Well that is quite the pile, isn’t it? I’ve clung onto these not because I have a fondness for empty bottles (oh dear reader, how the opposite is true), but because I needed to let you know about the greatness that once graced these tubes and pots and vials. It’s a bit of a long one so have your tea/chocolate/a glass of wine at the ready… //
The Cleansers / Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm is up there with my top three cleansers ever – buttery, balmy and brilliant, it whips off make-up and softens the skin. This Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is more of a second cleanse to ‘freshen’, or a morning cleanser. For this, it is very good, not drying or stripping skin (though still giving that satisfying sense of cleanliness). Alpha H Liquid Laser Cleansing Oil is also a good second or morning cleanse, though I’d really suggest that the spend it only worth it for older skin that’s more sensitised or dry. Finally, Suqqu Eye Make-Up Remover is here because it doesn’t irritate eyes but does whip away even waterproof formulas.
The Treatments / My sensitive spot-prone skin needs many, many treatments to keep it under control. I loved using Pixi Glow Peel Pads to exfoliate after cleansing (thrice weekly is enough with these I found), Nude Purify Deep Cleansing Mask to absorb excess oil without drying skin out and thus sending it into the perpetual cycle of producing excess oil that is then stripped by harsh products, and Chantecaille Detox Clay Mask with Rosemary and Honey to do similar on more sensitive days – the honey is extremely soothing (I’d REALLY recommend this if you have hormonal skin that also burns in the sun or is very confused with oiliness/dryness/dehydration/bumps etc all going on).
The Day Serums / Morning serums have to absorb in double time and then somehow slowly ‘feed’ my skin throughout the day if I’m to get on with them. Institut Esthederm Intensif Vitamine E Concentrated Formula Serum does just this, working on fortifying the skin while softening. I also like that it’s milky and therefore good on days when you need hydration but want no grease whatsoever. On days when my skin felt dryer, I alternated between Bakel Jaluronic Deep Hydration Serum (their hero product and a deft barrier function restorer) and Ananne Nectar Cutis Serum (this organic serum oil has been formulated to prop up skin going through the toughest of times).
The Face Mist / John Masters Organics Lavender Hydrating Mist. It is rare that I can intro a product I love with these words so do forgive me the boast: Jessica Alba recommended this spritz to me once when we were talking about the challenges of liking an organic but wanting it to kick ass. Her skin is flawless so I jotted it down. She’s right: it’s really good – non-irritating, makes skin feel like it’s had a ‘drink’, makes me look glowy.
The Night Products / At night, I want to do something to my skin, whether it’s intensively moisturising or working on gently exfoliating. I’ve liked three immensely: Medik 8 Retinol 3 TR (to help turn over my skin – make sure you use an SPF daily if you’re using a retinol), ReVive Gelee Calmant (to soothe my skin when it’s behaved mentally), and Elemental Herbology Cell Food (to ‘feed’ my skin with nourishment).
The Hand and Foot / Hands and heels: two places that despite my diligence, remain dry. Flexitol Heel Gel is thick, balmy and cosseting. If you hate the feeling of product, steer clear. If, however, you’re fond of a bed sock and don’t mind greasing up before you pop them on, get this. It’s great. OPI Avoplex Hand & Nail Cream is almost always sold out for good reason – it really pushes moisture into skin but without leaving too much residue on hands.
The Sleep Aids / Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil is rarely off my bathroom shelf – it sends me into a somnolent state like no other bath oil. Couple it with This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, and I sleep like a baby.
The Body Moisturisers / As you can see, I am DEDICATED to keeping my body moist. A school friend once likened my constant need for moisture to a toad’s. I didn’t find the comparison appealing, but there you go – body moisturiser and I go way back. These are all brilliant: Korres Fig Body Butter (uplifting, very softening, needs to be worked into skin – I find this agreeable, getting into the rolling and rubbing as one does when kneading dough), REN Moroccan Rose Gold Glow Perfect Dry Oil (dry indeed and makes a tan glisten while softening skin), Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil (a classic ‘spa at home’ body oil), and Antipodes Ultra Nourishing Hand & Body Cream (organic, makes skin feel softer than soft, smells herbal, not sweet).
The Mascara / Only one rave on the make-up front: Tom Ford Raven mascara (I know, my TF obsession has to be dealt with). This mascara is blacker than black, and the brush big enough to whip my straight, puny lashes into a good, proper curl. I love it teamed with a smoky eye to add the requisite drama to the whole shebang.
The Shower Stuff / Malin + Goetz Dandruff Shampoo may not sound sexy, but hair without a whisper of a flake? Well, that certainly makes you feel and look a lot sexier indeed. I used this when my seasonal dandruff flared up and it calmed it down a treat, though hubs is the one who’s really eulogising about this stuff – he says it’s the only shampoo that has ever calmed his sensitive scalp. This Kerstin Florian Brightening Body Scrub is a good day-to-day gentle scrub that will help to lift body scars.