This blog post has been in the works for monthsss. I have friends who have cried out for a skincare post and I have failed to deliver. Well, no more. Be prepared for a mammoth post on all things skincare. The products I’ve loved, hated and bought again and again.
I’ve learnt a lot from Caroline Hirons (if you don’t know who she is, I beg you google her) and doing my own research on what ingredients to look out for in skincare products. One thing that always tickled me was when a high-end brand praised a product with some super star ingredient and where was it? Near the bottom of the ingredients list! That is something you have to be careful of – marketing. Just because a product claims to be revolutionary or seems to justify the hefty price doesn’t mean it’s worth it. So lesson number one: pay attention to the labels. The ingredients near the top of the list are those in greater volume versus those closer to the bottom.
Products I love
My favourite acid toner is by Bravura London. I discovered this brand through Caroline Hirons (thank you, ma’am). I couldn’t tell you how many bottles of their Detoxifying Eucalyptus Astringent Toner I’ve gone through. It’s 15% glycolic acid but it also contains lactic and salicylic acid. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that helps with improving skin texture, dryness, firmness and dullness. If you want brighter skin, this is the acid for you.
Salicylic acid has long been known as one of the best acids for acne-prone skin. It works by breaking down the ‘glue’ in your skin’s cells and encouraging a chemical exfoliation. So rather than using a physical exfoliator with harsh apricot grains (which is just damaging your skin because it’s too rough) the salicylic acid breaks down the old skin cells that are stuck together, allowing new healthy skin to shine through. It also purges all the oil and dirt out of your pores, so for some people, they may experience a purging effect because all the dirt is being brought to the surface.
Do you really need an acid toner, though? The short answer is yes. Acid toners are chemical exfoliators. After double cleansing your face at night (don’t skip washing away all the pollution, sweat, sunscreen and makeup from the day) you need to give your skin a helping hand with skin cell turnover. Exfoliating your skin keeps it soft, clean and prevents breakouts. All good reasons to invest in a good chemical exfoliator.
Products I hated
The Pixi Glow Tonic. I wanted to love this product. At my time of purchase it retailed for 18 quid. I’ve been informed it’s now £20. Pfft. My combo skin hated this product. I bought this toner purely for the blogging hype and also because it came highly recommended by Mrs Hirons. All the good that my Bravura toner had done was frankly undone by this overpriced tosh. The texture of my skin was horrible and I could see the difference in my skin. I was gutted. I’d spent 18 quid on an acid toner that only contained 5% glycolic acid. It made my skin worse so I gave it away to a friend.
Products that made a real difference to my skin
It’s Bravura London again. I use their acid peels which are stronger than their acid toners and must be used with care. I use the salicylic acid peel at 2% concentration and the glycolic acid peel at 10% concentration. Both are safe for home use. Anything higher than that in an acid peel is not safe for home use and should be applied by a professional. With an acid peel you have to be careful to time how long you leave it on your skin. This is very important if you’ve never used acid peels before.
When I first started using them I would leave it on my dry clean skin for 2 minutes and rinse away with lukewarm water. Now I’ve built up a tolerance I leave it on for 5 – 10 minutes before rinsing away. The skin on my forehead tends to get congested and these acids have made a huge difference to my skin. When I have neglected my skin (I won’t pretend that I don’t have my moments) I know it’s time to dig out the acid peels. You’re not meant to use them more than 3 times a week and you need to alternate the days and use sunscreen as they make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. With regular and faithful use your skin will look amazing.
Another product that’s made a real difference to my skin is my OTC retinol cream by La Roche-Posay. I honestly believe that once you’re 25 and over you need to introduce retinols in some form into your skincare routine. I’ve used an entire tube of La Roche-Posay’s Redermic R Anti-Wrinkle Treatment. I bought mine from Boots. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the smell. Other than that it slowlyyy made an improvement to the very fine lines between my brows and my overall skin texture. I would definitely purchase it again, despite the funny smell. I’m now trying the Retinol Reface Resurfacer by Indeed Labs to see how that one fairs.
Now’s a good time to mention my love of serums. Three of my favourites:
The Body Shop Drops of Light Brightening Serum
Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Booster Facial Serum
No 7 Protect & Perfect ADVANCED serum
I adore the Drops of Light serum because it contains vitamin E, sodium hyaluronate and salicylic acid and has a nice smell. My favourite thing about it, though is the consistency! It’s watery goodness. My skin drinks it up. Because it’s so thin it’s the first serum I apply to my after double cleansing and acid toning.
Ah, Indeed Labs’ Hydraluron. Everyone knows about this serum. It’s pure hyaluronic acid. It encourages your skin to retain moisture, plumps up wrinkles and fine lines and is just all round good. It’s £25 per tube, lasts for 6 months but it is really good. I do love it. When I use it I’ve found I don’t need a primer and I have to say my makeup looks beautiful on top of it. An all round winner.
I’m no dermatologist, but I do love the No 7 Protect & Perfect ADVANCED serum. It contains a retinol derivative, peptides, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and lots of silicones which I probably why I like it. It feels so silky and smooth on the skin and creates a nice base for makeup application.
Look out for my next post on makeup removers and face washes. One brand I REALLY want to try is The Ordinary. I need a vitamin c serum that doesn’t cost a bomb or sting my face.
Hope you guys liked this post. Tell me what your favourite serums are? Have you tried OTC retinols?
Love blackpistachio x