak out when the weather gets cold, but I'll let you know how this performs when it desperately needs it. This has a light creamy-lotion texture that melts right in but still feels like enough for the daytime by calming, softening and moisturising my skin. Plus, it works really nicely under makeup! It's a very simple, fragrance-free formula with squalane, glycerin and fatty alcohol.
Next is an old favourite that I'm still loving! I've been in the office quite a bit over the past month or so, which means I needed a sunscreen that works well under makeup and for that: the Ultra Violette Supreme Screen Hydrating Skinscreen SPF 50+ | £34 | full review | is perfect. I used it throughout the summer for makeup days too, because it's hydrating but not greasy, offers a high level of broad spectrum protection and has a light lotion texture. It doesn't pill up and gives my skin a gorgeous glow. I'm all about the sunscreen primer these days!
Last, but certainly not least: the Summer Fridays Heavenly Sixteen All-in-One Face Oil | £50 | full review. I honestly still can't get enough of this stuff! This is a non-greasy but deeply-nourishing blend of non-fragrant plant oils. A lot of them have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, plus they just trap in that hydration, so even in the cold weather, I'm waking up with my skin soft, smooth and moisturised.
I don't have a retinoid in this post because honestly, nothing is knocking my socks off right now. I've been testing retinols more recently and they just aren't as amazing or as fast-acting as retinals for me, so I'm skipping over the category rather than talking about anything I've not seen those results with yet for the sake of it. They'll crop up in future brand reviews though when I've made my mind up on them. And I'm a bit choppy-and-changey with my exfoliants at the moment, so nothing really stood out as needing to be in this post. I hope you enjoyed the snapshot, though, and this gives you an idea of what I'm working on to come out over the next 2-3 months. There's winter stuff coming, there's Affordable Beauty Month coming, there's Vitamin C and hyperpigmentation content that's still gestating, so make sure you're following so you can check it all out when it's live!
What's on your skincare shelf at the moment?