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Today we're talking about the products I'd include in an autumn / winter skin kit if I could design one; they should cover off all your essential bases whilst being tailored towards colder weather. I've also kept it all fragrance-free and gentle so this kit should suit just about everyone!
We'll start with cleansers and I've chosen two; one as a first cleanse in the evening (to remove makeup and sunscreen) and a second to use afterwards in the evening or first thing in the morning. My oil-based cleanser pick has to be the Elemis Pro-Collagen Naked Cleansing Balm* | £48 | full review. This is a gentle, effective balm cleanser that's free from fragrant essential oils (unlike the original version) for skin that's prone to sensitivity around this time of year. However, it feels just as luxurious, melting from a buttery balm into an oil that will lift up all of your makeup and sunscreen and emulsifying on contact with water. It can be used with or without a damp face cloth, and will shift even the most stubborn of makeup, whilst leaving the skin soft, smooth and moisturised after use. We also obviously need a morning or second cleanse (which can also act as one-step evening cleanse on no-makeup days) and for this task, I've chosen Monday Muse's the Cleanser | £28 | full review. This is my 'Goldilocks' cleanser; it's not too rich and creamy, but it's not a true gel because it's milky and has body. It cleanses the skin with glycolipids but never strips back natural moisture levels. It's just a great formula that's non-foaming and will work for a range of skin types. The gentle surfactants mean it won't dry out parched winter skin and it contains moisturising, soothing, skin-balancing ingredients like prebiotics, aloe, hemp seed, lactic acid and more.
When it comes to toners, I've got one everyday moisturising option and one that's more exfoliating, but is still going to be very gentle on the skin. My moisturising pick is the Laneige Cream Skin Cerapeptide Toner & Moisturiser* | £29.50 | full review. This is the fluffy cardigan of your skincare routine; a extra layer that you'll thank yourself for! It's a milky toner with some weight to it, so it actually helps soften and hydrate the skin (as opposed to being an extra step you're not sure why you're doing, like a lot of toners). This is formulated with glycerin, to draw hydration into the skin, Vitamin E (which is a fat-soluble antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radical damage), moisturising meadowfoam seed oil, ceramides to strengthen the lipid barrier and peptides to soothe and repair the skin, as well as hydrate and potentially even help boost collagen production in the skin so it stays bouncy for longer. On the exfoliating side, we have Medik8's Press and Glow PHA Tonic* | £28 | full review. PHAs are a next-generation class of chemical exfoliants which give you many of the benefits you'll get from an AHA without some of the drawbacks, like irritation and sensitivity. PHAs have a larger molecular size, meaning they're absorbed more slowly by the skin, decreasing reactivity. They also have hydrating properties, so as well softening the skin and revealing its glow, you're also helping to retain moisture levels. This is a great exfoliating option for dry, sensitive and mature skin.
For treatments, I usually recommend using an antioxidant in the AM and a retinoid in the PM so I have two options tailored towards colder weather. For your morning routine, I've chosen the Niod Survival 0 Antioxidant Serum | £22 | full review | which is a gentle all-rounder. It comes in a moisturising, hydrating base (with oligosaccharides, glycerin and jojoba oil) and contains some really powerful antioxidants to protect the skin from environmental damage, including superoxide dismutase and pycnogenol. It just gives me good skin days! The overall quality and hydration levels of my skin are improved without any irritation and the antioxidant benefits are working in the background, so I will hopefully be able to reap the rewards in the future. For evening, one of the gentlest retinoid formulas I've tried (that still works!) is the PSA Skin Midnight Courage Rosehip & Bakuchiol Retinoid Oil | £44 | full review. This is a fatty-rich oil-based retinoid formula with rosehip and bakuchiol, which are antioxidants but could also be seen as 'retinoid boosters' to increase the overall efficacy of the formula without increasing the concentration of the retinoid (which can be irritating). Retinoids are the gold standard in well-ageing but can cause dryness and irritation for those new to them or using a formula that's a little stronger. Whilst this settles down after a few weeks, it's still a pain, especially in harsh weather conditions, so a gentle retinoid in an a nourishing base is the perfect antidote. This formula can be enjoyed by just about anyone (including those with sensitive skin), so long as you're not pregnant or breastfeeding.
Finally, we have a moisturiser that will work AM or PM and a sunscreen, because we're all about that 'every single day' habit. The moisturiser I've chosen is the Zelens Power D Fortifying Moisturiser* | £65 | full review | which is a great all-rounder for just about any skin type during the colder months. The texture is buttery and nourishing but not overly rich or heavy. It works for my skin in the daytime, underneath sunscreen and makeup, and it's still enough for before bed, ensuring my skin is soft and moisturised when I wake up the next day. It's formulated with glycerin, linoleic acid, cholesterol, glycolipids, pre/probiotics and ceramides. The fats replenish the skin, there's hydration in here and plenty to keep the skin barrier happy and balanced. Last - but not least - my sunscreen of choice is the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun Rice + Probiotics SPF 50+ PA++++ | £16 (15% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY) | full review. A sunscreen for the colder months doesn't need to be particularly resistant or durable, it just needs to be easy to wear, and this product absolutely is. It's cosmetically elegant and compatible with whatever I want to apply under or over it, and (importantly) it has a creamy, hydrating texture. It contains a high level of protection across the spectrum and it doesn't leave any kind of cast on my skin. It also comes with added skin barrier boosters for good measure, such as niacinamide and probiotics.
What do you think of my picks? What would be in your autumn / winter skin kit if you could design one?