As I’ve gotten into my thirties, I’ve really started getting much more into skincare. I love all the different steps, and even though my hubby says my night time skincare takes half an hour to do (it really doesn’t), I use it as time for myself, and treat my skin with some love.
You can see this in my post from last year, Best of Skincare 2016, and it’s only become more of an obsession this year! These skincare posts always seem to be pretty text-heavy, so go and grab a cup of coffee or a snack before you carry on reading 😉
Carry on reading to see what skincare made the cut as my favourite for 2017: –
MAKEUP REMOVERS, CLEANSERS, EXFOLIATORS
1. MAKEUP REMOVER
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water Sensitive (R79.95) was a favourite last year, and my love for this product has still not run out. I have repurchased this multiple times. This removes makeup (light, heavy, waterproof) and is almost ALWAYS my first cleanse. On very lazy nights I’ll remove with two cotton rounds, and if necessary, one more to just do an extra sweep across the whole face. I love the Micellar Oil in Water version they do as well, but find it’s better used during the winter, when my skin can use the extra nourishment. Neither of these sting my sensitive (and allergy riddled) eyes and are ridiculously good for the price.
2 and 3. CLEANSER
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (R310) was something I’d had on my wishlist for ages, and got given for my birthday in July. Now, I’ve used the Camomile Cleansing Butter from The Body Shop, and liked it, but for some reason this offering from Clinique is just BETTER. I use less product, I can remove mascara with it, without it stinging my eyes or leaving them puffy, and it leaves my skin soft and clean. I’m already on my second tub.
Avène Gentle Milk Cleanser (R215) was exactly that. A gentle, milky cleanser that leaves skin feeling clean but never stripped of natural moisture. I love Avène products due to the thermal spring water they contain. I find they’re so soothing on my slightly sensitive, dehydrated skin. I’ve been trying out a few other milky cleansers but I know as soon as I’m finished my current one, I’ll be making a repurchase of this.
4, 5 and 6. EXFOLIATOR
I love exfoliators, and really do believe that they’re the secret to good skin. Exfoliating at the very least once a week (or more often, depending on your skin) is INCREDIBLY important, and if you’re buying fancy anti-ageing products but not exfoliating, just know that you’re wasting your hard-earned money. If you don’t remove the build up of dead skin cells, not only are you leaving your skin looking dull and uneven, your products will not absorb. Think of these dead skin cells and dry skin like a coat of armour. They hold onto dirt and other nasties, but also don’t allow anything through. This way, your fancy products are only sitting on top of the skin, rather than penetrating far enough in to do their job. I think I really need to do a whole post on exfoliation!
In a nutshell, you can get two kinds of facial exfoliators – chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliators make use of skin-friendly acids (great for acne/blemis prone skin) and/or fruit enzymes (great for sensitive skin) to breakdown the dead skin and dirt. Physical exfoliators use small grains or beads, or are in the form of a brush or cloth. These are not as effective or gentle on skin, but still do the job.
For this post, I chose three different exfoliators, one physical, one chemical and one that uses both physical and chemical ingredients.
Esse Cocoa Exfoliator (R285) is probably my favourite scrub I’ve used. It’s all natural, partly organic and while it is a physical exfoliator it’s also incredibly gentle. Not only is this filled with cocoa, it’s also packed with marula and manketti oil to soften and nourish the skin, as well as a selection of essential oils. It smells to me like chocolate covered Turkish delight, but don’t eat it! My skin feels soft as a baby’s bum after using this, and when I’m finished up my current face scrub, I’ll be repurchasing this one.
dr.dermal Texture Correction Pads (R475) are the ultimate in chemical exfoliators. They’re little pre-soaked and individually packed pads, in a professional-strength glycolic acid solution, complete with antioxidants, multi vitamins and moisturisers. Now, I’ve been using glycolic acid for a while to chemically exfoliate, and I think this is why I don’t get much of a reaction to these, but for a first time user, these might be strong. Your skin can turn pink and it can tingle. But I promise that the tingle does die down! I don’t even feel this anymore, as my skin has become accustomed to the strength of the glycolic acid. These are best used at night (the will cause sensitivity to the sun, so next morning put on that SPF!) and before you apply your moisturiser. Next morning your skin will be glowy, smooth and more even toned. I swear, this has helped remove some small pigmentation marks and pimple scars I’ve had, and helps to even out the bumpy texture I get if I don’t keep up with my full skincare routine. Plus, you get 30 in a box, and you only use once a week, so it lasts for MONTHS.
PHYSICAL & CHEMICAL EXFOLIATOR
Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Thermofoliant (R960) was actually a product of my mom’s. She just wasn’t using it and let me take it off her hands (very generously). Now, I have not had the best reaction to a lot of Dermalogica products in the past. My skin just didn’t agree with it, and I think a lot of that was to do with the fact my skin barrier was so compromised due to bad dehydration. It goes through incredibly sensitive episodes, and these usually happen now if I don’t use a good hydrating product, or at the change of seasons. Now that I have this under control, I find I’m able to use some Dermalogica products (precleanse oil, this exfoliator and antioxidant hydramist) with no bad side-effects. I’m gradually trying out product after product to see what agrees with my skin.
This exfoliator uses both resurfacing microgranules (physical) as well as salicylic acid and retinol (chemicals) to buff and smooth. My skin feels so insanely soft after using this product, so I think the dual exfoliation really is a great option. I’m still using this and am scared for the day I finish it. It’s so much pricier than my usual Esse scrub, but it’s a double exfoliator and uses so many actives like retinol, vitamin C and E, so I can see why it’s on the more expensive side. Either I’ll bite the bullet and get it, or I’ll go for my Esse scrub and ask for this as a spoilicious birthday gift. Suffice to say, this product is worth the money – I just have to watch my budget at the moment.
TONER, SERUMS, EYE CREAM, MOISTURISERS
Avène Thermal Spring Water (R149.95) is the only ‘toner’ I use. I don’t ever seem to use an actual toner! I spritz this on my face after cleansing and before serums, and it helps to freshen and soothe my skin. I also like spritzing it on during the day over makeup if it’s hot or if my skin is feeling dry and tight. I love this stuff!
2. DAY SERUM
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (R194) is my official holy grail hydrating serum. I’m on my second bottle and have a backup for when that’s finished, as I’m so scared of being without it! The Ordinary has been so popular overseas for their simple yet incredibly efficient products, and they’re becoming bigger in SA now too. This is a clear, runny, gel serum that is packed (as the name would suggest) with hyaluronic acid in 3 different sizes to attract moisture into the skin, as well as vitamin B5 to further increase surface hydration. My skin cannot live without this now, and the problem areas around my nose and chin are no longer red, tight and irritated.
To say this is my day serum is a bit of a loose claim, as I use it day and night. However, this is the only serum I use under moisturiser during the day, but at night I use an additional one for anti-ageing. You can read more about my thoughts on this serum HERE.
3. NIGHT SERUM
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone (R191) is the first vitamin C product I’ve ever introduced into my skincare. It’s not quite a serum, to me it feels more like a gritty primer due to the silicone content, but I use it in my routine at night as a serum (i.e. after cleansing, before moisturising, after water-based products).
Now, I have to be honest. I’ve only been using this for a short while – barely even two months now – but it’s been long enough to see a difference, and to tell you that this product is nothing short of amazing. Pretty much the same thing I’ve experienced with all of The Ordinary products. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and is used to help reduce multiple signs of ageing, such as uneven skin tone, dark marks, spots, fine lines and it helps to brighten the skin too.
I used this for just over 2 weeks and wowzers was I impressed. It helped to fade away some dark marks left behind by hormonal breakouts, some tiny spots of sun damage and it’s left my skin tone looking so much more even and bright. Plus, I have a couple of slight lines in my forehead that, while never being that troubling, were starting to look a little deeper. And they have been SIGNIFICANTLY reduced. I was in and out of home over the holidays, spending nights with family or away, and forgot this product in my routine, and a little extra pigmentation appeared from the sun, as well as the lines in my forehead popping up again slightly. Three days of using this again and I’m back to better skin!
I’m so excited – I have a retinol product on it’s way to me from The Ordinary, and a moisturiser in my ‘to use’ box for when I’m finished my current one. Bring on flawless skin!
4. EYE CREAM
Eucerin Anti-Age Hyaluron Filler Eye Cream (R279) is the best eye cream I’ve used in a while. I don’t have hectic lines around my eyes, in fact the ones I do have are mainly due to dehydration more than anything else. I’ve tried a few options that did help, but nothing has helped as much as this offering from Eucerin. The tube (I love the fact it’s in a tube – less germs than a pot that you dip your grubby little finger in) lasts for months and months, and I really did notice a difference in the fine lines. The hyaluronic acid in the cream helps to plump these out and hydrate the area. A really great drugstore eye cream, and I’ve found it better than some higher end ones I’ve tried too!
5. DAY CREAM
Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (R435) was my saving grace earlier this year. I had badly dehydrated skin and my wedding was just around the corner. Thank goodness for the blessing that is Cam, my blogger bestie from Jane Wonder, as she spoilt me with a tub of this at my bridal shower, and I slathered this stuff on my face. It is incredible, and while you’ll find close options at the drugstore (I’m looking at you Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream), nothing is quite as good as this. They have a Fortifying Hydrator option that is a little richer too, great for winter and for repairing the skin’s barrier!
6. NIGHT CREAM
Environ Original Debut Moisturiser (R320) was given to me at the KZN Blogger Meetup, and I was a little nervous to use it, as previously in my teens I would breakout when I used Environ products. This, however, is part of their STEP-UP SYSTEM and allows your skin to gradually get used to the active vitamin A that Environ is known for in their skincare, and that can cause breakouts if you aren’t used to it. You’re meant to use this day and night to start out with, which I did at first, but for the last couple of months I’ve been using it at night as it’s a bit rich for hot, sticky Durban right now. And… I love it! I notice when I don’t use it my skin is ok, not bad but nothing amazing. But when I use it for several consecutive days at a time that my skin just slurps it up and loves that vitamin A. For this reason, I’m going to repurchase this and continue to use it at night. I think with the system you use minimum of 2 tubes before they advance you onto the next step up in the system. So I’m heading for that at night, and keeping up with my lighter moisturisers during the day!
1. CLAY MASK
L’Oreal Paris Pure Clay Detox Mask (R159.95) is a clay and charcoal detoxifying mask, that sucks impurities and dirt and excess oil from your pores. I’ve tried a few clay masks in the last few years, but none that I’ve gone out and repurchased, like with this one! I truly see a difference in my skin if I use this once a week, but I do always have to follow it up with a hydrating mask as it sucks a lot of moisture from the skin. For the price it’s flipping marvellous though!
2 and 3. HYDRATING MASKS
I love hydrating masks as a quick skin plumper before makeup, to soothe irritated skin, or left on overnight to get the maximum hydrating benefits from it. I love both of these options and couldn’t choose between them. Both are drugstore and both do an incredible job.
Avène Soothing Moisture Mask (R230) contains thermal spring water to soothe skin and I’ve used this to instantly soothe irritated areas, as well as slathered on and slept in to get the best skin plumping benefits from it. I really and truly love Avène products!
Bioderma Hydrabio Moisturising Mask (R280) was my next bet, as I was trying to find something to soothe and hydrate my skin prior to my wedding. This is specially formulated for sensitive and dehydrated skin types, which is mine! It comes in a nice big tube (75ml as apposed to the Avène which is only 50ml) so I feel you get more bang for your buck. Plus, it’s formula is designed to not only hydrate, but train your skin to lock in additional moisture for itself. What’s not to love?!
4 and 5. SHEET MASKS
I’m a serious sheet mask addict! I am constantly trying out new ones and always have at least one in my stash. These are also a great way to inject moisture into the skin and hydrate dehydrated skin. I think I used 2-3 sheet masks a week in the month before my wedding, and one the day before and the day of my wedding. These two, however, were standouts for me this year. They’re great to use at night after cleansing and before you apply your moisturiser, or just before an event, as makeup really applies best on super hydrated skin.
Garnier Skin Active Hydra Bomb Super Hydrating Replumping Tissue Mask (R54.95) is the juiciest sheet mask I’ve ever used, yet the formula doesn’t drip all over your body and chest like a lot of these do. They come in three variations (Replumping, Soothing and Rebalancing) and this is the original Replumping one. It gives your skin such a big boost of hydration and I keep the sachet with any left over serum and use it the following day on my face, neck and chest, as there is just so much of it.
Skin Republic Hyaluronic Acid & Collagen sheet mask (R39.99) is just wonderful. I bought these in bulk during a 3 for 2 sale at Dischem and used at least one a week before my wedding day. I used this the night before as well! While I love the Garnier one and think it gives that little extra boost of hydration, this does an absolutely remarkable job, is more affordable and was around before the Garnier one (which sadly only launched in SA after my wedding). I love the Skin Republic sheet masks in general, but this one is fab for hydration.
OILS, LIP CARE, SUNSCREEN, TOOLS
1 and 2. FACIAL OIL
I have used two different facial oils this year and loved them both. I used the first one for the first half of the year and the second one later on in the year. Both are from wonderful brands and contain really good quality ingredients.
dr.dermal The Omega Skin Oil (R675) is a rich oil filled with plant-based omega 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9. I loved this for it’s richness, and I could feel and see my skin glow the mornings after I’ve used it. The bottle lasted me absolute ages as well, and lasted me at least 6 months. Bare in mind I only use an oil every second night unless it’s winter or my skin is extremely dry or tight.
Nikel Evening Primrose Oil (R409) is an oil specifically for dry or dehydrated skins. This Croatian brand is wonderful, and I’ve used some of their other products and thoroughly enjoyed them, but this one in particular really strikes my fancy. It smells like sweet oranges and is a blend of 6 oils, the main one being evening primrose oil. It’s lovely and light, absorbs instantly and doesn’t leave your skin feeling like an oil slick. Plus, a couple of drops are all you need, so it will last several months!
Yungskin Sun Care SPF40 (R160) is my new favourite sunscreen! I always loved the Bioderma dry touch fluid sunscreen, but couldn’t find anything that matched up to it. This one is a larger amount of product, more affordable AND it sits nicely on my combo/dehydrated skin and under makeup! I use this daily on my face and I absolutely love it. It isn’t greasy, sticky, it doesn’t leave a white caste on the skin and it absorbs so quickly. The only con is that it’s SPF40 and not SPF50+ like the Bioderma, but I do reapply frequently if I’m outside a lot.
4 and 5. LIP TREATMENT
I’m a lip balm addict. These two serve a few different purposes, so I had to include both of them.
NUXE Rêve de Miel Lip Balm (R175) is a super thick and rich balm that is best applied at night or during the winter months. This tub has a proud position on my bedside table, and is a repurchase. It’s so thick and nourishing that I feel like my lips are getting a bit of a mask, and they’re always soft and supple the following morning. It’s filled with honey, shea butter and essential oils too!
Eucerin Aquaphor (R99.95) is a multi purpose balm. It helps to support the skin’s own regeneration process, so it’s ideal for cracked, chapped or dry skin. Much like the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream (but minus the scent), it’s a rich and thick balm that can be applied to the lips, cuticles, dry skin, burns, rashes and heels. I use it sometimes as a heel balm under a pair of socks, I pop some on my cuticles if they’re looking dry and I don’t have my oil with me. I use it when I have a cold and my nose is all red and raw, and I pop it on my lips when it’s cold and dry, as it soothes and stops any moisture loss. This has a place in my handbag and is a repurchase. I was lucky enough to find some sample size tubes too, that I keep in my car, my professional makeup kit and in my little coin purse (for when I don’t take a full handbag out with me).
6. FACIAL TOOL
Sorbet Silicon Facial Cleanser (R199 at Clicks right now!) is a kind of dupe for the Foreo silicon cleansing tool that costs ten times the amount. Granted, you won’t get the immense sonic power of the Foreo, or the long battery life, but this little tool takes a couple of small batteries and comes with 3 speed settings. I use it on my second cleanse to really make sure any dirt, makeup or oil is cleaned off my skin and out of my pores. When I use this religiously it makes all the difference to my skin.
What skincare products did you use and love during 2017? Any suggestions I should try this year?