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I think there's a common misconception that at times in our lives when we're struggling or there's a lot going on, we're less inclined to want to care for our skin, however I just don't find that to be particularly true from the communities I'm a part of. In fact, in a lot of the Facebook groups I'm in, one of the most-asked questions is what to use to look after yourself during a difficult time. If you're struggling with your mental health, you're pregnant or a new parent, you're dealing with chronic pain, you've just had an operation or something else is going on in your life, you probably have limited time and / or mobility, but that doesn't mean that skincare can't form part of your self-care or even work as a distraction. So, today we're talking about the bare minimum I suggest trying to stick to and obviously I've chosen the most affordable and accessible products possible for this post.
Of course, if you can't get to a sink: micellar water with a cotton pad or a face wipe will do, so ignore anyone trying to shame you for that - these are the circumstances they're made for! But, if you can get running water involved then I definitely recommend getting yourself a hot cloth cleanser, which is essentially a creamy or lotion-y formula that contains oils to melt down makeup and sunscreen. This kind of formula can also double as a moisturising morning cleanser, which is why this is a multi-tasking essential in your arsenal. My pick is the Aldi Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser | £3.99 | full review | which is available in various scents in most Aldi supermarkets, so you don't have to go out of your way to get it, or if someone's giving you a hand and doing your food shopping for you, it's no bother to ask them to pop this into the basket too.
This goes hand-in-hand with the hot cloth cleanser, and whilst you do get a cloth with the Aldi product, I think a robust but gentle flannel is well worth getting your hands on if you need to be able to do your skincare routine in bed (with a splash of your drinking water!) or if you just need to get things done fast. I personally find the Cult Beauty Dual-Sided Face Cloths | £5 each | really great because they have a loop so you can hang them up to dry and have two sides (so one for the AM then one for the PM). And it's just a good, strong cloth! But, if you don't have the budget or the time to order these online: Home Bargains usually have some good ones on offer. You just use your hot cloth cleanser on a face of makeup or sunscreen to melt it down, dampen your cloth and wipe away the day.
I think the internet is often a place of extremes where people take something and run with it. I don't know how we got to the point where people are getting anxious over forgetting to put on sunscreen in February in a basement in Iceland, but here we are... Of course we want to look after our skin and if we're into skincare, daily sunscreen is an essential, but I think people really need to calm down on some of this. If you're struggling in some way or having a big life event or a medical issue, you're mostly indoors and it's winter: here in the UK it's not worth your limited mental bandwidth to be worrying about sunscreen indoors. It's neither here nor there. Try to put some on if you're out and about or spending your day in front of a big window, but you're not going to die if you just can't face it or forget one day. There, I said it! That being said, for when you need it, I recommend the Garnier Ambre Solaire Super UV Anti-Dryness Protection Cream SPF50+ | £6.50. You can pick this up at Boots, so if you need to do something like collect a prescription or someone's doing so on your behalf: it's not going out of your way. This is great because of the level of broad-spectrum protection you're getting, the price-point, the fact it can be found in most Boots stores and also because it has a moisturising base so acts as a one-and-done, slap-it-on morning routine.
If you're not as dry as me and if you're lucky enough not to feel the effects of the winter bite at the moment, you can consider skipping this one, but my final pick is an all-over cream. It works for the face, the body, the hands, the feet and on any specific dry patches. The CeraVe Moisturising Cream | £16 (454g) | is formulated with ingredients that are simple but support the skin barrier and seal in moisture. At the same time it's fuss-free and non-greasy, and I get this huge tub so I can slather it all over me before bed to soften my skin and prevent overnight water loss. It's basic but it really does work!
What are your essentials to maintain your skin if you don't have the time or ability to do a lot?