The choice of skincare products available today is simply overwhelming, and the ever increasing list of concerns that require addressing (when you get to a certain age :-0) without having to spend a fortune, makes purchasing these products a very dizzying experience! And then, should you go for a regular cleanse, tone, and moisturise routine with a traditional department store brand, or try something a little more potent such as a cosmeceutical brand, which is a marketing term and not a legal definition of a product that is a hybrid of both a cosmetic and a pharmceutical? Or maybe you’re not that fussed and your trusty Olay seems to do the trick, in which case, this article probably won’t interest you.

Well I guess whatever the answer is, do what works best for you, but in my previous blog post WHAT INGREDIENTS SHOULD YOU BE LOOKING FOR IN YOUR SKINCARE PRODUCTS, I talked about some of the ingredients you might wish to consider incorporating in order to optimise your skincare routine. So here are my top picks and some of the science behind my choices. It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t always have to cost a fortune to look after the skin you’re in!

I use a combination of global brands from the US, Australia, UK and France, which are mostly cosmeceuticals, chirally correct (no perfumes, parabens or dyes), and packed full of high strength ingredients and antioxidants. I only buy from what I believe to be reputable suppliers or salons, and have always sought professional advice prior to use.

Morning

CLEANSE with Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser, which uses glycolic acid as a resurfacing agent and is great for treating a wide range of skin conditions such as acne, ageing and hyperpigmentation. It has anti-inflammatory properties too, so is suitable even for sensitive skin.

Apply this cleanser to dry skin and remove it with a damp cleansing cloth (I use Liz Earles Pure Muslin Cloths), then rinse off with copious amounts of water.

I’ve only recently started using the Jan Marini Bioglycolic cleanser, and am impressed with its exfoliant properties, but prior to this, my preference was for a foaming face wash and my product of choice was SkinMedica Facial Cleanser, a soap-free, foaming facial cleanser that gently purges dirt, makeup, and environmental pollutants from the skin as it hydrates and refreshes. The Jan Marini cleanser negates the need to use an additional exfoliant, but is gentle enough for every day use. If you are using a more gentle cleanser, you should be exfoliating a couple of times a week to remove any build up of dead skin cells. I like SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser which reduces pore size and leaves the skin looking really polished by improving tone and texture, and is suitable for all skin types.

ANTIOXIDANT & ANTI-INFLAMMATORY SERUMS – I use Aspect Dr Vitamin C and Aspect Dr Vitamin B. Aspect Dr is an Aussie brand that’s relatively new to the UK but uses super-active, clinical grade formulas in their products, and they really work!

MOISTURISE – I currently use a Marks & Spencer Pure range, Super Grape Day Cream containing a ‘defend  and restore’ complex of echinacea, peptides and resveratrol, which has been proven to provide up to 90% protection against free radicals.

I also really like a US brand called Societe – they do a really nice light moisturiser with peptides and Vitamin C, called Skin Hydration Complex. Unfortunately, Societe don’t have a UK presence, so I order from a skincare clinic in Cleveland (!), who ship to the UK.

EYE CREAM is not strictly necessary as you can use most moisturisers, provided they’re not too rich, and are appropriate for the skin around your eye area, with much the same outcome, but when my eyes are a little puffy (normally after I take my swimming goggles off – maybe I need to loosen them?), I use StriVectin Tightening Eye Serum. To be honest, this doesn’t actually tighten the skin, but contains starch-like ingredients that can make skin in the eye area feel tighter. Whatever works I say!

SPF30 – I use an Aussie aromatherapy brand called Natio, which you can now buy in the UK (at Tesco).

It’s an ultra-light, moisture-rich, hydrating sunscreen that protects against harmful UV rays. The lotion also contains vitamin E to soften and smooth as well as repair damaged skin, and is water resistant for up to four hours.

If you’re looking for a more even skin tone, you can’t go wrong with Societe Prime and Defend SPF30, which as the name suggests is a great primer before make-up, or just on its own works well.

LIPS – don’t forget your bouche! A great hydrating balm that plumps at the same time is YSL’s Lip Plumping Balm. If your lips are a little chapped, another Aussie favourite is Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment, or I use a cheap n cheerful Blistex with SPF20.

Evening

CLEANSE – same as the morning.

ANTIOXIDANT SERUM – Cosmedix Serum 16 contains retinol and retinaldehyde, and claims to be the closest thing to prescription-strength retinol without a prescription! It reduces the appearance of sun damage, age spots and deep lines, including crow’s feet, and is a great overnight rejuvenation treatment. As with any Vitamin A or retinol based products, if you haven’t used it before, you will need to start with a very small amount and follow the instructions provided by the retailer. I interchange the Serum 16 with Aspect Dr Vitamin A which contains Lanablue, a potent natural retinoid alternative.

EYE CREAM – whilst the Serum 16 is fine for the eye area, I also use Boots Time Delay (a ‘Back in Time’ product would be better!) Anti-Ageing Wrinkle Reduce Eye Cream for a little added moisture.

MOISTURISE – if I feel the need for additional hydration overnight, I use my Marks & Spencer Pure range, Super Grape Day Cream (they also do a night cream in this range, but I don’t think there’s much difference between the two), or I use Aspect Dr Resveratrol which is a potent antioxidant moisturiser with anti-inflammatory properties.

LIPS – same as morning, but not the Blistex!

Finally, always remember to include both your neck and decolletage in your morning and evening routines – ‘turkey neck’ is not a good look :-0

So there you have it – my favourite skincare products. I’ve been through a few in my time, and this list is by no means definitive, as it’s good to respond to your skins ever changing needs, whether it be hormonal, age related, or just a change in seasons, make sure you adjust your routine accordingly, but always remember to patch test first 🙂

Useful skincare product sites

To learn more about Cosmedix products, go to their site:

http://www.cosmedix.com/

To purchase Cosmedix products in the UK, go to:

http://www.ooba-beauty-rooms.com/

To purchase Aspect, SkinMedica, Cosmedix, and Societe products in Australia, I used to go to the following clinic in Melbourne, but they are widely available throughout:

http://www.clinicalase.com.au/

To learn more about Societe Skincare

http://societeskincare.com/

To purchase Societe Skincare in the UK, go to:

http://skincarecleveland.com/

To purchase a wide range of advanced skincare products (including SkinMedica and Jan Marini) and get professional advice online, go to:

http://www.dermacaredirect.co.uk/

To purchase Aspect Dr products in the UK, go to:

http://www.skinkicks.co.uk/

To purchase M&S Pure range, go to:

http://www.marksandspencer.com/l/beauty/pure/antiageing

I’ll be covering my favourite bodycare products in a future musing…

🙂