Now, the products I'm talking about in this post don't all apply to my pregnancy skincare routine - pregnancy totally changed my skin and I'm a lot more sensitive and can only use fully natural and gentle skincare. Pregnancy skincare post coming in the next few days!
HOWEVER, these are products that I absolutely swear by and have finished and restocked multiple times. It is a curated list that I've tried and tested for years and will always go back to for specific skin concerns.
I obviously wouldn't use all of these at once - that would be a little excessive. Here's an example of my morning and nighttime routine.
Wash face with cold water (no cleanser), Toner, 1-2 Serums (one of these being a Vitamin C serum, one being a hydrating serum), Eye Cream, Moisturiser (maybe), SPF
Wash face with cleanser, Toner, 1-2 Serums (One being a hydrating serum, one being something else depending on what my skin needs), Eye Cream, Moisturiser/Night Mask
This is the cleanser I used for almost 3 years while I was treating my skin for breakouts. It was recommended to me by my aesthetician, it contains salicylic acid and glycolic acid which are both great for keeping breakouts at bay. It is a gel based cleanser suitable for all skin types and is gentle without over drying.
I absolutely love this more natural cleanser, I started using it once I got pregnant as most of my other ones contained ingredients I could no longer use. It is SO gentle, perfect if you have sensitive skin like me and smells like cucumbers. Gel based.
I used this cleanser for about 6 months when I was solely using Dr Barbara Sturm products to give them a chance on my skin. I really like foam cleansers because they're gentle and you can really massage it in for 2-3 minutes to clean out all dirt and oil.
Because I have dry skin, toners usually aren't great for me because they strip my skin of it's natural oils leaving me feeling even more dry. I realised that this was because I was choosing toners that contained alcohol, even the natural toners that contained alcohol had the same effect. I was finally able to find two (alcohol-free) that I liked and that REALLY worked for me, they don't dry out my skin and leave it feeling supple and hydrated/bright.
I use this one when I have scarring on my face, it is a milky toner and I love how fresh my skin feels after I use it morning and night. It contains vitamin c, liquorice root which are both great for brightening and hyaluronic acid for hydration.
I use this when I don't have any scars and just want something to freshen up my skin. It is super hydrating thanks to the hyaluronic acid in it and works perfectly as a base before applying other serums etc. It also had actual rose petals in it, how cute is that?
This is a salicylic acid serum. This is the most 'intense' serum on this list. It tingles when you use it and you only require a TINY amount, I mean literally 1-2 drops for your whole face. My aesthetician recommended this to me to use after cleansing for my breakout prone skin at the time. It is strong but it WORKS. I started off using it 3 times a week before bed and then built up to daily use. If you're sensitive this will sting/burn the first few times you use it until your skin adjusts. It helps smooth out fine lines, correct pigmentation, smooths skin texture and reduce pore size.
The main ingredient of this serum is Hyaluronic Acid which is super hydrating and once of my favourite serum ingredients, because well, hydration is what I need the most for my dry skin. This blue gel-like serum really absorbs into the skin. My aesthetician recommended I use this after active serum (which is quite drying) to re-hydrate the skin. This serum is a staple in my bathroom cabinet. It is so soothing/calming on the skin.
When I ran out of my Hydra Cool Serum and other iS clinical products, I thought I'd give the Dr Barbara Sturm range a try and that included her most famous serum, the Hyaluronic Serum. People swear by it and I now understand why! I love the texture of it, it absorbs into the skin so well and really hydrates. You would only need this OR the Hydra Cool, because you'd use one or the other not both.
This is the ONLY Vitamin C serum that I've used that hasn't broken me out or given me weird reactions and I've tried a few from Murad to Dr Dennis Gross. This stuff is powerful and really seems to work for evening out complexion, brightening and lightening scars due to the 15% Vitamin C in it. It is great for calming inflammation and redness and contains 1% Vitamin A (retinol). I use this in my morning skincare routine. This is coming back into my routine after pregnancy.
Another product that I introduced in my pregnancy to brighten the pigmentation that I got. I can't say that it removed all my pigmentation, but I only used one bottle of it and would purchase it again for sure. I really liked how supple my skin felt after using it, the texture is amazing and absorbs really well, I love this nourishing more natural serum.
This is a relatively new addition to my skincare. I've been seeing Sonya Dakar everywhere lately and wanted to give this a try before trying out any more of her products. I can safely say that I'm in love with this serum, it actually feels more like a face oil. I use this after my Vitamin C serum during the day and massage it into my skin for about 5 minutes, alternatively you can use a jade roller or Gua Sha. It's an omega 3 oil/serum for the face and contains essential oils that smell incredible.
Obsessed with these sun drops. I use this under make up, when I'm tanning or just for daily use. Just YES. The texture is PERFECT and doesn't leave a white cast over your face.
Again, OBSESSED! It is so sheer and blends in so nicely like a serum. I love using this under make up specifically because it has a really nice dewiness to it.
Perfect for people living in the city, it protects from pollution, blue light and pretty much everything you can think of. I love the texture as its quite sheer and has a serum-like texture.
This is a THICK moisturiser, perfect as a night cream. It also makes you shiny so you may not want to use this during the day. But this stuff WORKS. It is so nourishing, pure and hydrating and is my favourite night cream.
This is the light version of the above which I love for day time especially under make up. I sometimes use this twice in the day time for extra hydration. The brand is so incredibly pure that you feel like you're putting actual roses on your face. I've gone through about 5 bottles of each of these creams in my pregnancy, my skin DRINKS them in.
This is a relatively new product that I've used almost every night since getting it. It is so nourishing and luscious with a velvet-y feel to it. I use quite a generous amount of this on my face about an hour before bed so that it absorbs into my skin before I put my face on my pillow! I wake up with GLOWING skin so I know it's doing something right. Vitamin C, liquorice root and hyaluronic acid.
This is the moisturiser my aesthetician gave me when I was treating my skin for acne/breakouts. It is completely scent free and SO gentle but does an amazing job of hydrating the skin. I would use this if my skin was breaking out like crazy and I wanted something VERY simple and non-oily for my face. I went through at least 6 of these during my treatment phase.
This was recommended to me by a different aesthetician that I saw a few times (different to the one I've been mentioning above). She uses all of the Zein by Obagi products and I tried out quite a few of them, they are definitely on the more intense side but this exfoliator I stuck to. I've been using it for about a year now, once-twice a week in the shower. I let the steam open up my pores and use it at the end of my shower for 2-3 minutes focusing on my nose and cheek area where my pores are slightly larger. It is incredible and not too harsh at all. Most exfoliators break me out in tiny bumps, this is the only one that doesn't.
This is an acid exfoliator rather than a scrub like the one above. I use these on non-scrub days. I normally use these when I have scarring that I'm trying to get rid of. They tingle a lot but they really work. It is a 2 step process. If I have scarring I would use these twice a week in place of my toner. Definitely worth a try. I like that you can get a small box of 5 which is super affordable to try them out before investing in a big box.
New purchase but I love it so far. I love that it has a roller to apply the oil which makes life so much easier. It is also caffeinated which is a really great factor to eye cream. Caffeine WAKES up the skin!
I love this eye cream, I actually FINISHED this product. It is rare that I finish skincare products (especially eye creams) and actually have to restock them. It definitely brightens the under eye area. I love using this 30 minutes before doing my make up to brighten up that area before using concealer.
Another caffeinated eye cream which I love. Its bright green and absorbs really nicely into the under-eye area.
I love this as a soothing hydrating mask, it has rose petals in it and smells divine. It also has cucumber, aloe vera and green tea extracts which are all very soothing and calming.
This is an incredible clay mask. It is SO brightening. You put it on for 10 minutes and once you take it off (using a damp cloth) it's like you've had a mini facial. The results they show online are to improve acne prone skin, so worth a try if you suffer from that.
This is the OG of face masks. I've been using this since it first came out YEARS ago. It is SO GOOD. I also like the white tub Glamglow mask. Anytime I feel my skin acting up/breaking out this mask or the pink clay one above are my go to because I feel like it helps speed up the recovery.
You guys are ALWAYS asking me about these two face tools and how I use them so I'll try to be as specific as possible. YES they make a difference if you use them consistently.
I tend to use this way more than a jade roller because I find that I can manipulate it more to my liking/apply more pressure in certain areas etc. I keep the gua sha in my fridge (makes it so refreshing) and use it in the morning with a serum or facial oil. Below is what direction to go in. I do about 5-10 strokes per area and move around the face for about 5-10 minutes depending on how long I have.
Any kind of facial massage (even just using your hands in the directions below) is incredible for your skin. It stimulates the blood flow in your face/skin, stimulates collagen production, tones/contours the face and helps reduce and prevent fine lines and wrinkles and is amazing for lymphatic drainage (de-puffing).
Photo credit: www.thedetoxmarket.com
The jade roller is great for beginners who have no idea what they're doing when it comes to facial massage. It is SO easy to use and fool proof. You literally just roll UPWARDS and OUTWARDS all over the face following the same direction as the above photo. I started off with this for a few months and then upgraded to a Gua Sha which I found more effective as I could apply more pressure and do it slower in certain areas. Use the larger side for the face and smaller side for the under-eye area.
There you have it! My list of my absolute favourite skincare products that I swear by and will ALWAYS go back to. What works for my skin may not necessarily work for yours, so I always recommend getting samples of these products before making a commitment as some of them are pricey. They stock iS Clinical mostly in skin clinics but the rest you can find in stores.
I hope this was helpful, leave a comment below if it was and also any blog post requests you may have!