Oils, ointments and potions, packaged in plastic and placed into boxes with gold embossed type. They glint at you from an immaculate shelf, winking with promise and potential.
“Yes!” They whisper. “You, too, could have the complexion of an 11 year old girl!”
…And out come the credit cards. It’s no wonder we’re all hooked on beauty products.
I’ve been experimenting with my skincare recently, which is one of my favourite things to do. The products I’m currently using are a combination of suggestions from Caroline Hirons (bow down) and my own research. I fielded so many questions about it from Kat and Shauna over the last couple of weeks, that I thought you might be interested, too.
Of course, these products may not work for you. You have to know your skin-type and your goals. For the record, my skin is combination and prone to break-outs (especially when I’m not eating well, or stressed out). One would hope that phase would be long past at age thirty, but alas, this is not the case. My skincare goals are to even out my complexion, zap spots, stay hydrated and fade any hyper-pigmentation.
My best skincare tips are to drink your greens, stay hydrated, eat plenty of salmon, and avoid sugar. But I do love a good beauty product, too!
Turns out, it’s tricky to write a routine rundown without sounding like Patrick “Oh my God, it even has a watermark” Bateman at the beginning of American Psycho. Still, I did my best! (“I can do a thousand now.”)
Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel
I use the Enzyme Cleansing Gel every morning. I apply it to my face directly — you shouldn’t wet your face before you cleanse — and then use my Clarisonic to massage it in. Afterwards, I use lukewarm water to splash off any excess product.
Now, a note about the Clarisonic: I love it endlessly. However (!), it is not without flaws. Some babes are guilty of using it a little too overzealously, and when I had a facial with Susan Ciminelli a couple of months ago, she told me she was seeing a lot of women who use the Clarisonic but have extremely stubborn blackheads. The reason? She said that the Clarisonic buffs the top layer of skin but doesn’t necessarily get all the way down to loosen a blackhead. This makes them even more difficult to remove during a facial or, uh, a late-night mirror-fest. If this is a problem you have, I suggest lightening up on use of your Clarisonic. Start using a hot washcloth to remove your makeup at night. (See below!)
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm
After reading Caroline’s blog in which she properly scolded a reader for using make-up remover wipes (they’re full of alcohol which dry you out and do nothin’ good for you!), I decided to scrap the wipes and start removing my make-up in a more respectable fashion. Enter: Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm. I had to send Kat to pick this up for me from Space.NK in the UK, because it doesn’t seem to be sold in the USA. It was not inexpensive (about £30), but it was worth the money. The balm is soft and thick, and it smells light and citrussy. It melts beautifully on the skin, dissolving even the most stubborn eye makeup in an instant (and I would know, since when I started using it, I was being airbrushed to within an inch of my life by Queen of Blending). I use the balm to give myself a face massage most nights. Then I grab a clean washcloth, rinse it with hot water, and remove any trace of the balm. It’s a fab product: I’m obsessed.
They only sell this in France. CURSES. CRUEL CURSES! Of course, if you’re not within spitting distance of Le Tour Eiffel, you can always take a gamble and buy it on eBay, which is what I did. (Alternatively, try the link above.) This is a marvellous toner which sprays from an aerosol can (fun!), coating your face in a fine mist of zinc sulfate. Translation? It kills bacteria, cools down any angry redness or spots that you might be nursing, and preps your skin. I use this one morning and night (and if I use the P50 — see below — I use Serozinc afterwards).
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970
Again, this is a tricky product to purchase — I ordered my bottle from the link above — and again, it is not cheap. But just look at the reviews, or read Caroline Hirons’ post, if you have any doubts. This is practically a magical elixir: an exfoliating toner which (allegedly) gives you skin like baby’s butt. I’ve been using it twice a week, because you have to work up to it. (If you don’t, your skin will purge — beauty editor speak for “break out” — in a massive way.) If you’re a newbie, to use, dampen a cotton pad with water, put two or three drops of P50 on it, then swipe it over your face. I haven’t been using it very long, but I swear I can already see the effects… And I love its weird smell!
Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment
Eye creams. Sometimes I wonder at their efficacy, since I have dark under-eye circles that must be genetic. I get ample sleep, lots of water, and I eat a healthy diet, so it must just be my lineage. Bummer. Most eye creams don’t seem to make much of a difference to how I look, but this one is an exception. I SWEAR that this eye cream lightens the appearance of my dark circles, and for that I am happy to be a repeat customer. After all, use a good eye cream and you’ll save on concealer!
Hydraluron Moisture Booster
Yet again, Kat went out and picked this one up for me (from Boots this time). Bless her cotton socks. However, I just realised that they sell it at Walgreens: a win for the Americans! I use Hydraluron after my eye cream and before my moisturiser in the morning. Hydraluron contains hyaluronic acid, which encourages your skin to hold onto water. This makes your face look fresh and plump. I didn’t see any results with this for a while, but now that I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks, I do! This is one you have to use consistently, so don’t give up!
Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30
This is an oldie but a goodie, at least within my repertoire. I love Mario Badescu products and recommend them very highly. They never make me break out, they’re gentle but effective, and they have something for everything. Heart! This is an excellent moisturiser if you’re prone to getting shiny or oily (comme moi), and I love that it has SPF in it. Of course, SPF in your moisturiser or your foundation or your whatever doesn’t really mean much, and you should still be using an additional SPF over your moisturiser. Sorry. Yes, I know most foundations have SPF in them, but that’s not enough to protect your skin! I love Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch — it’s non-comedogenic, it’s inexpensive and it’s available pretty much everywhere (supermarkets and drugstores included). No excuses! Slap it on!
Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream
Sure, I could stick to Mario Badesu’s moisturiser, and for years, I have. But it’s nice to try a little something new every now and again, and Kate Somerville’s Goat Milk Cream gets such damn good reviews that it was first on my list to try. Bonus: you can buy this one at Sephora. Yes, it is really made of goat milk, so it’s not exactly vegan-approved. It has some weird aspects, such as the push-down dispenser, and the (very very mild!) goat milk scent. Whatever. I love it. It’s fantastic for acne or combination skin, while also being rich and nourishing enough for those of us who fear turning into the California Raisin. (Don’t forget your sunscreen over the top. Please.)
Lancôme DreamTone Ultimate Dark Spot Corrector
The good news: you can buy this one at Sephora, too! The bad news? I’ve been using this one for several months but I haven’t seen any significant changes or benefits. At first I thought it might be fading a little bit of scarring, but if it is, it is moving at a snail’s pace, and I’m not really satisfied. I am mostly using it until it’s finished, because it was expensive and I don’t want to waste it. Plus, I’ll take all the lightening I can get. But it is not a miracle product, by any stretch of the imagination. There you go: brutal honesty. My next trial will be Pepta-Bright (made by the same people who do Hydraluron), but if you have any personal recommendations for lightening serums or treatments, I’m all ears!
Sodashi Rejuvenating Face and Neck Moisturiser
I snapped this one up in Melbourne after a blissful experience at Made Beauty Space, but you can purchase Sodashi products online. I cannot say a bad word about Sodashi products; the range is known as “the purest skincare line in the world”. Good enough for me! I adore this serum, and I truly feel it working when I lay my head down to rest! Sublime.
So, that’s what I’m using right now… What’s your latest life-changing beauty product?
X to the o,