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We really are in the depths of winter, so I wanted to provide some product recommendations to help keep your skin strong and moisturised at a budget-friendly price-point...
A newer discovery that's helping my skin a lot at the moment is the QV Gentle Wash* | £9.71 (500g). I tend to use this on my body, but if you have eczema or another dry skin condition on your face, it's suitable for use there too. It comes out like a creamy-gel and is totally non-foaming and soap-free with a very gentle surfactant in the formula. There's also glycerin in here to draw water into the skin. It's very gentle and non-stripping but still leaves my skin feeling refreshed. I know a lot of people are really hooked on the feeling of a foaming action, but give this a go and you'll see the benefits of this kind of very mild cleanse.
An old classic face and body moisturiser I love is the CeraVe Moisturising Cream | £16 (454g). I love this because it comes in about three different sizes: this big old tub, a little handbag and travel-friendly tube and a large tube for everyday use. It's great for the face, body, hands and feet as it's substantial but not greasy or shiny. It's simple and functional, but that's often what your skin needs in the winter when it's drier and a little more likely to experience irritation. It's formulated with basic skin barrier-friendly ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, fatty alcohols and Vitamin E.
A hand cream I've been loving lately is the Avene Cicalfate Hand Barrier Repair Cream* | £9.50. It's formulated with Avene's own soothing mineral water, zinc for its soothing benefits, fatty alcohol and mineral oil to really occlude the skin and trap hydration in. What I love about this is that it isn't at all heavy or greasy; it comes out like a creamy gel and keeps my hands from getting dry throughout the day as well as providing immediate skin softening and moisturising benefits. If your feet need a bit of love, you can't beat the Flexitol Hard Skin & Callus Balm* | £6.99. This is a foot cream with a moisturising base of urea, fatty alcohol, glycerin and sunflower oil plus glycolic and salicylic acids to exfoliate any excess dead skin cells. I slather it on before bed then put some old socks on and I always wake up with soft, smooth feet the next morning.
For my lips, my saviour this winter has been the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Lips | £7. This is a lip cream, so I use it before bed because it's not really something I'd wear under lipstick or anything and it contains shea butter, beeswax and panthenol. It locks hydration into your lips, which is great for preventing water loss overnight, particularly if you have the central heating on.
I also have a few face-specific skincare picks, starting with cleansers. A really great, simple non-foaming water-based formula is the Aveeno Face Calm & Restore Cleanser* | £7.99. You can use this in the morning for a gentle cleanse if you like to use a cleanser in the AM (though it's not necessary to do so, particularly during the colder months), or it's also a really great second cleanse that won't strip your skin at all but gets the job done. Its ingredients include oat extract, glycerin and Vitamin E. For a first cleanse to break down sunscreen and makeup, a great bargain is the Inkey List's Oat Cleansing Balm* | £9.99. This does need a bit of a shake before use but it's a cleansing balm in a tube so warm it between your hands and massage it onto your skin to melt it down with an oil. Once it's worked onto the skin, emulsify it with water and remove it with a damp cloth. It's a gentle, fragrance-free option with nourishing oils that really works a treat.
A fantastic facial moisturiser that's definitely more elegant than the CeraVe but still comes in at a purse-friendly price is the Beauty Bay Thirst Class Moisturiser with Oatmeal & Oat Lipid | £7. This is a fluffy but rich, deeply nourishing and skin-softening moisturiser with your winter skin's best friend: oat. You can use it overnight if you have normal-to-combination skin or during the daytime too if you're like me and you're on the drier side. Although facial oils aren't vital to a skincare routine, if you're looking for a great, affordable option as a booster for your winter skin: definitely check out the Ordinary's "B" Oil | £8.70. This is an amazing skin nourisher with antioxidant benefits to help protect your skin against free radical damage, including microalgae. Its blend of rosehip, marula, squalane and other amazing, skin-friendly oils makes it a fantastic all-rounder so you don't have to choose just one. It does have a slightly heavier texture once applied but I do find it dries down pretty quickly.
What are your favourite budget skincare products for the cold weather?