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Today we're talking my festive season skincare; for the cold weather and for the festivities! Let's dive in...

Let's start with skin prep for your festive glam makeup looks; the night before an event, I like to use something more treatment-focused. If my skin is pretty happy, I'll reach for the Trinny London Better Off AHA / PHA Gel Cleanser* | £28 | full review | after removing any makeup or sunscreen. This is a gel cleanser that isn't super foamy and doesn't strip my skin of moisture. The combination of lactic acid and PHAs gently chemically exfoliates the skin so that by morning, your complexion is more radiant and your skin feels noticeably smoother. I recommend this sort of short-contact therapy before an event because you don't want any redness or irritation you have to fight against with your makeup application. 

If I'm breaking out then the Zitsticka Killa Microdart Patches* | £27 (for 8 applications) | full review | are a must! This is a two-step process; you first clean the area with a wipe soaked in tea tree and salicylic acid (an oil-soluble chemical exfoliant that can get into your pores and clear out spot-causing bacteria). You then have a micro-dart patch with little pointers that dissolve. You can cover the active spot with it before bed or at the start of a work from home day (or even when you're out and about, if you like!) and within 24 hours I find it has significantly shrunk. It just speeds up that process for me when a big spot is less than ideal!

Moving onto products to use immediately before makeup application, I really rate the Laneige Cream Skin Cerapeptide Toner & Moisturiser* | £29.50 | full review. This is a milky toner and serum / moisturising layer all in one; it contains ceramides to help your skin barrier function and keep out dryness and irritation, peptides to help plump the skin (and maybe even boost collagen production), glycerin to draw in hydration, Vitamin E as a moisturising protector against free radical damage and meadowfoam seed oil to give your skin that super-soft feel. It's like wearing a cardigan over your t-shirt in the winter; it just provides that extra layer of softness and hydration, which provides a lovely canvas for makeup.

A great serum option for when you're doing your makeup for the evening is the Glow Recipe Pomegranate Peptide Firming Serum* | £41 | full review. This is a wonderfully hydrating serum packed full of different forms of peptide, skin hydrators and skin-softeners to guarantee you're going to have a good skin day. My complexion immediately looks happier and healthier after use and having used this daily for the past couple of months, I can say it also delivers on long-term results. 

I'm currently also loving the MAC Hyper Real Skin Canvas Balm Moisturising Cream* | £52 | for makeup prep. This is gorgeously moisturising, it's not too dewy and makeup simply glides over the top of it! It's formulated with niacinamide (to help with discolouration, boost the skin barrier and regulate oil production), we also have ceramides in this step and there's hyaluronic acid in here to attract moisture. We also have plenty of nourishing plant oils in here. This works like a primer and a moisturiser in one; it has that kind of good 'stick' to it that really helps makeup mesh perfectly. 

Fast-forwarding to the end of the night, it's time for some basic maintenance! Firstly, no matter how late you get home: you've got to cleanse your skin. And, wipes really aren't even that fast, so why not do the job properly with an actual cleansing balm? My current favourite that's efficient, effective and a treat for the skin is the Deviant Cleansing Concentrate with Blue Tansy* | £53 | review. This is one of my top cleansing balms on the market and the aromatic goodness of adding blue tansy means I look forward to using it every time! This is a solid balm that transforms to an oil with the warmth of your skin as you massage it in. It lifts up even stubborn waterproof mascara and you can emulsify it into a milk with water. I personally like to remove this with a damp face cloth. Obviously, I would always recommend double cleansing (following the cleansing balm up with a water-based or creamy cleanser), but if you really can't: this is enough!

I like to follow up my cleansing with (at the very least) a good slathering of the Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream* | £69 | full review. I get through a tub of this every winter because it's simply perfection! This is a luxurious, nourishing take on a skin barrier maintenance moisturiser with ingredients like shea butter, ginger (an anti-inflammatory), ceramides, cholesterol (another component of the skin's lipid barrier), peptides, moisturising cucumber oil and more! It's just like a lovely hug for my face and I wake up every morning after using it with soft, happy skin and no dry patches!

Finally, we've got something to cleanse your pores the morning after a night of indulgence; the Murad Rapid Relief Sulfur Mask* | £44. I'm not usually one for clay masks; they can be so drying! But this one blends kaolin clay with skin-soothers like bisabolol and allantoin, as well as replenishing fatty ingredients and amino acids which make it non-drying. It's also formulated with sulfur and salicylic acid to help treat excess oiliness, breakouts and the resulting inflammation. It's a gentle option to help pull out some of the sins of the night before, stopping breakouts in their tracks but also helping to reduce the inflammation of any that have already made their presence known.

Which skincare products will you be reaching for this festive season?

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