It took a lot of thinking to reduce the list of skincare favourites to something I'm actually able to write in a day or so. It took a whole day of thinking, sweating and making hard choices. Below you have a list of best of the best. Products that amazed me in 2016 and I loved them too much to pass on a mention in a yearly faves. Can you believe this is already my second yearly best kinda post? How quickly that went!
As a self proclaimed cleansing buff I had to think really hard about this category but two products made the cut and I truly loved them. Superfacialist by Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil is a drugstore fave. So easily accessible in Boots it doesn't break the bank and is constantly on offer so you're able to grab it below £10! This is the best smelling cleansing oil ever. I love citrus scents and this one smashes it all. It's also super gentle, removes all makeup including eye makeup, which is a must. On contact with water it changes to a lovely milky formula that washes off easily. I branded it a radiance in a bottle because it leaves my skin so glowing and hydrated! Perfect first cleanse.
For my second cleanse I tried so many balms last year but I must award Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm (-15% off your first order at Fabled by Marie Claire) the title as it's truly surprised. The gel formula that changes to oil on contact with skin, has a very delicate and pleasant scent and makes the second cleanse a true pleasure. It won't break the bank either, with full size being below £20! It washes off easily and I like to remove it with a warm cleansing cloth.
These two beauties haven't come to my routine till late in the year but have wowed me enough to include them in yearly faves. Konjac Sponge Pink Clay has been a fave of mine for months now and works so beautifully with both cleansers mentioned above. It's a hard sponge that changes to it's true form when soaked for few minutes in warm water. I love using it as I feel it gives my skin a more throughout cleanse. It's easy to wash off too! I got Foreo Luna Play early in my Selfridges Advent Calendar and have used it non stop ever since. It truly makes the difference. I was shocked how quickly it made a difference to my bumpy clogged pores skin. I have gotten rid of most the bumps on my skin and haven't suffered with many breakouts, especially around chin area since I got it. It provides a deep cleanse and I feel my skin is thankful for it. I use it 1-2 daily, definitely in the evening and sometimes in the morning, although I prefer the Konjac Sponge in the morning as it wakes me up more, if that makes any sense.
This was an easy one really. Sylveco Moisturising Hibiscus Toner has been a true pleasure to use. I loved other toners in the year but this one will be repurchased before it's even finished. It is so gentle and soothing, my delicate skin loves it so much. It is a toner, not a miracle product, so as long as it leaves my skin soothed and comfortable, I'm good with that. The all natural ingredients are amazing and no alcohol in the list makes for it to be non drying and super gentle. True gem.
I never skip this step and there were two serums that really made a difference in my skin texture, moisture levels and firmness. Resibo Smoothing Serum was branded by a friend of mine as a botox in the bottle and how right she was. Having used it for months now, always in the evening, I can see how much difference this serum has made. I now wake up to a smoother, moisturised skin. Bye dehydration lines, I actually see the results. I had quite bad lines on my forehead and now I barely see them anymore. It's worth any money and the price tag is pretty decent at £25!
The Ordinary "Buffet" Multi Technology Peptide Serum (POST)and the whole brand has been the skincare discovery of 2016. If you don't know it already, The Ordinary launched under Daciem skincare and produces serums and acids at the most incredible prices. At the point of my order, 'Buffet' was their most expensive serum and it didn't even break £15! I'm amazed by this serum and it became a staple in my morning routine. I'm really in to multi serums now so I'm looking forward to discovering more of their serums in 2017. Back to the 'Buffet' itself. It's a highly concentrated multi peptyde serum aimed at all anti-ageing benefits. It firms, moisturises and creates a perfect base for a moisturiser. I loved using it in the morning but also in the evening, together with Resibo serum. It made all the difference to my skin and I get so many compliments lately at how radiant it is, when I'm not wearing makeup.
I've discovered facial oils last year and have really been in to mixing my own plant and seed oils to create a perfect mixture. Last year I stepped up the game when The Body Shop Oils Of Life Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil series launched. I received samples of the oil and fell in love with it instantly. It gives my skin an amazing hydration and also helped diminish dehydration, really my whole routine has. It's not the cheapest but I bought full size the moment the sample ended. I don't use it every day now, as I just don't need it. My skin feels more normal than dry these days. I use it every other day in the evening before my moisturiser. I also used a drop in some of my 'drier' foundations and worked great at giving the finish the radiance I love. You only need a little and 4 drops are more enough for neck and the face.
I also fell in love with OlVita Rosehip Seed Oil* which was kindly sent to me for testing by The Natural Skincare shop, which I'm obsessed with! Having read upon all the beauty benefits I put it to test instantly. It's truly remarkable but this oil helped my Mom's sun spots to become less noticeable. It helps with any scarring, sun damage. It gives the level of moisture dry and mature skin needs and at the same time firms and soothes the skin. I loved using it and again you only ever need a little. I find 3 drops enough to cover the face and the neck.
I'm not very quick at finishing up the moisturisers but I really use them, I promise. I just find I prefer using a light hand when it comes to application. I always tap my moisturisers in, instead of massaging them in too. I must admit, I don't have a favourite evening moisturiser. I use a couple and I like them but I find my serums and oils work best. Daytime moisturisers however! I loved quite a few. I'm sad to let go of my absolute fave Talika Photo Hydra Day Cream. I've got it in a beauty box and I used it religiously. It was by far one of the best daily moisturisers. Makeup went on it nicely, it gave my skin much needed moisture but wasn't overly oily either. It sank in within seconds too.
Only when I finished Talika, I really got into Body Shop Oils Of Life Intensely Revitalising Cream. This cream is a miracle worker. It moisturises so deeply, sinks in quickly and provides a well prepared base for makeup. I rarely get in to more than one cream at a time, I will test some but then go back to finishing one up. I'm half way through this one and I'll be super sad to see it go. It's super creamy but not too rich, you could probably use it for the evening too, but I just adore it for daytime and I'm almost saving it up as I fell my oils and serums are enough for my skin in the evening.
I couldn't not mention the Créme De La Mer. I got a sample during Ask Alex x La Mer session I went to in Selfridges and just fell in love. Yes it it the best damn moisturiser in town and I can't believe it. When I first tried it I was so dissapinted as the texture reminded me of those super rich old style Nivea creams and let's face it, I was not impressed. However, what it does to my face is truly remarkable. Within seconds my complexion becomes radiant, healthy. It awakens the skin as no other and I also enjoyed using it at night. I use it every blue moon as I really don't fancy spending £110 on a full size but I know it'll happen. When I'm done with multiple creams I have waiting in the queue, I will buy it, because it is simply the best. Damn you La Mer and Alex for introducing me to it!
I completely forgot about SPF when I was photographing this post but I can't not mention it. Someone as pale relies on SPF throughout the year to help maintain the level of paleness I came to know and love. I don't hate the sun, far from it, I just know than by protecting my face and body now, I'll thank myself later on in life. I won't go on a SPF rant but I will mention two products I loved last year. You've heard me rave about Eucerin Mattyfing Face SPF50 (SAVE 15% OF YOUR FIRST ORDER AT FEEL UNIQUE HERE!)so many times, it needs no mention really. It is the best damn face SPF I used to date. It makes my suddenly oily in the summer skin, so much better and works great under makeup too. It's not too expensive either plus have a life of 18 months so a good 6 months more than your usual SPF. It's currently sitting in my fridge awaiting better days. For now I'm sticking with SPF in my daytime foundation as long as it's SPF30 and an occasional spritz or two of Bioderma Moisturing Anti-UV Mist SPF30. (SAVE 15% OF YOUR FIRST ORDER AT FEEL UNIQUE HERE!)It's simply the best because there's no other on the market. I really hope someone will invent SPF50 mist for summer 2017 as I need it to happen. It's so easy to use, works under and over makeup and makes a perfect handbag addition. I still have it in my handbag because believe it or not, we do get to have some sun during the day. It works.
Masks & Treatments:
I could go on and on about all the masks I've used in 2016 but those that really stood the test of time are these 4 contenders. I raved about Glamglow Youth Mud (POST) & Glamglow Thirsty Mud (POST) so many times and these are so popular in blogosphere, I'm sure you're sick of hearing about them. I think they just work. In terms of skincare I don't depend on instant results, some products work over time, so seeing instant results and longterm results in one product makes me happy. Youth Mud is simply the best mask I've ever used. It firms, works almost as an iron for the face, smoothes, makes for the radiant complexion. I always over use it as it's not the easiest to apply so I tend to go through these a lot... I'm sad to mention mine's all used up and I can't replace it until April (damn you spending ban!!!). It truly makes me sad, as I loved using it. I use it once a week as a skincare treat, usually on a Friday, which in our household is mommy and me pamper time. We reward ourselves with pamper after a long hard week of work and usually start with Youth Mud before moving on to Thirsty Mud. This one's a miracle worker too. It's the best hydrating mask ever and I love using it after more harsh formulas like Youth Mud or the chemical exfoliators etc. I tend to keep it overnight, as I love the radiant complexion I wake up with after using it.
The mask I discovered more recently and came highly recommended by my lovely friend Nishi, is the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (POST). I'm so glad I have it in my life. It truly is one of the best exfoliating masks I've used. It's an enzyme and acid based mask, that works so painfully but reveals a smoother complexion. I tend to use it a started mask and follow with something more soothing and ultra moisturising and anti-ageing. Love this stuff and I'm glad I've got it since my Youth Mud's gone!
Lastly I'm giving a shoutout to something super affordable, especially given all the masks mentioned above really aren't. Garnier Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask really surprised me. You wouldn't expect a mask from Garnier that costs a quid on offer to truly work but this mask has been a huge help fighting my dehydration. It works by delivering an amount of serum your skin needs for a week (what a silly claim to make) but truly using it once a week works so great. It provides the skin with ultra levels of moisture and I didn't see any negative effects like pore clogging so I'm giving it a huge thumbs up. At this price it's a sin not to give it a go.
I raved about Bravura Lactic Acid 10% infused with Rose* (POST) many times already and it landed in faves once or twice already. I've never used chemical exfoliators at home before and I was so happy when I was sent the whole range to try. What stood out for me was a Lactic Acid. It's quite a condensed formula with it being 10% so it's recommended to start with only few minutes and slowly build up your tolerance. I now prefer to use it as an overnight treatment and it works so beautifully. I use it once or twice a week depending on my skin needs but I really see it making a change in my complexion the morning after. Definitely worth trying, as Bravura is a professional and affordable brand, so it would be rude not to.
I rarely speak about body care because I'm super lazy and my routine is super easy and fast. I've mentioned Ecolab Shower Oils before and I stick with my review. I love this natural brand for their ingredient lists and these oils are no different. I love how moisturising they are and how my skin feels after I get out of bath or shower. They last forever too as only a little is needed to lather the whole body, plus the scents are delicate, sweet and very pleasant. This is a joint fave of me and mom, as it allows you to skip the proper body moisturising afterwards and Vaseline Body Sprays work just fine.
I love a good scrub and this Grandma Agafia Body Scrub* was kindly sent to me. I don't know exactly what are the exfoliating bits in it as it's pretty hard to read in Russian after so many years of not praising the language, but it's all natural and mostly organic so I don't have to know. It's super rich and gives a great exfoliation without being to harsh. I fell in love wth it and already emptied one. Thankfully I have two more to go!
Another thing I should probably get better at is using some sort of foot care routine. Again it comes with laziness and I just stick to exfoliating socks once every three months and I discovered Sephora Lavender Foot Masks when i was on holiday in Spain. I came with a few and I find that using it makes my skin of so soft. I'd love to use it once a week but getting it from Sephora here is a drag so I use it once a month instead. I'll definitely stock up when I'm in Sephora next, as these are superb moisturising but also diminish the feeling of tired legs and feet. Brilliant stuff - highly recommend you try it.
I have fairly dry lips and my love for matte liquid lipstick don't help the situation. I battle dryness all the time, especially in winter. Lanolips 101 Oitment has been my go to this whole year. Forget Carmex and others, this is the one to have. It's basically a nipple cream and has the highest grade of lanolin found in cosmetics. It works brilliantly but it isn't the cheapest.
I tend to be pretty boring in terms of haircare. I use super moisturising formulas as having weist long hair and ombre does not help with the dry ends and general frizziness. My day to day favourite is so cheap and works best as a detangle and leave in moisturiser. Schwarzkopf Gliss Hair Repair Liquid Silk works beautifully on my long hair and helps keeping the tangles at bay. I use it morning and evening before I brush my hair. It doesn't weight the hair either, which is a plus as long hair tend to have too much weight anyway.
I also loved Garnier Ultimate Blends Weightless Nourisher Balm, which I use once a week as deeply nourishing mask. I wash my hair the moment I get in the bath and then apply this to the whole length ad the ends, leaving just the roots. I leave it on for a minimum of 30 mins. It really works wonders. My hair is sleeker and has more shine to it.
Thank You For Reading,