Recently, I’ve become a lot more interested in skincare. I’ve always been sure to moisturise, and always take my makeup off at night, so it’s not like I’ve ever been bad at it. It’s simply that for years I was a make-up remover, face-wash and moisturiser girl. Over the past 6 months though, my curiosity to explore and understand more of the world of skincare has risen, and with brands like The Ordinary coming along, skincare is more accessible than ever. All those lotions and potions that you would probably label as non-essential are suddenly within reach to the wider market and it seemed like a great time to get stuck in testing different things and see what I made of them.
I should point out that this isn’t a The Ordinary specific review – though I am planning a post sharing my thoughts on lots of their products too. There are products in here from a number of brands. I’ve trialled and tested (and made some errors), but I now feel I’ve got a really good selection of products in my repertoire that I really want to share. Since introducing some of these products, I’ve seen a real improvement in the hydration and texture of my skin, so if these are things you struggle with then some of these could be perfect for you too.
I’ve started right from the basics, so you can pick and choose to suit your needs. If you’re looking for an amazing mask, or for a entire new skincare routine, then there’s lots of pointers below. Or if like I was, you’re just a make-up remover and moisturiser girl, then I’ve included my favourites from those categories too. Whether you’re wanting an overhaul of everything you use, or just looking for something new to try, here are 9 incredible products to address a breadth of different needs!
You’ve probably heard of Garnier’s infamous Micellar Water by now. It’s one of the most popular Micellar Waters on the market, probably partly due to its incredible price point – a 400ml bottle retails for just £4.99 and it can be found 1/3 off most of the time. Micellar Water is a great first step in your make-up removing routine, I use it to take the bulk of my make-up off, before following with a face wash. Garnier’s Micellar Water doesn’t sting the eyes, doesn’t dry out the skin out and removes make-up quickly with just a gentle swipe over the skin. I’ve used it for years now and it’s become an absolute staple in my routine.
The Gentle Foaming Wash is the first thing I’ve tried from Skin Laundry and it’s definitely got me wanting to try more from the brand! If you’re someone with skin on the dryer side, and you find that after using a face wash you immediately need to moisturise to stop your skin feeling tight and uncomfortable, then this could be for you. The Gentle Foaming wash is exactly what it says it is, it’s a very gentle face wash that’s easy on the skin, doesn’t sting the eyes and doesn’t lead to any tightness. I use this after Micellar Water to remove any remaining face make-up and also across my eyes to remove any stubborn mascara, which it does an excellent job of.
As I’m writing this I have just finished my Pixi Glow Tonic and I can tell you now I’m going to be purchasing another bottle ASAP! Pixi’s Glow Tonic is an acid exfoliator, and if you’ve never used one of those before that might sound a bit scary, I certainly thought so at first! But they can actually be gentler on your skin than a physical exfoliator. Soak a cotton pad with the Glow Tonic and swipe across the face to gently exfoliate the skin and remove any dead skin cells from the surface. A couple of weeks into using this I saw a real improvement in the texture of my skin, it became much smoother, which in turn meant make-up going on more flawlessly.
If you’re using an acid exfoliator, just be aware that as you are constantly refreshing the surface of your skin it can make you more susceptible to sun damage. So be sure to only use it at night time and use a moisturiser with SPF in it in the daytime.
Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% is by The Ordinary, a brand that has become very popular recently due to their low price points and ingredient focused approach to skincare. Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution is a brightening serum that contains Ascorbyl Glucoside, a water soluable derivative of Vitamin C. Vitamin C in skincare has lots of benefits, including acting as an anti-oxidant, brightening the skin and it can help to reduce signs of ageing, all things that we would look for in skincare!
While there are a number of Vitamin C focused skincare products on the market in many different forms, Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% stands out to me for a number of reasons. The formulation of the Vitamin C derivative allows for the consistency of the serum to be super light and quickly absorbed, which in turn allows for makeup application shortly afterwards. And not to mention the visible difference to the brightness of my skin after application!
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is another serum-like product from The Ordinary that has become an absolute staple in my evening skincare routine. Formulated to reduce the appearance of blemishes and ease any congestion, it’s the perfect prevention rather than cure treatment. Apply this one after cleansing but before moisturising. One thing to note is that it should be applied at alternative times to topical Vitamin C skincare, such as the Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution, otherwise the effects can be compromised. I work around this by using Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% in the evening and Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% in the morning.
100% Plant Derived Squalane is an exceptionally hydrating plant oil, which also aids in prevention of long term loss of hydration and suppleness. This is one final product from The Ordinary that I use almost daily, a very small amount goes a long way with this. If you find that your skin often feels parched and no moisturiser is quite doing the trick when it comes to quenching it, this could be something to introduce to your routine. Through the Winter while using this, I found my skin suffering with the cold far less than it usually does> I would wake up in the mornings with it feeling plump and fresh rather than dehydrated. I only use this at night, but if you choose to use it in the morning, you’ll need to give it a few minutes to absorb before proceeding with your make-up.
Glossier’s Priming Moisturiser Rich ticks lots of boxes when it comes to moisturiser, it’s rich, soothing and hydrating. There’s not a whole lot to say about this other than just that. It’s worth noting that I’m incredibly picky with moisturisers, often I don’t find them nearly hydrating enough, especially in the Winter months. If you’re after a good, hydrating moisturiser that also feels nourishing to the skin, then give this a go. It’s also got a nice lavender scent which makes it a great nigh-time product.
Niod’s Flavanone Mud Mask is the first mask I’ve ever used where I’ve actually felt it was really doing something to help with the texture and clarity of my skin beyond hydration. The product itself is a strange consistency, almost like a paint that dries completely on the face in a sort of rust orange colour, it’s an interesting look! You’ll feel a slight stinging on the skin when you wash this off, but for me it’s nothing unbearable at all, if anything it just makes me feel like it’s working!
The product description states that the mask approaches de-congestion in 3 phases: the Purifying Phase to solubilize and remove surface impurities; the Protective Phase where technology is used to offer a physical shield against external de-congestion build-up; and finally the Responsive Phase which introduces mechanisms to fight against environmental factors. The end result of this combined method is a really incredible mask that delivers sustained radiance beyond the short term effects.