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Not gonna lie: I wrote this one up before my Christmas party was cancelled due to recent events, but let's do it anyway! Today we're talking skincare for the festive season and - given it's been a while since most of us really had a proper festive season - I thought a little bit of a recap on skincare for this time of year was long-overdue...

A great pick-me-up for glowing skin on the day is the Murad Vita-C Triple Exfoliating Mask* | £67. This is pretty much an active powerhouse that takes my skin from dry and dull to radiant and healthy. It contains physical microexfoliation, chemical and enzyme exfoliation; leave it on for 10 minutes tops and there's no need to scrub because the natural motion of you rinsing this off your skin is going to be enough manual stimulation. You have your glycolic and lactic acids to break down excess dead cells on the surface of the skin and salicylic acid to penetrate into the pores and clear out blemish-causing debris. The enzymes will give a surface-level exfoliation too. We then also have stabilised ascorbic acid and a Vitamin C derivative. I'm never sure how effective they're going to be in this sort of 'once a week treatment' but I'm sure they're contributing to the overall skin glow I see after using this. I don't find this overly-harsh (there are soothing and moisturising ingredients in here too like amino acids, urea, sunflower seed oil and phospholipids) but it's not for beginners. I wouldn't, like, do this for the first time before a big night out and go in with your makeup immediately. You have to know it works for you and doesn't irritate your skin and ensure you leave your face to settle down for at least a couple of hours before applying makeup.

For an evening or a night out, as someone with dry skin, I would just apply a hydrating serum onto clean skin and then use something like the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentraté* | £23.10 | (I have the fragrance-free version open at the moment but they work in the exact same way). Obviously it's dark outside really early at this time of year, so you don't need to worry about sunscreen after 5pm and I'd just avoid layering too much, as the more skincare that's on your face, the more likely it is you're going to experience pilling with your makeup (plus, if you're doing your skincare in the morning, then washing your face and doing it again to go out in the evening, then removing it all at the end of the day... it's a lot). I don't really do primer these days; as someone who is dry and who isn't that fussed about having visible pores, if my skincare is right then my makeup will be. This is a great all-in-one priming moisturiser, softening, smoothing and hydrating the skin whilst also having a bit of grip to it so makeup glides effortlessly over the top.

I know it's hard and sometimes you won't achieve it but sleeping in makeup is obviously not good for your skin and it's just rough waking up at 7am with your eyes crusted over with sleep and mascara... (I'll leave you for a moment with that imagery!) The most efficient way to get your makeup off is with a cleansing balm - I recently started using the Alpha-H Melting Moments Cleansing Balm* | £34.95 | and it's so effective and quick at removing makeup. As it already has this sorbet texture, you don't need to melt it down before use so much and it truly does soften makeup up so effectively. You can emulsify and wipe off your makeup with a damp cloth and leave your cleanse there if you want. Needs must, and there's definitely a happy medium between sleeping in makeup and doing a 7-step skincare routine at 3am. 

Because of the time of year, I do recommend still slapping on a moisturiser before bed to prevent transepidermal water loss overnight and prevent that 'morning after' dull, dry, tired skin look. I recently pulled the Murad Intense Recovery Cream* | £68 | back out to use up the small amount I have left of it, and remembered why it's so great! Specifically, the rich, buttery texture almost melts into an oil on the skin so if you're doing a one-step thing after a night out, it's giving you the absolute most. It's formulated with fatty alcohols, lots of nourishing plant oils, shea butter for deep moisture, soothing aloe, urea (a natural moisturising factor native to the skin), turmeric as an antioxidant and microalgae. I can't even pinpoint it to a specific ingredient but this really takes down redness and inflammation whilst being super-nourishing. 

Ok, so it's probably time by the next morning to finish the second half of your cleanse; as a morning option, I personally love the Skingredients PreProbiotic Cleanse | £26 | full review. This is a creamy, lotion-y, non-foaming hug for your face that's especially great if you've mistreated it a little! It's formulated with pre and probiotics, as the name suggests, which can help your skin barrier (a must for me at this time of year, especially if I'm going out, having a few drinks and possibly not getting the best sleep of my life!) and also PHAs, which have hydrating properties but can also provide a very gentle exfoliation.

If you fancy it, the Stylpro Ice Globes* | £34.99 | feel sooooo good! I'm reaching that point in life when - if I'm awake past 1am - I'm probably going to be knackered the next day, even if I've not really had much to drink and this is so soothing and depuffing on my eye area. Just pop them in the fridge before you head out and roll them over your skin the next morning. For bonus points, take them across your face and down your neck for a bit of lymphatic drainage.

I would use something like the Monday Muse the Juice Daily Serum* | full review | underneath to give some slip but also to benefit from how calming, hydrating, plumping and anti-inflammatory this product is. Afterwards, I recommend using something like the Skingredients Skin Shield SPF 50 PA+++* | £51 full review. This is a fragrance-free mineral formula with zinc oxide, which can soothe inflammation and lots of moisturising, skin-barrier-boosting ingredients like Vitamin E, allantoin, niacinamide and bisabolol. It has a super-light fluid formula and the peachy tint prevents it leaving a white cast on my skin tone.

There are a few things I recommend keeping in your rotation throughout the festive period. The first is the Strivectin Intensive Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles Plus* | £58 | full review (sorry, I managed to miss it from the shot!) Look, an eye cream isn't going to magically make you look fresh after no sleep, but it can't hurt with these sorts of ingredients - and particularly in the winter - this light lotion isn't too rich but will still provide much-needed moisture to dry eyes. I personally do think that's a pretty significant contributor towards the eye area looking creased. Added beneficial ingredients include vasoconstrictors, which can help dark circles if they're caused by thin skin making capillaries look more visible. The fatty ingredients in here will really replenish the skin so it looks plump and healthy and there are plenty of antioxidants to protect from free radical damage. I also love that this is twice the size of the average eye cream on the market, so if you enjoy the texture or the ingredients, it can be used on other parts of the face too. 

Once a week, I would throw in the Sunday Riley UFO Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil* | £68 | full review. I'm the sort of person whose life choices show in their skin pretty quickly. Too much salt, too much sugar, too much alcohol, not cleansing properly; it all tends to add up around this time of year and this is my secret weapon for clearing congestion and improving overall skin clarity. It's a facial oil with salicylic acid to clear out the pores and anti-inflammatory oils. Basically, the reverser of bad life choices...

The rest of the time, I tend to just go with my skin barrier's best friend: the Zelens Power D* | £95 | full review. This is a lightweight facial oil that can be used as the last step of your evening routine or you can do a couple of drops underneath moisturiser for the daytime. It's basically barrier repair in a bottle. It contains all the fatty acids, antioxidants and non-fragrant plant oils to moisturise, calm and replenish the skin. Whilst it can be a product you reach for when your skin is in meltdown, as we head into the coldest months of the year, I personally find it great to add in as a preventative measure.

What skincare are you reaching for this festive season?

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