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I've been testing a few new skincare products and honestly, every time I've posted a routine, these are the products people have been interested in and wanted to know my thoughts on, so it only seemed right to give them proper reviews! 

Let's start with Monday Muse's the Powder Enzyme Exfoliant* | £45. I do have to hold up my hands and admit that water-activated enzyme powders aren't usually my preferred method of exfoliation, however they can be helpful if you have sensitive skin or you're using other actives in your routine and you want short-contact therapy. How this works is: you take a little of the powder in your palm and add a few drops of water to transform it into having an emulsion-like texture. As you massage it into the skin, the enzymes are activated (which is why you need to massage it into the skin for a good minute, before rinsing it off) and will eat away at dead skin cells. Right off the bat, I enjoyed this product because the powder (which has a soothing base of colloidal oat, alongside turmeric for its antioxidant benefits) is very finely milled. I've largely never really got on with these sorts of products because a) it involves an extra step with the mixing required and b) they always felt rough and grainy on my skin. The former can be countered with the fact that this can be used as a one-step flash mask with the Cleanser (possibly my favourite product from this line - reviewed here), and the latter just isn't an issue with this product because it does dissolve right away into a sort of creamy lotion. This is very gentle and free of common irritants. Whilst an enzyme exfoliant might not tackle issues such as acne as effectively as something like salicylic acid, they're a great option for sensitive skin. I use this up to 3 times a week; there's no irritation and my skin feels soft and smooth, plus it looks lovely and radiant. 

I also can't believe I've not reviewed Skin Rocks's the Cream Cleanser (Fragrance Free)* | £32 | because I feature it in my routines over on Instagram all the time! This is pretty much my perfect cream cleanser formula; it's creamy but has this lotion quality to it, so although it has body, it does melt down really easily so it feels lighter as you massage it into the skin (if that makes any sense). This is the fragrance-free formula, though there's a fragranced version if you really enjoy that sensory part of your skincare routine, and I do love that Skin Rocks gives us the option. It's formulated with amino acids to strengthen and replenish the skin, squalane (a skin-similar plant oil), jojoba oil to keep the skin soft and nourished and there's lots of glycerin as a humectant (water magnet), which is what I think gives the formula this 'melt down' effect, as it's a water-based ingredient. This is a wonderfully multi-tasking cleanser, which can be used in the morning as a gentle, moisturiser, softening cleanse or in the evening; if I'm wearing minimal makeup or just some non-waterproof sunscreen, I can just use this as a one-step, but if I'm wearing heavier makeup then it's a great second cleanse after an oil or balm. If you're travelling, it's a wonderful product to have on-hand and it's one of those formulas that's just easy for me to reach for, because I know my skin loves it and it will always do the job. It's non-foaming and non-stripping but still rinses really easily off the skin, leaving it lovely and soft after use.

Next up we have another product I've been using daily for a good couple of months now: Naturium's Retinaldehyde Cream Serum 0.05%* | £32. Retinal is my favourite form of retinoid; if you're not in the know then retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives. Retinoids are our most proven, established and trusted skincare ingredient when it comes to preserving our skin over the years; they boost up collagen production (which decreases as we age, leading to less volume in the skin), help smooth out existing fine lines and treat discolouration and uneven skin tone. Retinol is most famous but for me, retinal is the one! It's one step closer to retinoic acid (the skin has to convert cosmetic retinoids into this to use it and allow you to see the benefits of this class of ingredients) and so offers a more direct formula for faster, more noticeable results. I also personally find retinal has been less drying and irritating for my skin (both are common retinoid side-effects, particularly for newbies), so what's not to love? Historically retinal has been tricky to get hold of and has come with a premium price-tag, so I was really excited to see that Naturium had formulated this ingredient at a more purse-friendly costing. It comes in one mid-level concentration; if you've never used a retinoid before in your life, I probably wouldn't start here, but if you've been using your retinol for a while and want to up the ante: this is for you. My skin is pretty used to retinoids, admittedly, but it didn't cause my skin any issues at all. I found it gentle but it still delivered the retinoid results I love: clearer, smoother, more even skin! It has this kind of gel-emulsion texture that plays well with the other products in my routine and I think it will work for any skin type in need of a retinoid. 

Finally, I've also been using the Dermalogical Micellar Prebiotic Precleanse* | £49. Dermalogica made one of the OG formulas for a double cleanse with their Precleanse (a cleansing oil in similar packaging to this new product). This is a creamier take on that product, for those who prefer something lighter, don't like the feel of an oil, or don't necessarily wear a lot of makeup that needs a heavier-duty cleanser. This comes out like a lightweight melting lotion and contains glycerin, murumuru butter (to cleanse, soften and nourish the skin), plant oils to help lift makeup and sunscreen and some ingredients with antioxidants benefits. Admittedly, I don't wear a lot of makeup (as in, I don't usually struggle to get it all off) but I often have a full face with complexion and eye makeup, so something like this is perfect for me; I use it as a first cleanse but I also sometimes reach for it as a one-step when there's not much on top of my skin. It doesn't feel like it should be effective because it doesn't have an oily slip to it, but it works really well in my routine. It removes my makeup gently, it leaves my skin soft and moisturised after use and - most importantly - it doesn't leave an excess on my skin. If you want a first cleanse without that oily feel: this plus a damp face cloth will do the job for you without the need for harsher water-based surfactants.

Have you tried any of these formulas?

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