It’s time for my Skincare Shake Up October 2016! If you know me, you’ll know I love my skincare. Nothing pleases me more than finding a new product that makes my skin feel happy and comfortable without aggravating my rosacea. There’s been a bit of a gap in the Skincare Shake Ups but I’m back, and this is a beefy one so get comfy…
My morning routine looks like this:
I’ve been using the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Lotion Micro-Exfoliant* for a few months and I really like it. It’s very gentle so it doesn’t irritate my skin, but it keeps my skin looking smooth and keeps flakes and dull skin at bay. As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s a little sting-y around my sensitive eyes, but apart from that I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with it. It’s a very simple step to add to your skin routine if you don’t like manual exfoliators or find that they are too harsh for you. It’s really simple, you just soak a cotton pad and wipe over the skin once a day and you’re done! I’m trying out a different product along the same lines this month, so keep an eye out for that in November’s Skincare Shake Up!
The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Protect Emulsion is a really lovely moisturiser. If you have oily skin that doesn’t like heavy products but still needs a big dose of moisture then this is the one for you. It contains hyaluronic acid which leaves your skin feeling hydrated, soft and smooth but is light enough to apply under other products (or make up, without affecting it). It also has SPF 30 which is wonderful.
I am a little embarrassed to say that I didn’t know that Marks & Spencer had their own skincare range. Their beauty halls are one of the best kept secrets in skincare and beauty and I knew they stocked some really great brands but I had no idea they produced their own. I was invited to a lovely meal with the M&S team to find out all about their Formula range (in particular the Formula Ultimate Sleep Cream, but more on that later!). We chatted about their new releases and they all sounded very exciting but my ears were definitely pricked when they mentioned the Formula Innovate SOS Anti-Stress Cream*. It has been designed to soothe and calm skin while reducing redness. And these aren’t empty claims: they’ve done independent research where 88% of respondents agreed that their reactive skin felt calmed and comforted and that their redness appeared reduced. I was so desperate to try it, I pinched the PR’s tub that evening (she knew I took it, I didn’t take it out of her bag or anything…)! The cream itself is on the thicker side but it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin and doesn’t leave a greasy, emollient film like some SOS, repair-type creams can. It smells very pleasant but doesn’t have any added fragrance which is great news for sensitive-skinned folk like me. My skin definitely feels less sensitive and comforted, even in this awkward changing season weather. I haven’t noticed a huge change in the overall redness of my skin, but my flushes have been very under control recently so I’m taking it as a definite win! This cream is only £16 for 30ml which I think is a great price for such an innovative product from a well-respected brand. I definitely want to try more from Formula going forward!
I didn’t include my SPF as it’s unchanged (the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Fluid 50 SPF*) *but* I’m trying a new one this month that I have very high hopes for… watch this space!
And here’s my evening routine:
So many people recommended The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil to me and I don’t know why I waited so long to try it. I have a drawer full of cleansing oils, they are my favourite way to remove make up. If you’ve never tried an oil cleanser I really recommend it: it dissolves make up instantly (even waterproof mascara and matte liquid lipstick) and you don’t have to scrub at your face, which is great for people with atypical skin. This one isn’t my all time favourite but it is a great high street option – it didn’t aggravate my skin, it removed all my make up, it emulsifies well when you add water, it didn’t leave a horrible film on my face when I removed it, it doesn’t have an overpowering smell… it’s an all-round great cleansing oil. The only annoying thing about it is that the lid leaks which means I can’t take it anywhere which is annoying, I’m not sure if that’s just mine or whether it’s a known fault. It does have fragrance in it (right down at the bottom of the ingredient list, so not a huge amount) but it’s worth mentioning. However, I haven’t found it irritating in the slightest.
I spoke about the Avène Tolérance Extrême Cleansing Lotion* in my recent post on the whole range (which you can read HERE) so you’ve probably already heard me raving about it. To summarise: it’s gentle, very soothing and can be removed either with a flannel and water (like a typical cleanser) or if you have very sensitive, inflamed skin you can tissue it off. Even water can upset my skin when I’m having a particularly bad flare up so these types of multi-use products are wonderful. The cleanser currently has 8 ingredients (if you don’t know how amazing that is, take a look at your current cleanser to see the amount of ingredients listed!) and the reformulated cleanser launching in January 2017 will only have *seven* ingredients. The idea is that minimal ingredients means minimal chance for irritation. It’s an amazing and very clever concept!
I included a version of this product in my recent ‘what to buy in the Escentual sale’ post (which you can read HERE, you still have until Monday to make a bargain-filled order!) but I wanted to mention it again. The La Roche-Posay Redermic R Anti-Ageing Concentrate Intensive* has a huge following as, in a world of beauty products that promise the earth, this is one that is actually proven to work. Retinols are one of the only scientifically proven ingredients to alter the way that ageing skin looks: this cream, when applied at night lightly resurfaces the skin leaving it looking plumper, softer, smoother, helps with pigmentation and uneven tone, and reduces fine lines. I don’t have intense signs of ageing yet (one of the only good things about having oily skin and being so pale that sunbathing has always been a big no-no!) but after using this my skin looks so much less rough, make up applies better and the youthful plumpness is noticeable in my skin.
There may be a little flaking of the skin when you first start using the product, this is normal but it should stop after 2-3 days. The La Roche-Posay Redermic R is always mentioned as an entry-level retinol: something to get you started and then if you like the results you can move on to the harder stuff. It’s like the gateway drug of the anti-ageing skincare world! I’m currently doing an extended test of the newer version which contains SPF which means you can wear it during the day (this is a huge breakthrough, retinols can typically only be used at night as they can leave you vulnerable to more sun damage if used in the day). I’m very impressed so far but will tell you more in next month’s Skincare Shake Up!
(I’ve just realised that this is a very La Roche-Posay-heavy blog post – I promise it’s not sponsored, I’m just a big fan!)
I love the Toleriane range and the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra* is a favourite. The whole range is designed for those with very sensitive or allergic skin, so my rosacea loves me for using it. It’s lightweight, calming and sinks in so quickly you barely even realise it’s there, which is great for the colder months when I start to layer my skincare.
The other M&S skincare product I’ve been testing out this month is the Formula Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream*. The brand was telling us about an amazing trip they took to Korea to take inspiration from their innovative (and sometimes bonkers) skincare products and one of the products that is huge in Asia but is only just coming over here are sleep masks. The idea is that it’s a face mask that you leave on overnight, when your skin is most receptive to products (it’s clean, it’s not fighting pollution or sunlight or dirt, it’s just focusing on rebuilding and sorting itself out). This cream claims to make you look like you’ve had 8 hours sleep when you haven’t and – as with the SOS Anti-Stress Cream above – this is a clinically proven and independently tested claim. 71 % of respondents said their skin was transformed after only 2 weeks of use. And after 4 weeks, skin appears less fatigued, deep lines appear reduced, age spots are lighter, skin looks firmer and healthier, with improved elasticity. It feels softer and more supple, imperfections appear reduced and reveal brighter, more radiant skin. Pretty impressive for £22!
The PR from M&S told us that you apply a layer of the cream, go to bed and when you wake up there is a slight residue on the skin to wash off (this is apparently due to the innovate slow-release of the product, so it continues to work through the night and not just in the time it takes to sink into the skin). I don’t know if it’s because my skin was just desperate for more moisture but I didn’t have any residue the next morning. Maybe my skin was like a desert and I didn’t even realise! My skin does feel incredible in the morning and I do think I look more rested, even though I’ve been sleeping terribly (these dark mornings are not my friend!) I was a little dubious when I first heard about this cream but I’ve been won over. Bravo, M&S!
Now that we’ve covered the day to day skincare bits, here are the treatments!
The Elemis Papya Enzyme Peel is another product I’ve mentioned before but I’ve really been enjoying using it for a quick fix when my skin looks dull and a bit lacklustre. It’s a cream that uses fruit enzymes to exfoliate the skin, so no need for harsh scrubs. You apply it to your skin and are meant to leave it on for 10 – 15 minutes. I use it for no longer than 7 because my skin starts to tingle at the 4 – 5 minute point and I don’t want to over do it. Those people with more sturdy skin than me have reported absolutely transformative results using this mask, so it’s a good one for all skin types, as long as you tailor it for more sensitive skinned people. It smoothes rough patches, helps with congested pores and is apparently great for pigmentation and scarring.
Once I’ve exfoliated, I like to soothe and pamper my skin and the Vichy Quenching Mineral Mask* is such a delight to use. It’s a jelly-like gel that is so unbelievably cooling on the skin, it makes it feel instantly soothed which makes it a great go-to mask when my skin is angry or stressed. Designed for dehydrated skin, it has glycerin, Vichy thermal spring water, and also includes jasmine water, bamboo and green tea to soothe sensitive skin. I have started keeping this in the fridge for an even more cooling treat for my skin.
These posts always seem to end up being massive but I can’t help it, I love talking skincare! I hope you enjoyed my Skincare Shake Up October 2o16 – let me know in the comments what you’ve been using recently and if anything has caught your eye in this round up!
*Provided as PR sample. Links may be affiliate. For more information please see the disclaimer tab at the top of the page.