The problem with skin is that you can’t hide from it. Late nights, sugar binges, stress and the hands of time all show up. And while we know how to make a difference from within (more water, more sleep, more vegetables), there’s a lot you can do with skincare too. The problem is knowing where to start. We’ve found the following skin saviours thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations, in-the-know aestheticians, reputation and a few lucky finds. Here are the formulas that have made a difference for us – and we hope you’ll love too.
Boosters are the skincare equivalent of spiking your morning smoothie with protein powder: they’re concentrated formulas that supercharge your routine. And one of our favourites packs a powerful punch with two effective ingredients: the morning booster has vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that helps reduce pigmentation and brighten skin; then the evening one has vitamin A (or retinol), which increases the production of collagen. Simply add two drops to your moisturiser.
It’s fairly common knowledge that when it comes to sun protection, the SPF in your tinted moisturiser doesn’t really cut it. But finding a formula that isn’t too heavy or greasy is tough. Petro, who’s very sensitive and finds most sunscreens irritate her skin, loves this formula (even around her eyes). It contains UV mineral filters that create a barrier on the skin and protect from UVA and UVB; it also has a lovely tint, so your skin doesn’t get a white tinge.
For those readers who regularly get treatments like microdermabrasion, chemical peels and laser treatments (and who have a hefty skincare budget), this serum complements the skin’s natural healing process, soothing and restoring dry and irritated skin and minimising the appearance of scarring and redness. It’s formulated with La Mer’s signature nutrient-rich sea kelp.
As any beauty junkie will tell you, skin masks are so much more than a social media opp. They offer an immediate and intense solution for various skin issues (dull, dry, tired – you name it), while giving you an excuse to take several minutes to just relax. There are loads to choose from, but Petro (who may have tried every sheet mask on the market) is obsessed with the masks from this Korean skincare brand; this rejuvenating one is her favourite.
For anyone focused on rejuvenating their skin or who’s over 30, it’s worth considering a formula containing retinol, an ingredient that claims to (over time) reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, while improving skin texture. This formula is gentle and effective, smoothing skin and boosting radiance.
If you don’t yet have an antioxidant serum as part of your morning routine, this is hands-down the best formula (with many, many dermatologist endorsements to prove it). The blend of potent ingredients, including vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid, helps to prevent wrinkles and sun damage as well as fade dark spots. And it works for all skin types, including the super-sensitive Petro.
The use of eye cream can be polarising: for as many people who swear by them, there are just as many who insist they are face creams in tiny pots. While we are in the latter camp, one thing we can all agree on is that no one wants to look exhausted. And this Bobbi Brown formula visibly revives eyes, with peptides, plant oils and humectants that tackle lines, dark circles, dryness and puffiness.
This is one of the easiest steps we’ve added to our skincare routine, and one that’s yielded the best results. Simply swipe it on after cleansing and finish with your usual serum and moisturiser. The formula removes dead skin cells, excess oil and anything else in your pores, without stripping the essential oils that your skin needs to feel soft. As for the results: brighter skin within days. Ingredients include 5% glycolic acid (to exfoliate) and aloe vera (to soothe).
For those readers yet to enjoy the miracle of an eye mask, brace yourself. In the same way that a sheet mask gives your face an intensive treatment, the eye area enjoys the same benefits. We’re already huge fans of the Advanced Night Repair serum, and these clever patches drench the delicate eye area in the same ingredients. After just 10 minutes, the area looks noticeably renewed. Dry lines are plumped with moisture and skin looks more luminous.
People with sensitive skin often need to be wary of wrinkle-fighting products. Origins formulated a serum that mimics the action of retinoids without the dryness, redness or itching. The key ingredient is a bark extract called African Anogeissus, which protects existing collagen and elastin by inhibiting the enzymes that degrade them. It may take longer to work than some stronger formulas on offer, but for those easily irritated, results without discomfort are worth the wait.
With no less than 22 active organic botanicals mixed with potent essential oils, it’s no wonder this super serum has a cult following. Everyone we know who uses it is obsessed: the phytonutrients and minerals help stimulate and balance skin, while fatty acids and antioxidants stimulate and brighten dull skin. Straight away, skin feels soft, looks dewy, and has a soft, floral scent.
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