By Shawna Healey
Skin care can be a minefield. As adults, we need more of a routine than just an “anti-blemish” microbead wash, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the best skin care products that work and aren’t all hype and no heart, and that won’t break the bank.
A nine item Korean skincare routine may be too much for most people, but the basics that everyone agrees are covered: micellar water for removing makeup, cleanser to clean, toner to give the appearance of smaller pores followed by moisturiser and sunscreen when going out of the house (yes, even if it’s overcast!)
Vitamin C serum and night moisturiser which is heavier than normal day moisturiser may be good to add to your routine, once you’ve got it down. If you suffer from acne, then pure salicylic acid can also be a good addition.
The routine can be daunting, but a good rule of thumb is going from lightest consistency to heaviest.
Skin care steps
It’s tried and tested, but the best affordable micellar water hands down is Garnier’s Skin Active All-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water which removes makeup, cleanses and refreshes the skin. The normal price for 400ml is £5.99, but it is most always discounted in Superdrug and Boots, and is currently on sale with a buy one get one half price deal. Garnier have a selector of micellar water in their collection to cater for different types of skin.
Cetaphil is the underdog of skincare. Recommended by dermatologists for its mild, gentle and non-irritating range. Cetaphil has two cleansers, the Oily Skin Cleanser or the Gentle Skin Cleanser. Both soothe as they cleanse, removing dirt and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural lipids. Cetaphil can be used on the face, hands or body, and can be used quickly with or without water. It retails at £8.99.
Okay, so this one is kind of pricey coming in at £18 for 250ml of product, but the Pixi Glow Tonic is just so good. The travel-sized product is £10 for 100ml, and lasts a while even with daily, or twice a day use. It’s a gentle chemical exfoliator that hydrates and nourishes. It also softens the skin, refines and restores radiance for smooth and balanced skin.
If your budget can’t stretch to the Pixi toner, the Boot’s Fragrance-Free Gentle Toner is excellent alternative for cleansing your skin and removing the last traces of makeup, as well as excess oils after the initial cleanse. What’s better is that it costs £1.50 for 150ml.
Depending on your skin type you might need a heavier or lighter moisturiser, but Cetaphil’s Moisturising Cream one is a gentle moisturiser for dry skin that draws moisture from the air using humectants to “clinically bind water to the skin”. It normally retails for £7.99 in Superdrug for 100ml and is also available in Boots.
Available at Boots, Look Fantastic, Feel Unique, and more, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Ultra-Light Facial Sun Cream SPF 50+ is the perfect sunscreen. It is ultra-waterproof, sweat-proof and sun-proof sun protection for the face. While being slightly expensive at £17.50, it is arguably the most important step in the whole skincare routine and is often the most ignored. This formal is specifically formulated for sensitive skin and can be worn under makeup.
Optional additional skin care steps
Vitamin C serum
The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% (30 ml) is perfect for getting your fix of vitamin C that visibly fights uneven skin tone and signs of ageing skin. This suspension is free from water and silicone and delivers concentrated vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to the skin. This suspension is available at Beauty Bay for £4.90.
Revolution Skincare’s Hyaluronic Acid Overnight mask (50ml) is £8 and packs a punch. It’s an overnight hydrating mask that has sweet almond oil which encourages smooth and soft skin, and vitamin E that moisturises. You use these one to two times a week, and the residue needs removing with water in the morning.
The Ordinary’s Salicylic 2% Acid is a great daily treatment to visibly reduce redness and inflammation by targeting congested pores. If you don’t know how it works, salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin, through the pore walls. It can be found on Beauty Bay’s website for £4.20 for 30ml.