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As someone who is 'supposed' to be testing out new products all the time, going through an entire bottle, tub or tube of something and going back for more is kind of a big deal! Today I'm talking through the skincare staples that I'll replenish whenever I run out of them for as long as they're (or I'm) around...
First up we have the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm | £46. This is the Naked version, so it's fragrance-free, but I love this product in all of its flavours and I've been through so many tubs of the stuff! It has a really smooth balm texture that's not grainy or too thick to melt down onto the skin. This just falls effortlessly into an oil-based cleanser as you massage it onto dry skin and works effectively to lift off everything from waterproof mascara to liquid lipstick. Splash it with water and it emulsifies and you can wash your face clean with running water or a damp cloth. It feels so good on my skin, the different scents it comes in can offer an added sensory experience and it just works. It leaves my skin soft but there's no excess left behind, so it can also be used in the morning if you have dry skin, because it's just so gentle. It's kind of the quintessential cleansing balm to me, and all others are automatically compared to it in my head!
My second cleanser is the Skingredients PreProbiotic Cleanse | £26. I've purchased this, been gifted it, repurchased it and then was gifted a refill for this new refillable packaging - and I've only had the product in my life for a couple of years! (Compared to having used the Elemis cleansing balm for around the past 5 years.) I love this product for its versatility, its texture and the way it just always seems to hit the spot for my skin, particularly during the drier, colder months. This is a creamy-lotion cleanser in a travel-friendly pump tube bottle; you can use this as a first cleanse on light makeup or sunscreen-only days if you pair it with a damp cloth, it's a gentle morning cleanse or you can leave it on as a nourishing 10-minute mask. If you enjoy the richness and body: use it as it, if you want it to be more of a lotion: apply it with damp fingertips. It's formulated with microbiome-boosting ingredients for your skin barrier and PHAs, which offer a very gentle, hydrating type of chemical exfoliation. It's fragrance-free and great for dry, mature and sensitive skin types (even more so if you have any combination of the aforementioned!)
Next, we have the PSA Skin the Most Hyaluronic Super Nutrient Hydration Serum | £41 | which I'm on my third bottle of now. This is billed as a hyaluronic acid serum but it's so much more than that! Hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient, though not one I think most people are going to need as a single-ingredient serum. It's a humectant, meaning it acts as a water magnet, which is why I like to apply it to damp skin and prefer it formulated in tandem with other ingredients that help to bind in that hydration. This serum also contains Sodium PCA, which is also a humectant but has soothing, anti-inflammatory benefits and it's great for your skin barrier, plus panthenol which is calming and helps prevent water loss through the skin. Bisabolol and allantoin are also great for sensitised, unhappy skin. Alongside this we have safflower oil to moisturise the skin and antioxidants in kombucha (which is a fermented ingredient) and acai. What I love about this product and why I often find myself reaching for it without even thinking is a) because it pairs well with just about everything (including my favourite active ingredients) and b) if my skin barrier isn't happy: it not only calms things down but does have some added extras that make it really well-rounded. Whether it's dryness, redness, dullness, sensitivity or dehydration: this product always does the trick for my skin.
A very obvious mention to the regulars that I just had to include is the Medik8 Crystal Retinal* | from £45. This is kind of a series and I've been through tube after tube of this stuff! I won't go into all the details here because I've discussed both retinal and this particular collection in quite some depth in previous posts. But, in short: retinoids are the class of ingredient with decades of research showing they can both prevent ageing but also turn back the clock on existing photo damage and fine lines. They're also used to treat acne, scarring and uneven skin tone / texture. There are a number of options in this category (most famously, retinol) but my favourite is retinal because I find it gentle, effective, fast-acting and it can be made very cosmetically-elegant. My introduction to this ingredient was through Medik8 and the reason I still love and recommend this line is that the formula is great and it comes in a number of concentrations so you can work your way through the ladder from the gentlest strength to the most powerful. It has a moisturising base and I've not experienced dryness or peeling with this product. I never really found a retinoid that worked for my skin and gave me visible results until I tried Medik8 and understood why people swear by these ingredients!
Every single year, as the colder months set in, I pick up a new bottle of Niod's Modulating Glucosides | £25. This milky serum is packed full of the soothing components of antioxidant plant extracts, meaning you're getting that protection from free radical damage alongside that enhanced skin-calming benefit. There's superoxide dismutase in here, which is another powerful antioxidant, alongside ginger extract for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Sodium PCA and bisabolol are in this serum too, alongside glycerin for its hydrating benefits. This is an amazing product for winter skin that's suffering with the cold weather and drying central heating. It works with all of my favourite skincare products as an added extra and it's really helped my skin stay strong and healthy throughout the colder months for the past several years.
I'm on my third round of Kate Somerville's DeliKate Recovery Cream* | £69 | and have another unopened tub waiting for when I'm done with it! I've been gifted it, I purchased it, I was gifted it again and I honestly will not be without this stuff either way. This is a rich cream designed to be used post-treatment, which makes it perfect for pairing with stronger actives, or as an everyday option for sensitive skin or even to use during the winter if your skin (like mine) hates the colder temperatures. It's not thick or greasy, so you can use this during the day though (unless I desperately need it) I don't tend to do this and stick to using it as a replenishing night cream. It's formulated with ginger extract, ceramides (a fundamental component of your skin's lipid barrier) and healing peptides. Shea butter gives it that delicious richness, bisabolol adds more of that calming benefit and non-fragrant plant oils soften and moisturise the skin. It's the perfect antidote to stressed-out skin.
Lastly, we have a sunscreen which I'm actually only on my second tube of, but I do have a backup and I do plan on buying it again when I've got through those because it's the most elegant formula I've tried! The Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Skinscreen | £34 | provides a high level of broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, alongside visible light protection (with its slightly peachy tint, which is also great for evening out the skin tone). It's hydrating and leaves my skin super-soft and contains added antioxidants to work in combination with the sunscreen protection. It has a light, lotion texture and never pills up with my makeup or sunscreen. During the summer, I don't need to wear a moisturiser underneath it, and it just makes a wonderful makeup primer, boosting up my skin's glow.
It's really been interesting to look back at my most-repurchased products and realising the types of products I get through the fastest! They're not necessarily the most transformative formulas in my arsenal (with the exception of the retinal); they're generally everyday staples like moisturisers, sunscreens and cleansers, and soothing serums that do the background work to ensure my skin stays happy and healthy.
Which products do you keep repurchasing?