As much as I love makeup (and boy, do I love makeup), skincare is the area of the beauty industry I find most joy in experimenting with. Yes, the stakes tend to be higher (which I found out after contracting eczema after mixing too many skincare formulas), but when you find those products that seem to make your entire complexion a whole lot glowier, the rewards are far sweeter.
I've tried countless serums, made my way through hundreds of cleansers and have tested more facial oils than I care to add up, but it's often the same products that I find myself coming back to—the same ones I extol the virtues of to anyone who will listen. Below, I've listed the 11 skincare products I always recommend—I'm certain you'll find your slice of glowy skin joy within this lineup too.
Some people don't get along with oils, but my skin can't get enough, which is why I always cleanse with an oil every evening. Tata Harper's feels so decadent, and it melts away even the most stubborn of mascara without having to do much rubbing at all. On contact with water, it emulsifies, meaning it turns to a thin, milky consistency that's no bother to rinse off, so skin doesn't feel overtly greasy after use either.
I never bother cleansing in the morning (sue me), but for my second cleanse post-oil in the evening, I use this. It's super light and barely puts a dent in the balance of my skin I so desperately try to protect. Plus, it smells like roses. My boyfriend loves it too.
You can use Dr. Dennis Gross's peel pads every day, but I tend to do it once a week just to help lift away the smattering of blackheads that form over my nose. They come soaked in AHAs, BHAs and retinols to exfoliate and kick-start cell regeneration. I'm not sure any product has even incited such a visible difference after one use.
Like I said, I love oils—especially Votary's fragrance-free Super Seed Oil. Where some botanical essential oils can irritate sensitive skin, this oil (made from a mixture of 21 seeds) floods skin with that juicy kind of moisture. I use it every day.
The hardest thing to find in the world of skincare is an SPF that doesn't pill up when you apply makeup over the top, but Kiehl's is the best I've tried. It's not ashy or grey, and it feels like moisturiser (only with better protection).
Vitamin C is brilliant at brightening—something my skin is always in need of, and Sunday Riley's serum is particularly potent. So much so that it takes a little getting used to. It basically lays down a film of tinted cellophane that makes skin look dewier and glowier. Love.
I mist my face around 45,272 times a day (just ask my desk buddy, Alyss) and as it smells like coconut water, Dr. Roebuck's Bondi mist is 100% my favourite.
I always get asked for recommendations for a really good moisturiser that suits most skin types, and this is the one I always wheel out. It lives in that tricky ground between lightweight and buttery, and leaves skin feeling comfortable and fresh, not laden with product.
But if my skin is feeling particularly parched or flaky, Avene is the one I use. It's so rich that it feels like cosseting your skin in a sleeping bag of goodness, and it never sends even the most temperamental skin into any kind of meltdown.
I get through masks like there's no tomorrow, but when in doubt, I always go back to my old faithful, Origins Drink Up. It contains the oils from avocado and apricot kernels, and you can leave it on overnight, so there's no messy wash-off. My skin always looks better for it come morning. I'd use it every night if I wasn't so lazy. ■
What skincare products do you always rave about? Come tell me in our dedicated Facebook group, The British Beauty Line—I'll always find room in my bathroom cabinet for more skincare…